A business can operate without a website but doing so is a branding disservice. Not having an online presence is like removing 1/2 your exposure. Lacking a website removes many opportunities to connect and engage an online audience.
Some 45% of consumers will read online reviews before buying in-store.
Hosting provides the tech and hardware delivering files. Most will use hosting services for their website. But, hosting is essential for business apps, network security, online backups, and more.
Do you need hosting? Want to know how to choose a Web host? Keep reading to understand what's needed to find one fit for your business and budget.
How to Choose a Web Host (in 3 Parts)
Your hosting choice matters as it provides the "backbone" to online activities. Its popular purpose is hosting a site but with that comes online marketing and eCommerce, too. Hosting is the virtual embodiment of brick & mortar.
The point: Choose the best hosting you can afford.
This selection may seem like a simple process but there are many influential factors. Let's walk through the main parts of choosing a web hosting.
Part 1: Who Needs a Good Web Hosting Service
Free hosting offers entry to website ownership but trades flexibility for affordability. Free hosting has setbacks like adding site ads.
Free hosting may pair you with untrustworthy shared hosting users, too. Their activities may harm your site's indexing. This reason, alone, is a selling point of paying for a quality web hosting service.
A hosting service you pay for provides near-complete control of the platform. It scales to your needs, remaining flexible to its purpose.
Who needs good web hosting?
● Personal -- Professional portfolios, blogs, or microsites
● Small Business -- Branded domains or community hub
● Ecommerce -- Online stores and shopping portals
● Enterprise -- Multi-networked for divisions or franchises
Web hosting also finds its place for online storage and security. A person or business may use their hosting but block open access. This turns the hosting into a node, turning it items like firewalls, seed boxes, and more.
Part 2: What's Needed from a Web Host
The thrill of starting a site or setting up a server for files, gaming, or security can cloud buying decision. You may opt for the first hosting package found from a quick Google search.
Later on, you may find the hosting inadequate for your project. This now poses a problem with server migration. Extra time vetting hosting services could have saved a lot of money and troubles.
Take your time and use these factors when comparing web hosting services:
Inexpensive web hosting plans typically start around $5 - $10 a month. This price point gets you basic, shared hosting with most features you'd need to set up a website or FTP. You can save by buying a year's hosting plan or choose a-la-carte payments for a few bucks more each month.
Hosting prices increase with hardware, support, and services. Enterprise-level hosting can cost thousands each month providing dedicated servers and real-time support. The costs may grant access to features like marketing, email, and eCommerce services.
What's a good price for web hosting? Start with a $10/mo shared plan.
The basic shared hosting plans offer a middle-ground in affordability and flexibility. This lets you scale as needed without a costly up-front investment.
Speed is a crucial factor dictating whether people bother with your website. Google found 40% of your site visitors will leave if it takes more than 3-seconds to load. Speed also factors into SEO, slower loading sites tend to rank lower in search engine results.
Test the hosting with tools like Pingdom or Google's site speed test.
The site's files will factor into load times but you'll want the fastest hosting you can afford. Look for gigabit connections if available.
What good is a server if it's inaccessible? Hosting providers tout uptime as one of their selling points. You'll notice most hosting providers show 99.9% uptime which is the industry standard.
Why reliability matters:
● Prevents downtime when accessing business files
● Stop visitors from backing out when accessing the site
● Continues protection with security and online backups
100% uptime is impossible with freak events like natural disasters, that's a given. Research a company's logs learning their historical uptime to help with this decision.
A good hosting service provides flexibility to scale with:
● Software and hardware components
● Server-side scripts and plugins
● Third-party integrations
● Personal and business services
Hosting companies have grown beyond their basic hosting packages.
You're inclined to find one offering a full suite of business services. Factor your access to the hosting back-end and customization when researching your options. Plus, consider secondary services bringing them together vs using several third-parties.
Customer support proves valuable during:
● Site downtimes
● Server attacks
● Accidents and mistakes
You may never need customer service but it's like insurance, having it when you need it the most. Try contacting their service through the various channels seeing how quickly they respond. Browse their community hub and third-party rating sites comparing customer feedback, too.
Hosting companies are a dime-a-dozen with reseller hosting. This lets people offer hosting services branded as their own. You'll also find small operations offering shared hosting on private servers.
You'll want a hosting service having shown industry legacy.
A hosting company's legacy ensures they'll continue operations for years to come. Their brand displays trustworthiness backed by customer reviews. This helps avoid operations creating troubles if they close shop -- taking your site with it.
Part 3: Hosting Services Worth Noting
Hosting range from personal, micro setups to enterprise-level server farms. The factors detailed in part 2 ultimately dictate which is best for your operations. But, it's good practice knowing what's available when you're ready to scale.
This list is cross-selection of Web hosting providers worth exploring:
● JaguarPC -- $6.98/mo, 2x shared resources
● HostGator -- $7.95/mo, unlimited bandwidth and storage
● Bluehost -- $5.95/mo, free domain with yearly setup
● 1and1 -- $4.99/mo, top-notch customer service and hosting extras
Look for hosting coupons when exploring these options. Plus, do note most prices are for introductory subscriptions.
Up-and-Running? The Next Important Items
The post's opening mentioned hosting's value for marketing opportunities. Use the knowledge learned with how to choose a Web host to get online. Explore business and marketing opportunities once you're online.
The site is your "hub" bringing visitors through the sales funnel. Use your presence to explore content and email marketing. Or, social media and search engine marketing, and more.
Browse our marketing strategies, learn, and put them in action!
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