Choosing The Perfect Web Hosting Service for Your Business
In my article, “6 Steps to Building A Website for Your Small Business,” I gave six simple steps to launch your business's online presence. In that article, I touched on selecting a host for your website. In this article, I will go into more detail about Choosing The Perfect Web Hosting Service for Your Business.
Where Do I Start?
If you are new to website building and hosting, “where do I start?” may be your most daunting question. Where do you start? Do not start by researching web hosting services, what they charge, and what they have to offer. From this research, you will only learn what is available and what it will cost. You could then make the mistake of choosing a hosting service based only on cost.
So, where do you start? Start with your business.
- What is the nature of your business?
- What do you want an online presence to do for your business?
- Promote your business?
- Capture a reasonable margin of the market share?
- What will be your market reach (local, regional, national, global)?
- Provide legitimacy for your business?
- Sell products?
- What will be the nature of the content for your website?
There is more that could be listed here, but these questions will give a good start at identifying the requirements of a website for your business.
Based on your answers to the questions above, you will have vital information to use in selecting a web host. You can then identify which category you fall into below :
Less than average usage – The following website content will result in less than average bandwidth and storage:
- Basic information about the business
- Informational blogs
- Low to moderate traffic (less than 30,000 users per month)
- Storage needs primarily consist of website images and a few files for download.
- A low amount of file downloads or uploads
Average usage – The following content will have moderate bandwidth and storage usage:
- Medium to medium-high traffic (30,000 to 150,000 users per month) – 100Mbps is needed for every 1,000 users.
- One or two of these activities in moderation:
- Streaming music
- Video conferencing
- Large image files
- A moderate amount of data
- A moderate amount of one or two of these items:
- Audio files
- Video files
- Image files
Higher than average usage – Increase everything under average use to high rather than moderate amounts. As traffic increases, bandwidth will increase regarding every activity on your website.
What Kind of Hosting Will I need?
Assuming you have worked through the questions above, you now have enough information to consider the hosting you need.
Using the information you have gleaned to this point, you have a general idea of your storage and bandwidth requirements. With this knowledge, consider the three hosting options: shared, virtual private, and dedicated, described in the digital.com article, “How To Choose a Web Hosting Provider.”
With shared hosting, multiple sites use the same IP address and reside on the same server. This is the most economical form of web hosting, as the hosting company splits the cost of a physical server among multiple sites.
The main advantage of shared hosting is its price. However, you are also at the mercy of the bandwidth other sites on the same server use. If a large amount of traffic goes to another location on the same server, it slows your site considerably.
Also, if another site on the same server is engaging in nefarious behavior and has its IP blocked by spam filters, your site may be affected as well. Reliable hosting providers prevent this but you should take this possibility into account.
Virtual Private Server Hosting
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is the next step up in web hosting technology. While you still share the same physical server with other sites, you are set up with a unique virtual server and a unique IP address. This unique IP address keeps your site separate from other sites on the server.
If you choose VPS hosting you have the advantage of being able to manage more features on your server yourself and eliminate blacklisting risks like those with shared hosting. There are some limitations on how much traffic a VPS can handle, but most sites for individuals or small businesses will never come close to exceeding these limitations.
With dedicated hosting, your physical server or servers are for your website only. This is a more expensive type of hosting, but it is also the most reliable.
Large companies require the use of dedicated hosting services to guarantee uptime and to secure their site. This option is best for efficiency; but, again, it is far more expensive. There are options that help deflect the cost. Through Amazon Web Services (AWS), for example, where you can pay as you go to maintain better control over the costs.
The Top Web Hosting Providers
Best Overall Hosting
For individuals or companies who decide that shared hosting fits their needs, you can’t get a better deal than Bluehost. It provides one of the least expensive starting packages for web hosting and includes a full 50GB of storage space at its lowest level plans. It also boasts an impressive 99.99% uptime. We found that its rates and support are among the best in the business for first-time users.
Best Hosting for Customer Support
Siteground provides a suite of excellent services, including reliable web hosting and fully managed WordPress hosting. Their hosting also comes with useful addons for e-commerce, including WooCommerce.
While SiteGround tends to be slightly more expensive than some of its competitors, it consistently provides some of the best service and fastest speeds available on the internet. It is ideal for beginners (it has several easy-to-use drag and drop tools), and established companies. They are a solid choice for a web host.
Best Budget Hosting
Hostinger stands out as an especially good option for hosting users who are on a tight budget. While Hostinger’s plans are exceptionally affordable it doesn’t mean they’re missing any key features. It provides a wide range of services that will satisfy most small businesses. Its entry-level packages are very affordable and can scale up to meet the needs of more demanding sites. Even the lowest-level shared hosting plan includes SSD storage, a free SSL certificate, and managed auto-updates for WordPress.
More on Hosting
Have your questions on hosting not yet been answered? You can take a deeper dive by checking out these other articles at Digital:
Once you have settled on a hosting plan, it is time to consider additional features you will need for your website. These include Email, SSL security, and web builders.
Email Accounts – You will likely want multiple email accounts based on your business domain. For instance, [email protected] You will want to be sure the service you select includes email accounts in your hosting package.
SSL Security – SSL security assures that data transferred to and from your website is safe. Having this safeguard has become a must on today's internet. Most browsers will either warn you or block you when you are about to enter a website that does not have SSL. Receiving an unsafe warning in your browser about the website you are about to visit does not engender confidence in the business that operates the website.
Whether or not a hosting service includes SSL in its hosting package, you can purchase and install a certificate yourself. But it is a nice perk if included in the package, saving you approximately $50 annually.
Web Builders – You will need an application to build your business website. What does the hosting service you are considering offer? Many include a website builder app with drag-and-drop features. These can be relatively simple to learn to use, but will they offer you the flexibility you need?
Apart from a web builder app included in a hosting service package, there are two main options: build an HTML website or use a CMS app such as WordPress. A significant percentage of websites on the internet are run on WordPress sites.
A WordPress website can offer greater flexibility than drag-and-drop builders, especially when using a custom theme. It is helpful to use a professional designer to get the most out of a WordPress site. I recommend Elite Web Presence services for a custom WordPress or HTML site.
Should you choose WordPress to power your website, consider selecting a hosting service that specializes in hosting WordPress sites. Such hosting services will usually offer additional tools to enhance your WordPress-powered site.
It can be challenging to decide on a web hosting provider with all the available options. To help you narrow down your choices, we've put together a list of factors to keep in mind and some top providers. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!
Is there a topic you would like me to address? Please let us know in the comments below or on our contact form.
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