Our website hosting and care, What do we actually do?

In case you were wondering, as I asked this on my first day as a website designer back in the year 2000. Website hosting is where the files that make up a website live on a computer called a server, this is where the website is hosted. It’s a lot more complex than this, with server-side and client-side stuff happening, and a database in the background driving the content of most websites today plus lots of software, if you’re a techie person this article isn’t for, I can literally hear your eyes rolling. People genuinely ask ‘what is website hosting?’ No shame in asking questions I say! So, as with any computer, phone, tablet, even some electrical kitchen appliances these days, they need updates, to keep them compatible with the technologies they’re integrated with as well as staying secure from hackers. 

There’s a silent but hard-fought arms race of software development going on between unscrupulous programmers and those responsible for keeping people’s devices and websites and thus businesses safe online. 

As a website provider, we see many random attempts to attack or overload a website with spam or DDoS requests.

It’s a constant battle and we’re ever vigilant to keep out exploits and maintain website performance across all the sites in our care.

One-to-one support

With our Website hosting and maintenance support service, we provide 1 hour of one-to-one support with each of our websites. So, if you get stuck, fancy a chat, want to run an idea past us, want to discuss a new feature, or need a brush up on how to do something, we’re here for you.

We manually check each website we host

Every month (or more often if needed) we go through each website and run the latest security updates of the core, plugins (or modules for Drupal) and themes of the WordPress and Drupal websites we look after. 

There are rare occasions where a plugin or theme causes an error, in this event we work fast to fix it as quickly as we can. Which is why we prefer to run these manually rather than fully automating the process, so any issues are spotted and fixed straight away. This is why we prefer to do this rather than let our customers, as we have the expert knowledge to fix an issue should it occur. 

What do we automate? 

Ok we automate a few things. We could automate all of the updates to run on their own, but the risk of an error occurring without being spotted for hours or even days, perhaps weeks, isn’t a risk we’re willing to take. We’d rather do it manually to prevent our customers experiencing loss of enquiries or sales for any amount of time.

With our hosting and maintenance service, we include fixing issues as part of the package.  We do automate some commonly used plugins such as Contact 7 and WordFence, however plugins which are not as frequently used we run those updates manually and check all is ok.

Security alert action

Occasionally, security alerts crop up. For example, a zero-day vulnerability in WordPress, meant we went through each site to apply the latest update to prevent websites from getting hacked into, this was on top of our manual schedule for updating websites. 

Spam prevention proactive and reactive

Spammers are just hackers looking for a way into a website (or any computer system). If a website contact form is easily hijacked to send out spam, then there might be other vulnerabilities elsewhere on the site to take advantage of. Spam isn’t just annoying and doesn’t just mean you might miss a genuine enquiry, it could mean your site is easily compromised. 

There are a number of ways to prevent spam, here’s an article which you might find helpful for WordPress site owners if you’re getting an influx of emails about ray bans sunglasses or something unmentionable: polyspiral.com/knowledgebase/contact-7-wordpress-spam-prevention.

We add measures to prevent spam in the websites we create and maintain, sometimes we need to add extra measures to ensure the emails coming from a website are genuine, sometimes this requires trial and error and monitoring, which we actively do throughout the time a website is in our care. 

Backups

Our sites are backed up daily, we have local encrypted backups too. Our customers have access to these if need be and sites can be restored from a backup in exceptional circumstances as this is usually a last resort if something irreparable has gone wrong. 

If a customer chooses to move their site elsewhere, whilst we’re really sad if this happens, we’re happy to make a backup of the site available to the customer or the new website provider. 

What we believe 

We feel very strongly in empowering website owners. Websites should be looked after properly, kept secure, running smoothly and issues dealt with promptly. your website should  perform the best it can!