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Our Reliance upon the web and electricity

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A recent power cut reminded me of a major mistake many large companies make – hosting their websites on their own servers.

This is often a big mistake. Even if you ignore the fact that it would be much cheaper and quicker to find a good hosting company, there are the issues of down-time, back-up, reliability etc. Daily back-ups take time and often mean down-time, during which, the website is not available for public viewing. Often backups are done at night. Human users may not be visiting but an automated web-spider trying to index the site will record a serious error. Good hosting companies have virtually 0% down time and would be very hard to challenge in terms of web-page response time. Equipment used is often the latest technology housed in super clean, air conditioned, secured buildings – often with their own electricity sub stations! Forget battery back-up, these boys play hard!

I’ve worked in many dark basements, with dozens of geeky teams of IT technicians and every time there was a power cut or server down, you could guarantee there was short tempers and panicked faces. Sure, every one of us had set up a few servers in our day, but the point is, once a server is set up, the knowledge required to do it again can be left to get old and gain rust.

Leave it to the professionals.

Don’t go for one of those cheap or free hosting packages, go to a professional company, one that only offers web hosting.

Ignoring the 24 hour telephone support (often golden), there are many other reasons for going pro…

Comprehensive Control Panel

The user control panel should allow the web developer to upload files by whichever manner they wish, without the need for external help or special interface.

Server side analytics

Analytics allow you to monitor which web pages people have been visiting and how they found your site.

It is possible to embed analytics into web pages to monitor traffic; however these tools may delay the loading of web pages. Server side analytics do not delay page loading as they are generated from the server’s raw access logs.

Allows you to choose your own domain name

Many of the cheap or free hosts do not allow you to use your own domain name, simply giving you a sub-folder of their company’s domain.

Comprehensive modules list

It is important to check whether your web code will run on the server. Some CMS programs require specific software to be loaded and enabled on the server. If you are worried perform testing, possibly using a dummy domain name.

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