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Why cheap hosting really limits the growth of your site

Author: ; Published: Apr 23, 2012; Category: Managed Hosting, Reseller Hosting, Small Business; Tags: , , ; 2 Comments

When it comes to sayings, one of the older ones is “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!”

The hard part when it comes to choosing a hosting provider when you have approximately 32,000 hosting providers in the United States alone tied to various groups saying, I’m using so and so for web hosting is commonly falling into the lull of not reading the fine print, not taking the time to do one’s homework.

You might be a member of the LinkedIn WordPress group or a similar business or hobby group; and ten or more people share to go with so and so provider; they’ve been with them for x period of time, and they are happy.

You check out so and so providers site, it looks clean, and they advertise so much disk space and bandwidth… wow, you are really going to get your money’s worth… so you think.

Your site starts off small, and everything appears to be working well.  You might even join the band wagon sharing with others, use my host; look at all I’m getting for just $ per month.

Now for some house keeping… almost all businesses fall into one of two categories for how they choose to compete against others in their field of business.

 

Hosting providers who compete on price will do their best to continue being able to compete on price. That typically means cutting corners, focus on being penny smart. It typically means focusing on cost cutting rather than maintaining or adding value.  Their number one priority is the ability for them to keep their price low; you, their customer only come after that number one priority.

Hosting providers who compete on value will have higher prices than those who compete on price. The hosting providers who compete on value are typically focused on maintaining and increasing the value they provide to their customers. They are focused on their customers. Human beings mean more and should receive value for what they pay.

 

The majority of the hosting providers in the world compete on price.  And that way of competing involves a number of dirty little secrets.

One of the dirty little secrets you may never run into if your site stays small — small in traffic usage, small in CPU usage, small in disk usage, and so on.

If your site does grow, you may find yourself in a bind with the provider for whom you thought you were getting so much value for the dollar just looking at all of the resources they advertise for such a cheap price.

Yet, as your site grows you are most likely going to face problems you would not have thought about in advance.

inode limit – WOW, I thought I had so much available disk space.

 

You, or even worse a prospective, big dollar value, client of yours takes an action which involves adding a file to the server (it could be as simple as an online order that creates a temporary file on the server) to find out they cannot.  The prospective customer leaves never to come back

You may not even know the problem exists until you try to upload a new file; maybe something as simple as adding a new image to your web site.

When you contact the providers support department, you find out you have maxed out all of your inodes.  To keep it simple, one file or folder takes up one (1) inode.

They tell you that you must now delete folders and files to free up inodes; and you are left speechless because you are using less than 5% of the disk space they advertise on their site.

 

Cheap hosting providers, to keep their costs low, will place limits on the number of inodes they allow per hosting plan.

Value hosting providers such as Dynamic Net, Inc. provide unlimited inodes.

CPU limit, RAM limit, process limit — what happened to my online store?  Why are my online sales down?

 

Far worse than inodes is when customers cannot place orders on your site… and you only find out when either an irate customer calls — if they have the time — or your hosting provider shuts down your site without advance notice.

One way or the other you find out your hosting provider has placed limits on how much CPU, how much RAM, and sometimes even how many processes on the server your site can use.

If your site is shut down, you are typically told you must upgrade — where is that in the budget? — or move off their services (so much for advance notice to really plan out a move).

You feel you are being blackmailed into upgrading so you can get your site back online… but for how long?  Since the upgraded plan most likely has its own limits for CPU, RAM, and processes.  Where is the light?

 

 

On March 7, 2012 there was a post in web hosting discussion forum about a popular, cheap hosting provider titled, Issues with ____________ Throttling? (hosting provider name removed to respect their privacy).

 

I’m currently running an IPBoard through ____________ and have recently had some slow loading times. Invision suggested that I contact ____________ as it looked like my server was bogged down by other websites, so I contacted ____________ and they just said this:

This is because your account is currently experiencing CPU limiting factors (throttling). During the past 24 hours, your account has been throttled for a total of 62455.518 seconds.

Editorial Note: Is that what you want running behind the scenes slowing down your site; and you are not notified about it unless someone complains?

 

 

Cheap hosting providers, to keep their costs low, will use either home grown operating systems and tools or operating systems like CloudLinux to severely limit the amount of CPU, RAM, and processes available to a site.

Value providers such as Dynamic Net, who do use CloudLinux, will have limits high enough to allow any normal site usage including being on the home shopping club and various TV shows like QVC; and what limits are in place are high enough ceilings to catch only misuse.

If you were hunting for physical office space, a home, an apartment, etc. you would want to see the place, look at the neighborhood, check out the surrounding businesses.  You would carefully review any lease or rental agreement.  You would leave very little (if anything) to chance.

Why not take a more serious, proactive approach to your hosting needs?

While you may not be in a position to visit a facility or the office of the provider (not all providers own the data center where the equipment is located), you could call or email; and dig deep with questions that go beyond what’s advertised as being a part of a particular hosting plan.

The bottom line is will the hosting provider allow you to grow your business easily without ever holding you hostage?  Will they be there for you over the years whether your business is growing, or sad to say down sizing?

Contact us if you have any questions about our managed hosting services.  We compete on value because we know you and others like you matter far more as human beings than wanting to be the cheapest or among the cheapest provider around.

Peter Abraham
Former CEO of Dynamic Net, Inc. Will be transitioning to a new career in the near future.
Peter Abraham

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Peter Abraham

2 Responses to “Why cheap hosting really limits the growth of your site”

  1. This just came out today, July 11, 2012 —

    ### COPY START

    PCI Scan – Shared HostGator Account Suspended??

    We have quarterly PCI scans for our credit card processing. This time the scan caused our shared hosting account to get suspended by HostGator.

    Only way I found the reason was checking the log after receiving the suspension email and tracing the IP (the scans are done at a 3 month interval, and we don’t know when they’ll occur in advance). The scanner’s IP requested over 70,000 pages during a 7 hour period, with our CPU usage over 2000 sec/hour for 5 hours straight, peaking at 3597 secs during one hour (isn’t that like 99.9% usage?). Whenever I’ve checked usage on a normal day before, it was under 10 sec per hour for the trailing 24 hours.

    I don’t blame HostGator necessarily, as we were clearly overusing the shared server. Though we have had an account in good standing for over a year now, so I was surprised a single IP could have our site shut down so easily. We now have to wait “up to 30 minutes” for suspension to be lifted.

    Anyone else have experience with this? I’m not sure if there was something different about the scan this time, as it hasn’t caused issues before (never looked at logs afterwards to compare). Going to contact the scanner to see if they can limit it somehow or spread it out a bit more. Not sure what else to do to avoid the issue in the future.

    ### COPY END

  2. Greg Johnson • @Peter, I can certainly attest to the problems with BlueHost and throttling. I was in charge of managing a modestly successful WordPress-Powered membership site (WP + Wishlist Member, built on a lightweight custom child-theme for Thematic). The site had about 3,000 members total, on BlueHost, and only about 300 logins per day. The database calls were straightforward and fairly lightweight, we were using caching plugins, all the right stuff, and still we got throttled for more than an hour per day.

    People kept writing in reporting “bugs” which gave me a headache for like 2 months, because I couldn’t reproduce the errors on our staging server, or on production (the bluehost server)… Then I asked support… “Oh, it appears you’ve been using too many resources, your account is being throttled” or something to that effect.

    Not a fan.

    http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&srchtype=discussedNews&gid=154024&item=177260272&type=member&trk=eml-anet_dig-b_pd-ttl-cn&ut=1zonUMXOz_ARs1

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