What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Web Hosting
Americans love shopping in pajamas! In 2018, almost 221 million Americans shopped online. But they also scoured online stores. And they’ve compared product prices online at least once. Further away, 14% of Americans admit they are looking for a brand online. And they say it happens before making any buying decisions.
Experts expect these numbers to increase in the coming years. Indeed, online shopping not only gives the freedom to shop from the comfort of home, but also saves time and money.
Additionally, online brand information and customer reviews allow online shoppers to get to know the product before they even step into a physical store.
The growing penetration of online shopping has made it essential for businesses to boost their digital presence. As a result, most companies have their own websites or online retail platforms, showcasing their products and services and providing the best possible user experience.
User experience of a website can be related to something as simple as how easy the site is to load or use. This is largely determined by your hosting provider. Below is everything you need to know about web hosting and how to choose a suitable service provider for your website.
1. Know which web hosting plan to choose
With thousands of web hosting providers vying for your attention, it can be difficult to choose the most suitable web hosting plan for your small business. Also, super technical web hosting terms like bandwidth, uptime, DNS, and GB can be quite confusing.
As your business grows and receives more traffic, you will need to switch from one web hosting plan to another. Therefore, it helps to understand the most popular types of web hosting that are suitable for small businesses.
In shared hosting, your website is hosted by a server that also hosts other websites. Although shared hosting offers the benefit of cost sharing, the website owner has less control over the quality of the user experience. Since many sites share this space, their performance will be affected by the performance of other sites. For example, a site with high traffic can negatively affect your site’s load time.
This type of web hosting is ideal for startups and entry-level websites. If you are planning to launch your website, go for shared hosting and upgrade when you get more site traffic.
b. Virtual Private Server (VPS)
VPS hosting is a step above shared web hosting. Although the main physical server is shared by the websites, each of them has its own virtual server. Websites using VPS hosting experience faster load times compared to shared hosting. It offers an efficient web hosting solution for companies that want to switch from shared hosting without having to bear the high cost of a dedicated server.
Small business sites with low and growing traffic can benefit from VPS web hosting. Also, if your site contains a lot of images and videos, it is better to use a VPS to ensure good site speed.
In dedicated web hosting a website rents an exclusive physical server from the service provider. This type of hosting is expensive but allows you to implement a wide range of software and applications on your site.
Dedicated web hosting works best for high traffic sites. You should consider switching to a dedicated server when your business evolves into a full-fledged e-commerce platform.
Cloud-based web hosting is a relatively new technology. The cloud host has several individual servers that work together to host your site. The biggest advantage of cloud-based hosting is that it can adapt to an increase in traffic while providing an excellent user experience.
Cloud Hosting is ideal for sites that fall between shared web hosting and VPS. If your website is growing and getting consistent traffic, moving to the cloud from a shared hosting plan is ideal.
e. Managed WordPress Hosting
Besides the aforementioned web hosting types, managed WordPress hosting is gaining popularity among startups and businesses that have used WordPress as their website building platform. In this type of hosting, the service provider will keep your WordPress installation updated, thereby protecting your website from hackers and other security threats.
2. Familiarize yourself with common web hosting features
Knowing what the following web hosting features mean can help you choose an appropriate web hosting provider for your business site.
a. Bandwidth refers to the speed of your network. Higher bandwidth will allow more visitors to access your site at once, while maintaining a smooth user experience.
b. SSL or Secure Socket Layer certification adds encryption to your site, protecting your personal and visitor data. All major web hosts offer an SSL certificate.
vs. Availablity is one of the common features advertised by web hosts. Although most companies offer 99.9% uptime, it’s best to read customer reviews to determine if users are experiencing issues such as downtime (when your visitors can’t access your site ).
D. Backup is an important web hosting feature that cannot be ignored. Choose a plan that offers backup for your website and business files.
e. Data storage should be considered against the disk space your site actually needs. Most web hosting companies offer unlimited data. Be sure to read the fine print before choosing such a plan as it may incur hidden costs.
3. Compare Various Web Hosting Services
Finding the best website hosting provider is a tricky business. Imagine that you are looking for a rental property. You will never sign a rental agreement without checking aspects such as the authenticity of the landlord or broker, the affordability of the property and whether the house is structurally fit to meet the needs of your household.
Likewise, when looking for a suitable web hosting provider, it is important to choose a service that offers healthy uptime and load time. Additionally, the service provider must be reliable, reasonably priced, and offer exceptional support and the required security certificates.
A poor web host can hurt your site’s speed (as well as search ranking and online authority!), wasting your company’s resources. Therefore, it is wise to evaluate your options before making a decision.
4. Take the time to gather information from third-party reviewers
Every web hosting provider wants business. Therefore, they will try to advertise their best features, forcing you to make a hasty and uninformed decision. Although the most reputable web hosts have built their authority in the field by offering exceptional services, it is a good idea to visit a few third-party reviews who can offer you unbiased opinions on this.
These review websites thoroughly research web hosts, giving you information that can help you make the best decision for your business.
As you scale your small business, your website needs will grow and become more complex. It’s essential to be responsive to these changes and take the necessary steps to deliver the ultimate user experience to your customers and drive conversions.
Effective web hosting is an integral part of the user experience. We are sure that the information shared above will help you strengthen your web server thereby taking your small business to the next level.