When the lights go out, it hurts to have your business go with it. That’s why many people choose to have their hosting done elsewhere, at ginormous companies with massive data centers and diesel backup systems. But there’s a growing movement of some businesses to host not just their own operations, but also those of other businesses locally, on less-than-T3 speeds, with availability risks. So how do you decide whether to host local or pay someone to do it for you?
Some companies have simple online presences. A few pages, a blog, etc. They most likely won’t be harmed by the difference between 99.6% and 99.9% uptime. In that boat, it’s easy to pick the local guys. A little bit of extra downtime isn’t going to dramatically hurt your business, right?
E-commerce is a bit different. Downtime = lost sales = less money, which isn’t good no matter how you look at it. So, what’s the volume? Do you make $1,000 in sales per day? How about the uniqueness of your products, can they simply hit Google and find the same thing from a competitor? If you answer no to both of those, you’re in a pretty good position to go local.
Let’s say you operate a Fortune 500 (Good job!), should you entrust your corporate internet face to a small shop running Cable and DSL connections with one to two techs? I’m gonna go ahead and say no. Your internet presence is highly important, and that 0.3% downtime could be the most painful here. And, of course, with the increased volume your site will see the stress on that little company’s network could lead to even more outages.
Small companies are more flexible when it comes to what they host, and for how much. You won’t find a big named host on the planet that will allow you to run that VB Classic or REALbasic-built CGI application that you want to write for randomly changing the stripe color on all the magical Zebras on Earth from a shared hosting account, while a small company will be much more willing to work with you for less. If you go big, you end up with dedicated hosting that is prohibitively expensive, and money is too tight to be throwing it away. At least talk to the little guy and see what they can do.
Depending upon your needs, those outages could determine the course of your quarterly sales. Be sure you know what sort of hosting is best for your budget, your time, and your sales. If your business assets need to ALWAYS be available, from anywhere, look at remote hosting. If not, weigh the pros and cons responsibly before deciding.