In my voice over business, learning about hosting services meant diving into uncharted waters. Since then, I’ve sorted out where the rocks, whirlpools and shallow spots are in the world of hosting services for micro-businesses like mine. In large part this was due to a couple conversations with fellow (awesome) voiceover talent and hosting services provider, Brad Newman. If this pond is new to you too, take my hand. I’m happy to guide you as we wade in.
Kim: Brad, before we get to the specifics, let’s first make sure we’re on the same page. Are your hosting services like where your website sits?
Brad: Briefly, if your website is your storefront, your hosting service is like the mall or building it sits in. A user has to go to the mall (or through your server) to get to your content (the stuff you have on your website). More specifically, hosting is the server and infrastructure that holds and supplies the content to the end user.
Kim: What are the differences or the advantages and disadvantages of shared, cloud, dedicated hosting services and which is your company, UpperLevel Hosting?
Brad: Well this depends on the need. It’s a bit like asking which is the best mic, the one that works for the room, talent and end goal or what is the best camera for photography, well that would be the one you will actually carry with you, since good pictures will not come from a camera you don’t use.
Shared means just that. You have one PB & J sandwich and 2 people will eat it. You cut it in half and share the resources. Often dedicated servers are then split to shared resources that can be used by hundreds of clients therefore making it more cost effective to the end user since hundreds of people are sharing the cost.
Cloud is a newer concept where your files may not run on the same server each time the instance is called. Your package is deployed dynamically when and where it’s needed to meet the demand. Because it doesn’t live on one server there is less risk of downtime or worrying that the server may not be able to keep up with demand. Cloud can deploy the instance across many servers connecting them all together making it seamless to the user like it’s running in one location. This can provide benefits in speed across multiple geographic locations.
Dedicated servers are just that. One server that is dedicated to one person. While that person may decide to split it up or share it with another person. Dedicated means it comes down to one company’s ownership of that server and isn’t shared with anyone else.
UpperLevel uses our own dedicated servers that we then split up for our customers as shared hosting. Keeping speed of the server and how it serves its content as the top goal, making it as cost effective as possible all while delivering customer service like you have never seen before. Treat us like your IT team and see what truly managed hosting can feel like.
Kim: What are the security advantages?
Brad: Each type of server can be insecure if not managed properly. So security advantages / disadvantages really come down to the sysadmin.
Kim: What are those things that could go wrong?
Brad: The server is comprised of many different tools. The server itself could stop running tossing 500 error codes, the mail server could stop running, MySQL or the database engine could stop and hardware failures. I find there are two approaches to server maintenance. You can either chase after the problems and have unhappy customers or you can proactively manage the environment making sure that everything is up to date, that the server is looked after and running various tools to ensure system health. Proactive management leads to a more stable platform and an overall better experience for the customer and that is what we practice at UpperLevel.
Kim: Can weird malware or bugs take over your site?
Brad: Yes this can happen all the time.
Kim: How can you protect against this?
Brad: Keep WordPress, themes and plugins up to date. Make sure your host is taking daily backups and providing an audit of security risks on the site. Use a password manager and don’t use the same password on every site. Stop using !@#$ and 1234 at the end of password. For example voiceover1! is not a good password. We all tend to capitalize the first letter in words of our password and use punctuation and numbers at the end. Stay away from those habits and toss and _ in the middle of words. Like midd_le this breaks the word up so it can’t be found in the dictionary thus making the password stronger.
Kim: Does the notion of scalability apply to the VO world?
Brad: Not sure what you are asking here. Reliability I would think means more. The site needs to be up and working, your time is valuable so being able to reach someone quickly is key and I find time to be our most valuable resource. It doesn’t matter if you have a billion dollars, you can’t buy more time.
Kim: What are other cool things apart from security that Upper Level Hosting does?
Brad: We understand the VO business and know what you need. Never underestimate having a partner that knows what you need, that can be invaluable. We keep the server running super-fast, pay attention to all the details so you don’t have to, and do most of the work so you just have to ask. Allowing you to do what you need to do like run the other aspects of your business.
Kim: Brad, is there anything I missed that you want to add?
Brad: Watch out for hosting add ons. A sale on something upfront looks good, but what is the price after the intro, are they charging for an SSL certificate or charging more to keep your info private after you do business with them? Make sure that having media files doesn’t cause an issue with your current host. It’s bad news when you get a call and have under a week to move everything cause they don’t like your mp3’s.