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You’ll definitely want to avoid making these mistakes when choosing a web hosting package!
If you’re planning to launch a new website (or perhaps it’s already launched) then you’ll be wondering about hosting. Making a website is a huge learning curve that, for many, consists of piecing together information from Google and asking questions in Facebook Groups.
You’ll be thinking about going with the web hosting company recommended by Dave from IT (who has no experience in web, but works in IT so knows what he’s talking about, right? 🙄). Hang on, Debbie launched a business and she used XYZ Hosting because she said it was £10, that sounds like a good deal, right?
Possibly… but unlikely.
Web hosting has a huge impact on your website’s performance, so making any of the mistakes listed here can be costing your business.
Mistake #1 – Hosting Multiple Websites in the same cPanel account
If you use cPanel, each cPanel account should really only have ONE domain name. Not two, three, or twenty. And certainly not client websites.
I came across a case last year where a former freelance web designer has 16 websites in the same cPanel account. Each one belonged to someone else.
When you have multiple websites in the same cPanel account, they’re sharing resources on the server. So, if one website is busy and getting a lot of traffic, it can affect the speed of all the others.
What’s worse, if one site becomes infected with Malware then it can also infect the others extremely easily.
Also, you’re not able to give the client full access to their web hosting cPanel if that cPanel account is shared with others.
If you need multiple websites, then buy multiple hosting packages, or use a Reseller account instead!
Mistake #2 – Using Email Provided by your Web Host
For. The. Final. Time. Do. Not. Host. Your. Business. Emails. At. Your. Web. Host.
- Your host can and will read/scan your emails – they’re not private
- They share resources and space with your website on the same server, so if your mailbox becomes full, you can’t add content to your website and vice versa
- They’re stored in the same root directory as your website, so if that was compromised, your emails could be compromised too.
- On shared hosting providers, if another account (totally unrelated to yours) becomes compromised or sends spammy emails, then all emails from that server will be considered spam, including yours.
Simply put, professionals use professional email, not email accounts tacked onto their web hosting package.
Yes, business email is an expense, but it’s a small expense. Gmail is £4.60 per month and Zoho Mail is less than £1.
Mistake #3 – Leaving the date in the footer as ‘Copyright 2019’
I hate this, and I’ll always notice it too. Your copyright notice in your website’s footer should have the current year. Not the year you launched, not the year your website was built, this current year.
Leaving last year’s date in the footer immediately makes your website look uncared for.
This isn’t actually a hosting issue – but I’m including it here because it really grinds my gears ⚙.
Related: Don’t make these WordPress Mistakes!
Mistake #4 – Failing to Understand URLs
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. We use ‘pretty’ URLS like google.com because the alternative would be using IP addresses, which are more like phone numbers and difficult to remember.
So, google.com is a domain name.
https://google.com is a URL
http://google.com is the non-secure version of that same URL (but most modern websites redirect all traffic to the secure version with the https:// prefix instead of http://)
https://www.google.com is the URL with the www- prefix. This means that a CNAME record exists within google.com’s DNS zone that allows www-prefixed requests to resolve correctly.
Not all websites use www- as a prefix, this one doesn’t. My website is styled as sarahtamsin.com, but if someone were to manually type www-dot-sarahtamsin-dot-com then it would redirect to https://sarahtamsin.com.
No matter which version of my domain you type (with/without https:// or www) then it will always resolve to the correct place. This is because my CNAME record for www- redirects to my A record in the DNS zone – this is a pretty standard way to have a website set up.
However, remember then when you’re creating content, linking to other pages on your site, that all URLS start with https:// and NOT www. If you were to create a link starting with www instead of https, the link probably won’t lead anywhere.
WWW – an acryonym for World Wide Web is not necessary, but it’s stuck in people’s minds as ‘what website addresses begin with’
Whether you style your URL with or without the www- just make sure you use it consistently. WWW and non WWW are technically two versions of the same site, so it’s important to understand the concept and configure your website and content accordingly.
Mistake #5 – Mixed Content (https errors)
When you have a valid SSL Certificate (https) on your site, you have to ensure that all hard-coded references to http:// are removed and replaced. On any site, even a small one, this requires a SQL Command to edit the WordPress database content.
Fortunately, this is a very straightforward process, but it’s not recommended for absolute beginners to do anything related to the database, so consult with a WordPress expert before trying anything.
Mixed content errors happen when a page has a valid SSL certificate, but parts of the page are not using it. This is because you’ve previously added a link or an image reference using http://
It’s very hard to update every reference manually if there are lots, but one or two can be identified by viewing the page source, pressing Ctrl+F and searching for http://
Use the site WhyNoPadlock.com to find out what exactly is causing any mixed content errors on your website.
Mistake #6 – Choosing a non-local hosting company
If you’re opening a local business serving UK customers, then the server that hosts your website should also be in the UK.
It can sometimes be tempting to buy incredibly cheap shared hosting plans from the US, but if your customers are all in the UK then it would be more efficient to host locally.
For truly global audiences, CloudFlare or any other global Content Distribution Networks (CDN) should be used to serve visitors efficiently around the world.
Mistake #7 – Using Domain Names Bundled with Hosting Plans
Never. I repeat, never, ever, trust your web host with your domain name, ever. Why?
Because a hosting plan with a domain name often means that retaining the domain name requires being an active hosting customers. When customers leave or migrate to a new host, it’s not always that simple to transfer the domain name alongside your website.
Always register your domain independently, don’t ask your web designer to do it, register it yourself using your own domain account from somewhere like NameCheap and then point your name servers at your hosting package.
If your hosting company keeps your domain name hostage when you try to leave – name and shame, right now!
Mistake #8 – Using Managed WordPress Hosting
Here’s a spoiler about managed WordPress Hosting… it’s not really managed! They don’t do updates, plugins, themes, etc. All they do is restrict you and put resource limits on your account making it a struggle to actually grow your website and increase your profits.
Managed Hosting is typically a hosting option that doesn’t use cPanel, Plesk or a standard Command Line Interface, instead they use a proprietary/custom sysme.
Some managed WordPress hosting companies are excellent, such as FlyWheel, WPEngine and Kinsta. But these have a premium price tag as they take care of all the technical, server-side tasks for you, including real-time backups, security, PHP updates and more.
Lower end WordPress packages from companies like IONOS are presented as ‘managed’ but they really mean ‘branded’ as they don’t really manage your site in anyway, it’s all down to you.
Websites on budget managed Hosting Packages are extremely difficult to troubleshoot as there are often many restrictions that prevent developers finding the source of potential issues.
Need Advice on Web Hosting?
Please feel free to get in touch for advice on web hosting issues. I am experienced with:
- Hosting configurations
- cPanel and Plesk
- Migrating from one host to another
- WordPress technical support
- FTP and sFTP
- Database creation
I highly recommend Krystal Hosting if your business is based in the UK.