Your small business hosting needs: What to know before you buy

Small businesses need to be careful and do their research when web hosting. Here are some tips to guide you through the process.

If you’re new to the world of online business, then it can be tough to figure out whether a web host is any good, or not. After all, how you are you meant to determine whether disk storage features and bandwidth still matter? What kind of hosting service are you supposed to go with, and is small business hosting different to hosting for bigger companies?

First things first, it’s important to know that you can never get the right host without understanding what you need. That means that it’s important to get a thorough understanding of your business, and what you’re trying to achieve, before you hand over your cash. Though requirements will differ from one small business to the next, here are just a few things that you should always look for in a web host.

Uptime scores and server reliability

There’s nothing more important than having a web host that you can rely to keep your website up and running at all hours of the day. You need a web host that operates on a powerful server, with plenty of secure network connections. The recommended score for uptime is usually a minimum of 99.5 per cent, and anything under 99 per cent is unacceptable.

Great prices

Small businesses need to be careful with their budget. Although price shouldn’t be the only thing that helps you to choose the perfect server, it should be something you consider carefully when looking at the different deals available to you.

There are plenty of deals and sign-up benefits up there that you can try and take advantage of. Ideally, you should search for a host that offers you not only a great price, but also all the uptime and reliability that you need too.

Easy to use control panels

When choosing a host for your small business, remember to look for an easy-to-use control panel. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cPanel, or a third-party hosting solution, all you need to know is that it has all the necessary functions for you to get things done.

Without a good control panel, you could be left at the mercy of your tech support staff, and that could mean waiting around for days when all you want to do is make some basic server changes.

Site backup

No matter how great your host might be, there are going to be times when your site crashes. Perhaps someone got into your WordPress blog and replaced essential files, or your database encountered unforeseen problems.

If your web host does regular website backups, then you don’t have to worry when incidents like these happen. Backups mean that your hosting provider can restore most of your website in no time, giving you a crucial safety net.

Plenty of support

Finally, although you want the independence to get things done for yourself when you have an online website, you’re also going to need support from your hosting service from time to time. Check to see whether they offer live-chat or phone support on a 24/7 basis.

The more you can rely on your hosting provider to help you when things go wrong, the more peace of mind you’ll have.

Further reading on small business hosting

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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