Last Updated 7 months by Emily Standley-Allard
Web design and functionality is one thing. But have you considered how to choose the right kind of web hosting for your business? Here’s how!
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It doesn’t matter what kind of business you own. Whether you’re a passionate blogger or a serious e-commerce business owner, your website is the lifeline between you and the outside world… And the link that either gets them to become a customer or turns them away.
But there’s so much more to it than just a cool design. It’s important that you understand the fundamentals of web hosting… And know how to choose the right kind of web hosting for your business website to thrive.
Here’s what you should know. Commit it to memory and use this info wisely—if you’re launching a new site, start with this first.
If you’re already with a web hosting provider, consider if they’re providing you with all you need.
What Is Web Hosting?
In simple language, web hosting is the process of storing all the data associated with your particular website on a server and making that little package available to internet users.
Your web hosting provider acts as a sort of digital landlord, offering a safe, secure space where your site can live.
Your website can’t exist without being stored somewhere, and even when stored, it needs to be accessible if you want people to visit it.
While you can technically host your own website on your own server, this is quite convoluted unless you’re really into tech.
Why Is Web Hosting Important?
Web hosting is much more than just a digital storage space! It plays a critical role in the success of your website. Here’s why web hosting deserves your attention:
- Website Availability: A website needs to be hosted to be accessible to Internet users. No host, no website! Make sure the web hosting company you choose offers guaranteed uptime of 99.9% or more, which will make you available pretty much always.
- Performance and Loading Speed: Web hosting and website loading speed go hand in hand. Good host = higher loading speed, and higher loading speed = happier visitors, better rankings, and better business.
- Scalability and Growth: Your website might need to expand as your business grows. Choose a flexible web host that allows you to easily accommodate increasing traffic and resource needs.
- Security and Data Protection: Cyber threats are real! Make sure your web host equips your website with robust security measures that protect your data and minimize the risk of unauthorized access.
- Technical Support: Handling problems can be frustrating. Your web host should be the expert—ensure they’re available 24/7 to assist you with issues so your site stays up and running.
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What Are the Different Types of Web Hosting?
There are four main types of web hosting to choose from.
Understanding these options will help you make an informed decision that actually aligns with your specific business needs.
- Shared Hosting: Most cost-effective option, where your site shares server space with other websites. Suitable for personal blogs and small sites with less traffic, but definitely comes with the most limitations and potential problems.
- Dedicated Hosting: A whole server just for your website! No shared resources. All the power and storage are just for your site. A little more pricey, but worth it for its reliability and security.
- VPS Hosting: A great combination of shared and dedicated. Your website gets its own dedicated piece of a bigger server. It’s more affordable than dedicated and more stable than shared. A good middle-ground option.
- Cloud Hosting: Pricey but worth it if you’ve got the budget. Top of the top in terms of storage, scalability, flexibility, and reliability.
How to Choose the Right Kind of Web Hosting for Your Business
Ready to make the choice on your own web hosting? Here are the boxes you need to tick to make sure you’re getting the right thing.
- Determine Your Website’s Size and Traffic Requirements
Assess the size of your site and make a guess of how much traffic it’s likely to receive. Rather overestimate than underestimate, so it’s crucial to do some research on this beforehand!
Once you know this, you’ll have a good idea of what kind of resources and bandwidth your website will need to run smoothly, with a bit of breathing space for traffic surges.
- Consider Resource Needs
This is where your type of web hosting will be important. Can your website handle sharing resources with others, or would it do better to have exclusive resources that won’t potentially be used up by other sites?
In many cases, this comes down to the type of website you have.
Personal blogs are usually light on resources and can share with others with no problem. E-commerce websites, on the other hand, don’t do well sharing and should definitely have their own dedicated resources.
- Evaluate Scalability and Growth Potential
Are you planning on growing your business?
Think of the future here, and we mean a few years into the future, not just one year or so. Keep in mind that your business may grow suddenly, so you need to be prepared for sudden growth, and so does your web host.
Choose a host with scalability options that can expand as your business expands. You don’t want to have to change web hosts if business suddenly starts booming—choose a host that can just grow with you!
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Provider
When selecting a web hosting provider, keep the following factors in mind:
- Uptime: 99.9% or higher is the industry standard you should be measuring your web host up against. Anything less is unacceptable.
- Storage: Make sure the amount of storage offered by your host is enough and will remain enough even as your business grows.
- Traffic: Are there traffic limitations? Make sure your web host can handle an influx of traffic on your website without causing it to crash.
- Loading Speed: Don’t skimp on this one! Fast loading speed is essential for the visitor experience, so pick one with excellent loading speeds.
- Data Security: Choose a web host that offers real, robust security measures and that includes more than one layer of protection.
- Customer Support: Nothing less than 24/7 customer support, preferable through a variety of different options like phone, email, and chat.
Learning how to choose the right kind of web hosting for your business is a one-time thing. Once you know what to look for, it doesn’t change—learn the important aspects of a web host, and you’ll have important knowledge for any future businesses and websites you may own.
About the Author
Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.