We love a scary story as much as the next person. As such, we’ve put together a few of our favorite chilling B2B web hosting horror stories. Read on, if you dare!
The Deep, Dark Knowledge Gap on Website Hosting
Not long ago, we had a client with a talented software development team. They were really good at what they did—but what they did was not WordPress development or server management.
This brave client insisted that their new B2B website be hosted on their own server, which happened to be a Windows server. At Bop Design, we have nothing against Windows, it’s just not our expertise. WordPress can run just fine on Windows servers, but you have to know how to set up the proper permissions. While we were able to give some guidance on the actions WordPress needed to take, we couldn’t be any more specific than that.
The result? A messy launch. Their B2B website kept cutting in and out and it was creepily slow when it did render. It took hours of back and forth between our team and the client’s team to finally get a stable version of the website online. Eventually, we persuaded the client’s technical team to host with a third-party website hosting provider, which ended up solving a lot of the scary problems we had encountered.
Lesson Learned: Even if your technical team knows their stuff, they may not know WordPress or whatever backend you end up using for your website. And we may not know your stuff (we can’t be experts in everything!). That knowledge gap can be a deep, dark chasm that is tough to bridge.
You’ll Pay an Arm and a Leg for That!
Our second spine-tingling tale is regarding a client who was willing to go with our recommendation of hosting with a third-party company, but there was a catch! They had specific legal requirements they wanted the hosting company to abide by. The client was essentially requiring a negotiation of a unique contract—for a hosting plan that would cost them less than $100/month.
We did our due diligence and contacted several solid B2B website hosting firms. We got the same answer every time: we’ll only create a unique agreement under SLA, which will likely cost thousands of dollars per month.
At the end of the day, we were able to convince the client that no reputable hosting firm would offer an SLA for the price they were going to pay. Hosting companies rely on regularity to keep their costs down. If one client needs more attention than others, that client will need to pay for a unique agreement.
The client eventually went with the first hosting company we recommended and they’ve been very happy with the choice. Turns out an SLA wasn’t necessary after all.
Lesson Learned: If you want special treatment, you’ll likely end up paying an arm and a leg for it. But the regular treatment at a quality hosting company is typically all you need!
What You Can’t See Will Get You
Our third and final story is about a client who was a subsidiary of a global, well-recognized brand. They said they needed to host the site internally for security reasons. Initially, we were fine with it because they had quite a few technical people on their team and we were confident in their skills.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen many times, it didn’t come down to how many people were on the technical team—or even how talented the technical team was. It all came down to the right experience.
After locking down the server due to security requirements, no one on the client side was able to login to WordPress. Isn’t that your worse fear realized? A marketing team that is no longer able to login to post a press release, promote an event, or accomplish any other tasks! While we were never able to fully verify this, it looked like users who had visited the site previously may not even be able to see that B2B website! (At least that was the experience we had in the Bop office.)
It took about three months for the technical and security teams to work together to figure this out. At Bop Design, we did what we could—but not having a sysadmin on staff, there was a limit to the help we were able to provide.
This scary tale does have a happy ending. The client’s technical team was eventually able to fix the issue and now the website is running smoothly. It took a mindset shift for them. They had certain expectations about how WordPress would function that were not correct. We were able to help them come up with a solution that met their security needs while still allowing the B2B marketing team to use the website.
Lesson Learned: If you have high security requirements, make sure you’re aware of how those requirements impact WordPress. And maybe consider letting a third-party hosting company handle all of the security for you!
Do you have a web hosting horror story? Let us know in the comments below.