As nearly every device used and produced by every business seems to be connected to the internet, half of small businesses still have no website. For businesses who are building their first site or breaking their site off of a Software-As-A-Service like Squarespace, they need the help of a web hosting guide.
Your web host is where all of your website’s data lives. There is a folder, sitting on one but more likely several servers with all of your site’s resources. When visitors type in your address, that server gives all the information to the browser to show visitors what you’ve got to offer.
There are technical responsibilities that come with any website, like making sure this data appears quickly and keeping login information secure. Keep reading to learn the ins-and-outs of hosting from our web hosting guide.
Web Hosting Types
Virtual hosting is what you get from most paid web hosting services. For a small annual fee, you’ll get a dedicated chunk of data storage at a data center. You’ll be sharing with hundreds if not thousands of websites.
You’re basically renting space on a server without having to worry about the costs of setup, installation, and maintenance. This is a great option if you’re not prepared to hire a dedicated server manager. For your site to stay up and available 24/7, you’d need to have a server on-site and know what to do if it went down.
This would be called in-house hosting. Owning your own server has its benefits but it takes some technical know-how. Outages can cost you customers and be detrimental to the wellbeing of a company.
If you have a big enough budget and worry about security issues, you could always buy your own server and have it maintained at a data center. Colocation hosting is a good option for high-security data. A cheaper option would be to choose dedicated hosting, where you get to lease an entire server from a data center.
Web Hosting Costs
No web hosting guide would be complete without talking about price. Most hosts charge month-to-month, with discounts if you pay for an entire year at once. This could be problematic if you haven’t decided the scale of your business yet.
Ordering 10 GB of storage might sound like a lot at first. If you’ve got contributors adding posts and images to your site on a regular basis, you might find yourself hitting your cap sooner than you expect. If you’ve built a super efficient company, you might end up getting in your own way.
There are services that might charge you a flat fee for unlimited usage. This could be a great deal for your site or it could come with other caveats. Perhaps that data center’s upload speeds are slower than you anticipated.
If you’ve only got one website, keep it simple. But always make sure your package is scalable.
Shop around for an all-around package to cover domain, email addresses, storage and transfer bandwidth. Some data centers may try to entice you with extra security packages. This could be important if you’ve got many contributors with many logins.
Your site could end up taken over if an administrator’s account has a weak password or is left logged in on a public network.
Web Hosting Pros and Cons
New businesses should consider using a web hosting service for the first year of their business. This will give you an idea of how much storage you need and the limitations of your package. If you’re constantly hitting the edge of your limits, this is a good thing.
But you’ll have to talk to your accounting department.
Figure out how much it would cost to have all of the hardware you need on-site. Remember that servers get hot and will need cooling equipment. This will increase your overall utility footprint.
If you’re new to web design, SaaS companies offering an all-around package can walk you through the entire process. From choosing a domain to helping you to arrange your image galleries, SaaS programs free new companies from having to hire a bunch of employees.
Their site builder tools allow you to get off the ground in just a few minutes, which is all that most small businesses need.
Your main problem will be the fact that you’re sharing server space with other companies. You don’t know who they are or what kind of software they might try to install on their own site. This could end up infecting your site and corrupting your data.
If one site from that location is flagged by anti-spam software, that could mean that connections from that server are totally blocked. This could lead to your site not loading for customers, which is where it becomes a major problem for your bottom line.
If your site is the bread and butter of your business, consider getting a dedicated server for your site. Even having it colocated at a data center will still protect you without requiring you to learn a whole lot about server security.
What You Need From Web Hosting
Just as with every other product in life, the cost isn’t the whole story. If new businesses take away one thing from this web hosting guide, it’s to comb through what a web hosting service has to offer before deciding.
The best-rated web hosting providers should offer most small businesses what they need. Unless you’re running a blog with dozens of contributors adding posts every day, your site probably won’t grow by a lot from year to year.
Check out what kinds of website builders would work best for your business and pick one that you feel confident in. If you’re more advanced, make sure your service can schedule repetitive tasks, like custom cron jobs, to send out automated messages or run site cleanup.
You should be able to customize your error pages to communicate better with your customers in case an error arises. Check out different packages like whats offered by hosts like JaguarPC for an idea of what’s available.
Let Our Web Hosting Guide Lead You To Succeed
Most of all, you need a host that is available 24/7 to answer any questions you might have. Support is key for any new customer base in any field, most especially with web hosting.
You will surely run into issues with your first site setup, which is completely normal. If you’re still struggling to figure out what’s needed for your business after reading our web hosting guide, contact us today.