Category Archives: Technology

Performance Hosting and The State of the Industry

There are thousands of hosting companies offer what appear to be the same packages.  The problem is not in selecting the package,  but in what happens after you sign-up.  It all looks great until you have a problem.

Back when I founded WebAfford in 2004, there was not a cloud (the name cloud and the marketing behind the creation of some new technology that was really the old technology is another post), there was shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and co-location.   After a lot of research I partnered with a data center in Denver Colorado and stayed with them to this very day.   I tried to leave, but I just couldn’t, ever attempt was a failure in the data center onboarding, it was disastrous.

The only reason I tried to migrate to a new data center was because my data center didn’t want to do a pure solid state virtual server, they wanted the reliance of a hybrid solution that would fail over to a hard drive in a disaster.

I tried one hosting company that had what appeared to be a perfect solution, and they made all the promises I needed to hear to sign-on.   I testing one of my own domains first. Well migrating one domain is no big deal and that went smoothly.  But them as I tried to get the virtual server configured for a high performance workload, the support team seemed to miss it at every step.

The biggest issue was that they could not support you in a timely manner over the weekend.  You might think that’s no big deal, except when you think that that is when cutover are done.  A cutover is when you switch on domain off and another on.  It’s also when admin’s like to turn on new functionality and launch new sites.

So the data center was not prepared to support weekend demand.  I never could understand why they didn’t get it.  I can only assume, they just couldn’t get their engineers to work on the weekend.   So after waiting for 48 hours for admin to respond to my questions or requests, I just cut my loses and reverted the domain back to Denver.

After doing further research, I discovered that one hosting company dominated the industry through hundreds of child hosting companies they had acquired.  The sad thing is I find Youtubers to this day crying the praises of these companies who in reality are disaster areas in the back offices.   Once the parent had acquired them, they immediately outsources support to India and quality of service declined just as fast.   I found that more than half of the hosting companies you find on marketing sites are part of this parent company, they are to be avoided at all costs.

Before you select a hosting company, consider avoiding these subsidiaries of Endurance_International_Group

I stopped my search and accepted that my data center actually knew what they were doing and the guy I started with introduced me to one of his other clients and we formed a partnership to create custom hosting solutions to meet my high performance requirements.  So after 13 years, I’m still with the same data center.

 

Host Selection

Many startup business owners purchase a domain name and out of convenience purchase the hosting from the domain name registrar.   They are not aware that all host providers are not equal and that host providers focus on different aspects of performance and service.

If the business startup will create a simple brochure or bio site, then performance would likely be considered.  If the startup has a product that they will market nationally, then they will be concerned about the eCommerce aspect of their website, but may not consider that visitors from different parts of the country will have different response times for pages loading and completing transactions.

An eCommerce site will need to be particularly careful during time of high volume traffic and high internet traffic, such as Black Friday and pre-Christmas shopping, 4th of July Sales, etc.   The internet still bogs down at these times of year.   Many large retailers are still loosing millions if not hundreds of millions in sales due to abandoned shopping carts.  At some times performance of sites like Target, Sears, BestBuy and Walmart cannot even serve up the page someone is trying to see.

With even the biggest players in the retail industry struggling with this topic, just think about how the SMB eCommerce market gets hit.   Some sites may simply be unreachable and timeout due to DNS server latency.

The best answer is for the SMB Startup to correctly design their web asset distribution strategy.   Before committing to a hosting provider, a performance study should be conducted, where latency and page load metrics are analyzed from key markets around the country.    Find out the