It’s common knowledge that there are a few expenses associated with running any business. While it’s a much smaller investment to open an online business instead of a traditional brick-and-mortar store, there are still a few tools that you’ll need to have available to get you up and running. One tool that is an absolute must-have is quality web hosting.
Unfortunately, there can be a bit of confusion when it comes to knowing how to find the best web hosting companies and what you should be looking for when you’re trying to select the best options for you and your business.
In this guide, we’re going to look at why quality web hosting is essential, how to find the best options for your needs, and even cover a few of my top recommendations depending on your business’s needs.
What Is Web Hosting Anyway?
Before we get started talking about what features you should look for in a quality hosting company, it’s important that you understand exactly what web hosting is.
In short, web hosting is the actual location where your online business resides. One way to look at it is to think about your web hosting company as a physical location.
In a traditional brick-and-mortar store, you have an address, but you also have a building that exists at that address and houses your store and inventory while giving you a place to conduct your day-to-day business.
When it comes to an online business, your web hosting serves as the building where your website exists and allows you to make sales and deliver information to your audience.
How to Choose the Best Web Hosting for Your Needs
Now, do you have a bit of an understanding of what web hosting is? Let’s talk more about what you should look for to find the best web hosting option available to you.
I’m going to try to keep this as non-technical as possible to avoid more confusion than necessary. While you can shop around for things such as CPU cores, CPU speed, RAM, and much more, this guide is intended to serve as more of a company selection tool rather than a guide to understanding server hardware.
Shared or Dedicated Hosting
The first decision that you must make is whether you want to have shared or dedicated hosting. If you’re a beginner, shared hosting will be more than enough to handle your online business’s needs. As your site grows and you begin to receive substantial amounts of traffic, you can then begin to consider dedicated hosting options.
Access to Customer Service
When you’re running an online business, you won’t have too many issues that you have to deal with on the server-side of things. However, when issues do arise, they can become very technical very quickly.
For this reason, it’s important that you select a web hosting company that is available when you need them. Look for options that either have 24-hour ticket support or even better, 24-hour phone support.
Perhaps the single most important thing to consider when selecting a good web hosting company is what their uptime scores look like. If possible, try to look for companies that have uptime scores above 99.5% and strive to avoid companies that report annual uptime scores below 99%.
Just remember that anytime your web hosting servers are off-line, your website is as well and can’t earn you any money whatsoever. Also, sites can be penalized by search engines if they find that your site is frequently off-line when the robots attempt to crawl it.
Two things that can bring your online business to its knees are hackers and infected files showing up on your site. Therefore, it’s essential to look for hosting companies that have a proven track record for security to prevent malicious activity and DDOS attacks. Site attacks are uncommon, but having a robust security system behind your site is crucial to your overall success.
When things go wrong, you need to make sure that you can have your online business back up and running as quickly as possible. Regardless of whether you make a mistake and damage your site beyond repair or your security options failed to stop issues before the damage is done, having a recent backup can save you a very significant amount of time should the need to use it come up.
Not only is it essential that your web hosting company backs your site up regularly, but it’s also important that you know you can access the files when you need them.
Hidden Costs and Renewal Fees
If you’re reading this article, you’ve most likely looked around the few hosting companies already. You’re probably all too familiar with many of them offering prices that seem to be very inexpensive.
Be careful when you register with a web hosting company as some advertised prices of $1 to $3 per month, but after reading the fine print, you discover the cost to only be that inexpensive the first few months and then it may jump to $10, $25 or more.
As your online business receives more traffic, you’re going to need more power from your web hosting provider. Make sure when shopping around that you can increase the power of your hosting without too much difficulty. Some hosting providers even offer to move your site to larger servers when the time comes for free.
Now that you understand what you should be looking for when choosing the best web hosting provider for your needs let’s look at some of the ones I considered to be great choices to launch your online business with.
Top Web Hosting Companies
#1 – Wealthy Affiliate
At the beginning of this article, I briefly mentioned that running an online business requires certain tools, just like running a traditional brick-and-mortar store. While many hosting companies simply provide you with web hosting, Wealthy Affiliate takes all the tools you need to successfully run an online business and bundles them into one easy to consume package.
Not only does Wealthy Affiliate deliver exceptional speed and server reliability, but they also manage your hosting for you, which frees you up to focus more on providing content to your audience and building your business.
They follow hosting management up by providing 24-hour support via live ticket, and the few times I’ve run into issues, they’ve had my site back up and running in just a few hours.
Best of all, you have access to their online business training, community, and access to tools like the Jaaxy keyword research tool.
While Wealthy Affiliate may be a little more expensive than other options for web hosting, it’s very convenient to have all the tools needed for running a successful online business in one place rather than scattered across multiple accounts.
If you’d like to have a look around at what they have to offer, you can sign up for free through this link.
#2 – Bluehost
If you’re just looking for reliable web hosting with excellent customer support, look no further than Bluehost. They boast impressive uptimes of 99.99% and easy to access customer service through both live chat and phone.
Just make sure you’re paying attention when you sign up as they offer a very low introductory rate that does increase when it comes time to renew your service.
Even after the price increase, though, it’s still one of the most affordable options for web hosting that offers impressive security and support when you need it.
#3 – Hostgator Cloud Hosting
Many web hosting packages have both bandwidth and storage limitations. This isn’t the case with HostGator Cloud Hosting. With 99.98% uptime, this hosting company is reliable, and when things go south, you can always reach them via live chat or phone.
As with Bluehost, just be certain to pay attention to the fine print as their entry prices do take a steeper jump on renewal than many others.
Final Thoughts on the Best Web Hosting Companies
Hopefully, after reading this quick guide, you have a better understanding of how to select the best web hosting companies for your online business’s needs.
If you still find yourself a little confused, please feel free to leave any of your questions or comments in the comments area below this post.
Also, be sure to check out some of our other content to learn more about how you can begin to generate a full-time income as quickly as possible with your online business.