Choosing the best business hosting can be an intimidating process. The stakes are high and there’s often confusion over what the term “business hosting” actually means.
That’s why we created this guide. For service providers and bloggers making money online to startups and large enterprises, we’re going to cover what business hosting is and how you can decide which type of business hosting is best for your needs.
What is Business Hosting?
The term business hosting is difficult to define. On one hand, it’s used to describe the top tier web hosting options that are both high in price and offer high-performance specifications.
On the other, the term can be used as an umbrella classification for any type of hosting a business might use. As this can range from small business brochureware sites to ecommerce stores and creative agency portfolios, business hosting can come in a range of forms.
However, for the purpose of this guide on choosing the best business hosting, we’ll use this term in the context of the latter definition. This will allow us to cover a wider range of web hosting tiers and packages, making it more likely that you’ll find one that’s well suited to your business.
Who is Business Hosting for?
Now that we’ve defined what business hosting is, let’s quickly explore who this type of hosting is for.
As mentioned, businesses of all sizes can benefit from choosing business-focused web hosting. Whether your website is your business or your site is used to promote your services and products, it’s essential that you choose a suitable web host.
Sure, you could launch your business website on a free hosting plan or choose a no-cost website builder tool. However, if you’re serious about your business, that isn’t the best option. If your website is a vital part of your business, then investing in capable business hosting is nearly always the best approach.
Thankfully, the best business hosting for your project doesn’t have to be expensive. If the purpose of your website is to provide information and promote your business, and your visitor numbers are modest, there’s a good chance low-cost, shared hosting could suffice.
Even if your business is built around your website, the right type of business hosting needed cost the earth and if it does require an expensive plan, this guide to choosing the best business hosting will ensure you get value for money.
So as you can see, business hosting can be for everyone, regardless of their budget, size of their business, or purpose of their website.
Types of Business Hosting
Providing you choose a reputable web hosting company, your business website could find a suitable home on a range of different tiers and plans.
If your website is simply used to promote your offline business or online services, then low-cost entry-level shared web hosting might provide everything needed to keep a basic business site running smoothly and delivering on its goals.
Once transactions and interactions are taking place on your website, such as the purchase of products or delivery of learning materials and other types of interactive content, then you’ll probably need to look beyond the low-cost business hosting solutions. At this level, more expensive virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated hosting might be a better fit.
At the other end of the business hosting spectrum, if your website is accommodating large numbers of visitors, who are performing a high volume of actions on your site, and sensitive information and data are involved, then premium enterprise hosting might be called for.
As you can see, responsible business hosting covers a range of service types, across a spectrum of pricing options. So what are the pros and cons of choosing business hosting? Let’s take a look.
Pros of Business Hosting
The benefits of choosing business-focused hosting vary depending on the type of web hosting you need. However, you can take advantage of a few commonalities.
Not all businesses are the same and they all have different needs. This makes it impossible to declare one service the best overall business hosting option.
However, the flipside of having so much variety is that its highly likely you’ll find the best business hosting provider for your needs, no matter how large or small your venture is.
2. Flexibility for Big Businesses
The entry-level business hosting tiers generally offer fixed terms and set hardware specifications.
However, as your business grows and your needs increase, one upside to having to spend more money for the right type of hosting environment is that you’ll find the providers are more accommodating. This typically translates to the ability to specify the hardware allocated to your website and the resources it can consume.
Good high-end business hosting is also more responsive. If your website goes viral or experiences a surge in demand, the best top-tier business hosting will be more than able to handle it. Linear growth is easily accommodated too, with ever more resources available to your website as your business grows.
3. Tech Support
Access to a team of experts who have experience in supporting and managing business-critical websites is a major plus when it comes to the best high-end business hosting.
Of course, you should expect responsive support regardless of what tier you’re on or how big your business is.
But again, as your business grows and you move up the web hosting hierarchy, you should receive a better level of support. Dedicated account managers are not uncommon with the best high-end business hosting plans.
As you can see, there are a number of advantages to seeking out the best business-focused web hosting providers.
Cons of Business Hosting
There aren’t many downsides to the broad spectrum of business hosting. They mostly include having to pay more for access to the resources and power a successful business website needs. There are also a few other limitations you may come across.
A major drawback of reliable business hosting is its financial cost. This is true even if you choose a shared host since you need to shop around for the highest-quality host who probably also offers higher prices. Plus, prices only get more and more expensive as you move into VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting.
2. Issues with Low-Tier Hosting
Cloud hosting and dedicated hosting might be overkill for most startups and small businesses. So if you’re starting out, in most cases you should go with shared or entry-level VPS hosting. Unfortunately, these tiers of hosting come with a number of different issues that explain their lower prices. This can include severe limitations on the amount of resources your site can use.
If you try to economize too severely and opt for the cheapest deal available, it’s likely you will pay the price in some other way, either now or in the future.
To recap, the increased expense of choosing the best business hosting for your project is the main downside of this type of service.
However, in most cases, the better your website performs, the greater the rewards for your business, making this a cost that’s well worth absorbing. A hobby blog can survive a short period of downtime that falls under a 99.9% uptime guarantee or deal with a queue to contact the support team. However, that’s out of the question for most business websites and paying more for a better service can help overcome those two issues plus much more.
Things to Look For
There’s a lot to look for when it comes to choosing the best business hosting. Here are a few specifics:
- Does the host offer an uptime guarantee? 99.9% is OK; 99.99% is better. Avoid web hosts who offer no such guarantee.
- How can you contact support? Is it a combination of live chat, telephone support, and email or all three.
- What type of customer service does the host offer? Businesses need 24/7 support, not a set number of hours Monday through Friday.
- Does the host support the application you want to use? This includes WordPress, Joomla, Magento, PrestaShop and Drupal. For business hosting, you should look for a provider that is an expert with your chosen platform, not just supports it.
- Does the host offer a control panel? cPanel and Plesk are popular choices, though some hosts offer their own control panel. Just make sure it’s easy to navigate and provides the functionality you require.
By being aware of these points, you’ll increase your chances of finding the best web hosting for your business website.
What to Pay Attention To
The first thing you need to look at when choosing the best business hosting is the reputation of every host you’re interested in. Some of the most popular and most recommended hosts have poor reputations, so make sure you do your homework. People can overlook a lot when getting a good deal. But for business websites, that’s not an adequate position to take.
You should also do your research and be skeptical of words like “unlimited.” This is typically code for “unlimited to a certain extent” at which point the host will throttle your site when you hit a limit they haven’t disclosed outside of a small piece of text in their terms and conditions. It’s much better to know the limits before going into an agreement rather than finding out at an inconvenient point in the future, such as a product launch.
Be sure to find out a prospective host’s position on overage fees. Some hosts will simply move you up to the next tier and charge you accordingly. Others will hit you with financial penalties if your website outgrows its current plan. Therefore, you need to know how your host will handle the growth of your business website.
Lastly, don’t take a host’s prices at face value. Most hosts display their prices in monthly format to make them appear cheaper when in reality you’re required to pay for 12 months of hosting up front.
Furthermore, many hosts offer huge discounts for your first year without making it obvious that you’ll need to pay the full price, which could be 60% more, when you renew.
There are a lot of different options to pick from when it comes to choosing the best business hosting.
Fortunately, many hosts specialize in taking care of business websites of all sizes. Although value for money is important, when it comes to finding the best hosting plan for your business website, price shouldn’t be your main concern.
The main takeaway from this article is to choose a host that has a good reputation, offers the type of hosting your business currently needs as well as the type of hosting it’ll need in the future, and has a business focus. Be sure to also see if the host is transparent about any additional fees it’ll charge you and the ways it’ll assist you if things go wrong.
By following this advice, you’ll find the best business hosting for your website.