Web hosting options for small businesses

Choosing the right web hosting service is an important decision when setting up a business website.

Done correctly, it can save you time and money, done incorrectly it can cost your business not only lost revenue but also diminish your business reputation.

Why look for a web hosting company

Need for a web hosting company arises when you are ready to put your website online, or when you are not satisfied with the experience you have with the host you already have.

Making the right choice will give you as a business owner one less thing to worry about.

Types of web hosting

Shared hosting – Shared hosting is affordable, practical, and its account resources are hosted in a server that shares them.

It is suitable for a website owner who will not be getting too much traffic on a daily basis.

It is also the cheapest form of hosting available.

Dedicated hosting – This type of hosting is more expensive than shared hosting, because it provides more power and perks.

It is suitable for a website owner who wants to host their website on a dedicated server. It provides more space, loads faster and enables your website to perform better.

Virtual Private Server hosting (VPS) – A hybrid, it is for those who neither want a shared hosting nor a dedicated hosting service.

It is suitable for larger websites that have outgrown shared hosting, and it offers better performance. It is partitioned into different virtual servers that lead to better performance.

So why use a web host rather than build your own?

There are a variety of reasons why its better to use a web host rather than create your own.

Firstly, there are no additional business costs for the purchase of hardware, added to this the hosting company also provides maintenance of all services provided and provides software needed to build the website

On the flip side as a single server is shared by multiple businesses, other sites can become blocked if one of the sites on the server is doing something that compromises the hosting companies service.

Also there are some services the web hosting company provides that may be unreliable. This is why it is essential to truly understand what your needs are before making a decision on which web hosting provider to sign up with.

9 things to look for when selecting a hosting provider

1) 24/7 customer service
At the very least, those on customer service should be able to assess problems and put you in contact with the relevant team in relation to your enquiry.

2) Uptime guarantee
Most providers have a 99.9% guaranteed uptime. Simply put, this means site should only be down a maximum of 44 minutes a month.

This is when the host provider does some maintenance work offline.

3) Compatibility
To ensure the hosting company you have chosen is compatible with different script languages, select a company that offers support script

4) Features of your website
If your website requires a VPS or cPanel, choose a web hosting company which will provide these features.

5) Performance and reliability
Does the host provide do what they say. If they guarantee 99.9% uptime or 24/7 technical support is your site always up and can you get someone to resolve technical issues when they arise?

6) Technical support
We mentioned above 24/7 customer service, you should also ensure there is 24/7 technical support.

7) Pricing
This should not be the sole deciding factor, even though small companies need to be mindful of expenses, always base your decisions on what is good value for money for your business requirements.

There are a lot of services a hosting provider may provide that is not needed. Its like having excess body fat that needs to go, you’ll need to hit the gym, take a top whey protein isolate and create lean muscle.

8) Reputation
Consider the reputation of the hosting company, how long have they been around, what rating do they have in forums, what sort of complaints have customers made and how quickly have these complaints been addressed.

9) Speed
How fast is the service? Do pages load quickly or does it hang for several minutes before loading?

The longer a site takes to load the higher the risk of losing customers.

Below are examples of 3 hosting companies and what they offer

Inmotion HostGator Arxive
Established 2001 2002 2003
Suitable for small businesses Yes Yes Yes
Unlimited disk space Yes Yes Yes
Guaranteed uptime 100% 99.9% 99.9%
Email accounts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
# of free domains provided 1 0 1
Back up Instant Instant Hourly
Money back guarantee 90 days 45 60 days

When you make the right choice in selecting a web hosting company, your profit potential increases, cashflow is kept in check.

Sources:
Web hosting