This article is about hosting and the technical side of it – and how we keep it simple. If you are looking for a new website, this might not be the article for you, but if you want to understand how we think and feel about hosting platforms, and why a good one is important to our clients, maybe it would make a good read.
We were recently asked to trial Google Cloud Hosting for a company in Lincolnshire, as it offered a year’s free hosting. But we want to discuss here what we use, and the benefits it brings us and our clients. As well as the simplicity of it, keeping things simple. Headache free. Who needs a headache, eh?
As a website design business, we are use to hosting on systems like cPanel, Plesk and some custom panels too. For over 10-15 years this is what we have used within 79DESIGN and before that. They all offer relatively easy to setup options.
cPanel website hosting
With cPanel, you setup domains, subdomains if needed, MySQL databases, FTP accounts, email accounts, it’s all easy, once you know how. You pay a fixed fee, and you set it all up. They sometimes offer Click-To-Build WordPress installs, but installing WordPress is really simple anyway, so that’s not a ‘big bonus’.
cPanel has a slightly complicated front end with oodles of icons, but it is a “front-end” that you can get use to. Easy to setup backups, depending on your host. If the host provides good support, they will help you a lot too; including guidance on where settings are, so you can manage it yourself.
Plesk Website Hosting
Plesk is similar, though it is in our view, better. It has a much better front-end than cPanel, easier to setup databases, less clicks and ‘back buttons’, making life much easier. Similar setup for emails, with very easy systems to add, edit and so on.
The other reason we ‘pro’ cPanel and Plesk is because it is a doddle to setup your emails. Here is an example.
We setup hosting for a client recently who was moving away from another platform. But they used Outlook as their email account, which isn’t terribly ‘business like’, and frankly they weren’t keen. They really wanted to have their domain name in their email. As we explained on the phone, it’s really very simple and costs zero extra money.
We created their email accounts on the server, with new passwords, and supplied them with the login details needed to access them through phones, PCs or whatever. Took us about 5 minutes.
cPanel and Plesk both make light work of this. Our hosting partners have a custom tool they use for certain WordPress Hosting, but even that is as simple as can be.
Who wants stress, particularly with emails? No one.
What about FTP connectivity?
The beauty of these two systems (and the custom one we mentioned too), is that FTP connectivity is so simple.
With the custom one, there is a ‘lock’ which disables any FTP connection to it whatsoever. It’s very useful for websites that are perhaps prone to hacking or get hit by ‘bad traffic’. It costs a little more, but boy does it help!
Then there are the other two, cPanel and Plesk. Again, really simple. We can in fact setup a subfolder on your own hosting if you want to share and upload files and folders yourself. Once the hosting is setup, FTP is as simple as can be. IP address, username we set, and the password (a good secure one!!).
We use FTP for a variety of purposes with websites, even WordPress ones. It makes certain jobs that much easier. If FTP is a pain in the….. to setup, then it’s not for us. Simple is good.
Client level access
Last year we also setup a level of access for one of our clients who needed to see their database, email address etc; so they could manage it themselves.
Our hosting partners are fabulous. There are companies out there that seem to charge next to nothing for hosting, but their support tends to be a bit faceless, or if you ring up, they are not UK based, or their support levels are not what they promote. Ours have helped us through so much over the years. We do manage websites for companies who have their own hosting, and deal with their hosting companies for them. But comparing the support, chalk an’cheese.
You want to know you can pick up the phone and call them. Or email them and get an answer within an hour or so. This is the service level we enjoy.
We did in fact have to call a hosting company just last week, but couldn’t find a phone number or even an email address. This was late one evening. So we went on their livechat asking for an email or number, and they said we would have to create an account to raise a ticket. Or we could give them our email, for them to email us, for us to email them with the issue.
Sorry but no. Not the level we want – we prefer simple means of contacting our hosting partners.
Hosting should be kept simple.
- Easy to access files.
- Easy to upload files.
- Simple means of changing settings, or adding subdomains.
- Have a crash? Restore it easily.
Who needs the headache of Googling the answer to a problem on your own hosting? Got a question, ask the host! Can’t ask the host?….then don’t use them.