How to Choose the Right Kind of Web Hosting for Your Business (Shared, Dedicated, Cloud, VPS)
Image by Maxkabakov on Depositphotos.com
Your business website is your company’s digital face. It needs to be aesthetically pleasing, easy to read, simple to navigate and give your visitor all the information they need to know about you, your products, and your services.
But the back end is important too. And it all starts with knowing how to choose the right kind of web hosting for your business. Your web host is like the landlord of your website. They’re responsible for security, reliability, and keeping your website performing at its best. If they aren’t doing their job effectively, it’s your business that suffers.
Don’t think this is something you should only look into if you’re launching a new website. Even if you’ve already been with a hosting company for years, it’s worth making sure they’re ticking all the boxes your business needs… So now could be the time for a web host audit.
Here’s how to make sure your web host is the right one for you… And how to choose the right kind of web hosting for your business if they aren’t.
Determine Your Business Needs
No two businesses are the same. The key to finding a web host that matches your business needs is nailing down those needs yourself first. Not just your present business needs, either—consider future needs that might arise as your business scales.
Some things to consider may be:
- What’s your website traffic like? (and is that likely to increase?)
- Where’s your main target market located?
- What’s your budget for web hosting?
- Do you need 24/7 tech support?
- Are you anticipating growth in the future?
- What sort of security do you need?
Types of Web Hosting
Once you’re clear on your business needs when it comes to website hosting, you can start considering web hosts. The options are many—from hosting giants like WP Engine, SiteGround, and BlueHost, to newer companies who are eager to make their mark.
But before you choose one, you need to settle on what type of hosting is going to work for you. This is step number one—the strong foundation on which you’ll build your website.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared web hosting is a common option, mainly due to its attractive price point. Don’t be drawn in by that—as they say, you get what you pay for! This kind of hosting works for certain websites, specifically those that are light on resources.
Here’s how they work. Your website goes onto a server that also plays host to multiple others. The resources on the server get split between every site it houses, which could be 10, or could be 100. You never know quite what resources you have, and if one site gets a big spike of traffic, your site may go down completely as it draws all the resources away.
As you can imagine, this isn’t optimal for business websites, which need to be up and running with a full set of resources at all times or risk missing out on sales. It’s well-priced but not worthwhile for most businesses. If you’re already on shared hosting, consider changing to a different type.
Dedicated Web Hosting
Dedicated web hosting gives your website its own server. All the resources on that server go toward your site—it can’t go to anyone else. This makes it a whole lot more stable, and much more secure than shared hosting, and your site speed will increase, which is always a good thing.
It’s more pricey than shared hosting, but you can’t really put a price on keeping your business site stable and secure. This is an excellent choice for businesses if you have the budget. Most web hosts will offer each one of these types, so make sure you’re getting the right information for the type you’re interested in.
VPS web hosting—virtual private servers—are the perfect in-between option. Priced closer to shared hosting but with the benefits of dedicated hosting, it’s a great choice for those who don’t want to share resources but find dedicated hosting a bit on the expensive side.
In this case, a single server gets split up into sections, complete with a set of its own resources. Your site is hosted on a section and doesn’t share any resources with other websites. It’s more stable and secure than shared hosting but less customisable than dedicated, so weigh up your options before choosing.
Cloud hosting is the latest trend, and for good reason. It’s way above the others in almost all ways—it’s extremely secure, impressively stable, flexible, and can be scaled almost without limit. The downside? It was expensive. But that being said, you do get the best value for your money here.
What You Need to Consider
Whether you’re launching a new site or looking for a new host to switch to, here’s what you should look for. If you can’t find this info on their own website or in their package offerings, ask about it before you make the decision.
- Reliability and uptime guarantee: The more your site goes down, the more money-making opportunities you’re missing. Anything above 99% is considered a good uptime guarantee.
- Scalability and flexibility: If your business is likely to grow, your web host needs to be able to grow with you. Ask about scalability options before deciding, as you don’t want to be held back by your host if business starts booming.
- Security measures: Ask for details about what security measures they have in place. You can’t afford to be lax, especially when sensitive business information or customers’ personal information is at stake.
- Control panel & ease of use: If you want to manage your own hosting, find out how user-friendly the control panel is. If not, you might want to ask about managed hosting options, where they take care of all the backed stuff for you.
- Content delivery network (CDN): If you’re putting out content on your website, a CDN is a necessity. This hosts your content on a separate network so it doesn’t take up memory on your site and is more easily accessible by your visitors.
- Server resources: What resources is the package offering (bandwidth, storage, etc)? Will they be enough for your business needs?
- Backup and customer support: Unless you specifically want to perform your own backups, make sure to choose a host who does it regularly for you. Also, customer support should be readily available should you need it.
Web hosting is a decision you make once, and then you either reap the benefits or deal with the consequences. If you’re setting up a new business site, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. And if you’ve been running with the same host for years, it’s never a bad time for an audit—you might find that some things are no longer serving your business.
About our Guest Author
Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimise their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related on his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.