Everything you need to know about law firm web hosting in 2021

Website basics

Everything you need to know about law firm web hosting in 2021

However, we're going to assume you already have your custom domain and website ready for launch, and all you need is the right web hosting company.

December 15 · 10 min read

Designing a website for your law firm is easy with B12. You get an AI-driven website design process spearheaded by a real web design team, producing the perfect site for your business. Setting up your site with B12 offers you a hassle-free process that’s much easier than WordPress.

However, after the design work is over, you’re going to need to find hosting to launch the site. Hosting refers to the platform storing your website files. There are dozens of hosting companies that would love to host your new website, so which one do you choose?

You must do some due diligence on your hosting before signing up for an account with your nominated host. In this post, we’ll look at everything you need to know about law firm web hosting in 2021.

Before applying for hosting, you’ll need a custom domain for your website. A custom domain forms part of your brand identity online, and it’s an essential piece of your strategy, along with other design features like your logo.

We’re not going into details on choosing the best domain name in this post – that’s another topic for another day.

However, we’re going to assume you already have your custom domain and website ready for launch, and all you need is the right web hosting company.

Before Your Signup with a Web Hosting Service

When signing up for a website host, you must do your due diligence on the prospective vendor. Take a few minutes to search social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and look at what other users say about their experience with the host.

Not all hosts are the same, and the last thing you need is to sign up with a low-cost provider, only to find out the hosting is terrible. If your site loads slowly and it takes forever to open pages, you’re going to experience higher bounce rates and low conversion.

Therefore, make sure you’re signing up with a reputable host, and avoid problems arising with your hosting further down the road.

Create a shortlist of four or five hosting companies, and then evaluate them until you settle on the right service provider and package for your legal firm website.

What are the Types of Website Hosting for a Law Firm Website?

After creating your shortlist, it’s time to start narrowing down the candidates for your preferred service provider.

When browsing your hosting candidates, you’ll notice that they offer different hosting types, available at various price points.

In this section, we’ll unpack each of the hosting options to help you narrow down the right solution for your legal website.

Free Website Hosting

You’ll notice that many of the top hosting firms offer a free hosting package. While it sounds like a tempting offer, you need to avoid free services. A free service is a marketing tool for the hosting company. They provide it as a marketing tool to give prospects a taste of what they can expect from the hosting service provider.

In many cases, free services come with excessive server downtime. Since the hosting company is running it for free, they don’t dedicate human resources to managing the platform if needed elsewhere.

Therefore, if your free hosting goes down, it could take hours or days for the team to get the server back online; they have no incentive to hurry with the restoration because they’re not charging you anything for the service.

Free hosting is the best choice for developers looking to test new tools or projects. It’s a temporary solution designed to allow you to test out the hosting services before committing to another type.

Pros

  • Free hosting
  • A good choice for testing

Cons

  • Limitations on disk space and bandwidth
  • Chases away potential clients
  • Frequent and lengthy outages
  • No customer support

Which Law Firms Can Benefit from Free Hosting?

No law firms will benefit from using shared hosting to run your site. You’re better off going with a shared hosting service in terms of performance.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared hosting is the most popular hosting model for entry-level websites. With a shared hosting service, you’re splitting the server capacity with other websites. The hosting company manages the server and its resources, ensuring they allocate the right disk space and bandwidth to your account.

A shared service is a good choice for internet startups. It comes with the lowest pricing (apart from a free service), making it a great choice for bootstrapping startup costs.

With a shared service, you’re using the same server as dozens of other websites. However, you have no way of knowing which sites are using the service, and the hosting agent manages the server and server resources without any input from you.

The worst part about using a shared hosting service is the downtime. Since you’re sharing the server with other websites, you’re at the mercy of the other “tenants” in the system. If one of the sites experiences a traffic overload, it crashes the server, taking your website with it.

Pros

  • A cost-effective hosting solution
  • Minimal setup required

Cons

  • Limited bandwidth and disk space
  • Downtime is more common than with other hosting solutions
  • Not suitable for scaling web traffic
  • The “bad neighbor” effect could take down your site
  • More downtime than other options (except free hosting)

What Firms Need Shared Hosting?

If you’re starting online and have minimal traffic visiting your site, a shared solution will work. However, you’ll need to migrate the site to a VPS or dedicated server when your traffic starts building.

VPS Hosting

VPS is an acronym for “Virtual Private Server.” VPS has a similar infrastructure to shared hosting. However, with VPS hosting, the server creates “virtual machines” (VMs). The VM acts as a means of dividing up the server resources efficiently.

A VPS runs a copy of an OS, giving customers super-level user access to the OS. Essentially, a VPS acts like a dedicated hosting service, with easy configuration and set up to your website’s needs. While a VPS is more affordable than a dedicated hosting solution, you’re still sharing resources with other sites.

Therefore, VPS may experience lower performance than other dedicated hosting options. While you get “unlimited” bandwidth from most providers, you’ll notice the “fair usage” clause if you check the fine print. Hosting companies use this terminology to throttle your server resources if they need to.

Pros

  • A more stable and reliable solution than shared hosting
  • More affordable than dedicated hosting, with similar perks
  • Less downtime
  • If one site crashes, it doesn’t take down the entire server
  • Easy custom configuration
  • Scales with your business

Cons

  • More expensive than a shared hosting option
  • Unmanaged VPS solutions require you to configure the server

What Firms Use VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting is the most common type of hosting for law firms. You get better uptime and performance than a shared service for a little bit more money on your monthly subscription. It’s the ideal choice for migrating from a shared solution when your traffic starts to increase.

Dedicated Hosting

If you’re running a large law firm website, along the lines of Allen & Overy or Clifford Chance, you’re going to need a dedicated hosting service. A dedicated hosting service is the top-tier of web hosting. It gives your site full access to a dedicated server.

With a dedicated hosting service, no-one shares your server, and you have full control over the server resources. A dedicated service is the next stopping point after a VPS, providing the largest sites with fast and efficient processing of requests.

With a dedicated host, you don’t have to worry about other sites crashing the server or slowing down your website performance. It’s more expensive than a VPS, but you get what you pay for, and a dedicated hosting solution provides visitors with fast loading times and speedy opening of webpages.

It’s also important to note that with a dedicated solution, you’re only renting the server from the hosting company, and it remains the property of the company.

Pros

  • More flexibility than VPS or shared hosting
  • You don’t share your server with any other sites
  • Less downtime and server issues
  • Full control over server resources
  • Fast loading times
  • Scales to your web traffic
  • The best choice for SEO

Cons

  • Dedicated hosting is an expensive solution
  • It requires an IT team to configure the server

Which Firms Suit Dedicated Hosting?

Larger law firms processing thousands of daily visitor requests will get the best benefit out of a dedicated hosting solution. You don’t have to worry about the risk of other sites on your server, causing service interruptions.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting was an unpopular choice riddled with bugs in the early days of its release. However, over the last 5-years, developers and hosting companies advanced this tech. Today, it’s a fast, reliable, and effective hosting solution.

A cloud hosting solution is similar to a VPS. The service provider runs an infrastructure network of servers connected through the cloud. Therefore, attorney websites don’t rely on a single server for resources. If a site goes down, the system allocates your website resources from other servers without experiencing any lag in performance.

As a result, you get a high-quality, effective, secure hosting solution with no downtime. Cloud solutions also come with unlimited scalability. You can adjust your hosting requirements as your traffic grows.

Pros

  • Unlimited scalability
  • The hosting company allocates resources across the network, preventing crashes
  • No hardware limitations
  • An excellent choice for security against cyberthreats like DDOS attacks

Cons

  • Unpredictable billing

Which Law Firms Suit Cloud hosting?

Cloud hosting services are the way of the future. We expect more law firms to start exploring this alternative as we move deeper into the information age. A cloud solution suits any size firm, with any requirements.

Managed Hosting

When signing up for a VPS, dedicated, cloud, or shared hosting, you have the option of going with a managed service.

If you choose an unmanaged service, it means that you’ll need to rely on an in-house or outsourced IT department to help your setup and configure the server. After setup, you’ll need access to a team of IT professionals if you experience any issues with your hosting on your end.

A managed solution is ideal for law firms that want to run a dedicated or VPS solution without any technical know-how or access to IT resources. With a managed hosting solution, the hosting company takes care of the site and server for you.

It’s a great choice to ensure fast recovery from problems affecting your server or website. Managed hosting solutions are available on all hosting packages, except free versions. Some providers might not offer managed hosting for shared subscriptions.

Pros

  • A managed hosting solution
  • A good choice for law firms without an in-house IT department
  • Fast resolving of issues

Cons

  • Expensive compared to unmanaged solutions

Which Law Firms Need Managed Hosting?

Unless you have an in-house IT department or intend to outsource your IT work, a managed solution is the best option. Why worry about the nuances of maintaining your site when you can have the professionals do it for you?

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When rounding up the shortlist of potential web hosts, it’s important to understand each vendor’s offering. We recommend you take the following factors into account before committing to a subscription.

Your Site Requirements and Budget

The first place to start is with your budget when assessing the right hosting solution for your company. If you’re looking to keep costs low, then you’ll need to go with a shared hosting service.

Shared hosting is fine to start, but you’ll eventually need to upgrade as traffic starts arriving at your site in large volumes.

If you expect to increase traffic to your site, choose a company that allows you to migrate your hosting package from shared hosting services to a VPS or dedicated server. This strategy future-proofs your site against any future challenges.

Server Downtime

Server downtime refers to how often you can expect your server to be offline due to a crash or other infrastructure problem. We all want a 100% uptime rating from our provider, but that’s impossible. Servers are machines, and tech is at risk of experiencing technical difficulties.

However, your provider should attend to any downtime issues immediately. Therefore, we recommend looking at hosts that offer a minimum uptime of 99%. Anything lower than this figure will start causing problems with your site and lost traffic.

We recommend going with a service offering uptime of 99.5% or better. There are several online tools available to help you check the uptime on your prospective host network.

Technical Support

As mentioned, websites and servers are a technology that eventually fails. There is zero chance that you won’t encounter some issue when setting up, configuring, or using your website. When problems do arise, you need immediate assistance.

When reviewing your preferred host, look at the options the site has for tech support. If they only offer an email, walk away. You need active lines of communication with your host.

Look for companies offering live 24/7 chat and phone support. If you leave it to email, you could wait for days until someone gets back to you.

Privacy and Security

Check that your prospective host is running a secure operation. Hacking and cybercrime are on the rise in 2020. With more people working from home, cybercriminals use the opportunity to penetrate systems and steal data to sell for a profit on the dark web.

Ensure that your host runs a secure network, complete with SSL certificates, firewall protection, and anti-malware/virus software to prevent security breaches.

Backups

If your hosting provider does experience a security breach, a backup can save your site. Make sure that the hosting company provides automatic backups of your site.

The best hosting companies provide options for manual backups to local hard drives for a third-party security solution. Some hosting companies charge extra for this service, while others offer it included in your subscription.

How does B12 host my website?

After completing your law firm website design, it’s ready for launch with B12. B12 deploys web content to the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), automatically creating and storing copies of S3 objects across several systems. The result is the secure storage of your web files.

B12 serves your law firm website from Amazon EC2 servers located across availability zones in the state of Virginia. Therefore, if any servers or a data center goes offline, your website doesn’t experience any performance drop.

The Amazon CloudFront content distribution network (CDN) secures larger digital assets such as videos and images. The system serves up the content to the request from the closest server to the search engine request location, improving your site’s speed.

The B12 servers also utilize the “LetsEncrypt” service, allowing the installation of HTTPS/TLS certificates, allowing your visitors to verify your identity. Reach out to the B12 team today, and find out how easy it is to build and host your website using this advanced AI-driven platform.

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