Why choose Pixelcarve’s Website Maintenance and Hosting services?

April 17, 2020

Our website hosting services are much less about the hosting, and much more about security, maintenance, and support. The hosting itself is just a perk.

95% of our clients host with us because they get to sleep well at night knowing;

  • their website is in a custom built, hardened and secure environment,
  • being maintained with active software patches and updates, manually QA’d by a human being,
  • monitored with monthly reports,
  • and that we are the only point of contact that they ever need to think about.

So, let’s dig into each one of those a bit more.

  1. A hardened server customized to your website (and vice versa).

    Our server is hardened, finely tuned, and heavily customized to serve only the specific needs of the websites that we build here in-house at Pixelcarve. This means it’s not a one-size fits all solution like other shared website hosting platforms. Anything that is not needed, is not enabled, limiting potential security vulnerabilities. Everything that is needed is tested, optimized, patched regularly, hardened, and secure.

    It also integrates with our development tools and deployment framework, to ensure powerful code consistency and ease of maintenance.

  2. It’s actually 3+ websites in 1.

    We use an Enterprise-type deployment system called Capistrano, which is integrated with our code repository. This is connected to 3 different versions of the website in our development environment, staging, and live.

    The website’s code and database are managed and synced across these environments under managed control, allow total flexibility in applying patches, updates and code revisions (including by multiple developers working at the same time), without ever affecting the live website until everything is securely pushed live at all once.

    We do not use a file and FTP based development environment (common amongst less experienced developers), because it has none of this flexibility and it inherently less secure.

  3. Add-ons are included

    In addition to the platform (technology), and the maintenance (labour), our monthly fees also include many important add-ons such as integration with sophisticated reporting and monitoring tools, SSL, subscription fonts used on the website, virus protection, etc. Every month our clients receive a detailed report with quantifiable metrics about how their website is doing.

  4. Single point of contact

    The peace-of-mind from having only one e-mail or phone number to contact if you have a problem cannot be overstated. If 3 different companies are involved – 1 to build the website, another to host it, and a 3rd to maintain it, there is a high possibility of finger pointing, stepping on toes, misidentifying problems, and general chaos.

    Our clients trust us to create, maintain, and host their website, and they get comfort from knowing that if they need us, we’re available, and we will take care of them.

Comparable services of this calibre are sold to the general market for thousands of dollars a month. We can charge much less because we only host our own client’s websites. We can mitigate our risks and ensure minimal labour time because we created the code.

Do the websites we build have to be hosted with us? No, absolutely not. We purposefully build websites using open source tools in order to give clients choice and freedom. However, those same tools, by their very nature, come with risks. So, we also build tools and technology to ensure our clients have the option for peace of mind, by ensuring their websites are as safe as can be.

Are there alternative options for hosting?

So what happens if one of our clients does want to host their websites inside their own environment, or using another service?

Firstly, we do need to vet that hosting environment to ensure it meets the standards and requirements of the website that we have built. It should be secure and using the latest software versions. It must also be accessible via secure SSH and grant us root access.

Other than that, it can be a standard hosting environment. But here are some things to consider.

  1. If you do not choose to also keep a version of the site hosted in our environment and engage us with a maintenance and support contract, then the website will not receive active protection and maintenance from us.
  2. CMS patches to the site will be made live, which puts your public site at risk should something go wrong. The same is true for code changes uploaded to the site via FTP.
  3. If you come back to us to make code changes to the site, we will have to re-provision the site into our development environment, which we do at our hourly rate prior to making requested changes.
  4. We also have to charge by the hour to deploy a website to 3rd party web servers, since we have no way of knowing what their configuration requirements are. For example – cheap, shared consumer services like GoDaddy do not have very good documentation around specific account features, and often their technical support is junior. It’s been known to take a day or more just to get a website working properly on a system like that.

Why wouldn’t a client want to host their website with us?

There are some good reasons actually, this article is primarily meant to be informative and is not a sales pitch. We built a strong platform that we feel offers tremendous value, but there are always unique situations for every client.

If an organization has their own internal infrastructure, a capable IT team with strong development experience in the technology stack of the website, and are available 24/7, then it’s not necessary to host with us. Additionally, if price is more important than security and performance, it may well be fine to use an inexpensive mass-market hosting service.

At the end of the day, it’s completely up to our clients where they host their website.

We just strongly encourage them to choose a solution that ensures the security, performance, and support that will meet the needs of their organization.

To discuss our maintenance and hosting solutions with us, please reach out.