We discovered recently that the phrase 'you get what you pay for' seems to ring true, when it comes to website hosting.

Whilst most of our clients are hosted with us, we do have some that already have their own hosting providers. In a recent case, we had a client who called to say that an important file had corrupted their site, meaning that their entire website was down. That's fine, we thought, we'll just get in touch with the well-known hosting company and get the file from a backup.

In calling them (and being connected to an overseas based call centre), we find that;

  • A restore for one file costs a flat rate $89
  • They only have backups going back 14 days
  • They can't guarantee a backup from any particular day in that period was successful - but they'll 'do their best'

If all of this wasn't bad enough, the average wait time for a file restoration is 7 days; a whole week! Meanwhile the client site is down, because this hosting company cannot do this restoration any faster.

It's completely fair and expected to charge to retrieve a file from a backup. Most backup restores aren't a 30 second job; they can take time to find the right backup, find the right client and then the file, and restore it. Absolutely expected, and something that we typically charge our hosting clients for as well. But waiting a week, not having any guarantee they backed up that day, and only having backups that go back as far as two weeks? That's gob smacking.

You should expect to pay more hosting with us than this company (our hosting plans are typically about double the cost of theirs, all of our servers are located physically in Australia, which increases our costs substantially), however;

  • A local person answers the phone (no automated routing or 'Press 6 for accounts' systems here!)
  • We can guarantee that we have a backup every day for at least the last 30 days, and every week for months prior.
  • We normally restore from a backup within a few hours. Perhaps a whole day if it isn't urgent.

The lesson here is when it comes to something mission critical, don't risk your website and business for the sake of small savings. Make sure your chosen hosting provider has backup regimes, processes and a policy in place with restoration of backups that you are comfortable with. If you are comfortable with your website being offline for a week, then by all means, go the cheaper route.

Choose an Australian hosting company, with servers in Australia. Ask them where their servers are located, and what their up-times are like. If there's no support telephone number, don't entertain the idea. It may be just once you need the reliance and security of great backups, however that one time could be very important to your business.

Good luck in choosing your web hosting provider!