Starting a small business sometimes can be totally opposite from what we’ve imagined.
You await to nail your first client, but all the paperwork seems to never end.
You expect to earn money, but somehow, there are more and more expenses.
So, it’s understandable that you want to check all your options before spending money.
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When it comes to making a website for your own business, website hosting can be particularly tricky. There are a lot of possibilities and valid information are scattered all over the Internet.
That’s where we jump in.
In the next five minutes, you will read everything you need to know to fully understand website hosting. And to keep more money in your pocket.
Let’s start from the scratch.
What is website hosting?
Let me ask you something. Are you a neat person?
You know, like, keeping your photos ordered in photo albums by year? All the documents in the right folder so you know where everything is in every moment?
Internet is like that.
Imagine the Internet as a very neat person. Not only they would keep his photos and documents in a folder but his socks by color in a drawer.
So, when a small business owner, let’s say me or you, wants to make a business website, all the documents, blog posts, photos and information you are putting there has to be ordered somewhere.
That space, the drawer where all your files lie, is called website hosting.
It enables you to have safe online space for your website and it makes it accessible to anyone who wants to visit it.
(Btw, if you’re still not sure whether you need a website, check the 9 reasons why all small business owners should have it.)
There are different web host types. And picking the right one is what gives many a headache.
Think about it as picking a working place for you and your employers.
- How many are you there?
- Do you plan on expanding the team?
- Are there more functionalities in offices (climate, whiteboards, plants)?
- Do you have business meetings there so your clients come and go often?
Those clients are website visitors and those functionalities are the mere functions of every website hosting.
This might interest you: 10 Website Mistakes that Chase your Visitors Away and how to fix them
For example, a travel blog, eCommerce website or personal portfolio have different hosting prerequisites.
In the next paragraph you’ll know how to choose the right one for your business and website type.
Three types of website hosting
There are 3 different web hosting types.
They cause ups and downs in price so it’s very important to understand the difference.
a) Shared hosting is something like co-working offices in a business incubator.
It can be noisy, crowded and your privacy is disturbed. Just like that, on shared hosting, your site shares space with other websites on a same server.
It is a popular option because of the lowest price, but do not buy it if you have an eCommerce website or large-scale projects. We suggest this for small hobbies websites or blogs.
b) Virtual private server/hosting (VPS) is the same co-working place but with borders between the desks, so you have your own space with plants and stuff where no one bothers you.
This kind of servers are private, stable and offer vast resources that you can customize and organize as you like. Perfect for eCommerce websites and small-businesses with lots of monthly visitors.
This is a smart investment.
c) Dedicated hosting is, well, dedicated to you.
Like isolated offices in the same business incubator.
Some small businesses benefit from renting those because of the privacy with their team. Their price is slightly higher but they are the most reliable type of hosting.
Best for corporate websites and ones with huge traffic - their high performance and large space can endure it.
Choosing among a bunch of website hosting offers - what to look for
Now that we have learned the basics, let’s talk about the most important part.
How to recognize good from a poor offer when choosing the website hosting?
There are some things that are the absolute must when picking the right deal for you.
- First of all is a storage space.
The more space - the better.
That means more space for
- your products,
- and all that makes your website look the way you want.
If a good looking and rich website is your goal, look for hosting providers with at least 50 GB of storage space, per month.
2. Bandwidth (traffic), on the other hand, is the amount of data your website can transfer to your users in a given amount of time.
Fresh, new websites doesn’t have much data or visitors so this number doesn’t have to be great. With an increase in those two, bandwidth has to be larger or your website will go offline - not good.
Many website hosting providers tell they offer unlimited bandwidth. Don’t be fooled, that is impossible.
They just know that your website will almost never use up all the available bandwidth. Which is good.
3. Security of your website
Your business is precious and it would be disastrous if someone breaks into your website and steal your data.
Search for website host providers with good security measures. Pay more for it if needed. When business data get jeopardized, it costs more, believe me.
4. The last big thing you should focus on is up-time.
It’s the amount of time that servers are up and running and it's a really good measure of how good a web hosting provider is. Most providers offer 99.9% up-time - don’t settle for less.
Additionally, there are some minutiae you should be aware of.
Web hosting provider has to enable you to create a domain associated email address. You’ve surely seen those business emails before. Some offers it for free, some charge for it.
Pro tip: Pick the first option.
Good tip for saving the money on website hosting is paying attention to renewal after the first year. In most cases renewal will cost 100% more.
Look for a website hosting provider with the best deal after the first year.
What about free website hosting
Every website owner wants the cheapest option possible. That's quite normal.
And yes, there are legit free hosting packages, usually bundled with a website domain.
⚠️ But beware. ⚠️
Those free options have a catch. To recoup the costs of hosting your site, they place ads in the banners or as a pop-up. And people don't like ads. At least that's not why they came to your website in the first place, right?
So choose wisely.
How much website hosting costs
All in all, average web hosts range from $3 to $15 per month. It’s a good beginning when building your website for the first time. As your data and visitors number advance, you can upgrade the package.
In the end, here's a list of great web hosting providers, based on our experience and experience of our clients.
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