Why should I host with you?
You might be considering going with a cheap webhost that offers so called "unlimited" bandwidth or disk space. We can't offer that and would rather not deceive to our clients in that manner. In truth, no host can offer unlimited anything -- they just gamble that most users don't use very much space, and so they can 'claim' it's unlimited. It's the same way that "all you can eat" buffets work -- no one could eat the entire buffet, so the restaurants know they're safe.
So, why should you host with Whitelancer Web Development, Inc.?
Resources. We're not here to be a hosting provider on a grand scale. Ultimately we want to service our clients as best we can. Many free services are limited in one key aspect that they don't mention -- CPU time. All of the newer Content Management type sites have to do a lot of processing to do in the background; they have to hit the database to figure out what content to display, render it into HTML and apply the theme, then ultimately serve this stream to the browser as fast as possible. As you can see, there's a lot that has to go on in the background. We've run into so many cases of "CPU Usage Exceeded" messages because they have to ensure there is enough processing power for everyone on their machines -- and they pack in hundreds or even thousands of people onto each computer. It's similar to a time share property -- you can fit a lot of people in there because it's split up by week. If someone starts staying too long, though, it makes everyone unhappy and so the webhost will have to limit you.
Since we're a small operation, we don't pack hundreds of clients onto machines, and thus we (and you) never have to worry about resource issues.
Service. The other major reason we provide hosting is service. It's nearly impossible to get in touch with someone at these large companies, so if and when you need something, it's a big time sink to try and contact someone and wait for the reply. If you as the client need a change, or you're having an issue, we don't want to have to tell you "well, we've got a trouble ticket opened with your webhost, we just have to wait now..." It's a frustrating situation and a waste of time to not just us, but to you. By having our own servers and having direct access to them, it means we are there to make those changes when we need them, and because we developed the sites as well, we know exactly what you would need and how to enforce those requirements quickly and easily. Would you rather talk to someone locally and immediately, or put in a trouble ticket with someone you can't even call?
Speed. Part of our philosophy here (actually, the base tenet on which this company was built) is response time. It is completely frustrating waiting to hear back from someone, and that's why we have forged this company on the belief that you deserve an answer quickly, whether it's phone OR email. You shouldn't have to wait "24 to 48 business hours" to even get a response. This applies to web servers and web hosting, as well. By hosting our own servers, we can deploy websites and code changes much more easily and quickly than if we had to use third-party hosts. This is because with those third-party, shared servers we don't have access to the "bowels" of the server, meaning our progress is hindered by multiple layers of software hosts have in place to do things as generically as possible. By using our servers instead, we can use software that allows us to perform code updates to only changed files quickly and simply, to see what's really going on with the server (logs), and to access the web databases directly to update or download backups automatically. Why would that matter to you? Well if can spend 15 minutes deploying a code update, a new email mailbox, or DNS entries,(or whatever else) versus and hour with a shared host, that's 45 minutes of time you aren't billed for. It's just simpler and more efficient to do when we have the controls, and we can pass that savings on to you.
Management. Unless you know a lot about servers, chances are you'll want to have someone you can call to configure everyting for you. While setting up an email mailbox isn't terribly difficult, what about items like DNS entries or MySQL databases? You can certainly save some money if you can configure all those items on your own, but if we're required to do it, it means more time learning your webhost's systems, what resources you have available, and configuring them to your site's needs. You should ask yourself if it's simpler to have us do this configuration and management for you as part of the hosting, or whether you'd prefer to manage most of it on your own and pay us on an hourly basis to manage the changes you need.
Backups. Many places offer unlimited bandwidth or unlimited hosting space, but do they automatically handle your backups? Most places have 'failure' backups in place, but not day to day working backups that you have access to. We also have offsite backups as part of your hosting, for both files and database, completely free. We don't feel that you should suffer if you accidentally lose some data. In addition, we are able to backup sites that use our hosting services to our facilities easily, whereas we can't and don't do this with third-party hosting servers.
The bottom line. Would your site work if hosted with a third-party, shared hosting provider? Possibly. If it's a smaller site and you don't use it for much other than an "online brochure" of your business, chances are that you'd be alright. The worst case is you get CPU-throttled somehow and your site gets knocked offline for a day until your throttling restriction is lifted. We can always move your site later, but it's of course more time and inconvenience to do so. We charge more than these mass-hosting providers so we can cover our costs -- you get dedicated resources and your site is completely managed. However, our prices are much less than Virtual Private or Dedicated servers, and you get the same types of service, if not more; backups, managed hosting, with the ability to self manage your server if you want.
The advantage is that our clients get dedicated hardware that we are 100% confident in and know will run your website, plenty of resources for what is needed (and being our servers, we can easily and immediately adjust those resources when needed), and updates and server-configuration is so efficient and simple going forward. These changes ultimately save money for clients who don't have the time or energy to manage their own third-party account, and saves money if they need us to change something.
On the other hand, our hosting service would be more expensive in the case where you want to simply launch your site and never need any changes going forward. You'll have to choose what you feel is the most appropriate for you, but hopefully that gives you some ideas about our philosphy of hosting and what we offer.