Email Issues – Using Too Much Server Space
Having multiple email accounts on your server may be slowing you down.
Most website owners have custom email accounts set up on their server. Who doesn’t like to have an important-looking email address that incorporates your website URL? Example: YourName@MyCompany.com
The potential problem with running those custom email accounts on your server is that it can eat up precious hard drive space in a short amount of time. Especially if you’re like me, and for some weird reason, you dislike deleting old email. You never know when you might need it, right?
If you purchased lots of server disc space from your hosting provider (you can never have enough, eh?) then it may not ever be an issue. But if you purchased the bare minimum (see my article on Server Issues) you could max out your server and slow down page load time or, in a worse case scenario, actually crash your site so no-one can access it. You cannot quantify how many visitors and/or customers you can lose if that happens.
What happens when you run your email accounts off your server.
The server your website relies upon has a finite amount of disc space. The server treats every email as a file. And those files add up quickly and rob you of sorely needed hard drive space. It’s not like the multitude of free email providers that operate separate from your server. Using a free or paid email provider can preserve your precious server’s hard disc space. Consider using an email service that does not reside on your own server and you won’t have to worry about all the great sucking sound of all those email files piling up on your server.
What email provider you should utilize.
Choosing an external email provider can be somewhat daunting because there are so many of them. Google Gmail is free, has gobs of space, and you can set it up to emulate your dot com email address. Mail Chimp is another one to consider. It is available for free or you can pay to add features. You can also purchase email accounts from most hosting providers so get a price from them and avoid the hassle of dealing with precious time spent setting things up. There are tons of other free email providers to choose from. Some of the more popular ones are Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo, Mail.com, GMX mail, etc. Like anything else, rely on a service that you find easy to use.
It may save you from losing customers and untold cash over the long haul.
Backing Up Your Website To Your Own Computer
Why it is a good practice.
If you have a reputable hosting plan (and there is no reason to think you don’t) the company you rent your server from should perform regular backups of your site. That being said, I believe it is also a great idea to have backups of your entire website and database on your own pc, computer, external hard drive, cloud or flash drive. If there is fallout with your hosting provider, or, heaven forbid, they go out of business, you have a full backup of your website to migrate or deploy on a new server or with a new hosting company. Back up your website to your personal computer. It just makes good sense.
How to do your own website backups.
To do your own website backups you need access to your server via FTP (file transfer protocol) and to your database, via whichever control panel you are using, usually Linux or Microsoft. There are plenty of tutorials on the Internet to walk you through it. You could also hire someone or have the person that built the website do it for you. It’s worth the investment.
If nothing else it will give you piece of mind.
Server Issues on Older Sites
I’ve been running into sub-par servers (also called hosting) on older websites.
Say, 5 plus years or older. The problem seems to originate from lack of attention. Websites built 5 years ago (more or less) used fewer resources and in most cases didn’t have as much traffic. What I’m seeing when hired to do a site rebuild or upgrade are servers that are woefully inadequate. The disc space is so tiny that the server is running at or beyond capacity. This can cause slow page loads, which can drive away visitors to your site. This can also cause intermittent crashing of the site. Unless someone complains, you may never know about it.
What you should do.
Contact your hosting (server) provider and ask them to check the well being of your server. Ask them if you need to increase your disc space, memory or bandwidth. If you are comfortable, ask for access to your server so you can check for yourself. If unhappy with your hosting provider consider migrating your site to a new hosting company. There are hundreds to choose from. It is very competitive and prices are fairly reasonable as a whole. Prepare to pay for the migration (moving) of your site to a new and improved server. Also consider contacting your web designer to do all this for you and inquire about a monthly maintenance contract.
This harkens back to my article on why, if you are unable to do it yourself, you should hire someone to keep track of your server. A monthly maintenance fee was what I suggested and have employed it on several sites now. It’s worth the money and may save you from a crashed server, a potential hack and loss of new visitors or customers. In addition, newer servers are generally faster. You can upgrade to a SSD (solid state) hard drive for even faster page loading. Don’t wait. Do it now.