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Why a Good Hosting is Important For Your Freelance Career

While opportunities abound, it can be remarkably difficult to begin a freelance career in almost any field online. The initial start-up is very hard work and usually requires the freelancer to spend as much time advertising as they are doing actual work. Which is why it is so incredibly important to have a high quality hosting provider, or weeks worth of work could be wasted on a single hour of downtime.

It only takes one mistake at the wrong time to ruin a business plan, so why should a freelancer take the risk on an unreliable provider that may cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars?

Who is Hosting?

There are a number of hosting companies available to the average freelancer, some more prominent than others. The single largest hosting provider is actually Amazon, though this is largely a matter of having a wide definition of “hosting.” For more traditional hosting options, Akamai Hosted is the largest single provider, though the percentage of miscellaneous providers still outnumber the larger competitors.

The reason why this is positive is that it indicates strong, vibrant competition that provides freelancers with a number of options regarding their plans. It also provides several combinations of features, allowing freelancers to find the price and benefit combination that will result in the most value for them specifically.

One thing that can be said is that the larger companies do tend to have the infrastructure to avoid common hosting problems, but they are also less invested in customer care than a smaller provider might be. The trick seems to be finding a high quality middle of the road provider that is building their business but technologically robust.

Potential Problems

The problems that a freelancer might find with a hosting provider are legion. They can crop up at any time and might be devastating if it results in losing page views that might be converted into jobs. Freelancers live on leads, so it’s vitally important to have as many potential clients as possible. These are just a few problems that might be encountered so that freelancers can check with their hosting company to ensure there are plans to deal with them already in place.

  1. Downtime – The bane of any freelancer is the idea of downtime on their website. Every minute that a website is not active or available can mean potentially dozens of customers that are unable to access their service. That translates directly to lost revenue for the freelancer in question.

    There are ways to avoid this to a certain extent. Every hosting provider occasionally experiences technical difficulties that cause them to not be able to host certain websites properly and it is unreasonable to expect 100% uptime. However, it is also entirely reasonable to expect above 99% uptime and to ask a hosting provider what sorts of redundancies and safeguards they have in place to avoid their services going down. It is also a good idea to check what sorts of customer service is provided and by what methods they can be contacted.

  2. Poor Customer Support – When downtime happens, it is incumbent on the hosting provider’s customer support to correct the situation as quickly as possible. That is why the average freelancer should be aware of the customer service options, the hours they are available, the methods by which they can be reached, and the expected response time when a support ticket is filed.

    24/7 service with an instant form of communication like web chat or a phone number is going to be best. Again, every wasted minute is lost revenue, so not having to wait for hours in order to communicate with somebody because a server went down in the middle of the night will benefit the freelancer the most.

  3. Security – Perhaps the most important yet most unappreciated aspect of hosting is security. What the majority of people don’t understand is that a particular freelancer doesn’t have to be targeted to be the victim of hackers. In many cases, sites are randomly attacked due to a link in the wrong place or just being on a particular host. Distributed Denial of Service attacks can be absolutely devastating toward a company, creating hours or days of downtime out of pure maliciousness.

    Fortunately, there are security measures that can be put in place to protect from DDoS attacks, attempts to circumvent user privacy, piggybacking on bandwidth, and a number of other attempts by individuals to consciously take advantage of technical exploits.

Choosing Hosting

Getting the right hosting company means understanding the above problems, but also understanding the particular needs of a given freelance career. Some require more search engine optimization than others, some require robust email options, some are more blog-oriented, some needs server scalability and management.

Since there are so many options for hosting, it’s highly likely that any person doing freelance work will be able to find the combination of features and price that best suits them. The problem is that the sheer breadth of choices means that it can take quite a bit of research in order to pick the one that will best fit with the particular needs of a given freelancer.

That not only involves getting satisfactory answers to questions about the problems above, but also making sure that the correct type of server is acquired, bandwidth is appropriate to the expected level of traffic, storage will cover any media uploaded to the site, and options like shopping carts are covered by the hosting agreement if they are necessary to the business.

Here are a few suggestions and things that they specialize in:

11 Internet
One of the world’s largest web hosting companies. Great service for start-ups and people who need cheap, easy hosting with no limits.

11

Hostgator
Reputable company recommended for small and medium enterprise (SME) hosting and hosting static sites.

HostGator

Linode
Excellent for cloud hosting for your business with incredible hardware and fast processing.

Linode

Digital Ocean
An easy to use and set up cloud server that finds plenty of ways to make getting started simple.

Digital Ocean

Media Temple
A fully functioning hosting provider with amazing customer service to help get everything working properly.

Media Temple

Site Ground
A provider focused on WordPress hosting that customizes its plans to a high degree.

Site Ground

WP Engine
Another WordPress focused provider that offers excellent prices on fully managed sites.

WP Engine

Pagely
A WordPress server host with remarkably security and support for newer people.

Pagely

Conclusion

Ultimately, the best way for a freelancer to ensure that they have high quality hosting is to make sure that they do their research, take the time to figure out what they need, then search for the provider that will get the closest to giving it to them at a price they can afford.

No hosting is perfect, but it’s certainly worth the effort to find the absolute best available. The alternative is losing out on business unnecessarily, and very few freelancers can afford that.

What hosting are you using for your business? What is your experience with it. Share with us in the comments box below.

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