Why do we require that you host with us?
You may be asking why you cannot choose your own hosting provider. This comes up because there are hosting providers offering lower monthly rates, or because you already have your site hosted elsewhere.
Our custom websites use webserver functionality to provide you with the ability to perform the following tasks directly from your web browser:
- Edit the content of your web pages
- Add or remove pages
- Automatically generate new page links on your navigation bar or re-arrange them
- Automatically display your site in multiple foreign languages, based on the visitor's browser settings.
- Foreign language pages can be:
- Auto translations of your English pages (quick and less professional)
- Can be written/edited by a native speaker (most professional)
- Automatically update site map page when you modify/add/delete pages
- Easily add website widgets to any page
- Easily add and update a podcast from your site
- Automatically generate highlight areas on a page with a shadowed box
- Generate special feature pages by the server
- Manage a photo album or art gallery that includes a dynamic picture show
- Generate PayPal "Buy Now" or "Add to Cart" buttons anywhere and for anything you show on a page
- Manage private users and maintain private pages for your users
- Add Google maps to your web pages
- Easily insert a series of images that are displayed in one location with a choice of transitions between images
- Add links to other sites that are a snapshot of that site
- Have a guestbook that can be used for testimonials or whatever (you approve and possibly edit)
- More things are being added as we go along!
On top of this we also:
- Backup all web changes you make on a nightly basis
- Dynamically notify the search engines of your changes via sitemaps or rss feeds
- Automatically track visitors with Google Analytics
To provide all this, the HTML of your pages is dynamically generated by the server, based on the custom layout files and your page content, which is stored in a database on that server. We do NOT use web page development applications (such as Adobe's Dreamweaver) to update web pages on your site. This would defeat the ability to provide you with dynamic page editing and management.
Our PHP web application could be installed on another server but this is not cost effective for small websites. The web application requires a PHP/MySQL/Apache environment and we can't be certain that every hosting provider has the versions of these known to work well. On top of this, we have tools to setup your site and do the backup of changes that depend on known services at known ports being available on the server. The extra costs to do all this only make sense when your site is large enough to require your own dedicated server.
Hosting with us also enables us to be a one-stop-shop so that if there is a problem we own it and fix it! Alternatively when you have a sophisticated web application designed by one party then host that application by an independant party you often end up with a situation where neither party claims responsibility if the site isn't functioning. These failures are typically caused by something changing in the web server environment such as an operating system upgrade. The big web hosting companies understadably will not be willing to troubleshoot an arbitrary application that has just stopped working (for sure not when you are only paying $6.95 a month!). We have rescued clients who were in this situation and had their website broken for weeks on end!
All that said, we are website experts and can help you with your website problems in your own environment. When we work this way, we simply work for you at our hourly rate and can't quote an amount to solve a problem until we understand your particular web hosting environment.