With so many web hosts to choose from and so much terminology to understand, choosing a hosting plan can seem a daunting task. When you begin doing research into what solution may be best for you and your business, it can become easy to feel like you’re reading another language. But with such an important element of your business as your website, it’s something you don’t want to just put off. That’s why we wrote this guide to help small business owners understand the different options for web hosting.
What is website hosting?
Web hosting is an internet service that lets individuals or organizations make their websites and homepages accessible to the public through the “world wide web”. Those who run these services are called web hosts. They are usually companies that offer a space on a server that is owned or leased for specific use by clients. Web hosts also provide internet connectivity in the form of a data center so that clients can access this center and all of their information in a safe and secure environment. This may sound like enough, but web hosting is also much more.
Sometimes, it really can seem like there’s an insurmountable slew of web jargon out there, but even the most basic understanding of the concepts detailed below can give your business the edge it needs to help it become and remain competitive.
In this guide, we’ll give you, the small business owner, an overview of what to look for in a web host and what features matter so you can make an informed decision about where to host your website.
What makes a good web host?
Before we jump into the plethora of features that you should consider when selecting a website hosting service, it’s important to understand the significance of choosing a quality service for your business. Having a website hosting service provides several benefits:
Your customers are often your top priority in your company. Without their buy-in, you don’t have a business. Therefore, you want to be sure that their experience on your website is a positive and easy one. A web hosting service can help provide this reliability of speed, quality, accuracy and safety for both you and your valuable customers.
You don’t need to understand everything there is to know about website coding and all related areas of tech-speak. Having a web hosting service can help translate and communicate to you the things you want to know. There are services specially designed for beginners so you don’t need to be overwhelmed with all the technical details in the midst of running and succeeding in your business.
Have you ever visited a website and have been unimpressed by the layout and design. Have you ever been frustrated by the inability to complete some task on a website due to technical issues on the site? With a website hosting service, you can ensure your site is working properly, which provides you with a professional image. Professional websites appear more trustworthy and customers are often more impressed with the company based on the website design and layout. Continue your professional image to the internet with a quality website service.
Website Building Options
Another feature and element of website hosting in addition to blogs and domain names include website building options. Website builders are helpful little tools that help you—you guessed it—build your website. Specifically, web builders allow websites to be constructed without manual code editing which can be very time-consuming. Web builders tools can be provided by web hosting companies or acquired through certain software.
When building a website, you’ll want to create a page that is unique, attractive, eye-catching and easy to navigate. Visitors don’t want to be confused or frustrated because they can’t find what they’re looking for. Your information needs to be readily available, transactions should be easily executed, and if need arises, you’re visitors should be able to find your contact information in seconds. The best options for building a website that does all of these things and more include website builder software, e-commerce features and DIY designs.
Website Builder Software
Website builder software takes out the guesswork of creating your unique website. You can download or purchase software online and use these unique features on either your Mac or PC computer. Prices usually range between $4.99 and $9.99 a month for the most basic packages, but for more advanced features, prices may vary. Some of the best website builder software includes:
WordPress: This software is the best for building blogs.
Dreamweaver: This website builder is great for those familiar with Adobe products and some web design.
Intuit Website Creator: This service comes with a lot of templates for those who are new to the web and web design.
Joomla: For those who want a low-maintenance site that can be up and running quickly with your most relevant content, Joomla is for you.
Your website could be strictly used for selling products or services offered by your business. E-commerce sites can be divided into four different categories: Open Source, All-In-One, WordPress Plugin and Third Party Checkout. Most e-commerce sites include drag and drop tools that make online shopping a breeze. These sites also have shopping cart features so that when it comes to checkout, payment and other transactions are quick and easy.
DIY Design with Website Templates
If you’re more of a hands-on person, the DIY design is the option for you. Website templates allow you to take a website “skeleton” and create your own unique page from customizable themes and designs that you can tweak and change to your liking. Sites like Tumblr allow you to create pages and blogs and choose from customizable themes to showcase your content. Also check out sites like GoDaddy, WIX and Web.com for DIY design packages that include everything you need to get your website up and running in no time.
Building you own website can be incredibly fun and rewarding. Whether you’re building an e-commerce website, a blog or an informative website, you have a few options to choose from when making your page. Website builder software is great for creating customizable pages, e-commerce sites are perfect for those looking to sell products and DIY design sites are the best option for those who love customizable themes and templates.
What types of hosting options exist?
Not all types of hosting were created equal. Some web hosts specialize in smaller websites, adding hundreds or thousands of sites to a single server. Some specialize in larger versions. Most small businesses should look for a hybrid approach. You should find a host that can provide dedicated server resources without the cost of dedicated server hardware.
- Shared: A hosting method through which multiple websites share a single server. Each website is partitioned into its own space. It’s an affordable option for beginners, yet is one that is hampered by usage restrictions.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS): A hosting method through which one host computer is partitioned into multiple virtual machines, each machine acting as a private computer for a website. This is a good, midgrade option for companies that would like a dedicated server but can’t yet afford one.
- Dedicated Web Hosting: A hosting method where users purchase access to an entire server that is shared with no one else. This is the most flexible of hosting options with the least limitations.
Choosing the Right Fit For You
Web hosting is an innovative way to advertise your services and products. Blogs, social media, websites, and much more are all avenues through which web hosting can promote your company. When using web hosting services, you have access to all of these features and more. From panels and ad credits to blogs and site builders, web hosting provides your company with more services than you could ever dream of. This is certainly one process that is guaranteed to reach not just the local public, but the entire world.
Through this guide, you’ve learned the important features and aspects of website hosting services to look out for when selecting which service will increase your business. While there may not be one perfect solution for your business, certain services may be better suited to your needs than others. Do your research, pick your service and start growing your business today!