If you have a business, you need a website. If you have a website, you need a web hosting provider. While it can seem daunting to know what to look for, this article will set you on the right path.
Types of Web Hosting
There are essentially two types of web hosting for you to consider: traditional and cloud. Traditional web hosting, which involves physical servers that house your web data, is split further into shared and dedicated services.
Shared hosting is where you share servers with other domains or webmasters. This is often the smart choice for the small business with a single domain that doesn’t expect a lot of web traffic, doesn’t need a lot of support, and doesn’t have a lot of money to spend. The features, bandwidth, and storage are often limited.
In addition, because you’re sharing server space, websites on shared servers can be affected by potential security breaches, as well as traffic of other websites that also use that server, which can cause potential downtimes or slowing of all websites that share the server.
Traditional web hosting services are available for larger businesses with significant anticipated traffic in the form of a dedicated server. Just like the name suggests, a dedicated server is dedicated to just one website. It’s an expensive option but includes feature-rich capabilities, more bandwidth, storage, and freedom.
As your business grows, you want to ensure that your web hosting scales to accommodate that growth. Cloud hosting services provide storage and bandwidth on-demand as websites need it. Cloud hosting distributes web traffic across several servers, each with a copy of the data so that if one server goes down, there is copy of the data on other servers, significantly reducing the possibility of downtime or lost data.
And because it’s cloud-based, even the largest businesses don’t need in-house servers. While cloud hosting is relatively new, its low cost, scalability, and security is quickly making it the go-to for businesses to host their websites.
Choosing A Provider
Now that you understand the web hosting options, you’ll need to start narrowing in on a service provider. Whether you choose to go with traditional hosting or cloud-based, you’ll want to make sure you vet each on the following criteria.
The best web hosting provider will be a true partner to your business, so look for one with strong customer support features. How much time do they spend learning about your business in order to recommend the right level of hosting? What do their dashboards look like? Is it easy for you to find their support number on their website? Do they have knowledge bases, forums, or FAQs? Test service features to evaluate their responsiveness, knowledge, and overall service before making your final decision.
- Always On
Your website is open 24/7, so if something goes wrong with your website, you need to be confident that your web hosting provider is available anytime to help you recover from any unscheduled downtimes or disasters, as well as be available should you need to contact customer service.
You don’t yet know what your website needs will be in five years, so the best web hosting providers should have a high degree of flexibility built into their services. How does the web hosting provider manage spikes and dips in traffic? Do you need to buy more storage or does your account scale as your needs change? The best web hosting providers will allow you to easily align what you get, what you pay for, and what you need.
There are a lot of regulations around digital data, and you need a web hosting provider who has on-staff compliance experts who can help you audit your own website, as well as certified engineers who manage their own compliance obligations.
The best web hosting providers will have a robust disaster recovery service with fail-safe data access, backup, and protection in the event that servers go down. Look for and ask about the redundancies the provider puts in place to protect your business-critical assets against human error, natural disasters, and cyber threats.
Choosing the best web hosting provider for your business comes down to understanding your needs, and then finding a partner who is committed to helping you achieve your goals today and as your business evolves.