It's vital that your small business has a website. For many companies, it's potentially even more essential than a physical presence in the form of a shop or office building. A business website doesn't necessarily need to be expansive, complicated, or even expensive to launch, but you do need some kind of web presence. After all, many users flock to Google first when trying to find a new product or service they require.
As the name suggests, web hosting is where your website is hosted. It's the home of your site, which means the speed of your site and its reliability depend upon the web hosting service you choose. It's crucial then that you pick a host carefully. Much like you wouldn't want your business to have an ugly storefront, nor do you want your web presence to be unappealing. It can be a daunting process to set up your site online, though, especially if you're not tech-savvy.
Read on and we'll explain everything you need to know about finding the best web hosting for small businesses, so that you can set up an online store or simply an online presence with the minimum of hassle.
What type of hosting is best for my business?
Each web hosting provider offers a different service and set of features, but they also offer different ways of hosting too. Broadly, these can be divided up into four main categories: Shared web hosting, VPS Hosting, Managed Dedicated, and Cloud VPS Hosting. Shared Cloud hosting is the cheapest out there because it means that your website is hosted alongside other sites. This tends to mean that speeds are slower because you can be impacted by the performance of the other sites on the server. You also don't tend to have as many features made available to you. However, it's ideal for a small business that just wants to have an online presence in some way.
VPS hosting and Shared Cloud hosting are quite a similar type of hosting service in that your website is still hosted alongside others. However, the number of other sites is typically smaller in number and you get the benefit of a virtual private server which usually means more flexibility and general performance, for a price.
The most expensive but highest-end form of web hosting is dedicated hosting. This type of web host offers the best speed, performance, security, and uptime, but it comes at a substantial cost as you're provided with a whole Linux web Hosting server dedicated to your website. For a small business, this is almost always overkill.
What should I look for when buying web hosting for my business?
For most small businesses, the cost is a considerable part of the decision-making process when buying web hosting. (Check out our cheap web hosting services roundup for more on that.) You need to consider purchasing web hosting, a domain name, as well as potential add-ons like an SSL certificate (if you're selling online). Some web hosting comes with all that included, while others add it on as you purchase.
Ease of use is essential too, with an intuitive control panel making the process much smoother, as well as excellent customer support. If you plan on selling products through your website, you'll need to look out for features that enable you to set up an ecommerce website with some hosts offering special packages for an ecommerce store. Some web hosting also offers built-in page builders so you can get a website built within hours by picking out a theme rather than editing the design yourself.
Speed is also something to take into account as a slow loading site is off-putting to customers and can affect your search engine ranking. Reliability is essential too although all the hosting companies we've listed here are highly reliable and offer very high uptime.