Is Your Small Business Over Paying for Web Hosting?

If you own a business, you likely keep a keen eye on your inventory to ensure it paces demand. A restaurant that orders too little food will miss out on sales and likewise a restaurant that orders too much food will waste money. That’s why small business owners keep track of their supply and demand to ensure they order just the right amount of inventory for the expected traffic to their store.

Web hosting is really now different.

Except, for small business owners whose lives revolve around cooking bacon, building crafts, or designing cabinets, understanding the technical aspects of web hosting is outside the scope of their knowledge. Generally, they entrust web designers and hosting companies to provide them a reasonable hosting plan for their needs, just like they would do the same for a customer who comes to them. The problem is, many web hosting companies have taken an approach to small business owners by selling them web hosting packages labeled as business plans that are nearly identical to other packages – save for perhaps a couple special features and bandwidth often far and above their actual needs.

And just like buying too much inventory can result in a waste of money, so too are many of these business web hosting plans.

Even 515Hosting is guilty of this, as our top level of shared hosting packages is labeled “Business Hosting” as a result of it being most popular to business customers who often necessitate dedicated IP addresses and multiple email accounts. The fact is though, most mom and pop shops with simple web sites, a single domain name, and the need for only one or two email addresses will be served perfectly fine by a basic level hosting package.

For example, one of the sites I manages has over 20,000 visitors per month. For many main street boutiques, that’s well over the population of their entire town – and I’d bet your typical home town restaurant or service garage isn’t getting anywhere near 20,000 visitors per month. I have that site bundled up on a shared Business Hosting plan alongside a couple other sites and it still has the capacity to handle a significant multiple of additional daily visitors. It’s hard to put an exact number on it, because every website is different and serves a variety of different resources, but in general, I think a lot of small businesses are being oversold (and thus wasting money) into Business Hosting packages far and above the actual capacity they need.

20,000 visitors per month mentioned above doesn’t even put a dent in many basic web hosting plans.

Now, I’m not suggesting businesses make a huge stink over a $6 per month web hosting plan if it doesn’t even make a dent in their advertising expenses, but if we’re in the mindset of saving money it is worth taking a look at your web hosting bill. It isn’t uncommon for local web designers to build small businesses a web site for a few hundred dollars and then lock them into a $50 per month web hosting plan that the web designer is merely offering by reselling a cheap web hosting package he/she has marked up 1000%.

Here’s a competitor in Iowa with business web hosting plans upwards of $40 that doesn’t even offer unlimited storage and bandwidth. These days SSL certificates can be offered free and backups on WordPress can quickly be achieved with plugins – we could save customers around $300 annually as a result.

One of the ways they’ll talk unsuspecting business owners into thinking they need significantly more bandwidth is by misrepresenting traffic statistics. “Hits” are very different from “page views” and yet you’ll often hear individuals talk about the number of “hits” their websites get as though it is synonymous.

A “hit” is actually just a reference to the number of resources that must be downloaded from a page.

Let’s assume a web page has 4 images. Each of those images would be a separate “hit”, and so a single visitor that opens that web page would result in 4 hits. Every page is likely to requires a different number of hits due to each page having different styling and images, but regardless, a t-shirt boutique that has 100 products and 4 images per product could quickly result in 1000s of “hits” from just a handful of different visitors.
That said, in a lot of cases, even as the number of “hits” increase in a way that causes a bottle neck, one of the first considerations becomes increasing the hosting package. However, even as a seller of web hosting packages myself, even the most basic of web hosting packages can be scaled quite significantly by integrating a Content Delivery Network (CDN). The way CDNs work is by uploading the majority of your static web site resources (images, static HTML, videos, etc) to a diversified network of servers.

In this way, your web hosting package only needs to be accessed by visitors for aspects of the site that haven’t been uploaded to the cloud. Depending upon how your site is built, you can have a web hosting package that only costs a couple bucks a month consistently deliver resource intensive content (like images) to huge a number of visitors.

The cost to do so is actually pretty minimal.

BunnyCDN, for instance, is a very inexpensive content delivery network though websites built with WordPress can often integrate with free CDNs like Cloudflare or Jetpack.
All in all, if you’re in business, 515Hosting encourages you to take a look at your web hosting bill. We’d love to have an opportunity to discuss it with you and see if you’re over paying. We’d also love to walk you through your traffic analytics and explain how we come to the conclusion on whether we can save you money. If you already have a web hosting plan but want to take a look at CDNs, we can help with that, too.

The post Is Your Small Business Over Paying for Web Hosting? first appeared on 515Hosting & Web Design.