Behind every great business website is a hard-working webmaster and a reliable web host. If you’re considering getting or switching to a new web hosting service, continue reading to learn about the importance of a good web host and how to get the lowdown on the best web hosts for small business owners.
What’s a web host?
A web host is a company that offers individuals and businesses the infrastructure and services they need to publish their websites on the Internet so that others can view them.
The infrastructure usually amounts to virtual space on a powerful computer known as a server. The webmaster who runs a website can upload all of the data for the site on this server. That data includes HTML files (web pages), script files that set forth specific web page behavior and style sheets and images that give the site a certain look.
The server could be a shared server that hosts multiple other sites, a VPS (virtual private server) that hosts fewer sites, a cloud server that hosts websites on a virtual partition of a server or a dedicated server that exists only for your use.
The services can vary by the web host. But the best web hosts for small business owners usually include customer support to assist webmasters with website setup and technical difficulties. They also include a suite of tools that webmasters can use to maintain and monitor their websites around the clock.
Does your small business need a web host?
The ability to host a website on a local web server run on a personal computer may have some asking whether or not they need a web host. Hosting a site on a home computer to test and troubleshoot a website before you publish it is okay. But it cannot be used to deliver web pages to a wide audience as reliably or securely as a web host. In some cases, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may prevent you from giving access to a local site to anyone outside your network.
The ability to scale up is why small business owners need both a web host and a domain (a website address) to publish web pages to the Internet. Having a web host is essential for every small business owner that plans to set up a business website — which should be every business owner given how valuable business websites are today.
What are the best web hosts for small business owners?
Web hosting options for businesses run the gamut from lower cost shared or cloud server plans to more costly VPS plans and still pricier dedicated servers. Your goal should be to find a web host that offers web hosting plans with the server type and features you need at a price point that fits your budget. Below are three of the best web hosts for small business owners according to expert reviews around the web.
HostGator offers shared, cloud, VPS or dedicated server plans with robust customer service and site-building tools for webmasters of all experience levels. Their shared business plan (starts at $5.95 a month) includes:
- Unlimited domains
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free SEO tools to help you increase your website ranking
- Free SSL, essential for businesses that sell products
DreamHost‘s robust security and domain management features make it one of the best web hosts for small business owners. For instance, they offer shared, cloud, VPS or dedicated server plans. You can get a VPS plan for as little as $13.75 a month. That plan comes with unlimited bandwidth and domains and a custom control panel.
TMDHosting‘s power, performance and smooth integration with WordPress earn it a place among the best web hosts for small business owners. They currently offer dedicated server plans at a steal for $79.97 per month. Even with a server of your own, you’ll enjoy free setup, premium support, and the familiar cPanel control panel.
Godaddy is reportedly the biggest domain registrar in the world with over 6,000 employees and 17 million customers. Indeed, their performance metrics–uptime and speed–are stellar. Widely known for their domain and hosting services, GoDaddy aims to be a one-stop shop. In addition to WordPress web hosting, they offer a litany of tools and services.
- Tools to build a website
- A list of over 125 applications that can be instantly added to your new hosting account
- Access to their network of web design professionals to call upon for assistance
- Services such as native email hosting and Office 365 as added value for their customers
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