These days, every business has to have a strong online presence. As agency owners, you always face this dilemma on how to guide clients about the right type of hosting they need for a well-designed and well-managed WordPress website. Small businesses, particularly, need to balance out budgetary constraints as well as performance to have their website truly stand out in the crowded market.
If done right, there’s a lot to be happy about choosing a reliable and high-performing host. Things like chat support, late night questions, uptime, storage, speed all play a crucial factor in choosing a host. Agency owners should never go for a one-size-fits-all approach for your clients. Choosing a wrong host often ends up in an expensive divorce.
But how do you as an agency owner what to look for while choosing the best WordPress host for your clients?
Let’s find out.
What Your Clients Want Vs. What They Actually Need
Web hosting isn’t what it seems on the surface. Agencies have multiple clients each with different size, goals, target market and audience.
So, hosting can’t be same for all!
A small business may have particular requirements that are not applicable on medium or large enterprises. Some clients may be traffic heavy while others may be demographically different. For example, small businesses can be run on shared servers but an eCommerce shop may require a dedicated VPS.
We at our design to code conversion agency, have some agency partners who manage all their client sites in a single WHM. That’s not advisable!
As an agency owner, you have to consider various factors like speed (load time), uptime, customer support, monthly charges, infrastructure etc. to determine the type of hosting your client deserves.
You have to prioritize the various features like backup, CDNs, caching, security level, load times and uptime as per the requirements of the client. Your choice must match the client’s reputation, be within the budget, deliver relevant services and must be scalable for the future.
Remember, not every client needs $500 a month hosting plan. But at the same time, something dirt cheap also shouldn’t be de-facto choice.
A lack of understanding places clients at risk
While selecting a host, just take a quick look at the foundational services that your client needs, DNS records, domain names and current web hosting. You can put your client at risk is you mis-configure DNS records or select a wrong host. This can lead to drastic fall in revenue, data leaks and even a lawsuit. Just a simple downtime event can impact long-term audience in-flow and revenue loss.
Worse, many agencies don’t even realize they are putting their clients at risk by not educating them about the right hosting.
Simply matching DNS and hosting configuration doesn’t make the cut. You have to analyze how to switch towards a new host that perfectly matches current requirements without causing downtime, revenue loss and critical damage.
Agencies Don’t Educate Clients on Crucial Website Management
There’s often a glaring gap in how a website works and how a client understands it. The more clients I interact with, the more I feel the need for agency owners to educate their clients on managing their own domains and hosting.
The problem can be traced down to the all-in-one hosting plans that are often misleading. They do work out at some point in time, but in due course their applicability fizzles out. It is often when clients need to move towards more advanced platforms that hosting plan’s performance is tested.
Once site migrations kick in, DNS configurations and domain hosting issues will become frequent. It is vital that the client has a basic understanding of various components to avoid messing up in such a scenario.
Agencies should ask their clients more about their exact business needs
Hosting should never be left to the developer or designer. It is the client’s prerogative and no one can give a better insight on hosting than the client himself. Agencies need to talk to their clients more and fully understand their business needs while recommending a host. Here are some straightforward tips:
- Get a budget – The cheapest hosting isn’t always the best.
- Don’t assume that the client has in-depth technical know how.
- Give more control of the hosting to the client.
- Employ a centralized management tool to save time
What Features To Look Out For In Your Web Host?
Finally, we are onto the hosting related factors that actually matter in the real world. When you are searching or suggesting a host to your client, keep these questions in mind:
- How much traffic does your website handle currently?
- What are the scalability options provided by the host?
- Is the hosting developer friendly? What is the support available?
- What the client’s budget for hosting?
Once you have answers to these questions, you can confidently guide clients towards the best available host that matches their requirements.
There’s a Hosting for Every Business Need
Shared Hosting is Ideal for Small to Medium Businesses
In shared hosting, numerous websites are hosted in the same server sharing the same resources. This simple and uncomplicated approach works best for startups and small businesses who have budget constraints. Once they get a foothold, they move towards dedicated and VPS plans to meet their evolving demands.
However, you must enlighten the client that resources are shared with thousands of other websites and performance can take a hit anytime. Price, features and support are other factors that ensure that shared hosting is not everyone’s cup of tea. Prices can start from as low as $3 per month and include templates, CDNs etc.
VPS Hosting Delivers Much Needed Scalability for Fast-Growing Sites
VPS, also virtual private server, is ideal stop between dedicated server and shared hosting. Single server is fragmented into various virtual machines that perform as dedicated serves independently. Thus, the server is still singular but there’s greater control compared to shared plans.
My favorite VPS hosts offer many features like SSSDs, managed services, cloud infrastructure, monitoring, CDN services, security, cPanel licenses, SSL certificates etc.
Dedicated Hosting – Utilize Maximum Server Resources
Dedicated hosting is akin to long term committed relationship. High performance websites need an entire server all to themselves. All the available resources are at your beck and call including the architecture, operating systems, security systems and balancers.
Of course, it doesn’t come cheap. Given the top-end hardware, dedicated hosting is expensive and starts upwards of $70 per month. Features include 100% network uptime guarantees, SSDs, custom configurations, instant provisioning, automatic backups and migrations, block/object storage, dedicated IP addresses, and load balancer add-ons.
Online Store: Consider an eCommerce Hosting Service
Online stores are more sales oriented than content. Dedicated eCommerce hosting plans are popular these days. If your client has an online shop, it’s vital that you look for added security requirements for financial transactions, shopping oriented templates, email marketing tools, secure payment gateways, access to shopping cart software, 24/7 support.
Personal Website: Consider a High Value, Low-Cost Hosting Plan
Personal websites don’t have to be expensive to maintain. When you are hosting family pictures, planning events or just posting personal updates or blogs, there’s no need to break the bank. Hosting companies have affordable beginner plans that are easy on the pocket and easy to use as well.
Just don’t fall for bargain-basement prices and do pay attention to services. Features like high bandwidth, unlimited storage, email accounts, online marketing tools and 24/7 support are crucial to seal the deal.
Business Website: Choose Hosting That Helps You Grow
Scalability should be on top of your mind if you are looking to grow your business. Whether you are selling products online or want more brand recognition, growth must be accounted for while choosing the hosting packages. A booming online business requires more resources in the long run.
Look for long time commitment that meets the client’s budget requirements. Unlimited disk space, bandwidth and easy-to-use control panel, higher uptime all ensure that you are ready for the long haul.\
What to look for?
Storage and RAM
Perhaps the most common yet important hosting features are RAM and storage. Most hosting service providers, from HostGator to BlueHost, all provide unlimited storage. Most small businesses don’t reach high limits of usage. Higher RAM configurations mean faster reading/writing speeds.
SSD’s are another vital factor that contributes to speed. All these help process data quickly and accelerate page load times significantly. No matter what client requirements are, these basic building blocks must be crystal clear.
Bandwidth and Data Transfer
The data upload and download from the website is dependent on the bandwidth. Data transfer speeds determine how quickly users can access your website’s information. More bandwidth means that more simultaneous users can access your site smoothly without any hiccups. Keep this in mind during heavy traffic days to ensure your client doesn’t lose performance.
Domains and Email
Web hosting and domain registration are two often confused different factors in web hosting. I suggest that you maintain your domain registration and hosting with the same company so that the client can easily configure migrations in the future. Same goes for emails as well where you have to consider filtering and forwarding services, auto-responders and advanced email features. Such an uncluttered approach ensures that technicalities don’t come in the way of scalability.
Uptime Rates and Reliability
Every second counts when it comes to online visibility. Time is of essence here in digital realm where a single second can spell missed sales opportunity. Downtimes can not only hamper sales but also seriously damage brand reputation.
Every host guarantees 99.99% uptime. Dedicated hosting services promise 100% uptime that comes at a premium. In case of an outage, most hosts will also reimburse you as per the terms in the service-level agreement.
Security and Support
Security is mostly dependent on the administrator. However, on the hosting side, you have to consider the infrastructure that forms the backbone of hosting. Vulnerabilities on the host side have to be accounted for before zeroing on the package. Monitoring, firewalls, security add-ons, automatic backups, DDoS protection, customer service support are some features that matter.
Responsive support can work wonders in times of emergency. Read reviews to ensure there is knowledgeable staff that solves issues like internal server errors, white-screen-of-death, compatibility issues etc.
Know How Hosting Pricing Works
Everything boils down to pricing! It reigns supreme in making the final selection. Whether you are on a low-cost hosting or high-end performance beasts, you should dissect the pricing to make a final decision. Cheap doesn’t always mean bad and expensive doesn’t represent the best. And make sure that you pass on the discounts you get as an agency owner down to your clients.
Help Your Client Make an Enlightened Decision
Choosing the right WordPress hosting company can be stuff of nightmares. But now you have substantial information to make an informed decision on behalf of your client. It all comes down to distilling process to filter out the unnecessary options and choose the perfect option that suits your client’s business model, technical needs and budget.
Do you have any specific criteria for choosing WordPress web hosting company for your client? Share them with us today!