With so many options in web hosting and the fierce competition that takes place between hosting companies, it is easy for small businesses to find reliable and affordable web hosting. There are many things to consider when choosing a when host for your website, and you should compare the services of at least a few hosting companies before choosing one.
Before you start looking at hosting companies, decide what your business needs. Will your small business website require dedicated hosting because it will require large amounts of bandwidth, storage space, and get a lot, 10,000 or more, visitors per day? Or, will shared hosting fit your needs if your website does not require as much space?
You should also consider what type of features your website needs, it is purely informational or will you need to integrate order forms, shopping carts, and payment options? Some hosts make it easy for you to set up an ecommerce website and others do not, the type of hosting you will need is be determined by the features your website will possess.
If you are not a web designer by trade and cannot afford to hire one for your website you will also need to consider how easy it will be to set up your website and how much knowledge of scripting, HTML, and file transfer you will need to set up your website. Some hosts offer website building packages with their hosting which makes it relatively easy to create a website without too much technical knowledge but you will end up paying a little more and loose some functionality.
It is possible to find hosting for your small business for as little as a few dollars a month for shared server hosting or as much as a few thousand dollars a month for a dedicated server. Once you know how much bandwidth, storage, and space you need and determine which hosting solution, shared or dedicated is best for your small business, you can then evaluate the different features of various hosting companies, including price, to determine which is best for you.
You will want to look at factors such as uptime, technical support, cancellation, upgrade and transfer policies, as well as how long the host has been in business and any complaints or awards they may have in the community.
Uptime is related to reliability and will tell you how often you can expect your website to be unavailable to web surfers due to hosting technical issues. Most hosting companies that have good uptimes will advertise this; some of the major hosting companies advertise 99% uptime however no matter how reliable a host is if you run a website for long enough you will encounter at least a few technical glitches from your hosts end.
You should also consider the amount of technical support you will receive from a host and make sure you choose one that will fit your level of expertise. If you know you will need help make sure you pick a host with good tech support. Take a good look at their policies as well to make sure you will be happy if you decide to cancel, transfer your site, or upgrade your hosting plan.