I spent the last two hours trying to figure out how to dissect a SQL database, export the data, tiptoe through the maze of proprietary FTP Manager apps to find the files, couldn’t manage, downloaded some 645 megabyte beast of a TAR GZ file, extracted that to find the files I needed, oh, because I couldn’t add plugins to WordPress without an FTP login (which they thought they gave me but didn’t work).
Something that could have taken 2 minutes took 2 hours. Cost? $100 x 2 = $200.
Let’s see, cheap-o hosting costs around $5/month. Better hosting might cost $10 or $20 per month. Over a year, you’ll save $5 x 12 or $15 x 12 = $60 or $180. Of course, there are other advantages to non-bad hosting that would increase the benefit: faster loading times, better maintenance, an interface comprehensible to a hired web developer or designer.
Standards exist so someone else can effectively utilize an otherwise unknown tool.
Take a simple example: a wrench. In fact, there are two standards: inches and fractions of inches and, for the rest of the world, the metric system. Imagine someone coming to a contractor and saying, “Could you tighten this bolt? But one catch: it doesn’t use inches or metric.” The contractor, puzzled, could turn it, sure, get a vice grips and get the job done. But it wouldn’t be the smartest tool for the job. It would take him longer and it might strip the bolt a bit.
I should clarify that the hosting world is a bit of an oddity: cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad. I fully endorse hosting companies like Host Gator (around $4/month) but partly because they use standard tools (e.g. cPanel) that developers are familiar with. If I’m working on a site, I want it to be future proof, I want the next guy who comes along to work on it not to have to reinvent any wheels. I want his wrench to work, I want him to be able to get in, get out, and be efficient.