Finding reliable web hosting is like buying a Rolex on Times Square.
What’s reliable web hosting? Most people don’t really stop to think about the many ways a site can be unreliable: they just want to save money.
The average joe will justify picking a low-cost web host by focusing on a popular but misleading statistic: the web host’s uptime. Sure, uptime is important. But, as I’ve pointed out before, just because a site isn’t “officially down” doesn’t mean it’s not driving away visitors.
I found out the hard way.
But once I learned the importance of having a site with pages that load quickly, I switched all my websites to Synthesis hosting. Making that switch was an outstanding decision: one that makes me look better, and feel better too. Plus, it was way cheaper than a Rolex.
Synthesis costs $27/per month, but it’s super secure and super fast (because it’s optimized for WordPress). And it includes a free reliable site-monitor service called Site Sensor that lets you know immediately when your site goes down.
How reliable is the notification service? Funny you should ask.
This morning I read online that my old blog service was getting hammered by some serious DDOS attacks. About an hour later I got a text message, and an email, from Site Sensor letting me know that my Ernie The Attorney site was down.
I figured Synthesis was down, and I checked to see if they were under attack from DDOS hackers. Nothing about it on their website, so I checked Twitter and found no word there either.
But, when I searched Twitter using the phrase “DDOS” I discovered that Hover.com was under attack. Anyone using them to manage their domain name was likely experiencing an outage. I use Hover.com to manage all of my domain names, so why was only one of my sites down?
As soon as that thought popped in my head I got more text messages and emails. Site Sensor was confirming that all of my sites were down, so obviously the problem was with Hover (but not their fault, obviously).
It was nice to learn about this right away from my host, and not from bewildered folks trying to visit one of my sites.
A half-hour later Site Sensor sent me another round of text messages and emails letting me know that my sites were back up. Very nice. (And kudos to Hover as well).
And if disaster strikes? They’ll text, email (or even call) you if your site goes down. Even if it’s not their fault, they still kept you informed.
I don’t know of any other web hosting service that, as part of their monthly fee, includes site monitoring.
Most web hosts probably scoff at the notion of informing customers about problems with their sites (after all, they might not find out until after their sites are back up so why stir up trouble?)
After I wrote this old post about the importance of choosing a solid web host, someone questioned my motives in writing it. They insinuated I was touting Synthesis to make money off of affiliate links.
I wasn’t. I never will. And I couldn’t even if I wanted to.
Synthesis doesn’t do affiliate deals. Period. They just provide a outstanding hosting at a reasonable price.
There’s nothing wrong with affiliate deals, and I use them as long as they don’t cost the person more money than they’d otherwise pay.
When it comes to web hosting I’d rather help lawyers find a reliable hosting service, one run by folks with maximum integrity.
But, if you want to save money (and don’t have a problem with affiliate deals) then I recommend you use Bluehost. It’s a well-respected hosting service that costs about $70/year, and is one of three specifically recommended by WordPress.
And if you use them please click my Bluehost affiliate link. You’ll pay exactly the same amount for Bluehost’s web host service, and they’ll send me about $50. Which will help me pay for Synthesis hosting for my five websites.
To monitor your site try Pingdom (free for one non-commercial site). You might be surprised at what you find out.