Setting up a website and choosing the right hosting is an important decision for any online business or personal project. However, it’s easy to make mistakes that can negatively impact performance, security, costs or long term goals.
In this article, we will cover some of the most common web hosting mistakes to watch out for and how to avoid them. Following these best practices will help you select a hosting solution that meets your needs without issues down the road.
Not Choosing a Hosting Plan Wisely
One of the biggest mistakes is signing up for a hosting plan without fully understanding your requirements. Some common errors include:
- Underestimating storage/bandwidth needs. This leads to overages or out-of-space errors.
- Choosing a shared hosting plan for resource-intensive sites. Dedicated servers are more suitable.
- Forgetting scalability. Plans should accommodate expected traffic growth over time.
- Ignoring uptime SLA. Mission-critical sites need 99.9%+ uptime guarantees.
- Overlooking server locations. Choose locations near your target audience for fast page loads.
To avoid this, research hosting options, assess your needs realistically and leave headroom for future expansion. Consider upgrading plans if requirements change.
Not Installing Security Measures
Security is often an afterthought for many website owners. But failing to install basic security can make your site vulnerable to hackers. Some mistakes include:
- Not using SSL/TLS encryption for sensitive pages. This exposes data to snooping.
- Using default or weak passwords for admin logins and databases.
- Not applying software updates and patches regularly. Outdated software has known exploits.
- Leaving diagnostic/testing features exposed to the public.
- Not restricting server access with firewall rules.
- Failing to monitor logs for intrusion attempts.
Take security seriously from day one by enabling SSL, using strong unique passwords, automating updates and restricting server access only to trusted IP addresses.
Not Backing Up Important Files
Losing important files, code or databases can be disastrous. Yet backups are often neglected until it’s too late. Common mistakes are:
- Not backing up files, databases or code repositories regularly.
- Storing backups on the same server as the live site. A server failure loses backups too.
- Failing to test restores periodically to validate backup integrity.
- Not maintaining off-site backups for disaster recovery.
- Backups not covering all files like plugins, themes, uploads etc.
To be safe, setup automated backups covering all files to an external storage with periodic test restores for reliability. Consider a backup service for hands-free protection.
Not Optimizing Website Performance
Poorly optimized sites frustrate users and hurt SEO. Common optimization mistakes include:
- Using slow hosting with limited resources and bandwidth.
- Not minifying or compressing code, images and assets for faster downloads.
- Excessive redirects from HTTP to HTTPS slowing down page loads.
- Not enabling caching for static content.
- Overly complex themes and plugins bogging down pages.
- Not optimizing database queries and server-side code.
Proper hosting, caching, minification, database tuning and content delivery optimizations are key to fast page speeds. Consider a CDN for large media files.
Not Monitoring Website Uptime
Ignoring uptime means you may not know about downtime until users complain. Common monitoring mistakes are:
- Not setting up uptime monitoring with email alerts.
- Relying only on the hosting provider’s uptime SLA for alerts.
- Not monitoring from different locations worldwide for a full picture.
- Ignoring error and access logs for potential issues.
- Delaying maintenance until a problem occurs.
Proactive monitoring helps detect issues early to minimize downtime. Services like Uptime Robot are inexpensive for 24/7 monitoring from multiple locations.
Not Considering Future Growth
Many sites outgrow their initial hosting plan quickly. Mistakes include:
- Not anticipating traffic increases from marketing efforts.
- Failing to plan for new features, content or services.
- Choosing inflexible plans without room for scaling resources.
- Getting locked into long contracts without exit options.
- Overlooking migration requirements for a new provider.
Foresee your roadmap and growth potential to select a scalable, flexible hosting solution. Leave capacity headroom and choose month-to-month plans if possible.
Not Using Hosting Best Practices
General best practices help avoid many common problems:
- Keep software updated and patched for security.
- Restrict server access permissions tightly.
- Use strong, unique passwords and 2FA where possible.
- Monitor error logs actively for potential issues.
- Test backups regularly and have an off-site backup.
- Consider a content delivery network for media files.
- Enable caching plugins and browser caching.
- Compress and minify code/assets for faster loads.
- Use a content management system instead of custom code.
Following foundational hosting best practices prevents a whole class of issues down the line.
With some planning and care, many web hosting problems can be avoided. Taking the time to understand your needs, choose a suitable plan, implement security measures and optimize performance lays the foundation for a smooth hosting experience. Monitoring, backups and considering growth are also important. Avoiding common mistakes ensures your website and hosting investment are reliable and cost-effective in the long run.