Starting a business comes with a checklist of things to do. One of them is to set up a website—an essential step for any kind of business, entrepreneur, or even local company.
Unfortunately, choosing the right kind of web hosting for your business is often left behind in the excitement of designing a good-looking site. But no matter how attractive your site is, building it on an unstable, unreliable web host will undo the possible good effects of excellent design.
Don’t make this mistake in your own business! Here’s how to choose the right kind of website hosting and what to look for in a provider. Take some time to choose wisely… You’ll thank yourself later!
Your web host is the foundation upon which your website is built. A website is only as good as its web host—the most attractive, responsive website will go to waste if it’s housed on an inferior web hosting provider’s server.
The web hosting provider you choose can have significant effects on your website, which can have a knock-on effect on your business. A poor host can cause a range of problems on your website, such as:
- Slow page loading speeds, leading to a high bounce rate.
- Increased downtime, frustrating potential visitors.
- Security issues, make your site vulnerable to attacks.
Choose the right web host, and you can experience the opposite. When your web host is aligned with your business’s needs, your online activity has a solid foundation for success.
Take these steps, and you’ll be in a better position to choose a web host that will work with you, not against you.
Knowing your business needs is the only way to understand if a web host will be a good match for you or not. Your first port of call—before you even search for web hosting companies—is to consider your own business.
- What type of website do you have? How many pages does it have, and what kind of content does it contain?
- How much traffic are you expecting to get? Are you planning on taking steps—paid or organic—to increase traffic?
- What level of technical support do you require from your web host? Are you going to be involved in the backend, or will you leave it all to them?
Once you understand your own needs in terms of the amount of storage space your site needs, its expected incoming traffic, and your level of involvement, you can compare web hosting types and choose the best one for you.
A good choice for blog sites and small, local sites that aren’t expecting a lot of traffic. You’ll be sharing resources with multiple other websites on the same server, so you can expect less stability, a higher chance of security issues, and slower page loading speeds.
Recommended for most business sites. Your website will have its own server, so no need to share resources with anyone else. It’s a little more expensive, but much more reliable and stable. Great for business sites with higher traffic levels.
This is a mid-range option that’s fairly affordable and a good middle ground for websites that are expecting moderate levels of traffic. You’ll share a server with others but get your own resources.
The top choice for businesses who want super-fast loading speeds, unparalleled reliability, next-to-zero downtime, and the ability to scale as high as you can go. Expect to pay, but it’s the best of the best.
Once you know what type of hosting you want, your next step is to find the right web hosting provider for you. We advise putting some time and research into this step, because even though they offer roughly the same features, not all web hosts are equal.
One of the best ways to learn about a web host is to read reviews, check out forums, and find “real people” stories. If a host has multiple negative reviews, especially if many of them are referencing similar things—eg. poor customer service, slow loading speeds, etc—it may be best to avoid them.
You may need to do a deep dive to find information on some web hosts. The best ones will have plenty of positive reviews, but it’s also important to use your discretion—if they’re vague, sound strange, or don’t give a lot of real information, you may be dealing with fake reviews.
Check each host’s key features to make sure they correspond with what you need. Based on your list of your own business needs, make sure each of these features match up to what you need:
- Uptime guarantee
- Page loading speed
- Storage space
- Security features
- Customer support
You may want to delve in deeper and ask about add-ons, upgrade options, and where the host’s data center is located. A good host who’s confident in their own services will be able to answer all your questions easily. If they don’t give you straight answers, it could be a red flag.
If you’re just in the process of starting up a new business and a new website, this is one of the first steps you should be taking. Once you’ve chosen your web host and gone ahead with it, it’s a good idea to reassess your business needs and the website’s performance on a regular basis.
This way, you can make sure your web host is still delivering on their promises and your website is still in the best position for success. If you find that something isn’t working for you or your business, don’t be afraid to switch to a new web host.
And if your business has been running for a while and you didn’t consider web hosting back when you started your website, it’s a good idea to do some analysis on your website’s performance, including page loading speed, bounce rate, and so on.
It’s not too late to change your website host if you’re unhappy with the service and support you’re receiving from your current provider. Life’s too short to be with the wrong website host!
About the Author
Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.