Channel K

Why We Don’t Do Hosting

If there’s one question we get all the time, it’s the hosting question in one form or another.

“Do you offer hosting?”
“Who do you use for hosting?”
“How much is hosting?”

Our answer catches most prospective clients off guard, but most find it honest and refreshing. You see, we intentionally do not offer hosting as a service. We refer clients to hosts that meet our service standards and plans that meet the technical specifications of their project, but we don’t do hosting. Why? Because our clients deserve the best.

We Leave Hosting to the Specialists

We think hosting, like a lot of services, is best left to companies that exclusively focus on hosting. That’s the biggest reason we don’t do it ourselves. Hosting done well requires dedicated data centers, elaborate security, 24/7 phone support, redundant power systems, co-location and more. The economics only work if you have a LOT of hosting clients, otherwise uptime and/or support suffers. We don’t want websites to go down. And when they do, we want someone we can call at 3:00 am to assist.

Hosting is a Commodity

For years, this has been a secret that web designers and developers have concealed from clients. Hosting is actually very affordable, with quality shared plans in the $20 – $25 per month range. For about $100 monthly, you can have an entire server to yourself with most hosts. Some firms mark hosting up as a revenue center. Some take referral fees from hosting companies in exchange for sending all their business to a one size fits all hosting plan. Some will discount the price of a web design project, but lock clients into long-term hosting deals that cost more over the life of the contract.

The Hosting Relationship is Best Handled Directly

We like the transparency of a direct relationship between client and host. It allows our clients who like to be involved to make the ultimate decision. And because we don’t have any conflicts of interest, we can objectively share pros and cons based on our experience. There are no handcuffs. There’s no mystery of what hosting really costs.

We Don’t Mean to Scare You, But…

We’ve seen all sorts of awkward situations arise with indirect hosting over the years. We’ve seen sites go down on Friday afternoons at hosts with no night or weekend technical support. We’ve seen developers who didn’t pay their hosting bill, causing all their client sites to go offline. We’ve seen hackers attack a server at a firm that hosts all its client sites internally. Do we occasionally have trouble with hosts we’ve recommended? Sure. But they may not get our next recommendation.

Direct Hosting Makes it Easier to Fire Developers

If you pay the hosting bill and have all the log-ins to your website, guess what? It’s very easy to part ways with your designer or developer. Maybe that scares our colleagues around town, but it motivates us to do a good job every time. We delight in making and keeping our clients happy. If we ever fall short in that effort, the last thing we want to do is artificially keep clients around with a contractual hosting arrangement.

We Play Well with Your IT Team

The hosting decision is often one of the most political for our larger clients. We regularly share our input and recommendations for hosting with IT managers. We speak their language and respond to their concerns. We coordinate and communicate well. And because of our flexibility, our projects can be hosted internally by clients who wish to do so. We provide the “keys to the castle” at the conclusion of every project, giving our clients complete access to their database and site files. After all, that’s what you paid for.

That being said…what we won’t do is leave you to fend for yourself in the deep waters of web hosting. We want you to make an informed decision, and we’re here to help. Fortunately, we have worked with a number of hosting companies, and although the decision is ultimately yours, we are happy to recommend some providers whom we have had success with and whose plans meet the technical requirements of your project. We’ll even set up the hosting account on your behalf, if and when needed, and walk you through any questions along the way.

If you’re choosing a web design company for your next project, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions about hosting. Some companies may share our open philosophy. Others will rationalize that their proprietary systems require you to use their internal hosting service. If that’s the case, be sure to ask how hosting will work should your companies part ways. Hosting is often a convenient way to hide fees and make severing the client relationship difficult. If you find our open approach to hosting refreshing, get in touch with us to learn more.