What Is The Best Web Hosting For Small Business?
So you need a web host for your small business? With so many to choose from, it can be overwhelming. We’ll break it down so you can tune out the noise and just focus on what may be appropriate for your small business.
So many web hosts to choose from for your small business, but there are really only a few that top our list.
What is Small Business Web Hosting?
When you build a website (no matter how you build it), it needs a place to “live” the internet. There are plenty of choices out there, but they aren’t all created equal. You want to make sure that you go with a well-known and reputable website host for your small business. Why? Well, it will impact the customer experience that your brand gives to buyers. If your site is slow (because your hosting provider is slow) then your customer may think that your company isn’t very good. They may not take the time to wait for site loads or come back if your site is not up because your website host is having temporary issues.
Shared Website hosting is typically adequate for small businesses with 1-2 websites and lower levels of traffic. Shared website hosting is just as it sounds.. your hosting company will put multiple company websites on 1 single server. As your small business grows or if it becomes a higher risk because you retain a lot of customer security information, you may find that you don’t want to share your website server and can upgrade to a dedicated server. Let’s dig deeper…
what about costs?
Let’s talk about money. The last thing a small business wants to spend money on is web hosting, but it is important. The good news is that shared web hosting costs less than dedicated hosting. Most website hosts have entry-level pricing and then they jack up the pricing at a future date. Website host players are well known for this tactic and then when they renew, you get sticker shock. Keep your eyes not only on the entry-level price but make sure to check to see that you can live with the price once it renews. Not all sites will be forthcoming about that but may tell you that it is “60% savings” from the basic rate, so you are able to calculate it.
For entry-level process, chances are for hosting for 1 website on shared website hosting plan, you’ll pay $8 or less per month, but that may double or triple on the renewal date.
Key Web Host Features
There are a lot of different small business website hosts out there, let’s look at some highlights:
- Each host will have 3-4 tiers of shared hosting. The smallest and least expensive level usually is for 1 site with lower site traffic (although a couple of web hosts allow 2 websites). These lower-mid tier plans are usually fine to start out with and then you can upgrade as your business grows.
- Make sure that the web host that you choose for your small business has the security features that you need. For example, SSL (security certificate) is key, make sure you get it. If you don’t, your website will say “Not Secure” when people visit it.
- Consider the other features that you need. Does the hosting plan cover 1 or 2 sites? Does it have security features like SSL and Backups? Does it support any e-commerce that you need to do? How is the customer service reputation? (nobody wants to wait on hold when they are having website issues!). Don’t forget about email! If you’ll want an email address that matches your website domain name (e.g. email@example.com), make sure your hosting plan offers it. Plus, some website hosts offer free advertising dollars to get you started with Google Ads spend once your website is up and running.
- Many website hosts may offer a free domain and a lot of people get pretty excited about that. However, to be honest, a domain is likely $15 so the savings aren’t huge. There is, however, something to be said for the “ease” of getting your domain through your host, so even if your website host doesn’t give it to you for free, you may want to buy it through them for ease of setup.
- What if you already have a website and need to move it? That gets trickier. There are a number of web hosts out there that now offer “free migration”. Essentially, if you sign up for their website hosting plan, they will move your current site over for you which is fabulous for folks that aren’t the least bit skilled in the website world. Read the fine print on this one though.. website hosting companies ONLY move existing WordPress sites to WordPress shared hosting, so if your existing site was built with Wix or SiteFinity as an example, they will not move the sites for you.
Web Hosting For Small Business: A Look at The Key Players
- BlueHost : We think that BlueHost is one of the best-all-round web hosting. It’s got the right features at the right price. Millions of customers use it so it is tried and true. They have great uptime and customer support. It is super easy to start a WordPress site as everything is loaded and ready once you sign up for hosting. WordPress recommends BlueHost as one of its three favorite web hosts. What does that mean for you? it just means that everything that WordPress does, BlueHost is more than ready for it (a very good thing).
- HostGator: HostGator is owed by the same company that owns BlueHost. These people know website hosting! HostGator offers a low entry price for its shared hosting. One of HostGator’s benefits is its uptime, but to be honest, you can find several that are 98% uptime so this competitive advantage is not quite as impressive as it once was. If you want to start inexpensively, then this is a great solution, just be prepared to upgrade as your business grows.
- SiteGround : We use SiteGround for one of our business websites (we try them all of course!). SiteGround is a very reputable hosting company and their accolades are well deserved. In fact, WordPress “recommends” SiteGround as a great WordPress host. Note, that doesn’t mean the others aren’t.. it just means that WordPress happens to love SiteGround. There is a lot of value for the dollar with SiteGround, so don’t leave them off of your comparison shopping list.
- GoDaddy: GoDaddy is primarily known for its domain sales, but they also provide website hosting. They offer their own website builder in case that is of interest and they have nice integration of website hosting and domain purchase as expected. Plus, they have a strong security offering, including backup plans so their hosting is fairly robust. Check out their pricing as they aren’t always the cheapest. Plus, GoDaddy will always be the domain specialist, not necessarily the most advanced web hosting company.
- InMotion Hosting: Our experience with InMotion Hosting has been very good. They are a strong contender in the space. They don’t typically offer a super low entry-level price, but the quality of their service is quite good and they offer unlimited bandwidth at low plan levels. Make sure to compare the ongoing monthly prices, not just the introductory pricing. Speed is heavily promoted for its WordPress hosting. They are also offering a free domain.
- A2 Hosting: We have one site on A2 and can tell you first hand that their customer support team really knows their stuff. They dint just hire a bunch of people to answer phones and look up answers in a troubleshooting guide! These people walked us through step by step how to do something and we were comforted that they sleuthed out the issue and helped us resolve it.
So What Is THE Best Web Hosting For Small Business?
That’s a tough question to answer as different companies have different needs. However, we would definitely look into BlueHost, SiteGround, and HostGator for sure. Compare the features and the pricing based upon the needs of your business (SSL, Backup, Email, Customer Service, Site migration, and more). These three hosting options typically have the best balance of lower budget/high feature offerings which is why we like them for small businesses.
Changing your website host down the road isn’t fun, so choose a web host that you can grow with into the future (all of the above hosts have growth plans and dedicated servers if needed). Plus, select one that has a good reputation and who will be around for years to come. Best of luck with your web host search for your small business! Let us know which web host you end up choosing and why so you can help others going forward.