Small Business Web Hosting

Top 10 Things You Should Look For

If you are reading this article you have either started a new business and are looking for some helpful advice on selecting a web hosting package or you are looking to move from an existing hosting provider. Whatever your reasons, weebo it’s important to pick a solution that is right for your business now and in the future.

You’ve probably heard all sorts of nightmare stories of sites going down, losing their data, losing sales information, terrible support, livewebdir domain hijacking, spamming….the list goes on. So what we have tried to do below is give you ten of the most important areas of a small business web hosting package that you can use as a checklist to vet prospective hosting providers.

1. Personal & Knowledgeable Technical Support

We have put this at the top of the list as this seems to be one of the biggest issues facing companies that are just starting out. They want to be able to phone up and get hold of a person, not an automated message or an off-shore call centre, that can help troubleshoot issues straight away in the shortest time possible.

Running a small business means that most owners are doing a number of jobs and they don’t have the time to be “on hold” while the first line tech support tries to work out what the issue is. So you want to ensure that your web hosting provider has this capability to deliver excellent, personal technical support.

2. Intuitive and User-Friendly Control Panel

The control panel is where you create and manage your domains, sub domains and databases. Cpanel is one of the most popular control panels for web hosts these days, but there are plenty of others out there. As a small business starting up it’s quite likely that you don’t have the technical expertise to configure your website without a Cpanel, roidirectory so make sure you can look over an example of the control panel and make sure that it is easy to use.

3. Hosting Package Considerations

As the needs and requirements for each business varies here are some of the items that you should look into to ensure that the prospective web host will be able to run and support your website now and as your business grows:

– Shared vs. Dedicated Web Hosting

Most small businesses only require shared hosting (often referred to as ‘virtual hosting’) which means your website sits alongside a number of other websites on the same server but as your business grows you may need to move to a dedicated server for any number of reasons, such as: your site has a high volume of traffic with eCommerce functionality, huntingtime you need greater access to the operating system for specific software that you need to run or for scalability and security reasons.

So ensure that you can move from shared to dedicated with the same provider with minimal business disruption (i.e. down-time).

– PHP vs. ASP Web Hosting

As a general rule of thumb most smaller websites are developed using a programming language called PHP as this is open source (i.e. free) and widely used which makes for a good support base. Larger clients and corporates often go for ASP as it is formally supported by Microsoft. The type of hosting you will need is often predetermined by the company that has designed/developed your website. If your site is database driven then you’ll need to ensure that the package you buy includes the ability to create databases such as MySQL for PHP and SQL Server for ASP.

– Email Addresses

Make sure that you package gives you the ability to create at least more than one POP3 email address and that they don’t charge separately for this pleasure. If you are fairly mobile and need the ability to check your email from any computer rather than something such as a Blackberry then make sure you also have webmail functionality. This is pretty standard for any decent hosting company these days. Finally, as a number of internet service providers (ISPs) such as BT, Virgin etc are a little precious about using their outgoing email servers (SMTP Server) to send your emails from your new company email addresses then you’ll need a SMTP service provided by your hosting company.

– SSL Certificates

If you plan to sell anything via your site you’ll need to have a security certificate installed on your website. Make sure this is something that the hosting provider/package can handle.

– Automated Backups

Backups should be automated nightly on the hosting provider’s side giving you peace of mind should anything go wrong. You don’t want to have downtime and then to find that you can only get a restored version from the previous month.

– FTP Access

You definitely want the ability to connect to you server via an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client so that you can upload multiple files at once. There is nothing worse than having to upload files one-by-one.

4. Testimonials

This is a pretty simple exercise where most proactive web hosting companies will publish a number of testimonials on the site so that you get an idea of what other users think of the service. Have a read through and see what they have to say.

5. Uptime Availability

Uptime is a measure of the time a computer system has been up and running. It came into use to describe the opposite of downtime, times when a system was not operational. What you are looking for here is some statement from the hosting provider saying that they “Guarantee a 99.9% uptime”. Anything less should make you worry.


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *