If you have never had a website before you probably will not be aware of the running costs associated with one. Apart from your www. domain the main cost you will have to cover each year is for something called hosting.
We explained hosting in more depth in one of our earlier articles What is Web Hosting but here is a quick overview.
Your website is literally a set of files, just like a bunch of word documents in a folder. To display your website on the internet these files need to be uploaded to a web server which your www. domain directs visitors to, to view your web pages.
Now the pages and images all take up space on the webserver so you have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for this.
You may also want to have an email address to match your website domain which can also be set up on your webserver and again the emails sent to you sit and take up space.
Now the web server needs to be properly looked after to prevent any unwanted hacks, it needs to use fast storage so you have a quick website, it is good to have a daily backup system, email spam protection and backup servers for resilience and there are various software licenses that will be purchased by the server owner so that websites can be managed via pretty administrator screens.
So there are are costs that need to be covered to provide a good web hosting platform.
Taking Advantage of Lack of Knowledge
The tricky part is that there are lots of different types of web server, there are lots of different types of hosting platform and lots of variables that can be offered so prices can become very polarised.
What happens is that some web design companies use this as an opportunity to over charge and make a nice healthy profit. We are not saying they all do this but we see it far too often, the monthly or yearly income becomes the main money maker for the business so web designers offer the first year of hosting for free and then slap a nice big bill on the customer at the end of year one to renew the hosting. The customer does not really understand what the hosting does but knows their website will not work without it so pays the bill.
What the customer does not realise is that the web designer has just bought a 123Reg, GoDaddy or 1and1 hosting package for £20 a month with 100GB of space and are running all their websites on it. They then charge each customer £20+ a month, limit them to 1GB of space each and make a very healthy profit.
There are 2 problems here.
- The server your website ends up on is being used by thousands of websites which makes uptime reliability poor, your site is slower due to the volume of sites and has a much bigger chance of being blacklisted for emails or hacked.
- You cannot have access to your website hosting because the web designer runs all their websites from the same place.
So if your web designer does not give you an account to access your hosting/website files, alarm bells should ring. If you are paying a premium surely you should have access to your hosting account.
Big Companies Providing Overscaled Hosting
It tends to be the smaller web companies that provide the stack them cheap for big profit approach. Large web design companies tend to charge very high prices for a hosting solution that is way over the top for a website.
We built a website last year and had a great relationship with our client who were happy to show us quotes from other companies that they had received. For their standard CMS website they were being quoted £400 – £500 a year for the hosting. This kind of price would justify a dedictaed server setup for a large ecommerce website but the site was a standard brochure CMS build that will not take up more than 2GB of space and just needs a reliable, fast hosting platform. Our price… £75 a year and we own our servers we do not pay for a hosting package from a third party company.
What happens is the web design company are set up for the really big clients and make the smaller ones follow with the same prices for something that will never be used to its potential and is not required.
Unless you are running a very big corporate site or a big ecommerce site you do not need to pay this kind of money for quality hosting. You are just giving your web designer lots of money to make yourself feel good about having premium hosting that is probably running in the same data centre and sat next to our own web servers.
Paying Less is Not a Bad Thing
You will be amazed that we actually find it very difficult to convince businesses that they are paying far too much for their web hosting. I talk to businesses all the time who pay £250+ a year for something that can be provided from a better platform with the same level of UK support at £75 a year.
Web design companies get away with it though because they package the hosting in with the website, they do not advertise any hosting costs and they know that the lack of understanding by the majority of customers means they will just be trusted to provide a service at a price customers just assume is the norm.
So when another company come along and offer the services at a lower rate, customers assume this will be a worse service because it is cheaper.
How We Package Our Hosting
With 10 years under our belt in the web design industry we wanted to be one of the very few web design companies that provide a transparent approach to our hosting services. In 2016 we set up our own dedicated hosting company called Chip Hosting.
All our customers get their own hosting account where they can access the website files and cPanel administration dashboard. If you have paid for the website you should have the freedom to choose who can access it.
We purchased our own web hosting servers based in the UK so they only have websites on them that are ours and we have full control over how they are run. We do not use resellers or buy cheap cloud hosting packages from other hosting companies. We have daily backup software running, resilience across 10 servers and 24/7 support available.
We scale our hosting packages to the businesses we work with so you only pay for what you need. If all you need is a free Lets Encrypt SSL certificate thats what we provide and install for you to ensure your site is secure rather than charging £35 for the the priviledge.
We show you how to look after your WordPress site so you don’t have to pay a management fee or if you want us to manage updates for you we charge a sensible cost for us to log in and just click update on the plugin, theme or WordPress version.
So don’t overpay for web hosting, don’t be afraid to host your site away from your web developer and don’t be tricked into thinking paying more means you get a better service.