A web hosts job may seem pretty simple, but there are numerous tasks which go on daily at their workplace. This article lists the customer facing tasks which a web host needs to carry out on a daily basis. This article goes behind the scenes in presenting what a web hosting company does on a daily basis, from a front office point of view.
An important aspect of growing the business is aggressive marketing and sales. Just a simple search on Google for web hosting services will indicate how much cut-throat competition there is. For a small web host to stand out from the crowd, it takes a lot of effort and resources. Most small hosting companies are self-funded and have a minuscule budget for marketing and advertising. Large ones can afford to run TV ads, place billboards and even buy advertising space at sports events. Some companies resort to online marketing, whereas other prefer old fashioned methods like cold calling, telemarketing, directory advertising and even newspaper advertising. With the advent of PPC and CPC advertising online, even small companies can compete with the big ones for visibility.
One of the main tasks a web host needs to streamline is payment collections. If payments come in late, the web host may not have enough money to pay vendors, employees or suppliers. Overdue payments need to be disincentivized and prompt payments should be rewarded. Most companies have setup automated systems to deal with accounting and billing. Invoices are sent out automatically to clients and payments are also collected online at any time through the day. Although most customers pay on time, a policy needs to be setup for late payments. After a grace period from the due date, web hosts must ensure that the services of a non paying client are suspended till his payment is received. Account suspension and restoration can also be handled by automated billing solutions which take care of the payments and automatically mark invoices paid. When a suspended account is paid for, the payment is entered and the account is restored.
A major chunk of a web hosting agency’s time is spent in providing technical support to clients. Some hosters offer phone support, while some offer only email based support. Most websites now have an integrated chat system which allows a customer to instantly chat with their host. Hosting Services also have a ticket based support system in their website which will allow you to send and receive messages from them, without access to your email account. This can be especially useful if your email account is unavailable or your email service is down. Most technical support queries occur during the first few days of creating the account. Till the client is settled into the services offered and till the client has a good understanding of how the system works, he may regularly contact the host for help. This interaction can be avoided by providing adequate documentation and editorial material for the clients. An FAQs section or a step-by-step guide can also help in easing the initial anxiety a client may have.
Although content filtering and censorship is not a web hosting company’s job, ensuring compliance with the law is imperative for the stability and sustainability of any business. When a user violates the terms of service or causes harm to the hosting services or commits a crime or attempts to commit a crime through the web hosting servers, the provider must step up and ensure compliance. Upon non-compliance with the laws or the terms of service of the hosting company, they may shut down or suspend the clients access or may terminate his account altogether. The compliance team of the web host has to be vigilant and has to constantly be in touch with the system administrators for reporting any strange or suspicious activity in their infrastructure.