5 reasons you should host your website in Microsoft Azure
By Andrew Cox • 16 Mar 2017
There are a million and one places you could host your website, all with varying price ranges and levels of service. A quick Google search will turn up the big players in the market but the currently lesser known newcomer to this largely populated arena is *drum roll please* Microsoft Azure.
That's right my friends, you can host your website in the Microsoft Cloud!
In my time I've crossed paths with many different web hosting services and they all have a lot to offer - sometimes so much it's hard to know what you actually need. So I'm going to break down my five reasons you should think about hosting your website in Azure.
1. Automatic scaling
Every business out there, whichever sector you're in, will have busy periods and slower one and these could come on a daily basis or seasonally throughout the year. However, if you're reading this and thinking you never have a quiet time then I take my hat off to you. You deserve a cuppa and a sit down because whatever you are doing you're doing it right.
If you do experience those peaks and troughs on your website, Azure can help. It can automatically scale your server based on this fluctuation, so surges in traffic won't be a problem, thus avoiding your website crumbling all around you. Microsoft Azure also offers per-minute billing so on the flip side in those quiet times, you're not paying for anything you don’t need.
2. Development deployment
There's nothing worse than having a brilliant idea for a new design or functionality on your website and not being able to test it before it's live. This can stop you rolling out the change altogether or having to test it after it's already been let loose on the public, (meaning you could end up missing leads or leaving users with a negative experience of your website and in turn, your business).
Azure swiftly pushes this problem to one side with staging deployment. This allows you to deploy your shiny new creation into a staging area for testing and proofing. Then, when you're happy that all's well, you can push that to production. Magic! You can do all the testing and innovation you want and the user doesn’t encounter bugs or bad UI.
3. Backing up your website
Backups are frequently talked about in pretty much all business areas but a lot less so when it comes to websites. But why? In a lot of cases a company's website is its hub for lead generation, supplies information to customers, takes orders through e-commerce and many more. So what would happen if that was gone?
The common misconception is that your website would only fail if it's been tampered with externally. Unfortunately this isn't the case. More often than not, a change is made internally that can bring a website down. Azure lets you backup and replicate your website manually or automatically to any of their geographic locations so, if in the unlikely event you need to revert to a previous version, you can restore to it.
4. Your favourite CMS is just a click away
A huge percentage of websites now run on a content management system, which makes complete sense. For a website to be successful it has to be continually evolving, both in content and design, and a CMS is your friend for this.
As useful as these are, if you're not 'in the know' these systems can sometimes be hard to install and get functioning properly. Azure has you covered here.
Systems such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and my own personal favourite Modx, are all in the Azure marketplace, ready and waiting for you to install and gleefully start playing with.
5. Lightning fast
We live in a fast-paced world. Everyone is looking for the 'best of everything' as quickly as possible. Let's say a potential customer is looking at your website on the train, they're minutes away from their stop and your website won't load. That my friends, is a customer lost.
your website won't load. That my friends, is a customer lost. Your website speed also has implications when it comes to your SEO efforts so this is an area that should not be overlooked. With a huge content delivery network, Azure has the resources to reduce load times, save bandwidth and increase responsiveness. So for a global company, all your users will get the same experience wherever they're joining you from.
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