There’s no doubt about it; if you’re running a small business in 2021, you need a website. However, in order to get your website online, you’ll need to purchase small business web hosting for it.
Your small business website can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars to maintain each year. Web hosting is one of the most significant factors in your annual website budget.
Your hosting choices will also determine the speed and reliability of your website. If you take the time to explore the best web hosting for small business, you can not only save money but ensure that your website performs well for its users.
In this guide, you’ll find answers to questions like:
- What is web hosting?
- What are the different kinds of web hosting?
- How much does it cost to host a website?
Web hosting is a service that allows people to store their website’s information and make it available online. Hosting providers are companies that offer web hosting services to organizations and individuals.
Websites are stored, or hosted, on specific types of computers called servers. A web hosting provider manages and maintains servers that store the data for different websites. Typically, a website hosting service owns multiple servers housed in a data center.
When someone visits your website, their computer connects to the server where your website data is stored. That data is then made available to the user who is accessing your website.
Most website hosting providers require you to purchase (or register) a domain name. A domain name is the URL, or online address, for your website. Once you have a domain, you can connect it with your web hosting service.
Many website hosting providers offer domain names, as well as email services and WordPress installation. WordPress is a free content management system (CMS) used to build websites, and it’s one of the most common choices for small business owners who opt to design their own website.
There are different types of servers for various kinds of hosting situations. For example, one server may store data for multiple websites, while another server only stores data for a single website.
The type of web hosting you choose is a large factor in the overall cost of building and maintaining your small business website. Additionally, the type of hosting you select will determine your website’s speed and reliability.
When considering small business web hosting options, take the time to understand the differences between plans. You need to find the best option for your price point that will keep your website fast and functional.
The four main types of web hosting are:
- Shared hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Cloud hosting
We’ll also share details regarding a nice option for small business web hosting: managed WordPress hosting.
The cost of small business web hosting depends on which option you choose.
Here, we’ll break down your website hosting options and how to budget for each so that you can choose the best website hosting for a small business you’re in charge of bringing online.
With dedicated hosting, you are renting a server from a hosting company, and your website is the only one stored on it. This kind of hosting gives you the highest level of control and security — but it’s also the most expensive option.
With the extra level of control, it’s typical for businesses to hire a systems administrator to manage a dedicated server’s technical setup. Dedicated hosting is ideal for a company that is consistently driving a high amount of traffic to its website.
Dedicated hosting cost: Starts at $100/month, plus fees for a systems administrator.
Unlike dedicated hosting, with shared hosting you share a server with other websites. This is the most basic option, and as such, is a common choice for entry-level websites. Rather than renting an entire server for yourself, you can share the cost with other website owners.
When you share the costs, you also share storage space and bandwidth (or processing power). However, simple websites don’t require an entire server’s full power, making shared hosting a practical option for many website owners.
Shared hosting cost: $5-$20/month.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
Virtual Private Servers (VPSes) are somewhere between shared hosting and dedicated servers. With a VPS, multiple websites are still stored on one physical server. However, that server is set up to allow each website to perform as if it’s on a dedicated server.
Basically, the portion of the server you rent for your website is separated from the other parts. Your website won’t be affected by the amount of traffic the other websites get. In other words, you get some of the benefits of a dedicated server without paying for storage that you don’t need.
VPS hosting cost: $20-$100/month
Unlike the first three options, cloud hosting does not store your website on a physical server. Instead, your website is hosted across a collection of connected servers, also known as “the cloud.”
So, what does this mean for your website?
If there is a problem with one server in the group, the rest of the network can handle the workload. This also allows for more processing power and storage space. Cloud hosting can handle sudden surges in website traffic without shutting your website down.
Cloud hosting cost: $5-$250/month.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is a service available specifically for websites built with WordPress. Besides providing business website hosting, your provider will also keep your WordPress website up to date. Typical features of managed WordPress hosting include automatic updates to the latest version of WordPress, background scans for security threats, and automatic website backups.
Managed WordPress hosting is an excellent option for any business that uses WordPress and wants to increase website load speed and prepare for large spikes in website traffic.
You can combine managed WordPress hosting with any of the other hosting scenarios listed above. Think of it as an add-on option rather than a completely different hosting type.
Managed WordPress hosting cost: Ranges from $5-$300/month, depending on the server type.
So, what is the best web hosting for small business? That all depends on your business’s needs and budget.
If you will only be driving local traffic to a simple website, shared hosting or VPS hosting is an appropriate entry-level option. However, if your website needs advanced features such as e-commerce functionality or a customer forum, you might consider dedicated hosting.
We recommend choosing the option that fits your business right now. You don’t want to overpay for storage or services that you don’t need. When it comes to hosting your website, you can always scale up with different hosting plans as you grow.
Choosing a Small Business Web Hosting Provider
In addition to choosing the best small business web hosting plan, you also have to select the right provider. There is no single best website hosting for small businesses.
Consider the best website hosting for your small business, and pick a company that has:
- Overall reliability
- Proven track record with existing customers
- Security protocols
- Great customer service
What to Look for in Website Hosting Reviews
During your research, pay attention to:
- Ease of migration
- Customer service
Uptime refers to the overall reliability of a hosting provider’s servers, and it’s the most important metric to use when comparing them. Uptime is a percentage that measures the amount of time that your provider’s servers are up and functioning.
Many websites boast an uptime of 99%. This might sound good, but a closer look reveals that servers are still down for more than three days per year. As a general rule, it’s best to look for an uptime around 99.9%.
If you already have a website, then services like Uptime.com can help you to monitor your uptime and website performance.
Ease of Migration
Ease of migration refers to the process of website migration.
Expect to redesign your website every 5-10 years to keep up with new customer expectations and search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. During this process, you’ll be creating new website pages, but Google search may still link to your old URLs until you create redirects.
Website migration can also refer to the process of moving content from one hosting provider to another.
Migrating your website can be a complicated process, but doing it right is necessary to ensure the best customer experience and SEO performance. Fortunately, the right hosting provider can make it relatively painless.
Customer service refers to the availability and knowledgeability of your hosting provider’s support team.
Most hosting providers offer 24/7 customer support. Just verify that your hosting plan includes full support with your preferred communication method: whether that’s email, chat, or phone.
iPage: The Best Budget-Friendly Website Hosting
If price is your number one consideration, iPage is one of the most reliable and cost-effective hosting providers. Founded in 1998, iPage powers over one million websites worldwide.
iPage focuses on creating budget-friendly hosting plans for individuals, small businesses, and nonprofits. Our hosting plans include free domain registration for one year and unlimited email addresses. We also have 24/7 customer support whenever you need assistance.
Bluehost: The Best Website Hosting for Existing Websites
Bluehost and Hostgator are two of the best options for any small business with an existing or already established website.
In terms of small businesses and web hosting, Bluehost is an excellent beginner-friendly option that still offers room to grow. They allow you to start with shared hosting but you can easily update your server later based on your business’s growth. Additionally, Bluehost has a long track record of reliable, 24/7 customer service.
Hostgator, on the other hand, is a desirable option for those looking to scale their business and website traffic. Experts consistently rate HostGator as a dependable web hosting provider with friendly customer service.
BigRock: Best Website Hosting for Linux Users
BigRock has offices in India and the United States. It offers a variety of hosting services, including shared, reseller, cloud, and VPS. Shared hosting plans come in two varieties: Windows and Linux. Each plan variety has several pricing tiers.
BigRock focuses on serving small businesses and individuals. Customers rank BigRock highly for its features and ease of use. Customers must make a minimum hosting commitment of one year, but can purchase a hosting plan as long as ten years.
HostGator: Best Website Hosting for Dedicated Servers
For dedicated servers, HostGator is the top choice in terms of both reliability and flexibility. HostGator has been a website hosting provider since 2002, and services over two million customers.
HostGator offers state of the art security for safe and optimal performance. Customers with dedicated servers can also choose between semi-managed and fully-managed plans if they want extra support for website backups and server optimization.
Domain.com: Best Website Hosting for Beginners
Domain.com offers solid shared and WordPress hosting services. Users can also take advantage of Domain.com’s domain services and website builder. It’s a good entry-level hosting option for people that don’t need advanced hosting features as it doesn’t offer VPS, Dedicated, or Reseller plans.
Domain.com has three annual pricing plans: Basic, Deluxe, and Ultra. The service does not offer monthly commitments, but its annual plans are budget-friendly.
SiteBuilder: Best Website Hosting for Drag-and-Drop Building
SiteBuilder is a website builder service that offers drag-and-drop building and basic e-commerce functionality. There are three pricing tiers, Pro, Premium, and Ecommerce, all of which include website hosting.
If you want the ease of a website builder, SiteBuilder is a solid choice. However, it’s limited in terms of template customization and advanced website hosting features. If you’re planning to scale your business, we recommend steering away from Website Builder products.
Final Thoughts: Choosing the Best Small Business Web Hosting Provider for Your Website
Choosing the right small business web hosting provider is a critical decision. You want to look for reliable servers and good quality customer support. Additionally, the right choice should fit your current budget and business needs while you keep in mind how you want your business to grow.
To explore reliable, budget-friendly small business web hosting options, check out iPage’s hosting plans that start at $1.99/month.