Web hosting isn’t an option for small or large businesses; it’s a requirement. When people are looking for products or services, they turn to the internet, thus your company requires a dependable and easily accessible website. Even a simple website with your company’s address, contact information, and hours of operation can be extremely useful.
Businesses no longer need to be included in yellow pages; if you can’t be located in a search engine, you don’t exist. To establish an internet presence, businesses require a shareable website. Without a website, your company will be difficult to find and earn little money. Web hosting isn’t just for businesses; if you’re looking to host a personal website, blog, or project, hosting services are also extremely useful. Whatever your website’s goal is, the services provided below can help.
Finding a web host, the firm that keeps your website’s contents on its servers and distributes them to your readers’ and customers’ browsers, is the first step in establishing your online presence. A reader-recommended choice is Bluehost, a PC Mag Business Choice winner.
Monthly data transfers, storage, email, and other amenities differ among web hosting services. Even how you pay (month-to-month vs. annual payments) can differ dramatically, so taking the time to map out exactly what your firm requires for online success is critical. Many of these firms also provide reseller hosting, which allows you to start your own business by providing hosting to your own customers without having to set up your own servers.
You should also become acquainted with the various web hosting tiers accessible. You’ll come across shared, virtual private server (VPS), dedicated, and WordPress hosting plans during your search. Each tier has its own set of specifications and features that you should research thoroughly. We’ll take a look at each one individually.
What Is Shared Web Hosting and How Does It Work?
Shared hosting is a type of web hosting in which a single server is used to host many websites. For example, Site A, Site B, Site C, Site D, and Site E all share the same server. The benefit is that because the server costs are shared by several sites, shared web hosting is often relatively affordable. It’s a low-cost web hosting service. Indeed, you may obtain a plan for less $10 per month.
You may consider the sites that share your server to be your housemates; there isn’t much that separates you from them. Even if you shut the door to your bedroom, they might still give you nightmares in the kitchen and bathroom. Because all of the sites share a single server’s resources, large traffic spikes on Site A may have an influence on the performance of the other sites. If the shared server crashes hard enough, another site may be able to take it down completely.
What Is VPS Web Hosting and How Does It Work?
VPS hosting is similar to shared hosting in that it allows numerous websites to use a single server, but that’s where the similarities end. VPS hosting is similar to renting your own apartment in a larger complex in terms of housing. You’re much more secluded than in the last roommate situation; it’s still possible that a nearby apartment would disturb you, but it’s far less likely. In terms of web hosting, Site A’s traffic surge will have a far smaller influence on Site B and Site C. VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting, as you might imagine. You’ll pay somewhere between $20 and $60 every month.
What Is Dedicated Web Hosting and How Does It Work?
On the other hand, dedicated hosting is both powerful and expensive. It’s only for sites that necessitate a massive amount of server resources.
Dedicated hosting, unlike shared or VPS hosting, makes your website the only tenant on a server. Having a dedicated server is like having your own home, to extend the housing metaphor. This indicates that your website uses all of the server’s resources and pays for it. Dedicated hosting is the way to go if you want a high-powered site—an online palace for your company. Many dedicated web hosting services, on the other hand, entrust you with resolving backend, technical concerns, similar to how homeowners manage maintenance that tenants typically delegate to their landlords.
Many web hosting companies also offer managed hosting in addition to dedicated hosting. In this case, the web host serves as your IT department, taking care of server maintenance and upkeep. This hosting option is generally seen with dedicated servers, making it a business-oriented addition. Naturally, it raises the cost of hosting a few dollars, but it shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive if you have the resources to afford a dedicated server.
When you create a self-hosted site, you get the most web-building functionality. This usually entails uploading the free WordPress CMS to a server or signing up for a web host’s WordPress-optimized package. The host handles backend stuff automatically with an efficient plan, so you don’t have to worry about updating plug-ins and CMS, or setting automatic backups. The WordPress environment is usually pre-installed on the server in these cases.
You can also host your website on WordPress.com, but this is not the same as the hosting described above. WordPress.com employs the same code as WordPress.org, but hides the server code and takes care of the hosting. In that respect, it’s similar to the entries in our roundup of online site builders. It’s a more straightforward method to WordPress hosting, but it’s also less adaptable and configurable. It’s certainly more convenient, but if you want to tweak, change, and optimize every part of your site, it might not be the best option.
Features that are beneficial to businesses
When it’s time to get started, search for a web host that offers the dedicated servers listed above, as well as powerful cloud server platforms (such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud), bespoke server builds if needed, and 24/7 customer support. Depending on the nature of your business, you may require a web server that can manage pageviews or visits in the tens of thousands or millions. Many popular hosting plans include an onboarding specialist who can assist you in getting started.
If you plan to sell a product online, seek for a web host that offers a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which encrypts data sent between the customer’s browser and the web host to protect payment information. SSL is the green padlock that shows in your web browser’s address bar when you visit an online banking institution or retail outlet; you’re surely familiar with it. A few organizations will give you an SSL certificate for free; others will charge you around $100 per year for that added degree of security.
Additional Information about Web Hosting
If you’re not sure what kind of hosting your company requires, shared web hosting is a good place to start. You can always upgrade to a more robust, feature-rich package in the future, such as VPS hosting or dedicated hosting. Unfortunately, some hosts do not provide all forms of hosting. Before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan, think about how much and how quickly you want your website to expand. Because moving web hosting providers midstream is not a simple task, it’s essential taking the effort up front to ensure that the host you choose can support the development you want for your site.
After you’ve decided on a price range, think about how long you’ll need web hosting. You can usually get a refund if you cancel your hosting within 60 days if it’s a short-term project (less than a month or two). Some firms provide 30-day money-back guarantees, while others provide 90-day money-back guarantees. Doing your homework is beneficial once again.
You’ll Need These Web Hosting Features
Many web servers start with minimal functionality and then extend their offers (often dramatically) for higher-tier services. Check the fine print to be sure the plan you’re considering includes all you require. If you need a site builder to develop your website, be sure the low-cost web host you choose includes one. Many of them demand that you pay for the builder separately. Website builders are normally inexpensive, but if you can locate a web host that provides one for free, you’ll save money. You’re more likely to get a seamless, supported experience if it’s linked with your hosting service.
You should also look for a web host that offers customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if not by phone, then at least by chat. Forums, knowledge bases, and support tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to talk to another person to get things straightened out. However, not all customer service teams that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week are created equal. In our in-depth analyses of those web hosting services, we discovered that companies like Search Engine Optimization and Fbrand hosting had very knowledgeable and helpful customer support teams.
When it comes to server operating systems, Linux is frequently chosen as the default. Some services, however, give you the option of hosting on Linux or Windows Server. If you have server-side programs that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom.NET application, you must ensure that your web host offers Windows hosting. But don’t be put off by the prospect of being a Linux host. Most web providers nowadays provide a graphical interface or control panel to make server administration and website management easier. You’ll click easily identifiable icons instead of typing at the command line.
Windows hosting is frequently more expensive than Linux hosting, particularly when it comes to dedicated servers. While this isn’t always the case, it’s something to keep in mind while you browse.
Hosting for Emails
You must have email if you want to have a web presence. It’s a quick and easy way for potential clients and consumers to send you a message, a Word document, or other items. Fortunately, most site servers include email as part of their hosting packages. Some web providers allow you to create an infinite number of email accounts (which is fantastic for future expansion), while others limit you to a certain number. You should, of course, desire unlimited email.
However, not all web providers provide email. For example, WP Engine does not. In some cases, you’ll need to create email accounts with a firm other than your web host. GoDaddy, for example, offers email services that start at $5.99 per month per user. While this may appear to be a burden and yet another item to keep care of, some webmasters believe that keeping your email and web hosting providers separate is a good idea. That way, if one of your providers goes down, your business won’t be utterly ruined.
Marketing and e-commerce
When we reviewed the services listed here (and many more), we discovered that while the packages are comparable, they are not identical. Some are more security-conscious than others, with anti-spam and anti-malware technologies available at all price levels. Others provide a wide range of email marketing services. While most of the hosts we’ve reviewed have built-in e-commerce, you might want to consider using a more robust third-party e-commerce platform, like Shopify or 123hosting, which are our Editors’ Choice picks.
If you’re looking for a quality web hosting provider, check out PC Mag’s top selections in the space in the chart below. After that, use the links below to read our in-depth, tried-and-true reviews of the biggest and greatest names in web hosting.
If you’re new to web hosting, check out our primers on How to Build a Website and How to Manage a Website. How to Get a Domain Name for Your Business, The Best Courses for Learning How to Build Websites and How to Get a Free Domain Name for Your Website