Smart Web Hosting Decisions that Promise to Grow Your Business
You are about to launch a website for your business, and you already know that one of the most important steps you have to take is choosing a hosting service. There are many web hosting services, all of which offer a variety of bundles, making the choice seem complicated. Do you know what the most important factors are to consider while shopping for web hosting?
The answer, fortunately, is rather simple. You have to make three decisions: choose the type of web hosting appropriate to your website; allow room for growth; and pick the service that offers the most consistent, reliable customer support. Here is a breakdown of what you need to know.
Know your type: dedicated or shared?
Hosting services are roughly divided into three types: shared hosting, dedicated hosting and VPS (virtual private server).
Shared hosting offers one of the most economical ways to operate a website: your website shares the same server with many other sites. In this type of hosting, the provider is usually responsible for managing the server, installing software, keeping the security features up to date, providing technical support and so on. Shared hosting services offer basic file managing options, web statistics, email and database management, as well as technical support for a monthly subscription. The downside is that shared hosting is a bit like living in a huge, crowded building – you are sharing resources with your neighbors, and if one of them operates a problematic website, it might interfere with yours.
Curious to learn more about shared hosting? Check out our list of shared hosting pros and cons.
Still within a reasonable price range, even for a small business, is the VPS option. Instead of paying for full control over a physical sever, the user pays for a virtual (software-based) server that actually shares the underlying hardware with other such virtual servers. The advantage: full software control over the server but a lower cost than leasing a physical server; the disadvantage: reduced performance (compared to dedicated servers).
A much more expensive option is dedicated hosting, in which you pay for your own web server and you have full control over it, although you usually do not own the server but rather lease it. To reduce expenses, you can manage the dedicated server yourself, which means you are responsible for its security and maintenance. Alternatively, you can opt for server administration provided by the hosting company for an additional fee.
The first step, therefore, is to match the type of hosting to the specific site you wish to launch. Which type of hosting is best for you – cheap shared hosting or expensive dedicated hosting? It all depends on your needs. For example, if you just want to set up a blog or showcase a single product, dedicated hosting may be overkill for you. There is no point in paying for a VPS, for instance, if the website is expected to draw no more than 100-200 visitors a day.
On the other hand, if you plan to launch a large, complex website, with a lot of information and e-commerce capabilities, consider a more extensive and professional service such as dedicated hosting or VPS. That said, keep in mind that moving your website between packages is not as hard as it may seem – hosting companies with good service may help you do that when the need arises.
Look towards growth: choose a scalable service
Ideally, your business and your website are expected to grow and develop over time. For this reason, you need to think about the scalability of your web-hosting service: do not limit yourself in terms of disk space and bandwidth (remember, what is touted as “unlimited” is never truly so). Get at least 1 Gigabyte of storage space (even if you do not need all of it right away) and plan to expand that. In addition, you may want to build more websites in the future (mini sites, landing pages or full sites), so consider the number of domains offered by each hosting provider. Visit the features comparison page to view the various features and tech specs offered by leading web hosting providers.
Demand the best: Do not compromise on support
Customer support offered by the hosting company is vital for your online business, especially at its nascent stage. Opt for 24/7 support, which is preferably available on different channels, such as mail, chat and phone. Choose the company that employs the most responsive, knowledgeable support staff. How can you tell in advance if a company’s service is good? Check the company’s website and see whether it emphasizes and even takes pride in its customer support. Give it a run-up: call the sales department with questions and see how fast and thorough their reply is. Additionally, you may want to check the company’s reputation on social media channels (such as relevant Facebook groups), and ask people about their experience with it. As a final tip, you should seek services that offer a 30-day money back guarantee – this way you can try the service and test customer support without spending any money.
There you have it - you are officially ready to start making well-informed web hosting decision. Check out the top web hosting providers today to get started.