Security and Reliability Fuel Hosting Concerns for Web-Dependent Designers, Developers, Digital Agencies and SMBs -- Liquid Web Survey Reveals Business Challenges as Web and Cloud Reliance Grows
There is no doubt that the adoption of web and cloud technologies continues to accelerate at a phenomenal rate. A recent survey by Liquid Web, LLC, a $100 million managed hosting provider focused on web-dependent professionals, found nearly 80 percent of designers, developers, digital agencies and SMBs expect their businesses will be more reliant on cloud and web technologies in the next five years.
As more and more companies move to the web and cloud, the expectations put on the infrastructure supporting these platforms, such as web and cloud hosting services, increases exponentially. Security (88 percent) is on par with reliability (89 percent) and considered as the two most important criteria when selecting a hosting provider, survey respondents said. And, when these businesses are dissatisfied with their current hosting provider, security becomes the most important factor when selecting their next provider as indicated by 91 percent of respondents. Survey respondents said that DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks and other types of hacking attacks were the two security issues most experienced or feared.
On the reliability front, companies with fewer than 100 employees reported significant frustration with their hosting provider, and almost half of these respondents experienced technical issues from their hosting company in the past 12 months (on average 4.5 times per year). Among the 450 web-dependent professionals surveyed, 68 percent described the relationship with their hosting partner as a client-vendor relationship. Respondents also noted the importance of choosing the correct hosting provider for them in the current business climate. In fact, 86 percent of those surveyed reported that they felt a company's competitiveness would be impacted by this decision.
"If a website or application fuels the revenue generation of a business, the choice of a hosting provider should be a strategic one," said Liquid Web CTO Joe Oesterling. "Yet, often businesses make the mistake of choosing their provider based on price rather than ensuring they have a dependable partner. It's important not to buy into empty promises of 'best support' or 'most secure' without validating the performance and security of the offered hosting solutions, reviewing current customer testimonials and customer satisfaction results, and researching the skill level of the resources that will be assisting you to design, migrate and support your solution. It is definitely worth the time to make sure you are picking a partner, not a vendor."
Another trend the survey reported is the mass adoption of easy-to-use applications such as content management systems like WordPress. WordPress has enabled SMBs, designers, developers and agencies to grow their businesses; however, this has created a need for managed hosting solutions to support them throughout this growth, helping to scale the content management system accordingly.
About half of the respondents (48 percent) build websites on WordPress with 71 percent using a managed WordPress hosting solution. Of those who build websites on WordPress, 78 percent reported that they are considering using a managed WordPress service in the next 6-12 months. This included 88 percent of current managed WordPress users and 53 percent of non-managed WordPress users.
These results indicate that developers, designers, agencies and SMBs are looking for ways to find efficiencies in their work and worry less about the underlying infrastructure. Among current managed WordPress users, performance guarantees, simple installation and automatic backups are the top 3 benefits they reported experiencing with managed WordPress hosting.
"We see designers, developers, agencies and the SMBs they serve demanding simpler, more scalable hosting solutions as they become ever-more dependent on the web and cloud," said Oesterling. "We see this audience of web-reliant companies largely underserved as bigger players focus primarily on the enterprise."
When selecting a hosting provider, survey respondents noted the top five factors that are most important to them are reliability, security, performance guarantees, knowledgeable customer support representatives, and 24/7 customer support. Respondents, however, felt that they were not receiving most of these elements with almost 40 percent experiencing dissatisfaction in pricing increases and inexperienced customer support. To complicate matters further, 35 percent say their dissatisfaction is driven by a poor migration experience, ultimately preventing these businesses from switching to a better hosting provider.
"It's clear that hosting providers need to be a partner in their clients' businesses, not just a service," said Oesterling. "At Liquid Web, it's our mission to provide speed, reliability and security for our clients' websites and applications. That is their business, and we see it as part of ours, too."
The survey was conducted in the second half of 2016. The total number of participants for the study is 450, including about 40 percent web designer (182 respondents), 48 percent web developer (218 respondents), and 11 percent digital agency decision maker (50 respondents). Of those, 77 percent belonged to companies with less than 999 employees and 23 percent were from companies with more than 1,000 employees.
About Liquid Web
Liquid Web powers content, commerce and potential for SMB entrepreneurs and the designers, developers and digital agencies who create for them. The $100 million web hosting and cloud services provider known for its high- performance services and exceptional customer support delivers reliable, highly-available, secure and hassle-free hosting backed with a human touch. Liquid Web offers a broad portfolio designed so customers can choose a hosting solution that is hands-on or hands-off or a hybrid of the two.
The company owns and manages its own data centers, providing a diverse range of offerings spanning from bare metal servers and fully managed hosting to managed WordPress and continues to evolve its service offerings to meet the ever-changing needs of its web-reliant, professional customers. With over 30,000 customers spanning 150 countries, the company has assembled a world-class team, global data centers and an expert group of 24/7/365 solution engineers. As an industry leader in customer service, the rapidly expanding company has been recognized among INC Magazine's 5000 Fastest Growing Companies for the last ten years. Liquid Web is part of the Madison Dearborn Partners family of companies. Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC ("MDP") is a leading private equity investment firm based in Chicago.