Laser Technik Ltd

Server upgrade

Management summary:

You site has been moved to a faster, more robust system at no cost to you.

Over the past 25 years we’ve moved our client sites several times in pursuit of better web hosting services. It’s a complicated and time consuming task.  We have undertaken it at no cost to the client and with, at most, a couple of hours off-line (usually overnight).  In over 25 years we’ve only needed to increase the cost of hosting for a small number of sites that became very popular and needed a more powerful server.  Of course circumstances can change…


Your web site is located on a computer running a piece of software called a Web Server. How well the hosting works is important to your web site. It needs to be fast and reliable. That’s what we aim for.

If you look around at what’s available you’ll find web hosting prices ranging from free to tens of thousands p.a.  Every hosting service offers different features.  In simple terms: the more you pay the more and better you get.  You don’t want the worst and you can’t afford the most costly.  You want that which offers the best fit to your needs.  It’s like buying a car, the little 2 seater Smart car is totally impractical for most of us, we need to carry more passengers, shopping and luggage.  A nice new Bentley addresses those needs but with levels of luxury and engineering resulting in a price a little beyond my budget.  The majority of new cars sold are family saloons with room for  the family and their luggage at a more realistic cost.

The family saloon category still covers a range of features and prices, perhaps you have 4 kids and need a 7 seater.  Web hosting too is not “one size fits all”, some web sites need extra features not needed by most and that may have an impact on cost. There’s a substantial list of features available, you only need those relevant to your circumstances. It can be difficult to choose without an understanding of what each means in practical terms – and unfortunate if you sign up to a deal that omits a technical feature important to your web site.  Most SME web sites fit the “family salon” analogy.

As a hosting provider it’s difficult too: how to explain what amount to dozens of technical features without just adding to the confusion?

Our answer is to use our expertise to identify which bundle of features delivers the benefits each web-site needs.  Fundamentally those are speed and reliability but there are technical aspects like database services, software and computer languages (and versions) available, backup policies.

We no longer operate our own servers but buy services from specialists.  That gives us the flexibility to change providers as the various offerings evolve and to use specialist providers where that is the best way to address your needs.

Saying “trust us to make the best choice for your needs” is all very well but if you’re new to our services how can we ask you to trust our judgement? So I will attempt to explain some of the key features we provide:

  • Solid State Disk (SSD) storage.  That means your web site is stored on silicon chip memory instead of mechanical Hard Disk Drives (HDD).  The benefit is speed, your web pages are faster to load. SSD is typically 4 to 10 times the speed of HDD.  SSD is more expensive but uses less power and, with no moving parts, is more reliable.
  • Fast internet connection.  Just as home broadband connections range from under 1 Mbit/sec to as much as 1000 Mbit/sec, so do web server connections.  Home users on slow broadband will complain of TV shows “buffering” (pausing to await more data).  A similar problem arises if your web host’s internet connection is too slow.  The benefit of a fast internet connection to the server is speed, your web pages will load faster.
  • Generous bandwidth provision.  Bandwidth is a measure of the amount of internet data your web site sends, it is relatively costly, every time anyone accesses your website they use some of that bandwidth.  This is comparable with mobile phone packages.  They come with a data allocation (used for such as accessing web pages over the phone network). That allocation can be quite small and if you exceed the limit it can become costly.  A similar constraint applies to web hosting, even those offering “unlimited bandwidth” have a small-print condition of “subject to fair usage” and/or will apply throttling to slow down access to your web site and so reduce network usage.   We aim to provide at least twice as much bandwidth as we expect you to need (and when creating a web site we aim to minimise the bandwidth requirement by such as minimising the filesize of component parts like images).
  • Generous disk-storage provision. We aim for disk capacity of double what we actually need.  As you may have found on your own computers, performance can drop as disk usage gets over about 80%.  There are hosting packages that promise unlimited disk storage, that’s just marketing.  What they mean is “more than adequate for most users” and is subject to a fair-use clause (which basically means it’s NOT unlimited).  Any of our clients with unusually large disk storage needs will pay a small premium above the standard generous allocation.
  • Backups.  Most hosting services provide backups.  This is for reliability.  Things can break, people can accidentally delete something important.  You need daily backups, storage of (a number of) past backups, “on-demand” backups and free restoration of backups on demand. But not just that, in view of a major fire at a major French web hosting company in early 2021, some clients lost both web server and the backups stored in the same location.  Our backups are sent to a separate data centre.  Backups for the UK server are made on a server in The Netherlands so in case of a major disaster in UK the data is still safely stored.
  • Software: This topic is much more complicated, there are thousands of choices.  At a detail level you may not know what you need until you find your chosen host doesn’t provide it. We address that problem by building web sites knowing what software is available at the host.  Where a less-common requirement arises we will use specialist hosting.
  • Use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN).  A CDN keeps copies of your web site on servers distributed all over the world.  The benefits of that are speed and reliability
    • We provide a basic CDN at no cost delivering 99.99% availability, a premium alternative is available, intended to provide near 100% availability and still higher perfomance – POA. 
    • reliability: copies of your web content are stored on more than one server in more than one location.
    • speed: users on the other side of the globe may get your web pages faster than having to communicate round the globe (by fetching your web site from a web server closer to their location)
    • speed: if there is congestion on the internet between a web site visitor and your primary server, pages will be fetched from a more distant server if that will deliver them faster.
  • Monitoring we have independent monitors tracking website availability so we are alerted should any issues arise.
  • Capacity over-run tolerance Some hosts stop responding if there’s an unexpected peak in demand requiring more than the allocated bandwidth. We allow a considerable capacity margin to cope with unexpected peaks in demand. For example we had a client who owned a chain of country inns.  When Tony Blair took George Bush to his local pub suddenly the whole worlds media wanted to take a look at the web site.  Although demand was way above contracted resource provision our server handled it seamlessly and at no additional cost. Only if usage was consistently that high would there be a cost implication.

Testament to our success at selecting the best hosting is that we remain price competitive with server connection speeds well above average and annualised web-site availability has never fallen below 99.99% .