There was a time, in the not so distant past, when every home would get a yellow-paged book delivered to its doorstep each year. Inside, it contained phone listings and business advertisements. It was called The Yellow Pages
(very imaginative name, yes?). And it was a key marketing tool for small businesses.
Today, the Internet has long rendered that book obsolete. And many reader will be too young to ever remember using one. Instead, every small business now needs an online presence, which makes small business web hosting just as important to your success as that book ever was.
But how can you tell if a hosting service is small business ready?
Know What You Need
Depending upon the nature of your business and what you need your website to accomplish, you’ll need a generous amount of data transfers and disk space, a number of subdomains, an SSL certificate and multiple email addresses. Some hosting providers also offer site design tools you can use to build your website. This can help you get a solid, professional-looking web presence up quickly. Again though, the features you’ll require will vary based upon your specific needs. It’s important to do your research and get clear about yours before you shop around.
Pricing & Security Are Significant Considerations
You’ll see very low prices touted in ads, but keep in mind those prices are most likely introductory rates. These usually require a three-year contact and the payment can rise precipitously after the trial period ends. Ask about the true monthly rate, the one you’ll be expected to shoulder on an ongoing basis.
The best balance between security and price is a service that offers virtual private servers. This gets your own walled off space on a server with a separate operating system, storage, RAM and monthly data transfers. In a shared situation, one weakly secured site could bring yours down with it. While these are the most affordable, they do come with a degree of risk.
Reliability & Tech Support Matter
One of the most important factors of any hosting arrangement is uptime. In other words, how reliable is the provider when it comes to keeping your site online. Servers do crash and poorly maintained ones crash more often. You’ll want to investigate each provider’s reputation for reliability before making your final choice.
Similarly, you’ll want to work with someone who offers 24/7-365 live technical support to help you with any difficulties that might arise. Ideally, you’ll get automated site backup too. If you’re adding new data to your site each day, this is an extremely important consideration.
The best small business friendly web hosting companies also offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. This way, if you try their service and experience dissatisfaction you can move on to another provider.
Scalability Issues Are Important
The perfect fit today might well become an anvil around your neck in a couple of years if your demands outstrip the host’s ability to supply. You want a provider with smart upgrade options so your site can grow right along with your business. If your hosting service has the add-ons and extras to accommodate steady growth, your life will be a whole lot easier.
These are but a few of the primary concerns to take into consideration when trying to determine if a hosting service is small business friendly. The main thing is to know your needs first, so you can make accurate comparisons. This will position you to make the best possible choice.