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These days, not having a business website is not an option. Large corporations and one-person operations alike need to have a web presence—the more attractive the site, the better. But before you get started on designing a knockout site, you have to consider the best small business web hosting options.
You might be thinking, “Isn’t it enough to buy a domain and create a website?” To a certain extent, you’re right. Some website builders include hosting as part of their product. Others, however, do not. This is particularly true if you bought your web address (also known as your domain) as a standalone product. You’ll need a place to host your website once it’s built; and for that, you will want an excellent web host.
There are a ton of great web hosting options for small businesses, which can make it easy to compare the top options and get the right host for your individual needs. Some web hosts cater to simple, straightforward sites. Others are a better fit for more complex websites, particularly those that include an ecommerce or online purchasing portal. Here are the top options based on your needs, as well as pricing and customer service.
There are three major components to building a small business website. The first is buying a domain name. This is the .com, .net, or .biz address that visitors type into their browser in order to access your page. Next, you’ll need to design a website, which you can do through a website builder (or by hiring web professionals to give you a custom look). Lastly, you’ll need to get web hosting, which is where your website’s files, pages, and data will all reside.
Think of a web host as an office building or retail shop for your company, but in the cloud. Web hosts will store your website’s files on one of their servers in exchange for a monthly or yearly fee. This kind of “virtual rent” can be inexpensive for small and straightforward sites, or more expensive for businesses that have a robust site or a webpage that has to have top-notch security.
The web host you pick may not change the way your domain name works or how your website looks, but it will determine other crucial factors that can make or break your site’s overall effectiveness. Web hosting determines how quickly your site loads, what happens if there’s an unexpected surge in site traffic, and how hacking attempts are thwarted. Web hosting isn’t the most glamorous part of a small business website, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
There are a ton of top web hosting options for small business sites, and it can be difficult to discern the differences between them all. Each boasts top-of-class security, loads of storage, the capability to handle ample amounts of site traffic, and a slew of other features. But, at the same time, there can be slight differences between the best web hosting platforms that can help your small business in different ways.
Begin by considering your needs. A simple website that has little more than a page or two of information will not need tons of storage space. Nor will it need heavy-duty security features. More modest sites can usually get by with a less expensive, lean option. If, on the other hand, you’re running a major retail operation or a medical practice that has to store sensitive client information, expect to pay a lot more for a robust hosting solution.
Next, think about the long-term vision for your company. If you’re not doing much with your website, but want to expand its capabilities in the future, you’ll want to factor that into your decision-making process. A good web host will have different support tiers that provide you with the right amount of support and storage space to grow with your website.
With these baseline considerations in mind, here are our picks for the best small business web hosting options on the market.
There are plenty of web hosting options out there for small businesses. Some are great for basic-level service at a bargain, while others get top marks for their technical prowess. Here are our top picks based on where they excel and how they can help small business owners the most.
If you’re a newcomer to managing your business website, the best web host is one that provides you with round-the-clock technical support, and is willing to go the extra mile to make sure your site is up and running just the way you want it. Namecheap goes above and beyond in this department, offering 24/7 support through chat. No question is too big or too small for Namecheap’s team of technical support specialists, who are even willing to step in and make changes for their customers if they don’t have the technical savvy to do it themselves. And as the name implies, their web hosting prices are pretty competitive as well.
There are several Namecheap hosting tiers:
Bluehost is a perennial favorite for personal and business web hosting because of how easy it is to set up and use the company’s services. Like Namecheap, Bluehost offers very affordable hosting solutions for small businesses that need simple sites and complex ecommerce outfits alike. You can even get a free domain name when signing up for some of their one-year plans.
Bluehost offers the following hosting packages:
If you need more from your site than just a place for customers to find you online, you might be looking at dedicated server hosting as your preferred method of managing and storing your website data. Should this sound like your situation, HostGator might be the host for you. For those who don’t know, dedicated server hosting means getting your own server within a company’s existing network. Instead of sharing server space with other websites, you’ll get your own dedicated server, as well as the software and customer service tools required to keep things running smoothly. HostGator also offers more introductory-level hosting options as well, which are on par with other providers in terms of pricing and services.
Here’s what HostGator offers:
Having a super-robust web host might be the only viable option for some business owners. But for others, a straightforward, simple, and inexpensive option may be all that’s needed. If you fall into the latter category, then iPage could be a great option for you. With iPage, you can opt for shared, VPS, dedicated, or cloud hosting for your website needs. You’ll also get one-click installs of popular apps and CMS platforms, and excellent customer service. Best of all, you won’t spend a fortune in the process.
Here are iPage’s product options:
Few web hosting companies provide unlimited bandwidth as part of their low-cost hosting options. This isn’t the case with InMotion, however, which also throws in unlimited disk space for good measure. InMotion’s hosting options include free SSL certificates too, which is a boon for businesses that want to explore ecommerce options while giving their customers a sense of security. This is a great suite of services at a reasonable price, which makes InMotion a strong contender for most small business owners.
InMotion offers the following business-oriented products:
Cloud web hosting may be easy to come by these days, but few providers offer the same level of flexibility and customization that Cloudways provides for their clients. This host gives you the option to choose between five different cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, which are considered among the most popular options around. Better still, Cloudways doesn’t require users to sign up for a long-term contract either. You can set up a pay-as-you-go account or even go with a free trial—all without putting a credit card on file.
Prices vary depending on the cloud platform selected and support tier, so check out the Cloudways site for a full rundown of prices.
There is no shortage of web hosting options out there for small businesses, which can make the process of finding the best one an intimidating challenge. If you know what you need from your site, what your budget allows, and what kind of platform can help you make the most of your site, you’re on your way toward picking the right host for your needs. Keep a keen eye on pricing, support, and add-on tools—like website builders and ecommerce support—to help you feel confident that you’ve made the right choice.