Choosing a web hosting provider can often seem daunting, but getting a hosting solution right as you begin to plan out your business or career is essential. To find the best web hosting service for your needs, you need to select one that fits your site requirements, your budget, and your expectations in customer service and reliability.
Types of Hosting
Cost, traffic and security are important factors to keep in mind as you choose your provider. There are three types of web hosting providers that are generally better fits for small businesses.
- Shared: This type of web host is widely used and has a low cost. It offers good customer support and your own domain name. However, speed often suffers at peak traffic times and security isn’t as tight due to multiple sites on one server.
- Dedicated: This kind of provider is often more expensive as you have a server dedicated to only your website. If your business is mostly e-commerce or you have a lot of visitors, this may be your best option.
- Collocated: With this type of web hosting, you own your server, placed in the data center of the service provider. You’ll have a faster connection, higher security, and unlimited software choices. You pay for the upfront costs, maintenance and bandwidth.
What to Look For
From reliability to security, there are a few things you want to look for when considering a web host provider. When it comes to web hosting, it’s important to plan for everything you need before you start, including things you might want to add in the future. Here are a few tips on what to look for as you choose a web hosting provider.
Your host must be able to support all the functions and capabilities you plan to incorporate now and down the road. Beyond 24/7 customer service, you’ll want different levels of support for your website. If you’re going to be selling directly from your site, make sure the web host you go with supports e-commerce and a shopping cart program.
If you’re new to the website world, look for an easy-to-use interface so you can make changes without a challenge. Will you need help with web design? Some web hosts offer help or templates for web design support, but many don’t. If you’ll need assistance with design, look for a host that is easy to adapt to.
Security is essential for small businesses, so look for SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, capabilities from your host. This creates a secure connection from your visitor’s browser to your server so that the information is securely and reliably sent. Look for a web host that does regular backups of data. And while a host may perform the regular backups, you need to be able to back up as well as an extra security measure incase something goes wrong.
You’ll also want to look for a web host that offers a minimum of 99.7 per cent availability and has a backup plan in the event of a fire, flood, earthquake … whatever!
Space can sometimes become a problem, depending on what you want to feature on the website. When you talk to your web host provider, discuss your projects and expectations to find a solution for the amount of space you will need. By buying an unlimited hosting plan, you won’t have to worry about maxing out your server later on as your website becomes more popular and receives more traffic.
Bandwidth, the data rate output by your website, and disk space are two concepts you need to factor in, too. More bandwidth and disk space means a higher monthly cost. You’ll also want to look for the potential cost of having add-ons and subdomains as your company grows.
Various web host providers cater to small businesses, and a number of online resources can help gear you in the right direction towards finding one that is the best fit. FindMyHosting.com is an unbiased resource for matching visitors with web hosts. Look into what your business will need in the short term and long term, whether it is a certain number of pages or a shopping cart, and find a web host to meet your needs. Read the contract from top to bottom, and make sure you are well aware of the terms and conditions before you sign – there can often be hidden fees you want to watch out for.