Quoted versus Total Costs – The truth about web hosting pricing in Australia

Buyer beware – web hosting costs aren’t what they seem!

Earlier this year we had a prospective client approach us about hosting their website and email.

They had two major concerns:

1) The poor reliability of their current service and the daily impact it was having on their business.

2) The substantially relative increase in monthly cost were they to move to OPMC.

It turns out our service was about 4-5 times more expensive on a monthly basis than what they were currently paying. While not a bank breaker with us at under $25 a month, they were used to paying such a low price, that to pay multiples of the current was a bit hard to stomach.

Now 6 months on, this client feels that with us, it is substantially cheaper than what they had before.

The maths don’t add up until you look at the quoted versus actual total cost.

Many of you that have actually had a bad experience will be aware that it’s when something goes wrong that you can place a true value on the cost of your website.

I break this down into the following areas:

a) Cost of quoted monthly fee

This is just how much you pay every month to your web hosting and email provider.

b) Cost of “hidden” downtime

If your web hosting and email service has some downtime it’s something you may or may not notice, based on a number of factors such as whether it’s in the middle of the night or when you’re in a meeting.

c) Cost of Throttling

If you’re on the wrong hosting plan, your site will perform poorer the more successful it becomes. I’ve written an article about throttling here. See “Speed of Loading”

d) Cost of Responsiveness

How hard is it to get hold of your provider to get an answer when you have a problem? How long do you spend on hold?

You can factor in this cost by multiplying your hourly rate by the time you spend chasing it up.

e) Cost of Major downtime

When something goes spectacularly wrong and there is a monumental outage in service, how long is it before things are resolved?

2-3 hours or 2-3 days or longer?

How much would you say that costs you, when your website is down and/or your email packs it in.

f) Cost of (lack of) Risk Mitigation

We’ve heard some terrible stories about websites being lost because backups aren’t being done by the hosting provider.

We back up because our clients assume that’s what we’ll be doing.

Don’t assume your provider is keeping a reliable backup of your website, and I’d encourage you to back up your website regularly yourself. As once you’ve lost it, it’s gone forever – irrespective of how incompetent you feel the hosting provider has been.

You get what you pay for

Our experience over more than a decade is that you get what you pay for.

That means that if you’re paying a very low price such as $1-$5 a month, you should expect that will be reflected in the service. Anything above $10-15 a month, is going to be dependent on the service provider. The more expensive doesn’t mean always that it’s better – that’s partly up to the service provider.

And as your site becomes more popular, expect to pay more. The more popular your site gets on a fixed plan, the more it’s going to like stuffing people into a mini.

In our case, for every hour we spend providing support to clients, we spend multiples of that on improving our systems and processes to provide a more reliable service. You can never be too prepared.