Hey all, it’s Emily. I am currently a Project Manager at Webspec, but I used to be in charge of hosting. When I first started, we were in the process of overhauling our hosting packages and I was tasked with contacting and discussing our new managed hosting options with all of our clients. Back then, I knew little to nothing about website hosting; now, I would almost call myself an expert, and I want you to be one too!
The dictionary definition of web hosting is, “the activity or business of providing storage space and access for websites.” Basically, hosting is the home for your website, and every website needs a home. And in the terms of the world wide web, these ‘homes’ are servers.
Similarly to searching for the perfect house, finding the right server depends a lot on what you want and what your priorities are. There are two main categories of service when it comes to website hosting: managed and unmanaged hosting.
Managed hosting of your website ensures that an expert has their eyes on it and if something goes wrong, there’s a helpful hand there to make sure it’s corrected as quickly as possible. With unmanaged hosting, you’re solely responsible for keeping track of your website. Essentially, it’s just like choosing to hire a babysitter for your website. If you were to leave your kids without a babysitter, they might be okay. But they might also burn the house down. In the same way, an unmanaged website might be fine, but it also might go down completely, costing you thousands of dollars in lost sales.
At the end of the day, you just need to ask yourself a few questions. Do you want lots of site backups? Consistent, monthly core site updates? Is the upfront cost important to you? Do you want free repair in case of a hack? Are you capable of fixing every issue that may occur should your website go down, or would you need an expert?
While we highly suggest Webspec’s managed hosting plans, the decision on where to host your website is completely up to you. For the purposes of this blog, however, I’ll be diving further into managed hosting.
Website hacks are frustrating and obviously not ideal. However, if your website does get hacked, not to worry! It can happen to anyone and it can be fixed. On Webspec’s premium managed hosting plan, you may never know your site was even hacked. We back up all the sites on a daily basis and can pull a clean, hack-free version of your site up right away, at no cost to you. With all other Webspec hosting plans, we’ll let you know right away if the site has been compromised. From there we will work with you to come up with the best solution. At the very least, we’ll need to pull the most recent hack-free backup and put it online. Ideally, we can get time approved to clean up the hacked files, update the site, and move it to our newest server on our premium hosting plan. If the site is being hosted on a non-Webspec server, we suggest contacting your current hosting provider to have them pull up the most recent backup of the site.
Websites can get hacked in a variety of ways, and every hack is different. Some website hackers will simply remove posts from your site or add junk content that doesn’t make sense with what you do. However, some hackers will break plugins, publish bad content, or take the site down altogether. Even worse, hackers can steal the private information of your users from databases on your site. I don’t tell you what a website hack means with the intention of scaring you, but with the intention of informing you. The phrase, “your website has been hacked” has such a negative connotation to it, when in reality it is something that can be avoided or resolved quickly. Learning what a hack is, why it happened, and how to prevent it is the best way to remove the negative stigma around the dreaded web hack.
Updates, updates, updates! Having an updated website is the best way to prevent it from getting hacked, and managed hosting plans are typically the best way to ensure that’s happening.
Every website, regardless of the platform it uses, has routine updates that come out. These updates patch security holes found in the core of the website, plugins, or extensions. As updates become available to the site, it is important to have them put in place. When your website goes without an update, it becomes vulnerable to hacks. It’s essentially like you leaving the house to go to a movie, locking all the doors, but leaving one window open. That one window (no matter how small) can be enough for a burglar to get into your house and rob you. In the same sense, one security hole that hasn’t been patched is enough for a hacker to get in and mess up your site by adding unwanted information or deleting needed information.
If you’re a current client and know your project manager, send them an email or pick up the phone. They will go over the details of managed hosting and send you a contract. Once we have that signed, we’ll update your website (aka lock all the doors and windows) and move it to our newest server. And that’s it! Our awesome business administrator will then revise your hosting invoices and your project team will make sure to update the website at the agreed upon scheduled times. If it’s been awhile since the site has launched or you don’t know your project manager, just call the office and let our administrative assistant, Bree, know. She’ll connect you with the right person and get you on your way to managed hosting.
If you’re not a current client, give our office a call. Our team will sit down to learn more about your hosting needs and develop a timeline to get you on the plan that is right for you and your needs. This may involve some site updates to make sure the version of your website is as secure as possible.
Still lost? If you have any questions, you can call the office (515-334-9544) or email me directly at [email protected]. Thanks and happy hosting!