Web hosting is a commoditized services, typically indistinguishable by brand or provider, it is something that we rely on but rarely give much thought to. The price of Web hosting has plummeted over the last few years. Typical hosting accounts that used to go for $30, $60, or even close to $100 per month only 8 years ago, now go for as low as $4.99 per month. The price of hardware, bandwidth and pure volume has driven the cost downward. In addition the introduction of virtualization and other technologies have allowed web hosting companies to further cut their costs and pass some savings onto the customer. If $4.99 barely buys you latte now days, how can a company keep such an important business asset (your website) up and running for an entire month at the same cost?

The answer is of course volume, but beyond the obvious what exactly are you paying for? The answer is simple: you are helping to keep the green power light lit on the front of a computer in a rack of thousands of computers just like it. To keep this green light lit you need incredibly expensive power systems, air conditioning systems, security systems, fire suppressant systems (just in case), ISPs with multiple data links and another computer to back this computer up (you have to keep its green light lit as well). I can go on but don’t need to. Think of how much that all costs, a little more than your $4.99 per month and we haven’t even talked about your particular Web site. So you pack thousands upon thousands of web sites/customers into a such a environment and you have a profitable hosting business. It’s not a bad model, really.

For $4.99 the service description will typically state you get customer support, but what kind and how good can it be for $4.99/mo? Without judging the quality of service, lets look at what kind of customer support your $4.99 buys. It basically buys you the ability to call and ask if the green light on the front of a server is still lit. That is all such a plan provider cares about. Sure if the green light is not lit (or something has gone wrong with the hardware or base software), they will put a team of techs on it and get it fixed. But what if the green light is lit and the server seems fine, yet your Website is not working… Not their problem and for $4.99 they are probably not going to make it their problem. They are probably going to tell you that you need to speak to a developer and have them look at your particular Web site.

FatLab is striving to provide a  solution to this very typical and frustrating experience. Web support and Web hosting are two different disciplines and many times provided by two unrelated parties. FatLab changes this by merging the two to become a complete solution to keeping a Web site up and running. We have partnered with Rackspace to ensure the green lights are glowing brightly and we have a team of Web support techs to look at particular web sites. We know you don’t care whether the issue is server issue or a web programming issue, you just want it resolved. We are not going to pretend that we can do this for $4.99 a month but either should the other guys.

photo by 401(K) 2012 / cc