Why Does Reliable Web Hosting and Website Security Matter for Norfolk and Suffolk Businesses?
Despite a strong focus on local events on Iceni Magazine, we also recognise that businesses in the region are looking to sell to consumers and/or other companies throughout the UK and possibly abroad too.
When running a website, it’s placed on the internet through a web hosting company. They ensure that when a visitor types the web address for the business (i.e. www.icenimagazine.co.uk), the business website magically appears.
In this article, we’ll provide some insight into why reliable web hosting is so important and dig a little deeper into what areas to consider carefully. We promise to keep the technical jargon to a minimum.
The Risks from Cyber Attacks
According to website uptime analysts, StatusCake, cyberattacks are a growing concern for small businesses and the government too.
In a UK government survey from last year, over 42 percent of companies suffered some kind of security breach due to cybersecurity issues. With not-for-profit charities, just under one-fifth of them also experienced a cyberattack.
Due to the EU adding GDPR to the mix, where customers now have greater rights about what data is collected through websites, even small businesses must make strides to protect data from intrusion before suffering an attack.
Fast Hosting is Important
When a website doesn’t load quickly enough, visitors back out of the site and go back to the previous one. If they found your Suffolk-based company through Google.co.uk, then that’s where they’ll return to. Google notices this, and eventually reduces the site’s ranking for relevant search terms because the site isn’t being helpful to the searcher. This means you will have less visitors coming from Google in the future.
Typically, a website should load in a minimum of 3 seconds. Currently, webmasters are pushing to optimise their sites for speed to get the loading time down to 1-2 seconds, ideally. They realise this is the difference between impatient visitors turning away or spending time on the site. And with the battle for eyeballs and to develop online sales channels, every little bit helps.
What Type of Web Hosting is Best?
Many companies start out with shared hosting. This is where one physical web server hosts hundreds of small websites. They each share the resources on one computer server. As a result, it’s inexpensive, but websites won’t load as fast as they might. Also, if some other sites on the server are experiencing high traffic, other sites on the server will likely slow down. So, performance is not guaranteed.
Virtual private hosting (VPS) is a better option. It’s not that much more expensive but provides significantly better page loading times. This is because usually the server is faster with newer technology inside and fewer websites are hosted on the server too. As a result, it has more horsepower, so to speak.
The security of your website is paramount. Customer data must be protected well to avoid any issues with GDPR. Fines for businesses that fail to arrange good security for customer data are frighteningly high.
A good web host will offer dependable security procedures. However, for companies with databases of customer information and login access to their website, it’s necessary to ensure strong security practices are enforced.
Using multi-factor encrypted logins that won’t grant administrator access without approval from a company issued smartphone prevents hackers from accessing the site through the login page. Also, codes that log users in and connect to the database(s) must be checked for security flaws to avoid an unintended vulnerability for hackers to exploit.
Uptime Matters Too
Uptime is the percent of time that the website is live and accessible to visitors. There are uptime checkers that will validate when your website goes offline and will alert a company employee about it either by email or SMS text message.
There are valid reasons for a website going offline. It could be because the server is being rebooted by the web host. The server might have crashed and is being cold booted. Also, when running certain types of content management systems like WordPress (which runs over one-fifth of all websites globally), it needs to be periodically updated. During this process, the site is down for a minute or more.
Uptime is normal. However, excessive uptime is not. High-quality hosting at a reasonable price provides enough financial resources for the web host to hire qualified staff and knowledgeable support personnel. Their server equipment is better too, and it shows in its reliability through their uptime record.
When a significant percentage of your business is now done online, it’s a good idea to focus on how your website is performing. Doing business online allows local companies to expand beyond their original roots, grow their customer base, employ more local employees and be ambassadors for Norfolk and Suffolk. This supports the business owner and the community. So, we’d suggest putting a little more time into making sure your website is performing as well as it should. It’s a great investment in the longevity of your business.