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A commercial website is essentially a storefront, a portal to the outside world through which the company must constantly interact with clients and market their product. In a word, it’s precious. But a lot of businesses don’t handle their sites like the valuable pieces of data they are, and rely on cut rate, or even free hosting to manage their online presence. That’s akin to opening up a brick and mortar, filling it up with valuable goods and leaving the door wide open at night. It’s dangerous, and any moment, a site that doesn’t have a dedicated host service could be put out of commission permanently. And with it, much of the company’s profit potential. A reputable hosting service is the foundation onto which the site is placed, and should be a top priority when migrating online.

What is web hosting?

Think of a business site like a house. Everything inside the house, like the furniture and layout, is the site itself, with its copy, images, videos and pages. The hosting service acts like the home’s address, as it is where the site’s data is physically stored. When a company partners with a hosting service, they are really carving out a small piece of digital real estate where the site is planted. And just like it is a good idea to inspect a piece of land before building a house on it, it’s a good idea to know what kind of digital landscape a hosting service offers.

Why should a business care about its hosting service?

The hosting service is the initial gatekeeper to the site. If it can’t do its job properly, then it doesn’t matter how nice the site looks, or how effective its SEO or marketing is because it might as well not exist. Hosts are responsible for delivering the data to the user quickly and reliably, and this is not only essential for capturing traffic (web users have a notoriously short attention span), because Google looks favorably on sites that load quickly and reliably. As a result, these sites will rank higher.

So it’s important to have a reliable host. In fact, if a host promises anything less than 99.9 percent uptime, then it’s not good enough for a commerce site. Perhaps more importantly, though, is security and support. Free and cut rate hosting is not going to provide dedicated support to a site, so if it goes down, it will take much longer for the host to root out the problem and bring the site back up. A managed hosting service offers premium support to its clients, working tirelessly to keep the site up and running. Security is also a primary concern, and low grade hosting isn’t going to offer much protection to its clients. It’s usually the opposite, actually, because a free or low cost host has little incentive to keep a compromised site onboard, especially if users start complaining. Instead of helping the site owner with their security issues, the site is likely to be dumped altogether, leaving the business owner in an even worse spot.

The recurring theme is professionalism. If a business must rely on its site, then it must be able to rely on its host as well.

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