For a few years, we’ve sponsored the SoCalCodeCamp, had our sponsor table at the event, and also gave a Q&A session last year that was well attended (unlike our January 2012 session). We like these types of events because we like to meet face to face with the developer community and to talk to current and even former customers. During these events, we field many questions and a large number are, in a way, related to why there is such varied pricing and why there are such varied feature sets among different hosting vendors.
No Two Hosts are the Same
While hosting providers may look similar when you compare their web sites or check their features lists, the truth is that all hosting providers are different under the covers. Every hosting company has to make a multitude of decisions about how they will run their business and no two hosts make the same decisions, which is why no two hosts are ever exactly the same. But more importantly, the decisions that the web hosting provider makes about their business will impact the host and their customers in different ways.
So in essence, the web hosting business is all about trade-offs. Unless you have a press for printing money and an unlimited supply of free, talented labor, all hosts need to decide where and when to invest their limited resources.
For example: Do you build your own data center? Do you buy used equipment? Do you run your hosting business full time or part time? Do you hire an ad agency? Do you use off-the-shelf web hosting management software or build your own? Do you do technical support in-house or do you outsource? Do you rent space and establish a physical office? How many hosting plans will you have? How much will you charge? Who are your target customers? How many hours of sleep will you get every night?
The questions go on and on and new questions never stop arising. Running a hosting business is no different than running any other business. It’s a lot of hard work, and every aspect of running a business requires time, resources and money.
Intro to the Art of Hosting Series
This is an introductory post to kick off a new series of blog posts that we will be publishing about different decisions that hosts need to make about running their business, the pros and cons of those decisions and how they may impact the host and their customers. We will also discuss why we made the decisions that we did at DiscountASP.NET.
We call this series The Art of Hosting because running a successful business is an art. We’ve added a new Art of Hosting category here in the blog so you will be able to access the posts in this series quickly and easily.
No Right or Wrong
One thing I would like to point out is that there is more than one “right way” to run a hosting business. We do what we do because we have chosen to run our business a particular way for various reasons. It doesn’t mean that we are right or wrong, or that any other host is right or wrong. Hosts, just like any other business, are trying to survive in tough economic times and in ever-changing markets. They are trying to pay the bills and their staff, keep their hosting systems up and running smoothly, and keep their customers satisfied.
No One Size Fits All
Another thing worth mentioning is that there is no single hosting provider that can host every type of website for every type of customer and do it all well. It is simply not possible no matter how large a company may be. That is why there is space in the market for all different kinds of hosting providers.
Our Hope for this Series
We hope that this blog series will provide you with some insight into how a hosting company works and what makes a hosting company tick. And as consumers of hosting services, we hope the information will help you make more informed decisions about your hosting needs and help you in your due diligence - no matter where you decide to host your stuff.