Someone contacted me last week because their hoster had emailed them saying their website had a speed score of just 14%, and they needed to pay for another service to improve it.
Google has its own official speed test, called a lighthouse audit, which is the benchmark for all websites. We ran a lighthouse audit on the site and it scored 80% on desktop and 55% on mobile. Room for improvement, but far from 14.
Hosting companies will often send these kind of stats, telling you there is a problem with your website and you need to buy an extra service to fix it. The thing is that if they don’t say where the stats come from then they’re meaningless. They could even be based purely on what products you have purchased.
You see the same with security. Your hoster might tell you your site has a low security rating and you need to buy a product to fix it. The rating will go up in their made-up scale but the real effects may be marginal, or irrelevant to your site.
Judging Hoster Services
If you’re considering a service your hoster is offering to improve your speed, security, seo, etc., find out what they are specifically going to do for your money, and find out whether it really is important, if it’s relevant to your website, how much it costs and whether you can do it yourself.
Similarly, if your hoster tells you that you have a low score for something, find out what that score is based on – whether it’s an objective third-party score or their own system. If it’s objective (e.g. a lighthouse audit), ask what the increase in score will be, and whether it’s guaranteed. If it’s not or if it’s their own scoring system, don’t pay for it.
I’ve seen another hoster offering to install WordPress for £200. That’s a 10-minute job for any developer, and no time at all for a hoster who can make it happen programmatically every time someone buys the product. It literally costs them nothing at all (WordPress itself is free) and they make £200 every time.
Not all Hoster Services Are Bad
Hosting services generally offer great value for money. These days we have a choice of hosters offering easy ways to get online. None of them are perfect but really what we get for the money is amazing.
It’s unfortunate that they offset these great services by charging way over the odds for simple things, often things that you can get for free on other packages. For example, One.com wanted to charge a client £60 a year for an SSL certificate, but on my £120 a year package I can install hundreds of SSL certificates for free.
There are good services though and things that you need. I have a CDN with my plan that is amazing and that I’m happy to pay for. The key is to understand what you need for your own website(s), what it’s worth you paying for it, and to focus on objective measures and tests. When you buy services, know that they are what you need, rather than throwing money at a made-up test.
Knowing the Difference
Not sure if your hoster is trying to sell you something that’s good value or if they’re just trying it on? Drop us a line and ask. We’ll can run the right tests and put you in the picture about whether you really need the job or service and what it’s worth on the open market. We’re here to help!