How to Choose a Web Hosting Plan for Your Small Business
In this digital age, having a website for your business is essential in attracting new customers and interacting with current ones. However, if you are a small business or just starting out, setting up and maintaining a website can be a daunting task. You need a web hosting service that is reliable and affordable.
What is Web Hosting?
If you’ve never built a website before, it is important to understand some terms. Web hosting is like storage space for your website. You need web hosting because your website needs a place to live on the internet. It is where all the files that make up your website are kept.
Web hosting is different than a domain name. A domain name is what people type into their browser to find you (i.e. yourwebsite.com) While many web hosting providers offer domain services, they are not the same. Your domain is the address to your website. In this respect, you can think of web hosting like a house where your files are stored and the domain as the address that people would type into their GPS to get there.
Types of Web Hosting
Just as there are different types of houses (condos, duplexes, apartments, etc.), there are different types of web hosting. You need to decide what type of web hosting will fit the needs of your business. You do not want to spend too much money on a type of hosting that you do not need.
This is the most affordable option and is recommended for small businesses. If you choose shared hosting, your website is hosted on a large server that is shared among other websites. Web hosting companies can offer shared hosting cheaper than other types because they can offer a single server to multiple customers. If you are looking for examples of what this type of hosting entails, Bluehost offers a shared hosting option.
The downside to shared hosting is that resources are shared among users. If a website on the same server as you reach a spike in activity, it may slow down your users’ connection to your website. However, if you run a small business and are not expecting a large amount of traffic, this should not scare you. If a website outgrows the shared server, they will be asked to choose a different platform.
With dedicated hosting, your website is hosted on its own server. You have more control over the server, but it comes with a greater price tag. While you would not have to worry about your website becoming bogged down with a spike of activity on another website, you will have to spend a lot more money for that privilege. If you are a small business, this option is most likely unnecessary.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
VPS hosting is like shared hosting, except one server is divided into several virtual servers. Each website has its own space on that server (think apartment building). VPS hosting offers more flexibility but may have performance issues with activity spikes of other websites.
Cloud hosting is slightly different than shared hosting. With shared hosting, several websites share one server. With cloud hosting, several websites are hosted on several servers that work together. This is called a cloud. The result is a much faster performance for all the websites hosted in the cloud. Cloud hosting is slightly more expensive than shared hosting.