How to find the best website hosting for your business?
Once you have registered your domain, it is time to look for a home for your future website.
Hosting is a commodity, but not all hosting companies are created equal.
It is very convenient to sign up for some cheap hosting at the same time you register your domain. But, are you really doing your business a favor, or are you just lazy? Domain registrars make no money on domain registrations, so their goal is to upsell you hosting right away.
The most convenient might not be the best solution for your business. Hosting has become inexpensive, and there are so many companies to choose from.
Personally, I like to work with specialists, companies that specialize in web hosting services like:
Most small businesses should outsource the hosting of their websites to a hosting company, instead of hosting in-house. There is so much that could go wrong in your business, don’t add another headache to your already hectic schedule. Let the pros do the hosting for you.
Shared hosting means that one physical server hosts multiple websites simultaneously. Shared hosting is the most popular option for small business. Web servers running as shared hosts can house several hundreds, even thousands of websites. It is a great way to get your domain online and save money. Shared hosting uses a server configuration that is aimed at loading as many sites on a single server as possible. Shared hosting plans include everything your starter website might need. Most websites are on some sort of a shared environment. It is a quick and inexpensive solution that works for most small businesses with little traffic.
Shared accounts are inexpensive quick and easy setup. You don’t have to be a geek to set up your site. Neither are you required to spend time maintaining a web server. Most shared hosts include features like one-click software installs. For example, if you want your website to be built on WordPress, shared hosting accounts help you install within seconds. You don’t have to code. They made the whole process super easy.
- Cheap – Most people find shared hosting for under $10 per month.
- Convenience – Minimal setup required. When you sign up, virtually everything is done for you. If you don’t know how to do something, support will help you out on the phone or through a ticketing system.
- Control panel – Shared hosting accounts include easy to use control panels. Most everything you need to do can be accomplished by a click of an icon.
- Multiple sites – Most shared hosts allow you to host multiple domains under the same account. For the price of one, you can host two, three, or more sites.
Limited resources are what defines shared hosting. Everything is shared, and performance can be spotty. The most common drawbacks of shared hosting are limited bandwidth, shared IP address, limited storage, slower server response, more crashes, limited support, and resource limitation. Once the server gets hacked everybody’s site on that server is hacked. The hosting company will almost never admit to being hacked. It could take hours to recover it from a backup in case of hardware or software failure. You share the good and the bad with all the other sites on the same server. If there is a site that’s running a script that overloads the server, the performance of each website will be degraded. If the hosting company doesn’t like what you are doing with your site or what your site is doing, they might take it offline, costing you a lot of headaches.
- Revenue loss – If your website is slow, it will turn people off. Your visitors might abandon your site.
- Can’t scale – Shared hosting is great for when you start out, but it can become a bottleneck. Once your website starts to get substantial traffic, there is a good chance that you need to move your site.
- Lack of control – If you want to get server access control, shared is not an ideal solution for you.
- Slow – Shared accounts can be slow, especially during high traffic hours.
- Spam – Spammers like to use cheap shared hosting accounts which can get your site blacklisted with theirs.
Price – Could be as low as a few dollars per month.
A shared hosting account is OK for a brand new website with very little traffic.
Sites that get several thousands of visitors a day should consider a dedicated hosting account. High traffic websites require high performance dedicated hosting servers.
As the name suggests, dedicated hosting accounts are dedicated to one website. You are not fighting for resources with hundreds of other websites. It is the right solution for more established businesses.
Dedicated servers are all about control. You are in full control of the server because you are not sharing it with hundreds of other sites. You can customize it according to your requirements. You are in charge, and you can only blame yourself if your website becomes unavailable. There are no other sites on it to crash it. Because the server is dedicated to your site, your site will load quickly. Dedicated hosting is ideal for high bandwidth use such as streaming video. You have complete freedom to install any program you wish without restrictions.
- Control – If you want complete control over how your server is set up, chose this option. You can configure your server any way you like.
- Constant performance – Since you are not sharing resources with a bunch of other websites, you can expect a much more steady performance.
More expensive than shared hosting. Managing a dedicated host requires a higher level of understanding of the technology than shared hosting. It could take hours to recover it from a backup in case of hardware or software failure.
- More skills required – You will need server admin skills to set up your own web server. If you don’t know how to do it, you will have to pay someone else to do it for you.
- Expensive – There is a price to pay for improved quality. Dedicated hosting accounts can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per month.
Cost – The price tag for dedicated hosting can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on your specific needs.
Cloud hosting is similar to shared hosting. Instead of having hundreds of websites on one physical server, the sites are on a server cluster. I have been using SiteGround cloud hosting for years.
One of the greatest advantages of a cloud site host is the built-in redundancy.
When a shared hosting server crashes, all the sites have to be restored from backup. On a cloud host setup, one server crashed will not bring your site offline. Cloud hosting is more robust than shared hosting but less expensive than a dedicated solution. Also, instead of paying a fixed fee, you are paying for usage. The same way you pay for utilities like gas and electric is how cloud hosts charge.
Virtual Private Servers offer more than a shared host, but less than dedicated hosts. It is a bit of a compromise where for a little extra money, you get a little more than a shared account.
It is a good alternative if you are ready to manage your own server. It is more cost-effective than cloud or dedicated. It allows you to be more in control than you would be with a simple shared hosting account.
It is a great option if you are more hands-on and ready to manage your own server.
Finding Your Host
Finding the right hosting company is no less complicated than finding the right realtor or insurance agent. There are so many of them out there that the task can be overwhelming. The search phrase “hosting company” in Google results in 102 million entries. Searching for a needle in a haystack seems like a child’s play compared to working your way through the seemingly endless number of options.
Asking people you know about hosting companies is a simple way to narrow your search. Don’t settle for the first company you run across. Research; do your homework. It can save you many sleepless nights by knowing that a reliable hosting company is hosting your website. When you search online, visit forums that small business owners frequent and ask for advice.
Beware of so-called “hosting review sites.” Many of them are affiliates of hosting companies only interested in signing up as many people as possible. The value of a review on such a site is zero. It is like asking a used car salesman for an unbiased review on the green Chevy on the back of the lot.
You should always do your own research prior to making a buying decision.
One of the greatest facts about online business is that it is available to your customers twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. At least you hope so. Reliability is measured by uptime. Uptime refers to the percentage of time your website is available to Internet users. 100 percent uptime is ideal, but it never happens. I repeat. 100 uptime doesn’t exist. The closest you can get uptime to 100 percent, the better.
Hosting companies often claim 99.9 percent uptime. Unfortunately, the real number is usually lower than 99.9. Actual uptime is difficult to determine since most of the statistics are self-proclaimed. Often, uptime refers to servers, not the connection to the Internet. It could be possible that your server is running while being disconnected from the Internet. As you narrow down your potential hosting providers, search online with “their names + server uptime.” Don’t just take their word for it; do your own research.
You will be unlikely to find a hosting company where you never run into any problems. On occasion, you will have to rely on support to resolve a problem; therefore, support is one of the most important aspects of a hosting company. Never settle for a hosting company that doesn’t offer 24/7 support, but that is not enough. It has to be phone support. Some hosting companies boast about 24/7 support on their web pages, but when you read the small type, you’ll find that it is only e-mail support. They’ll let you send a support e-mail 24/7, but they’ll respond to you whenever it is convenient for them. That’s like saying, “you can be frustrated at any time, but we’ll only help you during business hours.” If your website needs support at 1 a.m., make sure you can talk to a real person. E-mail support is unacceptable.
Don’t take their word for it; check for yourself. Call tech support and see if you can get through. If you are on hold, how long is the wait? If you can’t get through or are treated disrespectfully, you should look for another hosting company. Is the support knowledgeable? There are more and more hosting companies come to market every day. With so many choices, don’t settle for less than great quality of service.
Free Web Hosting
It is possible to get free web hosting accounts, but you should avoid them for several reasons.
Free hosting is great for individuals or hobbyists, but it is a poor choice for a business site. Free hosting accounts make money with advertising. Normally, you have to have a banner ad at the top of every page.
Avoid free hosting accounts if you are serious about success.
Use the following checklist to determine which hosting option is the best for your business:
- Website traffic – How many visitors will you get per day?
- Your budget – How much can you afford?
- Your skills – How easy is it to use?
- Performance – How important is performance?
- Reliability – Do your own research into the reliability of the company.
- Support – Do they offer phone support or email support only?
- Space – How much storage space you need?
In the comment section below share your favorite hosting company and list your reasons for your decision.