Small business owner sets up his website

Web Hosting Your Small Business: 8 Things You Need to Know

Every web host is trying to woo you with deals and features. Finding the best package for your small business’s website can take time and discernment. Before you select a web hosting service, you need to make sure it fits certain criteria. If you have questions, we have answers.

1. Do they have round-the-clock customer service?

You never think you need 24/7 customer service until your website crashes during a special online-only midnight sale. Many web hosting clients provide round-the-clock customer assistance, but they may have limited phone hours or can only be contacted via email. Whether you’re tech-savvy or not, reliable customer service is a must-have.

2. Do I really need unlimited bandwidth?

Not unless you’re hosting a lot of videos or music. Then again, if you need to change, you upgrade to a better bandwidth package.

3. What about “uptime” guarantee?

Uptime is pretty self-explanatory; it refers to the amount of time your server is running without a hitch. It’s common for web hosts to offer an uptime guarantee, promising flawless server runtime—that is, aside from scheduled maintenance. The guarantee allows for a minuscule amount of downtime per month. If the downtime exceeds that little allowance, you’ll be refunded for that month.

4. What is shared hosting?

If you only need one website for your business, then choosing a shared hosting package would be a fine choice. Shared hosting packages are more affordable; as the name implies, you will be sharing server space with multiple websites. For most small businesses, that isn’t an issue. Think about the purpose of your website: a shared hosting package is perfect if you’re hosting an informational website for your local business.

5. What is dedicated hosting?

You might opt for a dedicated hosting package for a number of reasons. Sharing a server may be the cheaper option, but there are drawbacks. Your site will suffer when other websites on the server are experiencing high traffic. E-commerce business owners and those seeking servers that aren’t only secure, but can handle plenty of user traffic should seek out a dedicated server.

6. How much storage space do I need?

This depends on the needs of your website and the industry you work in. For the most part, small business owners won’t need a lot of disk storage unless they are storing large files, such as videos, on their server. You don’t need to start off with unlimited storage if you don’t need it; you can always upgrade.

7. Windows or Linux?

Servers run on two different operating systems: Windows and Linux. This isn’t a big deal unless you plan to use OS-exclusive software or programming languages.

8. Where is the web host’s server located?

Local business owners, listen up. You may get a good deal from a web host located far away, but your neighborhood clients will encounter slow loading speeds when accessing your site.

9. How much am I ready to pay?

If you aren't willing to pay at least a little bit every month, you can opt for a free web hosting service. You may need to be willing to settle for a less robust product, or even give up your personalized domain name, but using a free service is a great way to get your site off the ground without any up-front investment.

Last Updated: October 17, 2017