Leave It To The Professionals
Imagine this: You’re a general contractor and you’re about to start building a custom home. You show up to the work site and your client has taken it upon themselves to buy all the supplies – wood, nails, framing equipment, rental equipment, and hired all the sub-contractors. But, upon closer inspection you notice that almost everything that was purchased is the wrong measurement and the lowest grade of supplies and the client refuses to pay anything more than what they have already paid and you should work with what they’ve got.
This situation is way more frequent in the web development world than you may think. We constantly get clients that take it upon themselves to secure their domain name, buy their hosting and buy privacy on the domain name without the proper knowledge on what they’re doing and how it all works. It’s not their fault though, in the world of the internet it’s far too easy to do all this stuff – there are no regulations on who can buy what and there are no standards on the services that are provided. So, it’s really no surprise that most clients end up where they do; however, it does cause web development companies a major headache.
Just as your mortgage broker or insurance broker knows what’s best – your web development company knows what’s best as well. There are so many options when it comes to purchasing a domain and a hosting package, how could you possibly know what to buy without knowing the scope of your website? It’s my strong belief that these are the types of things that needs to be left to the professionals.
Making the wrong choice can cost you
If you’re in any stage of a start-up company you’re probably familiar with the over-bloated marketplace of domain registration companies: lowCostDomainsThatAreCheap.com, youCanBuyDomainsForLessThanADollarHere.com – I would like you say I’m exaggerating on those, but I imagine they exist in some form or another. The point is that a monkey could start a domain registration company and offer off its domains for half the price of the last guy – but domain purchasing shouldn’t be a lowest-price-wins game. Your domain is such a vital part of your business, especially when you’re dealing with e-commerce, that you should only put it into the hands of people you can trust.
Making the wrong choice on domain providers is not only a headache for your web development company, but can end up costing you a lot more money than you were bargaining for. The more time a developer needs to spend trying to figure out how to change DNS Nameservers or Zone files, the more they’re going to charge you (Also, if you don’t know what DNS Nameservers or Zone Files are then you’re not qualified to be purchasing domains.) I might sound a bit brash on the topic, but it’s only to make the point that you shouldn’t invest money into something you don’t understand, whether it’s $5, $10, or $10,000 – leave it to the professionals.
How much do you actually know about your hosting provider?
How long have they been around as a business? Have they always been in the hosting business and how many employees do they have? Do they have 24/7 technical support? What is their up-time promise or do they even have one? Do they do routine backups of your site, or is that your responsibility? Do they do automatic updates for the newest software (ie. PHP/MySQL)? Do they have a separate login for your domain where you can edit zone files, or do you need to contact them to do this?
This isn’t meant to scare you, but rather educate you on what is actually involved in purchasing and maintaining your web presence. You should make sure you know who you’re buying from and what they’re promising you or you can end up costing yourself in the end.
Because I know that a lot of you won’t heed my advise…
If you’re going to ignore my advice, at least make some good choices. Here’s the links for some trusted sources in the domain world. Both these companies have the all technical features that your web development company will need.
GoDaddy: They do domain and web hosting. They’re probably the cheapest you can find in terms of domain purchasing – you can also find a couple deals if you visit retailmenot.com before you buy anything.
Media Temple: Probably my favorite web hosting provider out there. They’re more expensive than GoDaddy, but you definitely get what you pay for in terms of up-time and customer service. They’re definitely worth the money. The only downside is that they only support .COM, .ORG, and .NET domain purchasing – so, you’ll still need to buy you domain through GoDaddy, but it can be pointed at the Media Temple servers. You can save yourself 20% by using the coupon code retailmenot at the checkout.
If you’re going to make a move in securing your web presence, my suggestion would be to only go as far as buying the domain and leave the hosting choices to your development company – they’re know exactly what you need so that you don’t buy too little or too much, and in many cases because they deal with purchasing so much they can often offer you a discount on these services.