If you’re a small business, you need a website, and that website needs to be stored on a server. A third-party web hosting service hosts your website and facilitates its effective functioning, allowing anyone with an internet connection to access it.
While hosting might seem like a quick and simple choice for you, don’t be too hasty. It’s incredibly important. Even if you website is phenomenal, low quality hosting will quickly drag it back down.
With a substandard hosting solution, you could end up with a slow, temperamental and unsecure website that offers visitors a terrible experience. All your hard work would be undone.
So, before you make a choice, read on as we look at the best website hosting for small businesses…
Should I use a third-party web hosting service?
To start, you may be considering a DIY option. Whilst it is possible to have a home server, you’re unlikely to experience the best web hosting services by doing so.
Firstly, you’ll need to check that your ISP (internet service provider) offers a static IP address and that you’re not in violation of their terms of service. You should also consider the bandwidth, uptime and speed of your at-home internet – the high performance of all these is critical for website success.
In short, whilst it is possible to facilitate and run a web server from your home, doing so can be time-consuming, expensive and complicated. As such, you want to find the best possible web hosting services for your small business.
What to look for in web hosting services for small businesses
It may be obvious, but ensuring that your website is secure is critical for your business’s success – particularly if you handle confidential customer information and payments. You need to know that all transactions are secure and operate via verified payment providers.
It’s also worth opting for a hosting service that can provide SSL certificates – especially if you’re an ecommerce business. SSL certificates authenticate that any provider is who they say they are, and that all data handled by the website is securely encrypted. This improves consumer confidence and is better for SEO, as search engines prioritise websites with SSL certificates over those that don’t. The best web hosting services for small businesses will manage all of these security needs for you.
2. Support and maintenance
The best hosting service will provide speedy, comprehensive technical support if and when you need it. Staff should be knowledgeable and able to respond to your queries so that any issues can be resolved as quickly as possible.
Where there’s excellent support, there’s also likely to be excellent maintenance. You want to know that your web hosting service is performing routine checks, getting on top of potential bugs before they become a wider problem that impacts your website.
3. Backup provision
If your website goes down for whatever reason, you want to know that there’s a copy of it somewhere. You can then use this copy to either recreate or restore your website, meaning that your business will get back to its feet much quicker than it would without a backup copy.
When you’re looking for the best hosting service for your business, take care to check that they provide regular backups – it will give you greater confidence in case of any attacks.
4. Integrated comms and social media
Staying in regular contact with both your employees and your customers is vital to business success. Doing so can be made easier if your web hosting service provides dedicated, unlimited email hosting that uses your website domain as part of your email address. This allows you to maintain consistent branding, which improves your professional standing in the eyes of consumers, and makes you more readily recognisable. Alternatively, your hosting service may provide access to an email suite (such as Windows).
Using social media is critical for the success of small businesses, and the best hosting service will enable integration of your website with various social media platforms.
The best web hosting providers will have high performance in three vital categories: bandwidth, speed and uptime. Ideally, you should go for a provider who promises 99% uptime. The higher the promised uptime, the less likely your website is to go down. When your website is down, you’ll lose your ranking on servers like Google, so you want the highest uptime possible.
A high bandwidth and super-fast loading speed are also essential. Again, servers like Google will prioritise websites that load faster, bumping you up in SEO rankings.
The best web hosting for small businesses will also afford access to critical analytics, allowing you to stay on top of your KPIs and monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, advertising campaigns and customer comms.
6. Storage, reliability and scalability
You also need your web hosting provider to have enough storage space for your needs and to ensure that this space is flexible. If your business has a static website (for example, if it’s primarily text-based), then you’ll need less storage. Meanwhile, more dynamic websites will require higher storage provisions.
If you are a UK-based small business, you also want to be opting for a hosting service that is UK-based. This improves your SEO, as it makes your website’s loading time significantly faster.
Similarly, whilst you may be a small business at the current time, you want to opt for a web hosting service that provides the best possible scalability. If your company expands, then having a reputable, reliable web hosting service that is easily scalable will make your life easier.
Admittedly, many hosting services provide migration facilities so that you can transfer from another provider, but it’s undoubtedly easier to be with a premium provider in the first instance. That way, you don’t have to worry about moving over at a later point.
Secure a web hosting service that’s best for your small business
At Rapport Digital, we pride ourselves on providing web hosting services that work to help small businesses succeed.
Ready to get started? Contact us today on firstname.lastname@example.org or give our friendly team a call on 0330 133 2522.