In our experience, it’s common for website buyers to treat hosting as a commodity - a bit like electricity and gas supply, website hosting is all the same really, the only difference is the price? Wrong! There's a big difference in the hosting services on offer, and as a buyer, it’s crucial to understand what you need and what you're getting for your money.
Requirements for Hosting an Umbraco Site
Hosting an Umbraco site calls for a number of minimum requirements: you must have Windows-based hosting, it needs to be in Full Trust Mode, and you may (probably) need a SQL server database. That precludes the use of much of the cheap, commodity hosting from the likes of Fasthosts and GoDaddy.
An obvious hosting solution for many sites is Umbraco Cloud, which provides Umbraco Hosting as a Service. It can be relatively cheap to run, can reduce development costs and, while the cheaper levels don't come with an SLA, we've found them to be very reliable.
Recently, many websites have moved to cloud-based hosting from the likes of Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. Both provide hosting that we've found to be highly reliable at very reasonable costs.
When you're buying a new Umbraco website it's important to consider your hosting needs. Don't be unrealistic, demanding 99.95% uptime requirements if your budget is a few hundred quid a year. But if you're running a business critical site selling products a site outage could hurt your revenue.
Once you have a clear picture of your hosting needs it's important to discuss these with potential suppliers. Talk to them about demonstrating evidence of their uptime. If they can't show you then that's a warning sign. Ask them how many incidents have been reported by clients related to hosting - again lack of evidence is a red flag.