Legacy Hosting Providers – Still a Good Deal?Posted: May 13, 2011
We create and deploy websites for companies as part of our business offerings. In many cases, the business has an existing site that is usually well neglected, out of date, or using old technology (sometimes all three). When it comes to deploying a new site, there are a lot of changes to be made and a lot of decisions to make, especially when dealing with legacy systems.
We recently had a client that was using a small ISP to provide internet service to his location and as part of the package, web hosting was available. His site had been running on their servers for some time and the service was reliable for several years. We encouraged the client to switch to our hosting. Why?
1. Accessibility – the current provider holds Monday through Friday from eight am to ten pm office hours. Unfortunately, the ‘net’ runs 24/7, so what can one do when something happens on a weekend? We work all kinds of stupid hours anyways and have no trouble fixing an issue in the middle of the night, on a weekend, or on a holiday.
2. Ease of Development and Deployment – If we can’t control the pieces, it makes development much more difficult and deployment has to be done nearly blindly. We have to provide explicit instruction to the other party to get things done and hope that they don’t screw it up. Working on our own system allows us to troubleshoot and correct the odd mistake much more quickly.
3. Cost – In this particular case, the hosting was an added cost to the service (not really built in). The system we built required a SQL database which was not included, but could be added to the service package for $10.00 per month. TEN FRICKEN DOLLARS PER MONTH! For a database! Having a look at their site, their pricing model is easily 5-8 years out of date and I think they managed to build a large enough client list, that now they just continue to gouge them, though the costs of operation have dropped dramatically. The monthly cost of their database is the monthly cost for our entire hosting package for most small business clients.
Now, moving a site, or repointing an entire domain, involves some risk. There will always be downtime, the risk falls in how much downtime there is. We’ve had great success in minimizing downtime when deploying sites and probably been fairly lucky on DNS servers resolving in a timely fashion. Relying on others only seeks to increase the amount of work, frustration and risk we deal with in trying to help small businesses get their sites deployed.
Measuring up your hosting costs between providers is pretty easy. While were not the most inexpensive out there, we do manage servers for most of our clients and ensure that they don’t have to worry about their site being down over a weekend. When deciding to move your server environment or domain records, it is important to not only understand the risks involved, but the opportunity gained and plan well. Well this post is not meant to serve as an advertisement for our hosting, I honestly think we offer a lot more in terms of service and reliability at a much lower cost. The ease gained by us is mostly a side benefit that helps us deliver while minimizing risk.
If you have a website, or websites, hosted on a service and they have been there a while, I’d like to suggest you spend thirty minutes to do a little comparison shopping and make sure you’re not wasting money you don’t have to. In this one case, the annual costs for hosting (without SQL), email and domain registration are $530.00. With us, the same package comes in at $150. Trust me, it’s worth a look.
– Sounds like we may have a pretty large hardware project coming up that will keep us busy on a part time basis for several months. Details to come.
– Check out Armwerks.com. We’re still sorting out our product list and the legal paperwork to start bringing in Linux embedded hardware systems and accesories, but we’re already gaining some small consulting projects on the site. Lots of work to get this one polished up.
– About to release our first add-on to the Concrete5 Marketplace. I’m not sure on the turnaround time for approval, but hopefully it will hit soon. Just a touch more testing to do and then submit.
– Working on a few new sites for clients and a few more sound like they are on their way. Here’s hoping for a busy summer.
Thanks for reading,