Business Web Hosting: What Factors Should You Look For?
Business web hosting requirements differ from the requirements of web hosting for personal blogs, or uploading family photographs. Company websites, which can vary from a small restaurant up to a multi-location technology company, need more power and features than your typical personal hosting plan. The number of email accounts included (for your employees) becomes very important, as does a key feature like RAM ( higher RAM enables your website to handle more traffic at the same time, which means your website won’t crash during a peak time).
You need to consider several factors and then rank the factors according to importance. Below we’ve given you some key factors to consider when finding the right hosting plan for your particular business.
Factors When Choosing Your Company’s Hosting Provider:
We included some of the most important factors to consider when you make your choice. We have also made recommendations if that factor happens to be the most important one for your situation.
The Reliability of Your Website’s Server:
Our recommendation: WP Engine
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 uptime scores 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 uptime scores to discover which companies keep your website online nearly all of the time.
Linux or Windows?
Our choice for Linux: Blue Host
Our choice for Windows: GoDaddy
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: eCommerce Compatibility
Our recommendation: Blue Host
Online businesses that expect to run eCommerce stores must select a hosting provider that offers eCommerce features. If you plan to install a shopping cart software program (like WooCommerce) 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.
A Quick Note: Many eCommerce platforms (like Shopify) offer hosting as part of their plans, which means they are your hosting provider. So you don’t need to purchase external hosting.
An Email Address that Uses Your Domain
Our choice: GoDaddy
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
Our Recommendation: GoDaddy (you can choose either cPanel or Plesk)
Some web hosting plans don’t include a control panel (like the incredibly popular cPanel or Plesk) 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
Our Recommendation: Media Temple
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
Our Recommendation: Media Temple
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 uptimes, 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
Our choice: WP Engine
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.