Shopping for Web Design or Hosting?

Everyone needs a web site. In order for anyone in the world to see your site, at any hour of the day or night, your web site should be hosted on a reliable, commercial grade server, in a data center, or other secure facility. The server software needs to be kept up to date with proper security measures in place so your site is less vulnerable to being hacked.

We've put together this chart to help you select a web design and/or web hosting company. The two DO NOT have to be the same. You could certainly have a design agency create your web site and then use another company to host it. In fact, we recommend this. Design agencies usually do not have the expertise necessary to properly manage servers. Many times, they will use a third party then add on some fees for you.

Design215 founder, Robert Giordano, started as a developer and continues to develop web apps used worldwide. Because of this, we have our own commercial grade servers (both owned and leased) that we use for our own web sites. As mentioned elsewhere, we do not want to be in the high volume hosting business. We host a limited number of web sites for our commercial clients that want additional security, redundancy, and privacy. Our clients have custom, hand-coded web sites, built to match their specific needs, without any extra plug-ins, or code that constantly plague other plaforms like Wordpress.

Whether Design215 is right for you or not, the following chart can help you choose between any set of web design/hosting companies:

Topic Design215 HOST B HOST C
Price While this shouldn't be the deciding factor, it's still the first question asked, so let's get it out of the way. While some companies using a sliding scale to get more money from bigger clients, we give everyone the same deal. In fact, our clients who've been with us for 10+ years are still paying their original rate of $198/year for hosting.

SSL certificates from Let's Encrypt are INCLUDED.
How Long in Business? Design215 has been in business since 2003, in the same Fort Lauderdale, FL location. We've hosted some of our clients for over fifteen years and they're on their third or fourth web site. We don't recommend any design/hosting company that's been in business less than 5 years. Web design companies come and go. Few last more than 2 or 3 years.
Backup and Mirror Not only do we regularly back up all of our web sites, we have a completely separate server located in a different part of the U.S., running a live backup/mirror of our web sites. If for some reason, the main server goes down, there is another copy of your web site already running on another server. Huge companies like Amazon do this but VERY FEW hosts offer it and some don't even offer automatic backups. Backups are left to the client. This is all included in our yearly rate.

Why do we do this? Because we already do it for our own web sites and our clients are hosted on the same servers, why wouldn't we do it?
Security With more and more commercial web sites getting hacked or completely disabled by ransomware, we are constantly looking at security. We aren't going to make any pompous claims about our security, but we will say that we probably pay more attention to it than other hosts. If you want to have a little fun, visit and type in the name of any web site, then compare it ours or any of our clients. We're NOT perfect but at least we're actively PAYING ATTENTION, and sadly many other designers, agencies, and hosting companies are not.
Privacy We don't host just anyone on our servers. You have to be a client that we know and have worked with. We don't host gaming servers or random people we can't verify. We are the admins of our servers so we can personally look at the server logs and make adjustments to a client's web site if necessary. Very few web design companies have this kind of access or even know what to do with it. Sorry, but it's true.
In-house Web Development Few companies seem to care about this but ALL of our web development is done in-house. All of the information used to build your web site, never leaves our office. People don't think about security when they hire someone in another country to write the backend code for their web site or web application. The foreign labor prices are great, but how do you know that code is secure? How do you know there are aren't backdoors that let hackers gain access to your customers' data? How do you know your data isn't being sold to your competitors?
Check Their Rank So many companies today claim to experts at web design and SEO when all they're doing is downloading Wordpress for free, then installing a $20 template and a few plug-ins. Then they charge you $5000 for all of that work. That is not web development. That is a dog and pony show. But how good is the company? They might be great after all. Maybe their customer service or SEO services are so good, it makes up for the cheap Wordpress template.

But how can you check? Reviews are mostly paid. One thing you can do is look at how much traffic THEIR OWN WEB SITE receives. If they're so good, their own web site should do well on the internet right? You can easily check the popularity of a site by using a tool like Alexa's free traffic analysis. As of January 6, 2021, ranks 503,388 globally (lower numbers are better).

We'll be the first to admit the Design215 web site is usually one of the LAST sites to be updated because we're working on our clients' sites first. Remember the old saying, "The shoemaker's children go barefoot"? Even so, our traffic rank still outshines most web design companies in South Florida, and many other places as well. There is no trick to this. We build simple, clean sites with minimal code, that load fast, and work well across all kinds of devices.

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