On February 28, something strange happened. The web started acting funny. Popular websites either stopped responding or didn’t really work right. People couldn’t adjust the temperature on their Nest thermostats, turn on lights remotely or control other smarthome gadgets. For some, the work day came to a screeching halt. If you wondered if these issues were isolated to your equipment or part of a bigger problem and went to the outage tracking website Is It Down Right Now to check, ironically the site didn’t work. However, some sites were perfectly fine. So what happened?
Amazon owns a massive web hosting service called Amazon S3, which stands for Simple Storage Service, used by more than 120,000 domains worldwide. A large number of big websites store content and run services with Amazon S3 including American Airlines, IMDB, and others . So when one of S3’s data centers in Virginia experienced major technical difficulties, those sites stopped working properly.
So what happened to the websites hosted by Geek Town USA? Nothing. They were unaffected. Why? Because our websites weren’t hosted by Amazon S3.
With web hosting, you’ll have plenty of options, some of which are less expensive than others. If your website is a critical tool for your business, shop around for hosting options that will give you the most security and reliability for your buck. How can you protect your website when shopping for a company to host it? Ask simple questions.
How many other websites would be hosted along side yours on any particular server? If possible, look for companies like Geek Town USA that host websites on servers with only a handful of others. Being hosted on a server shared by hundreds of other websites can lead to headaches. For one thing, sharing a server with too many other websites can bog down bandwidth and slow your website down. This is annoying for visitors and can lead to high bounce rates for your site if people get sick of waiting for your site to load and click away. And slow load times can hurt your search ranking results. The slower your site loads, the worse your site may rank when it comes to organic results.
Moreover, servers hosting fewer website are less likely to be targeted by hackers who want to do harm. Bad people looking to cause problems would rather spend their time going after the big fish hosting massive amounts of sites than servers hosting only a dozen or so.
Does the hosting company you’re considering set up automatic updates or will they manually take care of your website? Geek Town USA manually updates every site we host. This allows us to take the time and actually do the hands-on work to update plug-ins and security, allowing us to make sure every site is properly maintained, safe and functioning properly.
How available are actual humans when you have a problem? When your site goes down, your business may go offline with it. You may not have time to wait for a tech to get back to you. Look for 24-7 customer support, reachable via phone, text, or email, with immediate responsiveness.
Hosting can cost very little and for some business owners, going with big companies that offer low priced options makes good business sense. But if it’s critical for your website to be up and running 24-7, to have website techs available any time there’s an issue, and for your site to be personally maintained and updated on servers alongside a small number of websites, shop around and talk to the Geeks at Geek Town USA.