5 Best Web Hosting for Small Business Websites
Finding the best web hosting provider for your small business is very important and you need to take some time to make the right decision. Once you create your website or web store, you need to make sure that it will work impeccably at any time and that your web host will be able to bear the amount of traffic you might generate.
Since we are talking about a small business, you probably won’t need a lot of server space or even power, but you still have to make sure that you choose a reliable host that can handle your needs. In this article, we will talk about shared hosting options and how to choose the right one for you and after that, I will focus on some of my favorite web hosts and tell you why you should choose them.
First let me show you my list of the best web hosting for small business:
|Hosting Company||Promo Price|
$3.99 / mo
$1.99 / mo
$3.95 / mo
$3.95 / mo
$5.00 / mo
What Are Shared Hosting Plans?
Shared hosting, as the name itself reveals, means that multiple websites share a single server. In most cases, you won’t know who are your server neighbors and you will get a certain amount of resources that you will be able to use. This is all defined by your hosting package, because there are different options even if you decide to go with shared hosting plans.
There are many advantages for using shared hosting and the most obvious one is the price. Shared hosting plans are the cheapest hosting option, which is logical since you share all the costs with other websites.
This is the best option for beginners as well, not just for small businesses and you don’t really have to worry about your website even if you start generating more traffic than you expected because you will always be able to upgrade your plan in few simple steps. You might feel like shared hosting will not provide you with enough resources, but there are many options that will guarantee you stability even when you share resources with others.
Another benefit that comes with using shared hosting plans is the fact that you won’t have to worry about doing any maintenance on your server because that is usually done by the hosting company. Don’t forget that you also get a built-in cPanel, at least with most web host companies, which will make it a lot easier for newbies to manage their website, as well as for those that don’t have a lot of tech experience or knowledge.
Of course, since you do share server’s resources with a number of other users, you can expect some drawbacks. For example, it will often happen that loading time is a bit slower than with other hosting options, like dedicated or VPS plans. Another thing that might happen is server becoming overburdened and cause a slower performance, or even downtime. Slower performances might also happen if you increase the activity on your website and start generating more traffic, but as we already mention, you can always upgrade your plan if this happens.
Another flaw that comes with shared hosting is the lack of customization options. However, this probably isn’t a real problem for many users, especially if they don’t have a lot of tech knowledge and thus don’t really need customization options. You might also be worried about security since you won’t know who are you sharing the server with and you might be at risk from your neighbors.
How to Choose Web Hosting for Small Business?
As we already said, even when you decide that you want to go with a shared hosting plan, you still have to choose the best option for your needs. That means that you need to consider certain factors that vary from web host to another, as well as different shared hosting plans provided by one web hosting company.
Even when you have a small business, experiencing a downtime of your website might end up costing you more than you might think. That is why you need to make sure that your web host provider is reliable and has an uptime of at least 99.5%. Make sure that you check the claims about uptime for every web host you consider.
Customer support is very important, especially for small business and new website owners that don’t have a lot of tech knowledge. You should make sure that the web host that you want to use has a 24/7 customer support and you should also read user comments and reviews if you want to make sure that your web host has a good customer support that can help you deal with issues that will probably arise.
As I have already mentioned, upgrading your hosting plan should be easy and simple and available to you at any time. This is the case with most web hosts, but you still need to pay attention to this because you never know how much your business will grow and if it does, you need to be prepared and have the option to upgrade your hosting plan to handle the increased traffic.
You should consider all of the features that a shared hosting plan you are interested in has. For example, you should make sure that you will be able to use one-click installations of the popular open-source CMS, like WordPress, for example, because that will allow you to customize your website and design it just the way you want. Also, take a look at how the web-based control panel you will be using if you go with certain web host looks like. It needs to be simple and easy to use so you can manage your account without any problems.
Now that you know how to choose the best web hosting plan for your needs, let’s take a look at some of the best web hosting providers so you don’t have to spend hours looking at different options.
InMotion HostingVisit Site »
InMotion is one of the most popular independent hosts in the entire world. They have been founded in 2001 and since then they have managed to grow enough to be considered a major player in the web hosting game.
Shared Hosting Plans
InMotion provides three shared hosting plans – Launch ($7.99/month), which support two websites and allows you to have up to six domains; Power ($9.99/month), which gets you six websites and up to 26 domains; Pro ($15.99/month) which allows you to have as many websites and domains as you wish. However, you should keep in mind that prices that I displayed are only for an annual subscription. Also, InMotion often offers discounts. For example, at the moment, their shared hosting plans are all around 50% off, so if you are thinking about using shared hosting you might want to consider taking this opportunity while it lasts.
This web host has a lot of extremely useful features. For example, you can set up an e-Commerce store or a WordPress website with them and they will provide you with many options to customize your website as much as you want. They also provide a 90-day money back guarantee if you don’t like their service, so it is basically a risk-free option. There are also many free add-ons you can use and you don’t have to worry about their performance, because they have a pretty stable and respectable uptime, with 99,99% uptime and without any major downtime so far.
However, even though they have a lot of great features and options to choose from, they also have one major drawback – they don’t offer shared hosting plans for Windows.
InMotion cares about their customers and it shows in their customer support. You will be able to talk via phone with their customer support personnel, or start an online chat if that is what you prefer. You might even have to talk with them when you first activate your account and if you do so, you will see that they are very prompt and helpful. Of course, customer support this web host provides is available at all times, 24/7.
iPageVisit Site »
This web host started operating back in in 1998. Now, they have offices in six locations in the world and serve more than one million websites using their two data centers located in the USA. They have many advantages, but being one of the cheapest web hosting providers is probably the biggest one of them all.
Shared Hosting Plans
There are not many options for shared hosting plans provided by iPage. In fact, they only provide one, a Linux-based hosting plan called Essential, which is priced at $11.95 per month (although there are discounts for this plan offered at many times, currently there is an offer to sign up to this plan for $1.99/month (if you are a first-time client). Also, iPage doesn’t have monthly payment options; you can only purchase their hosting plans on a yearly contract.
This hosting plan, Essential, offers unlimited disk space and email addresses and monthly data transfers. They also provide scalable bandwidth, unlimited MySQL databases and a free domain for a year. There are also multiple tools that allow you to build your website, as well as hundreds of themes and templates. All plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Security and Customer Support
Another area where iPage stands out among the competition, besides the cheapest pricing, is security features. Regardless of the hosting plan that you choose, you will get a SiteLock security option that can save your website from unexpected security breaches. That is done via regular scans that look for potentially harmful malware issues. Some plans also provide automatic cleaning of these malicious threats, while others only entail a notification about possible problems. They also use a firewall that prevents possible security leaks, as well as daily backups which are usually additionally charged with many other web hosts.
iPage provides customer support on the live chat, via phone and emails and they are very efficient and helpful. They will always deal with all your problems in detail and they have always answered all my questions without a hiccup along the way.
BlueHostVisit Site »
This is one of the most popular web hosting companies in the world and it is not a coincidence. They have some amazing offers, especially when it comes to shared hosting plans for small business owners.
Shared Hosting Plans
BlueHost has three shared hosting plans that you can choose from and all of them are pretty competitive with other web hosts in terms of price. The first plan is called the Basic plan, and it is priced at $3.49/month. With it, you get one unique domain, 50 GB of web space and unlimited bandwidth. The next plan is called Plus, and it costs $5.95/month. This plan allows you to host unlimited number of websites and provides unlimited web space and bandwidth as well. The last shared hosting plan BlueHost has to offer is Pro. This plan comes with a dedicated IP and other similar perks, in addition to the unlimited number of domains and, of course, unlimited storage space and bandwidth. This plan costs $13.95/month.
BlueHost has one of the most reliable security features among all web hosts and that is a great plus, especially if you own a small business and want to be sure that your website is safe. For example, BlueHost has three antispam tools that can prevent spam on your website, as well as hotlink security. You can also choose and create your own filters for email, create password protected files and folders, make IP address blacklist, etc.
Uptime and Customer Support
This web host has one of the best uptime records and it is really a stable and reliable choice. In fact, in the period of a couple of months that I tested it, I experienced downtime in only one instance and that was no longer than three minutes.
Also, BlueHost offers a truly professional customer support that you can contact via phone, online chat and email. There is also a knowledgebase you can browse if you want to find the answers to your questions on your own.
HostGatorVisit Site »
HostGator is a web hosting company founded in 2002 which grew enough to be sold for the unofficial amount of $225 million in 2012. Today, HostGator is one of the leading web hosts and one of the most reliable ones.
Shared Hosting Plans
When it comes to shared hosting, HostGator offers three shared hosting plans for both Linux and Windows, which is a huge advantage. The first plan is called Hatchling and it comes with an unlimited disk space, databases, email addresses and bandwidth, as well as one domain. Prices will vary according to the contract length. For example, the price for Hatchling plan is $3.95/ month if you sign-up for three years. The middle-tier shared hosting plan is called Baby and it is the same as the Hatchling plan, with the addition of unlimited domains. This plan is priced at $5.95 a month for a three-year contract. The top-tier plan from HostGator is Business plan and you get some added features, like dedicated IP, free private SSL, etc. This plan also costs $5.95/month at the moment.
HostGator guarantees a 99,99% uptime and they fully deliver on their promise. I have tracked their uptime for a month, and in that time, they were never down. Even though this is a relatively small sample, combined with other customer experiences, it is safe to say that their uptime promise is the one you can trust.
This web host offers a non-stop customer support, either on the phone or via online Web chat. Whatever method you choose, you will be greeted by friendly personnel ready to give their best to answer any questions you might have. I tried out both methods and both times my issues were promptly addressed and solved.
InterServerVisit Site »
This is a web hosting company that was founded in the 1999 and that, at first, operated as a virtual hosting account re-seller. With time, they grew up to become a very successful player on the international web hosting market.
Shared Hosting Plans
InterServer only provides one shared hosting plan, which is priced at $5/month. However, this price can be dropped if you sign a longer contract and use promo codes when you sign up. Still, even without these discounts, this shared hosting plan is one of the cheapest options available.
With this shared hosting plan you will get plenty useful features, like one-click installations and free migration service. You also get a 24/7 access to customer support. This plan includes unlimited number of domains and data transfer. You also get unlimited storage capacity and unlimited number of emails. There are some additional perks with this hosting plan, like speed optimization, weekly backups and 30-day money back guarantee.
As you already know by now, customer support can be crucial and you should always make sure that you choose a web hosting company that has a great customer support. Well, with InterServer, you can’t go wrong because they have an award-winning customer support, available to you through email tickets, chat and telephone.
Their customer support is pleasant and always ready to help you with any issue you are dealing with. I have called their customer support and it was truly one of the most positive customer support experiences I ever had.
InterServer promises, and delivers, a 100% power uptime and 99.9% network uptime. They also have a fully automatic redundancy, which is a life-saver in many situations. In addition to this amazing performance when it comes to uptime, InterServer also has a lot of space to grow, because their servers currently run at 50% capacity.
Every small business owner needs a website if they are to succeed in this competitive market. However, having a website or online store isn’t enough per se. You also need to make sure that your website is well designed, easy to navigate and, most importantly, up at all times. Any problems on your website can lead to lost income and, in many cases, loss of trust from your clients.
All this leads to a very logical conclusion – you need the best possible web host. I hope my article has helped you understand what the most important things to look for in a web hosting company are if you own a small business. Also, I hope that my choice of the best web hosting companies that provide great shared hosting plans for small business saved you some time while you looked for the perfect web host for you.