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Don’t panic. I mean, panic all you want, but don’t overdo it…
We talk a lot about outages, downtime, security and keeping your data safe, but what about a bigger threat? What if your web host went out of business? It’s a very real threat, trust us, and it can happen to anyone at any time. Business is a fickle mistress.
Web hosts go out of business
If your web host does happen to go out of business, the best case scenario—if you’re smart—is that you’ll be inconvenienced for a little while. The worst case scenario is that the world goes up in flames and a lot of people are hurt in fiery blazes, but that’s the worst case scenario for most things. What could happen is that it’ll negatively impact your business in the long run, especially if you didn’t take the necessary precautions.
First off, always…always…ALWAYS lead with your head and not your wallet. Sure, that incredible hosting deal you got saves you tons of money, but you need to be wary of this cash grab for business because it comes off desperate. Just like in real life as in business, reputation is everything. Sure, the cola that your friend brews in his bathtub tastes great, but if you had the choice, you’re always going to choose Coke because of its solid reputation. If a hosting company is practically begging for business that cannot be good. A great indicator of a solid hosting company is long-term clients, people that have been with the company for years and rely on them to bring them quality services. Also, look at the type of clients—are they working with good, quality businesses or are they working with people who are spamming or using the hosting for nefarious or shady purposes.
So what can you do if your web host goes out of business? Well, better make sure you have a backup (hello!) of your data. Read that fine print, son! Did your hosting company supply you with a backup to your site/data? Great. If they didn’t, someone cue the sad trombone because your stuff is practically gone. Woomp woomp, better luck next time, tiger. If you do have a backup of your site/data, then it’s as easy as calling up another hosting company and transferring your data. While not ideal, it’ll be a lot less of a headache than if you didn’t back up.
Did you make the incredible blunder of not backing up your site? Well, shame on you, person. You should feel the shame. Bathe in the shame, because your company’s lifeblood is gone into the ether. You practically have to start anew, redesigning your site, recollecting your data and anything else you had on your hardware at the hosting company. In this event, there’s not much that can save you. Check to make sure that you own your domain rights as well. You may have been at www.whatevertheheck.com, but the hosting company might actually own that domain (another good reason for a dedicated server) and so you’d have to go through the trouble of regaining ownership over your domain.
The important thing is that you can be proactive in the event your hosting company goes out of business. Make sure you do regular, remote backups (or that the hosting company has in writing they do backups), and that you own your domain and IP address.
The most important thing though: think with your head, not with your wallet.