Small business web hosting essentials: our ten point checklist
Finding the best web hosting for your small business can be complicated especially if, to begin with, you're not overly familiar with how hosting works. To help you make the right choice, we've removed the guesswork. Our 10 point checklist will help you find small business website hosting with all the important features you'll need.
How website hosting works
Simply put, web hosting is needed to get your website up and live.
Your website and all of the contents you add to it – individuals pages, photos, videos, or anything else you want to have appear on your site - is stored on a server which is connected to the Internet. This is what allows users to access your website and everything that can be found on it.
A web hosting provider provides you with servers and related assistance. But web hosting services aren’t one-size-fits-all. A blog hosting plan, for example, will differ greatly from e-commerce hosting.
Moreover, hosting providers generally offer business plans according to specific needs. To make sure you’re getting the best web hosting for your small business, you want to make sure you understand what, exactly, you’ll get with your plan.
So what should you look for in a small business web hosting plan?
Small business web hosting essentials
Your site visitors will have little tolerance for a slow loading website. Therefore, performance is crucial when selecting hosting services.
Take into consideration where the hosting servers are located. The closer web servers are to your customers geographical location, the faster information will get to them. If you are located in Europe, for example, you’ll want to look for a hosting company that provides servers also located in Europe.
The standard benchmark for website loading time is about 2 seconds. Anything longer than that will significantly increase your bounce rate.
2/3) Storage and bandwidth
Websites with lots of high-resolution images or product and service information require more storage.
Bandwidth determines the speed with which information travels to and from your website, so if you have a lot of traffic, videos, or downloads on your site, you’ll want to choose a plan that offers more bandwidth.
But most small businesses aren’t hosting large amounts of media files or streaming, so don’t require excessive amounts of bandwidth. That said, keep in mind bandwidth consumption can grow with changes to your site or if your site traffic grows, so you’ll want to give some thought to your future needs. 10 GB a month should be more than sufficient.
Website traffic can be hard to predict in advance, but once your site is up and running, a tool like Google Analytics can help. Even if right now you don't expect to see a huge spike in site offerings or visitor traffic, you’ll definitely want to choose a web hosting plan which offers the possibility to expand.
Small business websites are frequently the target of cyberattacks. So look for web hosting which includes comprehensive security settings, tools, and features that will protect your servers from being compromised by bot networks, Denial of Service (DoS) attempts, and other kinds of attacks.
You should also be able to set up an SSL certificate which will encrypt connections between your web server and your users’ computers. Compare SSL certificates to find one which offers the right level of security for your website.
Imagine cybercriminals hacking and taking control of your website, along with all data, files, and content associated with it. Or a computer meltdown wiping out all your saved files. Or an employee accidentally deleting necessary files. If nothing is backed up, you’ve lost everything for good.
Hosting plans provide various ways for you to schedule backups. But choosing a plan with automatic backups means one less thing you need to worry about. Choose one that provides regular backups along with simple restore options.
6) Control panel
You’re going to want to be able to access your web hosting control panel without any hassle. Some control panels – like that offered through our Core Shared and Advanced Web Hosting plans – are more user-friendly than others. Look for a clean user interface with multiple features grouped by category so you or your development team aren’t wasting time and energy administering your website.
7) Website Builder/CMS capabilities
Look for web development resources which are suitable to your unique needs. A website builder - like our SitePad website builder - is an easy, fast solution. If you have little or no web development experience, SitePad removes virtually all of the technical burdens that might get in the way of starting up and maintaining your website.
If you are a little more experienced and require more flexibility, a content management system (CMS) is the way to go. Look for hosting which provides access to popular CMS options like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal (all of which are, incidentally, included with both of our Plesk hosting plans).
You never know. For whatever reason you could end up dissatisfied with your hosting service. In that case, it’s good to know if the hosting provider has in place a refund policy.
Customer support is probably one of the most important things to consider when choosing your small business web hosting provider. Not sure the exact amount of storage or bandwidth you’re likely to need? Which SSL certificate is the right choice? You’ll want to be able to speak with someone who can answer your questions and provide advice.
10) Add-on services
Look for add-on services that you can use to enhance your site's functionality and security. EuroDNS, for example, offers everything from domain names and domain privacy to free SSL certificates, DNS services, and professional email addresses.
Get the best web hosting for your small business
We offer affordable, fully-featured web hosting plans and would be glad to help you choose the right one. Take a look at our web hosting comparison chart for specific details. If you have additional questions about your small business website hosting needs, get in touch with us at +352 263 725 250 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of our sales team would be happy to offer further assistance.