Friday, August 19, 2011

Choose the Best Host for Your Website

When I entered the URL of a Registered Training Organisation recently, I was served a page with this quote at the top:
"Please be advised that the website you are viewing is an older version of our website and may contain errors, formatting or paging issues. Our regular website was recently destroyed when the server carrying the site was hacked into and severely damaged causing us and some other 4800 websites to be destroyed. Our website technicians are currently redeveloping the site and will have it back online as soon as possible"
I was astonished to think that because of a hacking issue, 4,800 websites were "destroyed". How good is the host company at providing a website hosting service? Did they have backups of the sites? Do they use multiple servers? What do their terms of agreement say about lost data? There's a message here for all of us ... and no doubt the 4,800 people whose websites have been lost. The message is, when you choose your web hosting company, choose carefully. Don't go for the cheapest, the nicest-looking or the one that tells you what a great job they do. Here's my recommendation: 1. Find a web host that has been around a while and is a main player 2. Check out what type of systems they have and what security they have in place to avoid total loss of data, hacking attacks, viruses etc 3. If possible get a couple of client contact details and call clients to find out what they think about the service 4. Read thoroughly the terms and conditions and make sure that they accept at least some liability for your losses of data Do your due diligence and if you think necessary, retain a duplicate image of your site on your own server or backup system. You can even pay third-party businesses to provide "cloud" backups for all of your data. This can save a lot of work in you have a crisis such as happened to the above people. I have hosting accounts with an Australian firm called Ilysis for about 10 years and have never had a bad experience. I also use US-based GoDaddy and find them excellent also. Whichever firm you use, make sure you carry out sufficient research to make sure you won't be left with a website that cannot operate because it's been destroyed. The ball's in your court. Robin

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