Finding a web host for your small business is the digital equivalent of finding a landlord for your shop. You need to find one that offers an affordable price and a reliable and well-maintained infrastructure.
A web host is essentially the company or organization that owns and maintains servers, high-performance computers that stay connected to the Internet at all times and keeping the web sites they hold up and operational. When your business uploads its website files to the web host’s servers and the host gets your site’s domain name properly configured, your site will go live and be available to online visitors.
Web hosts have varying rates and typically charge either a monthly or yearly rate. The rate is often based on the amount of data your site needs the webhost’s servers to store or how much data is transferred in and out of your site per month. The fancier your site is and the more traffic it gets, the more expensive it will likely be to host the site.
According to recent research, the cost of web hosting typically runs from $10 per month to thousands of dollars per year. Most small businesses pay between $180 and $600 per year for a simple web site. Small business owners who have extensive online databases or a large volume of online sales may pay $250 per month for web hosting.
There are free web hosts out there, but most of them place advertising on your site to offset the revenues they aren’t receiving from you. If you’re okay with other sites advertising on your site, and don’t have a big budget for web hosting, this may be an accepatable option for you.
When looking for a web host for your small business it is important to find one that is reliable. If your host’s servers frequently crash, people will not be able to visit your website. For small businesses that rely on online sales, having a buggy website can be fatal to their business. When picking a web host, you should shoot for a host with a minimum uptime of 99 percent or better.
Another key consideration when choosing a web host is whether the host has enough data storage space for your needs. If your site needs to grow in the future, your data needs may outgrow your host’s capacity. Changing web hosts can be extremely inconvenient. Before choosing a web host, determine if they have the capacity to handle your future needs as your online presence grows. You’ll also need to make sure the site does not have restrictive file size uploads, as some hosts have limits on the size of the files you upload or restrictions on the type of files you may upload, allowing you to only upload simple HTML and GIF or JPG files. Make sure your host offers you the flexibility you need with regard to file size and type.
Bandwidth allotment is also important, particularly if your site is going to have a lot of traffic. You’ll likely need about 1 to 3 GB per month in bandwith if you’re making sales online.
You’ll also want to choose a web host that is compatible with a variety of web design programs, as your business may have needs that require the use of specific design programs. A good web host should allow you to use FTP, PHP, Perl, SSI, .htaccess, telnet, SSH, MySQL, and crontabs.
If you’re going to be taking payments online, it’s important that your web host allows SSL. SSL is a cryptographic protocol that allows for the secure transmission of data such as credit card information via the Internet.
Your web host should have a user-friendly system that allows you to easily and conveniently make changes to your website. The process should also be quick, as you m
Lastly, a good web host should have an excellent technical support staff. You should be able to contact them 24/7 and they should be able to quickly address and resolve any problems that you may have.
When looking for all these important attributes, your best resource is perhaps other business owners. Ask them who they use for their web hosting needs, what service plans their host offers and how reliable the service is. Also visit their sites to see how they look. If you like what you see, chances are that you have a winner.