And What Their Marketing Dept Isn’t Telling You
We recently had a discussion with someone who had been very happy with their cheap hosting account. They were paying $5.45 per month for the first 12 months (which then increases to $10.99). When we pointed out the neighborhood in which their website was housed, they were horrified.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with cheap hosting…..it serves a purpose. But being economical with the truth isn’t fair. You see, the hosting company doesn’t advertise the fact that your website is being hosted alongside dozens, hundreds or potentially thousands of other websites. They also don’t advertise the fact that a number of those sites could potentially have malware, or security flaws. Nor do they let you know when you’re website goes down.
Each website is merely a collection of files sitting in a folder or directory on a server. So the way the hosting company make their money is that they offer cheap hosting and place hundreds or thousands of websites on the same server.
Here’s a free tool as a guide to see how many other sites are located on the same server as your website,
This is what we found after running a search on one domain name,
If you’ve never experienced your website being hacked before you’re probably thinking this is fine. However what if you discovered that 10% of the websites on the same server as your website were of an adult nature, which attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. What if these sites were set up with the only intention of infecting each vistors’ computer with malware?
Once malware is installed in a file in a directory, it looks for ways to replicate, and it does that by searching for similar files in other directories on the server, which will affect files belonging to other websites.
Did you see the coverage of 123-reg.co.uk last year who were hosting 1.7 million sites in the UK. They had a script error delete tens of thousands of websites. 123-reg told the BBC it did not have a backup copy of all its customers’ data, but was working with a data recovery specialist to “manage the process of restoration”. For those lucky customers that had offsite backups, they could restore their websites on an alternate host within hours.
If your site is hacked, you’ll need to cover the cost of having someone restore a backup (which hopefully doesn’t have the malware installed). And hopefully that backup is accessible offline. You’ll need to ensure that your Google Search results haven’t been affected too, and if they have you’ll need to clean them up also.
The next time you consider cheap hosting, ask yourself why is it so cheap?
But be prepared for the downtime, cost and inconvenience of getting your website back up and running should it fall victim to malware. Don’t forget the impression you’ll be giving to your prospective clients if they try to visit your site, and it’s showing malware, or worse still Google show their banner suggesting it’s not safe to proceed.
If you’re serious about the website investment your business or non-profit organisation has made, you need to invest in keeping it safe and secure.
At Rock Paper Digital we provide business owners peace of mind that their online asset is protected with our Website Care Plans. It’s like insurance, but better.