When you’re a small business owner, your website is one of the most important things you need to get right. It’s often the first place potential customers will go to learn more about your business, and that means you want it to be online, up and running at all times with solid security measures in place. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. Trying to find a good web host can be like navigating a maze. There are dozens of options out there, and each one comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. It isn’t easy to decide whether to use a free or paid host, what essential features are, and which host has the best price and features. So with all of the hosting options available, how do you know which one is right for you? This article will help you understand everything you need to look for in a website host.
What Is a Website Host?
A website host is an Internet-based company that allows customers to create and use websites over the Internet. Web hosting can include the storage of webpages, files and images on a central server or multiple servers. The best website hosting companies offer security, reliability and customer service to help small business owners establish a reliable presence online. Business owners should choose a website design that will help them meet the needs of their target audience. Website hosts will often provide you with everything you need to start your website, including templates, design tips, tutorials and more. If they do not, you can hire a website developer (like Ferguson Computers) who will help you build a site that will suit your business needs.
Why is Website Hosting Important?
Website hosting plays a very important role in the life cycle of your website. If you don’t host your website on a reliable hosting platform, your website might go down frequently, which could allow your competitors to overtake you in the search engine rankings. Hosting allows you to access your website at any time and from any location, which is critical for businesses that depend on customers accessing their website 24/7.
What Should Small Businesses Consider When Choosing a Website Host?
Tons of website hosts exist out there, but not all of them are created equal. Some have better uptime than others and some have better performance than others. If you’re looking for a host for your website, there are certain things you should be looking for in order to find the best one for you. Here’s our list of the top factors to consider when choosing a host for your small business website:
Make Sure Your Web Host Has Excellent Technical Support
One of the reasons many business owners choose web hosts is that they don’t know how to build their websites. Thus, when issues arise with their website or hosting account, they need help from a professional who can quickly solve the problem. Make sure that you choose a provider that offers 24/7 customer support so that you can get quick help if something goes wrong on your site or with your account.
Be Aware of Price Changes After the First Year
The most critical factor for small business owners when choosing a web host is price. The host’s pricing plans may include bandwidth, disk space and additional features such as website builder tools or SSL certificates. Tread carefully, however, when considering first-year deals (or any limited offer) on website hosting. Hosting companies regularly discount their plans to attract customers and drive sales but then jack up the prices after a year or two. It’s not uncommon for companies to hike their rates by 50% or more after an introductory period expires. In some cases, this has been as short as three months. Moreover, upgrading your plan later on, can be an expensive proposition.
Can your small business website
get a comprehensive website audit today!
Avoid Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is when multiple websites are hosted on one server. Each of these other sites on the same server has the potential to use resources and slow down your site’s performance. There is little chance of you fixing that problem if they do since you are not the system administrator. You will also have security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by other users on the shared server and increase chances of downtime with shared hosting.
Understand How Website Resources Work
Just like how an office is furnished and equipped to match the needs of its business, a website is also furnished and equipped. It too has resources, which are things like disk space, bandwidth or memory. These are bundled together to create different types of hosting packages. For instance, a shared host package usually offers the basic set of resources at a small budget but limits the number of physical websites one can have on it. As such, if you do have a lot of sites that need to be hosted, it would be ideal to go for a high-end package instead. Web hosting providers often claim their plans are unlimited, but that’s a bit misleading. Even if they offer infinite storage and bandwidth, they generally impose restrictions on disk space, bandwidth consumption, and the number of domains you can host on a particular account. The main disadvantage is that once these budget plans hit their resource limits, their website will be slow or crash, affecting your website visitors’ experience. Moreover, search engines like Google interpret slow or non-available websites as having problems, which result in a lower page rank which means fewer traffic and therefore less income and exposure for your business.
How Choosing the Wrong Web Host Can Hurt Your SEO
With so many companies fighting to claim the top spot in search engines, millions of business owners are turning to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to help their site reach the top. But what if your business is using cheap or budget hosting? Choosing a low-cost or budget type of web host will give your website subpar performance and could even cause it to crash at certain times throughout the day or night. When the website is down, there goes all of your hard work! Google and other search engines will register your website’s downtime, which could affect its ranking for any given keyword. This is why choosing a top-notch web host from the start is key so that this does not happen to your site.
Using WordPress? You Should Consider Managed WordPress Hosting
WordPress is a phenomenal application to power websites. However, without the right host, you can run into many issues that will eventually lead to you needing to hire someone to do the job again, but this time for a lot more money. Your WordPress website should be hosted on a platform specifically designed to make WordPress easier to deploy and maintain with managed WordPress hosting. These platforms provide all the necessary tools and infrastructure to run your website without additional configuration or installation. The managed services include 24/7 server monitoring, daily backups, deploying updates, tuning server settings, caching plugins, and otherwise optimizing your site, so it runs fast even with several plugins activated. Troubleshooting WordPress is not a trivial task and takes an in-depth knowledge of how the platform works. We recommend that our clients use FlyWheel* Managed WordPress Hosting.
Benefits of Using a Managed WordPress Host
There are many benefits of choosing managed WordPress hosting for your website. Here are a few that we think will interest you most:
1. More Uptime
Managed WordPress hosting providers offer much better uptime than shared hosting providers. They utilize state-of-the-art technology to ensure that your site is up at all times so that visitors can access it whenever they want. They also monitor your site every second of the day so that if you site goes down suddenly due to an unexpected glitch or due to a spike in traffic, they can get it back up and running in a flash.
From a security standpoint, WordPress is both ubiquitous and particularly vulnerable. The very reason that WordPress is so prevalent means that it’s a target for hackers who know it inside and out. To combat this threat, many hosts offer a variety of security features and plugins to protect your site from malicious activity.
3. Customer Support
If you’re new to WordPress or hosting in general, you probably have plenty of questions about how all this works. Whether you’re upgrading, installing a new plugin or need a technical question answered, the support team is always available 24/7 to assist you in person. Their expertise with WordPress hosting is second-to-none, and their ability to help you troubleshoot issues fast should put your mind at ease.
4. Speed and reliability
Setting up WordPress correctly isn’t the most straightforward process. Without the help of an expert, your website could run slowly or your could run into compatibility issues with plugins or themes. Managed WordPress hosts can guide you during this process and give you insights if something isn’t working as expected.
5. Free upgrades
As new versions of WordPress are released, your managed host will update your site without any additional cost to you. This means that your site will always be current with the latest security fixes and features.
Why We Recommend Using FlyWheel Managed WordPress Hosting
FlyWheel* has built its reputation on providing a superior WordPress hosting experience. They offer Managed WordPress hosting, which means their developers manage your WordPress installation for you. This gives you access to multiple benefits that come in handy while developing your website. These include: Reliability – FlyWheel servers are designed specifically for hosting WordPress sites, so you don’t have to worry about downtime caused by server issues. They perform nightly backups which are stored for 30 days, making restoring your website easy and stress-free! Convenience – FlyWheel handles all of your WordPress core updates and upgrades for you. You don’t even have to log into the dashboard as they take care of everything remotely. This will help keep your website secure. Security – FlyWheel notifies you if an installed plugin on your site has a known vulnerability or security risk. They include SSL support and even offer malware removal for free! Optimization – FlyWheel’s platform automatically detects bottlenecks on your website speed and fixes them for you. They also configure all websites on their platform with a CDN and caching to help your site load quickly from the ground up! *Note that we participate in the FlyWheel Affiliate Program and this is an affiliate link. We will receive a commission if you purchase a FlyWheel hosting plan using this link. We recommend FlyWheel because we truly feel like they’re one of the best WordPress hosts around!
Your Small Business Website Experts
Well-designed, functional websites can transform your business. They can set you apart from the competition and make new customers notice you. The problem is, though, if your website doesn’t work for your business or reach your intended audience, it’s worthless. That’s where we come in. At Ferguson Computers, we exclusively build WordPress websites and have solutions that take your business to new levels. We do this by helping you achieve specific, measurable goals with a creative yet highly effective website that functions with a purpose. And if you’re looking for a reliable, fast and secure solution for your website hosting needs, then you’ve come to the right place. Website hosting is included for clients who enroll in one of our Website Care Plans. Familiarize yourself with what we do and give us a call. Together, we can establish your goals and start mapping out a plan to get you where you want to be – at the front of the pack! Contact us today for more information.