You could pay $500 a month for hosting, but you probably don’t need to. Invest your business income in other ways.

The web hosting company has one job; to keep your web pages available to web users and to serve them quickly. That’s two jobs. If a company is unable to do those two jobs, they shouldn’t be in business. Sadly, there are well-known web hosts that fail in these two core areas.

Different Types of Business Web Hosting

You could buy a shared hosting plan for $1.99 per month, but you would regret it. Shared hosting plans rarely have the server capacity to handle a busy business website with hundreds of visitors every day.

You could take out a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or even a Dedicated Server contract, and that would certainly be better than a shared hosting plan. A VPS will be fast and will give you a significant share of the processing time of the CPU. Dedicated server hosting is even quicker than VPS hosting but much more expensive. Get a full comparison of VPS and dedicated servers in this Business Fundas article.

Business hosting is an excellent compromise to look at. It sits between a no-frills shared plan and an expensive VPS. Business hosting makes your web pages load faster because you have a more significant share of the server’s CPU and are fewer sites on the server. Managing business hosting is simple because everything is usually done through a familiar cPanel dashboard.

What Do You Need from Your Web Hosting?

Your priorities for your company website will include; 100% uptime, web pages load instantly and top class support.

Minimum downtime

No company can guarantee 100% uptime, so compromises are necessary.

It is typical for hosting companies to offer 99.9% or 99.99% uptime. At first glance, there seems difference between these two figures, but there are 365.25 x 24 x 60 minutes in a year – 525,960 minutes.

The difference between 99.9% and 99.99% is 0.09%. In terms of extra downtime, the 99.9% guarantee means 473.364 extra minutes or almost 8 extra hours when your site will be unavailable (0.09% of 525,960).

Pages loading quickly

Quickly isn’t good enough, you want instant, but let’s stay with what’s achievable for now. Even if you have optimized your site for fast loading, with everything minimized and cached, your web host still has an important role to play.

For a site to load in a fraction of a second, the host’s server needs to have fast solid state disks (SSDs), it must have fast processors and be optimized for speed. The host must also have a lightning-fast Internet connection

Support worthy of the name

When something goes wrong, you want an answer, and you want it immediately. When companies advertise 24/7/365 support, many customers read it as meaning instant support 24/7. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. If it doesn’t say “Instant support,” then help could eventually arrive by email ten working days later.

Look for 24/7/365 chat support and test it out before you buy because if they can’t look after you before you pay, they aren’t going to care about your issues after they have your money.

How Do You Find a Web Host You Can Trust?

Do you take a real estate’s marketing literally? Of course not.

Just as with a realtor, you need to know the questions to ask? Unlimited bandwidth and disk space are as meaningless as “This house has a roof, windows, and doors.” Ignore companies that boast of unlimited dirt-cheap resources like bandwidth and disk space. Testimonials on any company’s website are meaningless because they are carefully chosen; you are not being shown the big picture.

Visit a site that has thousands of small business hosting reviews. Sites like HostAdvice compile reviews of hundreds of hosting companies, so you get a better picture of how individual companies perform. Listening to one or two bloggers rant or rave about their hosting experiences fails to give an accurate performance picture because the bloggers’ experiences may be atypical.

It is always better to read expert reviews and get an overview by reading how hundreds of ordinary users have fared with a particular company.

Long Story Short

Business hosting doesn’t need to cost you the life of your first-born. You can find recommended hosting for small businesses from less than $6 per month. Use a review site to find a company that suits your needs, and that has hundreds of five-star reviews.

By Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.