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Best Web Hosting for Small Business Websites

Most business owners understand the benefits a website can have for their business – it helps with building credibility and acquiring customers.  But one aspect commonly overlooked is small business web hosting.

A web host is the structural foundation of your website.  A small business site supported by a quality host will run fast, smooth and with consistent uptimes.  Speed and uptime are very important when it comes to user experience.

TOP 5 BEST WEB HOSTING SITES FOR SMALL BUSINESS

    • NameHero – Best Value Cloud Hosting
    • SiteGround – Great Product & Service
    • GreenGeeks – Environmentally Friendly
    • Hostinger – Most Budget Conscious
    • A2 Hosting – Good All Around

You can jump straight to the comparison HERE

Slow websites lead to higher bounce rates while downtime means potential loss of customers.  Choosing the wrong web host for your small business website can directly have a negative impact in customer acquisition.

So what causes downtime?  Many factors such as server failures and DDoS attacks can play a role but ultimately it boils down to one thing – a poor quality web host.  A web host that has an inferior infrastructure and poor server management is more prone to downtime.

full-serversA poor quality host will also swell their servers with too many sites with their most popular shared plans – this is how some hosts offer bargain prices.

Sharing a server with too many resource-hogging websites can detrimentally affect your website speed and downtime.

Before going into the features to look for when choosing a web host, here’s a quick breakdown of the top web hosting providers – for WordPress and HTML sites.

 

 

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A WEB HOST & HOW TO CHOOSE ONE

So how do you know what makes a web host good?  There are many obvious factors to consider such as price and customer support.

But this article will also aim to put weight on features that are often overlooked, like software and speed upgrades.  Here are some things to evaluate when choosing the right web hosting provider for your small business.

  • 1. Pricing Transparency
  • 2. Tech Support
  • 3. Fast Server Software
  • 4. Calculating Uptime
  • 5. Automatic Backup
  • 6. Unlimited Email Accounts
  • 7. Unlimited Subdomains
  • 8. Data Center Locations
  • 9. Railgun Upgrade
  • 10. Website Scalability

Also, when in doubt, check their online reviews.  Here are 3 legit sites to check for unbiased reviews that are non-incentivized.

    • Trustpilot
    • ShopperApproved
    • SiteJabber

If you see certain web hosts that are promoted or advertised literally everywhere, you should err on the side of caution.  They often spend more on marketing campaigns rather than quality and customer support.

Many web hosts often use the word “unlimited” when referring to unlimited bandwidth and unlimited diskspace.  However, the truth is nothing is unlimited.

When it comes to bandwidth and diskspace, don’t be fooled by the word “unlimited”.  Unlimited really means unlimited available at an additional cost.

Also, make sure the online users reviews line up with the advertised claims.  All web hosting companies claim to be the best with the best uptime but there are certainly other essential factors to consider.

 

1 – AFFORDABLE PRICING

Web hosting prices will vary depending on your needs.  They can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars a month depending on the type of a hosting plan.

Shared plans are the most popular for small businesses because they are least expensive and are usually sufficient for most people’s needs.  Although the price of a web host doesn’t dictate the quality, you tend to get what you pay for.

Be wary of some web hosts who lure customers with low prices but charges extra for features that are standard with other web hosts.  In some cases, you can end up paying more for less.

Another thing to keep in mind is, web hosting and WordPress web hosting is the same.  All web hosts are able to install WordPress.  You shouldn’t have to pay any more for hosting a WordPress site.

 

2 – 24/7 TECH SUPPORT

If your website is live, it’s inevitable that you’re going to need help with tech issues.  This can and will happen at the most unexpected times so a web host that offers 24/7 service is critical.

A web host with great customer service should be able offer support via email, chat, and phone at all times.  The quality of customer support also matters.

Some web hosting companies outsource their support team abroad to cut costs.  Although they may be tech savvy, the language barrier often becomes a problem.

Spending time addressing web related issues is time consuming and draining.  Having a website is supposed to help your business, not slow it down.

A knowledgeable support staff should be able to quickly handle issues without much going back and forth.  Save yourself the headache and choose a web host with an in-house tech support team.

 

3 – FAST WEB SERVER SOFTWARE

The main function of a web server is to serve HTTP requests of a user who is visiting your website; and all server computers that host websites need software to load these web pages.

Apache and Nginx are the two most popular web server but neither is the fastest – the fastest is LiteSpeed.  Web hosts who offer the lowest prices usually use Apache web servers.

litespeedAlthough they’ve been around the longest, a LiteSpeed server is 9 times faster than an Apache server and processes PHP, WordPress’ back-end language, 50% faster.

According to http2benchmark, when coupled with LS Cache, a LiteSpeed Web Server is 8 times faster than Nginx and 75 times faster than Apache.  Web hosts that have been using Apache are gradually upgrading to LiteSpeed.

Speed should be on the top of your wish list when choosing a web host.  It can play a significant role in converting customers because most people will bounce off slow loading websites.

Nginx is a better alternative to Apache, but for the right price, LiteSpeed with LiteSpeed Cache is the fastest option for handling your website’s rate of requests per second.

litespeed vs nginx vs apache
source: openlitespeed

 

4 – UPTIME WITH MINIMAL DOWNTIME

Every web host guarantees 99.9% uptime, but what does that really mean?  In order to calculate the uptime up a server, you just need the value of two variables – number of seconds a website was down and the number of seconds of a given time period.

Here is a simple way of calculating the uptime for a time period of 1 month.


100% - (# of seconds website was down / # of seconds in one month)

All servers can periodically go down for one reason or another.  So it’s really about how well web servers are maintained and how well they respond to server related issues when downtime occurs.

A website can have 100% uptime in one month and have 99% uptime in the following month.  Uptime and response time claims should really be taken with a grain of salt because there are too many variables to consistently guarantee the same figures every month.

You can however use a free site like uptimerobot to measure it yourself but most hosts will do just fine when it comes to uptime.  Theoretically, cloud hosting has the best uptime.

When a website is hosted on the cloud, it uses multiple physical machines instead of one to keep your website up and running.  If one machine fails, others will be there to back it up.

 

5 – AUTOMATIC DAILY BACKUP

People often spend many hours customizing their website but sometimes they get compromised with malware.

Even through no fault of your own, this is more likely to happen with shared plans because you’re sharing server space with other people.  One person can infect the server for everyone.

automatic backupNobody expects their small business website to get hacked or infected but it does happen when you least expect it.

That’s why when choosing a web hosting plan, pick one that offers daily automatic backup.

When a web host offers very cheap prices, there’s a chance they only include weekly backup or none at all.

 

6 – FREE UNLIMITED EMAIL ACCOUNTS

As your business grows, so will the influx of customer inquiries.  You’ll probably want your own email address along with separate ones to handle different aspects of your business.

However, not all web hosts offer unlimited email addresses.  Web hosts with cheap hosting plans will limit the number of email accounts you can create with intention to upsell.

Make sure to factor in the cost of additional email boxes before signing up for any hosting plan.  Bluehost is one example of a web host that limits you to only five accounts.

 

7 – FREE UNLIMITED SUBDOMAINS

Will your website have an online store or a blog?  If so, you may want to put them on a subdomain.  A website URL with a blog subdomain will look like www.blog.yourwebsite.com.

Each subdomain will act as a separate individual website.  Having subdomains is like having many websites with just one domain name.  You will not have to pay annual domain renewal fees for subdomains.

They can be especially useful if your business expands to different areas of services.  If your business requires it, go with a web host that offers unlimited subdomains.  You may not initially need it but it’s nice to have the option when you do.

 

8 – DATA CENTER LOCATIONS

A data center is where a web host’s server is located.  They are also where your website connects to so the proximity can affect the speed of your website.

Most web hosts have data centers in several locations so your site can connect to the closest one.  Load times can be faster when the data center is closest to where your web traffic is.  It should at the least be in the same country.

If your business is in New York, it wouldn’t make sense to host your website with a web host in Europe.  Closer is better for speed, but there is an exception.  If you plan to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), it doesn’t matter where your web host’s datacenter is located.

A CDN is simply a middle man for delivering your web content to the end user.  A visitor to your website will receive data from a CDN that is connected to your web host’s server.

CDNs are efficient in delivering web pages to the end user because they have datacenters everywhere.  Whether your web traffic is local, across the country or international, a CDN datacenter is likely nearby.

cloudflare datacenters
source: cloudflare

 

9 – FREE RAILGUN WITH CLOUDFLARE CDN

Cloudflare is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that is available with every web hosting company.  It is used to quickly deliver cached data to visitors of your website.

Additionaly, Cloudflare also has a unique speed tool called Railgun that helps with delivery of dynamic non-cached data.  When buying Railgun directly from Cloudflare, it is a premium add-on that costs $200 per month.

how railgun works
source: cloudflare

However, some web hosts are able to offer this feature free with their hosting plans through their partnership with Cloudflare.  Website speed is an important Google ranking factor so opt for a web host that offers free Railgun.

Be sure inquire about this feature because sites running Railgun shows improvements in load time by an average of 143 percent.

 

10 – SCALABILITY

A small business should expect more web traffic as their business grows.  More traffic means increased load on a web server as more requests are made.  This is where cloud hosting can be advantageous.

Hosting your website on a cloud server allows instant scalability with minimal resistance.  Uptime, speed and scalability is where cloud hosting shines.

Because your website isn’t bound to a single server computer, additional resources can be added as needed in real time.  Hosting on the cloud is more costly but if you’re expecting your business to grow, it is the better choice.

 

 

 

BEST WEB HOSTING FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Now that you know what to look for when choosing a web hosting company, here are individual reviews of the best web hosts to consider for your small business website.  Here is a formula to consider for speed and uptime:

Cloud Server + LiteSpeed + Cloudflare CDN + RailGun

 

 

1 – NAMEHERO – Best Overall Value

 

Pricing
  • Starter Cloud – $3.29 /month, 1 Website, 1 Free Domain.
  • Plus Cloud – $5.49 /month, 6 Websites, 1 Free Domain.
  • Turbo Cloud – $9.32 /month, Unlimited Websites, 1 Free Domain.
  • Business Cloud – $10.99 /month, Unlimited Websites, 1 Free Domain.
Support
  • 24/7 Support via Phone, Email, and Chat.
Server Software
  • LiteSpeed Webserver
Auto Backup
  • Nightly
Email Accounts
  • Unlimited
Subdomains
  • Unlimited
Data Center Locations
  • Michigan, USA
  • Phoenix, USA
Speed Features
  • Free SSL Certificate.
  • Free CloudFlare CDN.
  • Free RailGun with all plans.
  • Free Cloud Hosting with all plans.

 

 

2 – SITEGROUND – Great Product & Support

 

Pricing
  • StartUp – $3.95 /month, 1 Website.
  • GrowBig – $5.95 /month, Unlimited Websites.
  • GoGeek – $11.95 /month, Unlimited Websites.
Support
  • 24/7 Support via Phone, Email, and Chat.
Server Software
  • Nginx Webserver
Auto Backup
  • Daily
Email Accounts
  • Unlimited
Subdomains
  • Unlimited
Data Center Locations
  • Iowa, USA
  • Chicago, USA
  • London, UK
  • Eemshaven, NL
  • Singapore, SG
Speed Features
  • Free SSL Certificate.
  • Free CloudFlare CDN.
  • Free RailGun with all plans.
  • Cloud Hosting available.
  • – Entry – $80 /month
  • – Business – $120 /month
  • – Business Plus – $160 /month
  • – Super Power – $240 /month

 

 

3 – GREENGEEKS – Environmentally Friendlygreengeeks hosting

 

Pricing
  • Lite – $2.95 /month, 1 Website, 1 Free Domain.
  • Pro – $5.95 /month, Unlimited Websites, 1 Free Domain.
  • Premium – $11.95 /month, Unlimited Websites, 1 Free Domain.
Support
  • 24/7 Support via Phone, Email, and Chat.
Server Software
  • Apache / LiteSpeed Webservers
Auto  Backup
  • Nightly
Email Accounts
  • Unlimited
Subdomains
  • Unlimited
Data Center Locations
  • Chicago, USA
  • Phoenix, USA
  • Montreal, CA
  • Amsterdam, NL
Speed Features
  • Free CloudFlare CDN.
  • Free RailGun with all plans.
  • Free SSL Certificate.
  • Cloud Hosting not offered.

 

 

4 – HOSTINGER – Most Budget ConsciousHostinger hosting

 

Pricing
  • Single – $0.99/month, 1 Website.
  • Premium – $2.59 /month, Unlimited Websites, 1 Free Domain.
  • Business – $4.49 /month, Unlimited Websites, 1 Free Domain.
Support
  • 24/7 Support via Email and Chat.  Phone support not available.
Server Software
  • LiteSpeed Webserver
Auto Backup
  • Single Plan – Not included.  Manual backup only.
  • Premium Plan – Weekly backup
  • Business Plan – Daily backup
Email Accounts
  • Single Plan – 1 Included
  • Premium Plan – Unlimited
  • Business Plan – Unlimited
Subdomains
  • Included
Data Center Locations
  • USA
  • Asia
  • UK
Speed Features
  • Free CloudFlare CDN.
  • RailGun not included.
  • Free SSL Certificate with Business plan only.
  • Cloud Hosting available
  • – Cloud Startup – $9.99 /month
  • – Cloud Professional – $18.99 /month
  • – Cloud Enterprise – $35.99 /month

 

 

5 – A2 HOSTING – Good All Arounda2 hosting

 

Pricing
  • Lite – $3.92 /month, 1 Website.
  • Swift – $4.90 /month, Unlimited Websites.
  • Turbo – $9.31 /month, Unlimited Websites.
Support
  • 24/7 Support via Phone, Email, and Chat.
Server Software
  • Apache Webserver.  LiteSpeed available with their more expensive VPS plans.
Auto Backup
  • Daily
Email Accounts
  • 25 Included with Lite plan.  Unlimited with Swift and Turbo plan only.
Subdomains
  • 5 Included with Lite plan.  Unlimited with Swift and Turbo plan only.
Data Center Locations
  • Michigan, USA
  • Arizona, USA
  • Amsterdam, Eur
  • Singapore, SG
Speed Features
  • Free CloudFlare CDN.
  • Free RailGun with Turbo plan only.
  • Free SSL Certificate.
  • Cloud Hosting Available
  • – Entry – $5 /month
  • – Mid – $10 /month
  • – Elite – $15 /month

 

 

 

SUMMARY

All of these companies are quality web hosts so you really can’t go wrong with any of them.  With that being said, some hosts may be better than others depending on the needs and the budget of your small business.

There’s always a trade off when prices are cheaper.  The goal is to find the best value for the money rather than simply looking for the cheapest deal.  That’s why NameHero came on top of the list.

 

NAMEHERO

  • Pros
    • NameHero has exceptional in-house tech support with the recipe for speed and uptime.  Their prices are affordable and all their hosting plans are deployed standard from a cloud server using LiteSpeed with free RailGun.
  • Cons
    • The only downside is their lack of international server locations so NameHero may be more suitable for businesses in the US.  However, if you’re planning on using a CDN, which you should, server location is irrelevant.

SITEGROUND

  • Pros
    • SiteGround also has great tech support with a solid product line.  They are a reputable hosting company with RailGun included with all their plans.  Their datacenters are located globally so SiteGround is suitable even for international sites when not using a CDN.
  • Cons
    • While their Nginx webservers are superior to Apache, LiteSpeed is the best option for speed.  Their prices are higher than others on the list and if you want cloud hosting, it’s may even break the bank.

GREENGEEKS

  • Pros
    • GreenGeeks is the only environmentally conscious hosting company on the list.  They pledge to put that 3 times the power consumed in the form of renewable energy.  Their prices are affordable and RailGun is included.
  • Cons
    • They lack some ingredients for speed as their webservers aren’t fully transitioned into LiteSpeed so they still rely on Apache.  Also, if you wanted to host your business website on the cloud, it isn’t offered.

HOSTINGER

  • Pros
    • Hostinger is the most budget friendly option.  You can get started on their least expensive plan for under a dollar per month.  Their webserver is using LiteSpeed and they have datacenters in three continents.
  • Cons
    • Their least expensive plan comes at a cost, so to speak.  Only one email account is included and backup has to be done manually.  RailGun and phone support isn’t included with any of their plans but cloud hosting is available at an additional cost.  Also, free SSL is only included with their business plan.

A2 HOSTING

  • Pros
    • A2 is an all around good hosting company.  They offer datacenters in multiple countries and their cloud hosting plans are affordable.  Daily auto backup is standard and RailGun is free with their Turbo plan.
  • Cons
    • Lots of their features are sectioned in tiers.  For instance, their Lite plan is limited to 25 email accounts and 5 subdomains.  RailGun is included only with their Turbo plan and they are still using Apache webservers instead of Nginx or LiteSpeed.

 

All hosting plans have their strong points and shortcomings but the ones in this list are some of the best in the market with affordable entry to building an online presence.  As your business grows, you’ll realize that once you step out of the starter plans, a lot more advanced features are available.

If this guide helped you to make an informed decision, you can now learn how to make a website for your small business.

 

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