How to Choose a Web Hosting for Your Small Business Website

If you are faced with a decision to pick a web hosting provider for your business website, you may feel overwhelmed with the multitude of options available out there. The following are my recommendations for reliable hosting providers (that I use both for my own websites, and my client’s websites):

Why A Free Hosting Account Is Not A Good Option for Your Business Website

With both free and paid web hosting services on the Internet, you may be wondering why should you pay for a web hosting when you can get one for free?

There are several advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing between free and fee hosting companies for your web site.

  1. With free web sites, domain names are nearly always structured this way: www.hostcompany.com/yoursitename. This makes your URL difficult to remember, and you may lose sales as a result.
  2. Free sites have bandwidth restrictions. This means that after a certain amount of people in a given day visit your site, the page will no longer load and potential customers will receive a message such as “This web site has exceeded its bandwidth limit. Please try again tomorrow.” Some free sites provide sufficient bandwidth, especially if your site is light on graphics…but many do not.
  3. Some servers are better than others. With a free site, you run the risk of downed servers showing visitors the dreaded “Error 404: Page Not Found” message when they click over to your site. Most paid sites have precautions to deal with server failure.
  4. Most free sites use outside advertising on all their pages—this is how they make money. Banner ads are usually acceptable, but if you have a page with three or four pop-ups that spring out at unsuspecting visitors, they’ll be quick to leave and never come back. Find out what type of advertising the hosting company uses before signing up for a free program.

For these reasons, I do not recommend using free hosting providers for your business. If you really feel you don’t want to pay for hosting, you should look into a web hosting company that offers either free or paid sites (or just start out with a paid site).

If you are just  starting out, and want to save the (minimal) expense of paying for a hosting account, consider setting up a blog on a free blogging site, such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com, and start posting information about your business.  You may register your own domain name and have that domain redirected to the blog site.

Recommended Hosting Providers for Your Small Business Website

As you may already know, I highly recommend the use of WordPress platform for building websites, whether they are blogs or just general business or personal sites. For that reason, when you sign up for hosting, make sure that they provide the software needed for WordPress installation (you may check the current requirements on WordPress.org), or better yet, offer a C-panel with one-click WordPress installation, like Hostgator.

Ensure to shop around and research further until you have found the right one or join the one which is recommended by others.

I personally use two hosting companies, Hostgator and Blue Host.  Both companies are highly reliable and provide lots of tools to assist you with setting up WordPress, email accounts, etc. They are both affordable and reliable, offer unlimited disk storage and bandwidth with all of their shared plans, 24/7 support, and the uptime I have had on this web hosting is simply amazing!  The most important thing of all is that, they guarantee 99.9% uptime.

Hostgator’s “Baby” web hosting plan is $9.95 per month, when paid on a month-to-month basis. You can get considerable savings when you pre-pay for 12, 24, or 36 months.

Follow this link for HostGator.com. Click on ‘order now’ under the desired hosting plan. If you are hosting a new site, register your new domain. If you already have a domain name, click “I will use My Existing Domain”. Input the domain name in the next field and press ‘continue’. Choose a “billing cycle”. You will most likely be automatically offered a discount coupon. Press ‘calculate totals’. The total price with the discount should be shown.

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1 Comment

  1. A great option for a small business owner that does not have a lot of coding experience is through Microsoft Office Live Small Business. It is template based which makes the design process a lot easier but creates a very professional website. You also get web hosting and domain registration.

    Learn more about Microsoft Office Live Small Business here:
    http://smallbusiness.officelive.com/en-us/

    Cheers,
    Bryn
    MSFT Office Live Outreach