What to Look For When Selecting a Web Host and Hosting Package
A reliable website hosting service is a must for any small business owner with a website. The ultimate goal of your website is to attract customers and hold their interest long enough to conduct your business. Without the appropriate web host, your site will not successfully be able to do this on its own.
Every small business website owner faces the same question when it comes to choosing the best web hosting package: how do I determine which web hosting service offers me everything that I need for a successful online presence?
There are many factors and features that go into deciding which hosting provider and package are right for you.
The most important thing you can do when selecting an appropriate web hosting service for your small business website is to take the time to consider all of your unique needs and how they fit into a web hosting package. It’s easy to under-buy or over-purchase web hosting if you don’t take a few minutes to research exactly what you’re ordering.
5 Things to Check When Picking a Web Hosting Company and Hosting Package
1. Hosting Server Resources & Limitations
A lot of web hosts will wow you with the word “unlimited” but not actually tell you about the server specs. How much memory or RAM does your website get? What type of CPUs does the web hosting plan offer? This information may seem trivial to some or be too technical for others to understand, but if your website has special requirements, uses a lot of resources, or receives a lot of traffic, this cannot be overlooked. When in doubt, consult with a professional web designer.
2. Ease of Use of Hosting Panels
Hosts provide a wide range of tools for accessing your server or portion of the server. The most popular tool, and very common to find on hosting plans today is cPanel. cPanel provides a visual interface for you to create email accounts, set up FTP or SSH access, install WordPress or other web-based software, control domain settings, and more. Other hosts provide their own proprietary hosting panels or only allow access via terminal or a command line. cPanel is generally considered the most user-friendly option for hosting interfaces.
3. Support & Reliability
Does the host offer support via telephone, live chat, ticketing system, or email support options? Does it look like they are active on social media? Do they respond quickly to DMs on Twitter? If you have presales questions, how quickly did they respond? These are things to consider when judging the support you may receive, after signing up for a web hosting plan with them.
4. Hosting Plan Cost
What does it cost to sign up? Can you save by paying annually? What exactly do you get for that price? Can you add more features, storage space, bandwidth, or other things as needed? Do they have a reasonable monthly fee option even if your site takes off and needs more server resources to handle the traffic load? Look into these factors carefully before choosing a web hosting company for small business websites.
5. Types of web hosting plans offered.
Do you need shared hosting, VPS hosting, or dedicated? Look around at all the different small business web hosting options you have. Which are best for you and what’s going to meet your requirements now and into the future. It’s not impossible to switch hosts later, but migrating your website can be complicated if you haven’t done it before.
What’s the Difference Between Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, and Dedicated Hosting?
Shared hosting is the most affordable web hosting option and can be used by any hobby or small business website.
With shared hosting, you are renting your own small portion of the server’s resources (CPU, disk space, and bandwidth). It’s best for businesses with simple websites that don’t have heavy traffic or a lot of images (sending large files over email can also slow down some shared hosts).
When you need more powerful resources than what a basic shared host offers, you may want to look into virtual private servers (VPS) or dedicated hosting plans. VPS uses a partition from a server where each customer has their own operating system which they can customize. Dedicated servers offer customers their own complete server with all the resources on a server to themselves.
Dedicated servers are best suited for businesses with high traffic or complex websites, and often require more technical expertise on the part of the customer than other hosting packages.
It Pays to Pick the Right Web Hosting Company & Plan!
A few years ago, we had one client switch from GoDaddy to SiteGround. As a result, their website is nearly three times faster and their saving $2200 per year on hosting and an additional $360 per year on SSLs (they had 6 domains secured at $59.99/yr per SSL from GoDaddy).
SiteGround isn’t the solution for everyone, but as you can see for this one client, they managed to save over $2500 per year by shopping around and understanding exactly what they were getting.
Can I Use Shared Web Hosting for My Small Business Website?
If you’re thinking about going with shared web hosting for your business, know the risks associated with it.
Small business websites can do fine with a good shared hosting provider. However, if you’re running a heavy-duty site (such as a social networking website) with many users and lots of media files that are being uploaded to the server all the time, shared hosting plans might not be able to handle it.
5 Reasons Shared Web Hosting Is Not Recommended for All Businesses
1. It oftentimes has inconsistent performance because it shares resources with many other websites on the same server.
2. The host may oversell the server space so it’ll be much slower than needed or desired.
3. Shared hosting usually limits access to most of the server configurations, which is not good for managing your website.
4. If you rely on shared web hosts, there will be some time when your website might run slower than usual due to the nature of sharing a server with sometimes thousands of other websites.
5. Finally, if your web server is frequently offline or non-responsive (slow, not mobile-responsive), that’s going to make a quick negative impact on your search rankings.
How much does it cost to host a small business website?
Hosting can easily range from just a few bucks per month to several thousand dollars per month. For many small businesses, you can expect to pay between $7 and $80 per month for great web hosting. The quality and type of hosting will impact the price.
Shared Web Hosting Costs
The average shared web host for small business websites will cost around $7 per month, with some hosts being as low as $2.95/mo. This price will vary if they offer cPanel, multiple domains, access to email, etc…
VPS Hosting Costs
VPS plans are one of the best web hosting solutions available. They can handle high-traffic websites, provide a safe and secure environment, and offer great dependability. You get full-fledged hosting at an affordable price, usually between $30 and $80 per month.
Dedicated Hosting Costs
A dedicated hosting plan generally starts around $100 per month and can exceed $1000+ per month depending on your website’s exact needs. As you can see, dedicated web hosting plans are not an affordable web hosting option for all businesses, which is why we suggest VPS hosting is the best choice for most business websites.
Which web hosts do we recommend for small businesses?
We work with dozens of web hosts each year and have been managing websites for over a decade. Based on our experience working with many small business hosting companies, we feel like we’re in a good position to tell you which are the best hosting sites for small businesses.
SiteGround is probably our favorite web hosting company for small businesses. We recommend SiteGround because they have an outstanding professional-grade customer service team, do daily backups, provide prompt refunds, and offer lots of bandwidth and disk space. You get a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt for every single domain you have hosted with SiteGround too. If that’s not enough, did you know that SiteGround has a 100% renewable energy match program?
WP Engine Hosting
WP Engine is another great small business web host with lots of features, specifically tailored for hosting WordPress websites. They do automated, daily backups of your website and allow you to setup a staging/production environment using a friendly interface. Every website gets an SSL certificate, and their support team actually understands WordPress and can help troubleshoot issues related to WordPress over a live chat.
Digital Ocean is a popular web host for developers who want to use the cloud and their high-performance tech stack. If you like spinning up droplets, creating snapshots of your server, having full root access, and using SSH, then Digital Ocean is probably best for you. Just be aware that if you’re not tech-savvy or don’t have a developer on your team, Digital Ocean might not be the best option, even with it’s great pricing plans.
Want Help Selecting the Best Web Hosting for Your Small Business Website?
When selecting a host, it’s important to keep in mind a few things: a realistic budget, assumed web traffic quantity, marketing plans, security needs, and your company’s technical background.
Good web hosting deals can be found, but if the price is the first thing you look for, you may be disappointed. Selecting the best web host for your business site is important and shouldn’t be rushed. As we mentioned, a poor choice can negatively impact your business’s presence on the web.
Take the guesswork out of the process by having Bocain Designs web host your small business website.