We talked earlier about the importance of redundancy. Naturally, an equally critical concern is security, both of the data itself and the servers that host it. After all, if you choose the wrong web hosting provider, your e-commerce site might end up stored in their basement or garage.
Host Duplex spares no expense when it comes to protection. Steadfast's Chicago data center houses the majority of our servers in the Equinix building, renowned throughout the industry as a fortress to be reckoned with. (Just getting into the building requires a background check, for starters.) There, each server has two power supplies, each with its own feed, battery backup, and diesel generator capable of running each machine for hours. Beyond even that, Steadfast has a contract with a local fuel provider to bring in extra diesel fuel immediately should any major outage ever occur. Not to be outdone, we have our own large stock of parts stored at our facility, ready to remedy any hardware issues at a moment's notice.
On the software side of the occasion, our automated monitoring system keeps a constant watch for exploits, vulnerabilities, and any suspicious behavior, keeping our live staff alert around the clock. Our management service, should a client choose to make use of it, also installs and configures the client's firewalls, while at the same time optimizing server performance, running updates, and performing weekly checks across all systems. (Clients always have the option of installing and configuring their own firewalls, of course.)
Together with some of the industry's brightest minds and strongest facilities, Host Duplex ensures that your data is as safe and rock-solid as it possibly can be.
When choosing a web hosting provider, it's tempting to go with the cheapest possible option. After all, why pay anywhere from $10 to $40+ a month when you can pay five bucks or less?
Well, several reasons.
Since the early days of the internet, fly-by-night providers — and even a few of the larger, more established ones — have been offering ridiculously low prices, often packaged together with impossibly lofty promises (check out the earlier entry on "unlimited" bandwidth). Before signing on with that kind of deal, here are a few things to consider:
What Rock-Bottom Prices Really Mean
- A provider's hardware budget comes, in large part, from their hosting fees, or lack thereof. A provider who charges pocket change isn't likely to have much more than pocket change for maintenance, upgrades, or overhead. It's not uncommon for budget providers to host their clients' sites on ramshackle custom-built machines, machines that often fail, without enough redundancy in place to keep their clients' sites up when they do go down. It goes without saying that even a few hours' down time can cost an e-commerce site hundreds, thousands, or more in lost business — much more than they "save" on hosting fees, and that's if a few hours is all it takes for the site to come back.
- On a related note, a provider who skimps on hardware isn't likely to spend much on customer service either. When it comes to e-commerce, tech support has to be decisive, effective, and immediate — and more than that, a paying client has the right to know that it will be. Sadly, there's an entire genre of stories about poor customer service, much of it online. A fly-by-night provider might take hours, even days or longer, to answer back, and may or may not be able to solve the problem. In the worst cases — they've been rare, but they do happen — entire websites have been lost.
Bargain-bin rates are certainly eye-catching, and they may appeal to your pocketbook, but be aware of those long-term costs, and always read the fine print.
When you invest a little extra, you're investing in better hardware, ongoing upgrades, higher security, capable customer service, and, above all, reliability. What it all adds up to is peace of mind, and that's something more valuable than any discount.