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Small Business Web Hosting: What Factors Should You Look For?

best small business web hosting

Your Business’ Website Needs to Give a Great First Impression.

Business web hosting is an entirely different animal in the web hosting world. Companies need to consider what they want their company’s website to be able to do, and whether those requirements will be taxing on  But we want to give you some direct, actionable advice to help you (the small business owner) get an idea of which hosting company you should choose. 

The Reliability of the Server

If you’re just starting a business website, you most likely only need to sign up with a shared web hosting company. Shared web hosting means you share the server with several other accounts. This can cause surges in server volume, which shuts your website for an extended period. You must choose a business web hosting company that generates up-times of 99.5% or more. Uptime represents the percentage of time your website is live. Downtimes that exceed one percent scare away potential customers. Read web hosting reviews that publish up-times to discover which companies keep your website online nearly all of the time.

Linux or Windows

The debate between running your website on a Linux or Windows operating system boils down to whether you plan to sell business products and service through your website. A vast majority of software programs make the assumption that you’re working with a Unix-based platform, which include the Linux operating system. If you decide to go with Windows, you’re limited to Microsoft compatible software packages. Moreover running ASP scripts on a Linux operating platform is much faster than the speed of the ASP scripts run by Windows.

Speaking of Products and Services

Online businesses that expect to run eCommerce stores must select a web hosting company that offers eCommerce features. If you plan to install a shopping cart software program and perform sales transactions within your business website, you have to choose a web hosting plan that provides eCommerce services. You also need to ensure the web hosting company sets up a secure server (SSL) to protect consumer personal and financial data. Even if you have to pay a small fee for an SSL, the money you spend prevents hackers from gaining access to Social Security and bank account numbers. A hacked eCommerce website prompts customers to turn to other competitors within your niche.

An Email Address that Uses Your Domain

Most web hosting companies offer businesses the capability of hosting email accounts that match website domains. Review the email features offered by each web hosting company under consideration to make sure you can brand your business through the website domain. If you really like a web hosting company, but the company doesn’t offer hosted email domains for your business, you can always download an app to get hosted email domains.

Web Hosting Control Panel that You Can Use

Some web hosting plans don’t include a control panel that allows website owners to make changes. A user-friendly control panel gives you the flexibility to set up your website as you want it to operate. You might choose a web hosting company that uses a third-party control panel. It doesn’t matter where the control panel originates; it matters that you don’t need a PhD in engineering to learn how to use it.

You Need a Backup Plan

The saying goes that death and taxes are the only certainties in life, but you should add website crashes to the list. You can expect to experience a website crash at least one time during the operation of your website. The question isn’t why did the website crash, but do you have the capability to retrieve all of your vital information through a system backup and data recovery system. Your web host must backup up your website files at least once a day. You also want to have the power to run system backups from the control panel. Even better, sign up with a web hosting plan that performs automatic backups.

Around the Clock Technical Support

One of the reasons why you decided to start your business website on a web hosting platform is you lack the technical skills to set up the website yourself. Before committing to a web hosting company, contact the technical support department and ask a few questions that pertain to up-times, bandwidth, and data transfer speeds. You’re not only looking for knowledgeable technical support professionals, you also want to work with personable customer service professionals that answer your questions promptly. A growing number of businesses prefer live chat to phone technical support. You don’t spend long stints holding on a phone.

Price and Refund Policy

Most web hosting plans sell cheap at the beginning, before creeping upwards on every renewal date. Shared web hosting companies offer the cheapest plans, while dedicated web hosting companies sell the most expensive plans. Unless you plan to move among web hosting companies every two years or so, expect to pay more for web hosting plan renewals. Scrutinize every terms of service (TOS) section of a web hosting plan to see if the company has tucked in hidden fees that kick in whenever you use too much bandwidth or disk storage space. You also need to discover if you receive a full refund after a trial period ends and you decide to cancel your web hosting plan. Some companies charge exorbitant cancellation fees. Avoid web hosting companies that hide fees or charge absurd cancellation fees, and you should find a provider that offers web hosting services that fall within your budget.

Length of Subscription

Some web hosting companies require customers to sign up for excessively long contracts. Web hosting contracts that exceed two years typically lure customers by offering very low monthly rates. However, as your business grows, the contract you sign today probably doesn’t cover your ever-changing business needs in five years. Never sign up for a web hosting contract that exceeds two years, unless the company offers you a money back guarantee.

Even if you don’t plan to create an eCommerce section for your business website, you still need to establish a strong online presence to promote your products and services. By uploading product videos and photographs, as well as producing content that helps potential customers solve problems, you make your business shine online.