When it comes to website hosting, recruitment agencies are much like any other business in that they’re affected by downtime, slow speeds, or security issues; all of which can have a significant impact on your business. Here’s what you need to think about when choosing the right hosting for your recruitment website.
Consistency is key in the recruitment industry. Ensure your hosting provider offers at least 99.9% uptime to avoid losing out on potential clients and candidates. In website terms, there’s little worse than your clients or candidates visiting a website and getting a ‘page cannot be displayed’ or ‘404’ error message because your site is offline somehow. Most reputable hosting platforms will offer uptime guarantees of 99.9% (or better).
Shared vs dedicated
Your recruitment website is hosted on a server, which is simply an online computer. Some hosting providers offer shared hosting, which means the computer or its resources are shared out among all the websites hosted on it. Cheaper hosts will tend to bundle more sites together on the same platform, stretching the limited resources further across more of their customers. This can negatively impact how your recruitment website responds, particularly if your ‘neighbours’ on the shared server are busy sites, consuming lots of resources.
Whilst there are other hosting options available – such as VPS (Virtual Private Servers) and others – we’ll talk about the other end of the spectrum to shared hosting, and consider dedicated hosting. This is where the online computer is all yours. It’s typically much more expensive, but for a well-established business with a high volume of website traffic, or mission-critical online resources, then it’s money well-spent in our opinion. It’s possible to specify the level of resources (CPU, Memory, Disk Space, etc.) for your dedicated server that suits your website’s requirements.
In our experience, it’s likely that many startup to SME recruitment agencies probably don’t need a dedicated solution, and should avoid the shared hosting option too. A VPS is our recommended approach as it’s the best of both worlds. You get a fixed amount of resource allocation in a walled-off area of the server. And with it being a cloud-based resource, it can flex and scale as your business grows too.
Slow websites drive visitors away. Think about how long you’ll stay on a website these days when it’s taking forever to load. Not very long if you’re like us. Especially on a mobile device, everything is just a swipe away and it’s easy enough for your clients and candidates to swipe away and visit a competitor’s website.
So, look for hosting services that offer fast SSD storage, optimised servers, and content delivery networks (CDNs) to improve loading times. Speed can also be impacted by the website itself, so make sure caching is enabled, images are optimised, and extraneous stuff is kept to a minimum. A free tool like gtmetrix.com can give a really helpful insight about your site’s overall speed and performance, but will also give you an understanding about the underlying server you’re hosting your website on.
Recruitment agencies handle sensitive and personal data, making security paramount. Choose a host that provides SSL certificates, firewalls, and regular security audits. And if you’re a UK-based agency then you need to ensure you comply with GDPR requirements, with one particular requirement being to ensure that you have the necessary protections in place for the transfer and/or processing of data outside of the UK.
Often you’ll see that the cheapest hosting options are in the US or other international locations, whereas you’ll typically have to pay a small price premium to opt for EU or UK data centres for your data hosting. We’d always recommend this, as not only does it make complying with GDPR easier, it means your data is located physically closer to where your customers are – and that distance, although translating into milliseconds of transfer time for data, can impact overall website performance.
Your hosting needs will grow as your agency expands. Opt for a hosting provider that offers easy scalability options without requiring a full migration. The VPS solution we referred to earlier is an ideal example of this. If you find your site slowing down, or your hosting provider indicates you’re frequently using all or most of your allocated resources, then you can simply increase one or more specification of the server – e.g. add more disk space, add more memory, add more CPUs, or some combination of these.
Issues are inevitable, and when they arise, quick resolution is critical. A hosting provider with 24/7 customer support can be a lifesaver. In many cases, a recruitment agency won’t likely have direct contact with their hosting provider. This will typically be managed via their marketing or digital agency, so it’s important you understand what support options are available and typical response times.
Backup and recovery
Regular backups are essential for safeguarding your data. Ensure your hosting provider offers automated backups and easy recovery options. All the APEX recruitment website solutions include daily offsite backups as standard. Offsite backups are important, in case your server where your website is hosted on dies or becomes corrupted, if you’ve simply saved backups to the same server, your backups are also lost. An offsite backup means in a disaster situation, your website from within the last 24 hours, can be re-activated on a new server.
Navigating the hosting landscape can be complex, but it’s essential for the smooth operation of your recruitment agency. Consider your specific needs and do thorough research before making a decision. The right hosting solution will provide a stable foundation upon which you can build a successful recruitment business.
If you want to talk through anything about your website, or your hosting situation, then get in touch with us today.