Congratulations, you’ve decided to start a small business. That means you need a website, which is essential for the success of a small business, no matter what field you’re operating in. A website is a marketing tool to help you build and grow your business. If you’re in e-commerce, it’s also the way you sell your products. You’ll need to invest in website hosting to bring your website to life. When shopping around for web hosting, you’ll be confronted by many different options, reams of jargon and a wide range of price points. Don’t be overwhelmed. In this article, we’ll explain what to look for in web hosting for your small business, as well as some good places to start.
Why do I Need Web Hosting?
Your web host provides the infrastructure that powers your website. It also stores the content, such as text and video, that is displayed on your website.
Types of web hosting can be broadly split into three groups, depending on the servers used:
Shared Hosting: Where the data for more than one website is stored on the same server.
Dedicated Server: Where you are given your own individual server to store your website.
Virtual Private Server (VPS): Where your website’s data is stored across many different servers.
What to Look for in Your Web Hosting Package
There are hundreds of different web hosts in the market, all offering many different hosting packages to their customers. Here are the most important things to look for in a hosting package.
Uptime: Uptime is the amount of time your site is live. You want downtime on your site to be minimal.
Speed: Your customers won’t want to wait for your site to load. Make sure your host serves your site as quickly as possible.
Security: Make sure your site is safe from hackers and spammers. This is essential if you are going to be dealing with customer data on your site.
Features: Make sure your host provides you with everything you need to make your site and business a success, such as dedicated email accounts. If you are planning to design your own site rather than use a developer, find a host that offers a website builder.
Support: Running a business is hard enough without having to learn how to fix a website if it goes wrong. Make sure your host offers adequate support. Check online reviews to find out other customers’ opinions.
Upgrades: Make sure your website grows with your business. Don’t be tied to hosting packages that restrict your storage or visitor numbers.
Price: With web hosting, you get what you pay for. Don’t try to purchase web hosting on the cheap, as you won’t get the service you need. Find a balance.
Best Web Hosting Companies for Small Businesses
Bluehost, based in Utah, is one of the most popular web hosts in the market, powering more than two million websites globally.
They offer all of the main types of web hosting, shared hosting, dedicated server and VPS, as well as cloud hosting options. When you take out a hosting package with Bluehost, you receive a domain and an SSL certificate as part of the deal. There is also 24/7 support and a 30-day money back guarantee. Bluehost also specialize in WordPress hosting.
Prices start from $2.95 per month for a basic package, rising to $119.99 per month for a premium dedicated server package. Find the package that is right for your business.
HostGator is one of the biggest names in the hosting arena, as well as in domain registration. They’re based in Austin, Texas.
The primary selling point for HostGator is affordability. It’s all about value for money. HostGator offers shared hosting and cloud hosting packages at an excellent price, but you don’t have to compromise on functionality. Hosting is compatible with WordPress, Joomla, Magento (great for your e-commerce business) and many other web applications. HostGator offers 24/7 support and a free domain name and SSL certificate with all hosting packages.
Prices start from $2.75 month for the ‘Hatchling’ plan.
Based out of Sofia, Bulgaria, SiteGround is one of Europe’s premier web hosting companies.
The focus for SiteGround is on top-level technical support. This leads to near 100% customer satisfaction scores. Security is also essential to SiteGround, providing SSL certificates and state-of-the-art firewall technology to all customers. Being based within the EU, they are also knowledgeable regarding GDPR, the new rules about how businesses must handle customer data for EU citizens. If your business will be handling data online, this could be very useful.
Prices begin at $3.95 for a basic hosting package. If you need something tailored for your business, SiteGround will compile a bespoke hosting package, just for you.
Based in Florida, TMDHosting prides itself on the technical ability of its hosting. If speed and reliability are important to your business, TMDHosting could be the option for you.
TMDHosting offers all the leading types of hosting. Their packages are compatible with all the main open source web apps, including WordPress and OpenCart. TMDHosting also claims to have the easiest drag-and-drop website builder, handy if you’re planning to build your business’ website yourself.
Prices begin at $2.95 per month for a shared hosting package.
Whatever your priorities may be for your business website, you can find a web hosting company, and a web hosting package, that is right for you. Remember to check reviews, and don’t be afraid to give the web hosting companies a call if you need to discuss anything. They want to bring you on board as a customer for the long-term, so they will always be happy to help.