Once a system has been built there can be a temptation to get the cheapest possible hosting and forget about it. Often the original developer of the system will disappear, perhaps taking critical password information with them, resulting in risk of lockout and system collapse for the client.
At RareEarth Digital we believe that going live with a system is just another step in the process of improving your systems to put you in control of a growing, healthy business and reduce your exposure to risk.
We strongly recommend that we host and support any systems we build. This avoids the risk you run if your hosting company is not the company that built the systems: each might point to the other when something goes wrong, with the truth being somewhere in-between.
When we do support systems hosted elsewhere we take the time to ensure a strong relationship with the company hosting them, so that we can coordinate responses to any issues, giving the client a seamless and pain free service.
Often clients are not aware of everything that is necessary to keep a system healthy and ensure that it evolves effectively along with your business. Here is a list of some of the things that we routinely handle so you don’t have to worry about them:
- Best-in-class website hosting
- Telephone and online support
- Security updates
- Functional updates
- Hosting upgrades to keep your systems running smoothly
- Maintenance of documentation
- Source code management
- Regular performance review
Best-in-class website hosting
Site performance is critical to how your site ranks not just with search engines, but also with users. Even a well-built site can be let down by cheap and unreliable hosting, and on a number of occasions we have had clients come back to us having found that a small amount of cost saving in hosting has actually cost them many times more in site outages or slow response time for users.
Telephone and online support
Our team work together in a single UK-based office. We don’t outsource development work. We answer the phone and are dedicated to dealing with any support requests swiftly and efficiently.
If we spot things that are broken, we fix them.
There is a regular flow of new threats to system security, not just for popular platforms like WordPress. If you don’t update your security you risk being hacked and losing private client data.
Our support contracts provide for a certain amount of development time per month. For smartphone apps there are new versions of iOS and Android launched yearly, and these updates can require changes to code to support the changes. Business requirements can also changes, requiring changes to systems.
If you don’t do ongoing maintenance and fixes then gradually your code rots, resulting in a much bigger cost down the line.
Hosting upgrades to keep your systems running smoothly
The hosting servers that deliver your websites or intranet need regular updates, just as your code and systems do. We make improvements in security and performance to the underlying infrastructure that hosts your systems that flow down into improvements in security and performance for your systems themselves.
Maintenance of documentation
Maintenance of documentation is often overlooked. We ensure that all systems we support have up-to-date documentation so that any of our developer staff can support any system by referring to the documentation, making appropriate changes and updating.
We typically use a wiki format for documentation to allow multiple staff to access and edit the information.
Source code management
As systems become more complex it is vital that changes to code are not made in a haphazard way when multiple developers are involved. It is also vital that if problems occur it is quick and simple to revert to a known working version of a system.
We use full distributed source code management tools to ensure development can be done safely and securely on both live and development systems without the risk of losing control of changes.
Regular performance review
Nothing stays still nowadays, it seems. At Rare Earth Digital we review each website, app or other system that we support on a six-monthly basis. At this point we look at the system from a number of points of view:
- Is it still effectively doing what it’s meant to do?
- Could it be doing it better?
- Are there improvements from a technical or business perspective we would recommend?
It’s a bit like an MOT for your systems. Our clients also find that it often turns up interesting new opportunities for them to grow their businesses.