Rise Local

The Big Host Backstory: What Every Local Business Owner Needs To Know

Dear Business Owners,

The rumors are true. Who hosts your website, how they do it, and where their servers are located can greatly impact your search engine rankings. The implications are astronomical. There are some common issues you’ll have to contend with if you choose to host with big host. First, even a fantastic website with fully optimized web pages won’t generate enough traffic to generate leads if there are unchecked hosting issues. Unfortunately, those hosting issues are quite common because big hosts use a complex ticket system and outsource a lot of work. Who’s to say if and when the work will actually get done. Second, all the on-page SEO and PPC in the world is not enough to save a website that is slow, abandoned, or, even worse, infected. Rise Local has the staff and resources to consistently monitor your website, and ensure that it’s secure and performing well. Third, the entire web hosting and online marketing ecosystem is feeding off local business owner’s being kept in the dark. We want to educate you and provide your customers with a positive user experience.

Now is not the time to stop reading. Read the following words. Then read them again. Better information leads to better decisions. Better decisions, completed in the right order, produce superior outcomes. Making the right decisions, succinctly and in the right order, is the key to your long-term survival and overall success as a business owner. The point we’re trying to make is that where you host matters. Now, this is some important information, so buckle up. We’re going for a ride.

Big Host isn’t better

The first thing you should know is there’s a ton of money in small business web hosting because every local business needs a hosting provider. Small businesses account for literally billions of dollars of hosting money that is lining the pockets of Big Host. They turn a profit because they hope you’ll be too busy on the operations side of things to make sure they’re properly maintaining your website. Then, they use your money to increase their profit margins and tend to other websites. Unfortunately, they’re not particularly concerned with providing you with better tools and service. No, the goal of Big Host is to turn the service of web hosting into a commodity….like wheat, oil, sugar, or cotton.

That’s right. It’s all the same no matter where you buy it. That’s the whole point.

This just shouldn’t be done. Plain and simple. Each company is unique, and its hosting services should reflect that. Yet, instead of trying to service the business owner’s actual needs (platform -> visibility -> leads) big business is betting they can turn one piece of the solution– web hosting services, into a commodity. That’s the kind of business model MBAs love because it scales beautifully.

Even better, they don’t even need to talk to you to make it happen. You don’t even really have a choice…because big money bought and consolidated all the local, niche providers.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

The path to enlightenment begins when you discover exactly what Big Host is, and that they’re out to get you. Haha, well, your money anyways.

Regardless of how and where you purchased your small business web hosting service, it’s delivered through a control panel interface developed by cPanel, Inc. out of Houston, Texas called, you guessed it, cPanel! Everyone uses cPanel because it bundles and supports all the open-source software needed to make web mastering idiot-proof (depending on the idiot we suppose, but you get the idea).

The vast majority of small business web hosting is sold through hosting resellers. The most prominent big host providers are companies like GoDaddy and EIG. Wait, you’re telling me you’ve never heard of EIG? Endurance International Group (EIG) is essentially the hedge fund that owns 83 domain services and a hosting brand. While you haven’t heard of EIG, you probably do know their brands: Bluehost, Hostgator, HostMonster, and more.

The point is the IT overhead Big Host would have to absorb to do what cPanel does so well would be is astronomical. That’s why the bigger hosting brands simply wallpaper over the cPanel logos (aka, skinning, white-labeling, lying, etc.) instead of trying to replace it.

The History of Big Host Companies

The fact is cPanel made managing web servers so affordable that any local weed could set up a few servers and call themselves a hosting provider. That’s how most of the EIG brands got started. Hostgator, for example, was started in the dorm room of a Florida State University.

Here is how it use to work. You, the business owner, would hire a local marketing services providers who had a reseller relationship with a local hosting provider. Basically, a local guy who was smart enough to build their own data center. The local marketing service provider would then either charge you a monthly fee or eat the cost of delivering web hosting services as a value-added service. You can’t exactly quit your web host, can you? See how that works?

This cycle worked for the most part because there was enough profit going. Webmasters and SEO experts were engaged and local business owners were happy. Honestly, the system kind of worked. But then big business fucked it all up. Let us tell you exactly what happened.

First, Big Host started buying up all of the niche hosting brands that catered to individual small business hosting needs and preferences. Next, private equity bought out cPanel and changed their licensing model to appease their largest block of customers, Big Host. Then, your local marketing services provider either stopped paying the bill or, if you were lucky, sent you a link to enter your credit card so you could maintain your own website and submit your own tickets. Yep, owners who were trusting local marketing services providers and SEO experts were abandoned in droves. Big Host was smiling the whole time because all they had to do was outsource support to low-cost providers and rake in the profits! That’s exactly the kind of thing MBAs working for hedge funds do best.

The effects of big business buyouts

There are many variations of this long, sad race to the bottom. Here are just a few things local business owners experienced amid all of this turmoil:

  • The person who registered your domain is long gone. They still own the domain by keeping it renewed. They know you will eventually wise up and give them a call. Until then, they will keep paying $10 a year to renew your domain. This is the worst-case scenario.
  • The person who registered your domain and built your website is still around and easy to get a hold of. This is a slightly better situation.
  • At some point, someone gave you a list of usernames and passwords that changed or grew over time. You see charges hitting your card, but are a little fuzzy on the details and too busy to figure it all out. Unfortunately, this scenario is quite common.
  • You have one Big Host account that you control. It’s all in one account, but nothing is managed or maintained. This scenario is very common.

Local Hosting Solutions

If any of this resonates. We’ve got good news for you. Rise Local has a call center in Dallas, Texas staffed with experts. Our model is to provide exceptional IT services for small business owners at low costs so we can deliver online marketing services faster and cheaper than anyone else. We offer local hosting services and we can clean up past issues. Don’t hesitate to reach out! Anyone of our dedicated team members would be excited to provide you with further information.

We hope you learned some new information today! We look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading,

The Rise Local Team

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