Whether you own a neighbourhood restaurant, are a freelance graphic designer, or have any other type of small business, a good website is essential for the success of your company. Your website needs to be reliable if it’s going to be successful, and for that, you need a good host. How do you find one?
A website host offers the technology and services needed for a website to be viewed on the internet. You connect your domain name to your hosting provider so that when users visit your website address, they reach the site that is stored on your hosting account.
There are a few ways to choose a good website hosting plan:
You can get a shared server hosting plan for a low amount every month, but this is usually not a good idea. Shared hosting means you are sharing a server and it’s resources with other customers, which can damage the performance of your site. If another site on your server is hacked, your site could be infected.
A dedicated server hosting plan is more expensive but gives the optimum performance. A dedicated server plan means that the physical server machine is dedicated entirely to your site. All the resources are yours, which is more secure than a shared plan. This is more expensive than small businesses can afford, but if you have a high-performing site, you might need it.
A compromise between the two is a virtual private server, or VPS, hosting plan. A VPS is one machine, partitioned to act like multiple machines. This makes it affordable, like shared hosting, but has similar security and performance potential as a dedicated server hosting plan. Cloud Hosting is another good alternative that is affordable for a start-up, small business.
Make sure your hosting company has a phone or chat support so you get help quickly when you need it. Email support can take too long when a problem needs to be resolved immediately. Phone support is usually the best, but chatting can work just as well.
Look for a hosting offer with an easy to use server interface like cPanel for you to access your server. You don’t want to find yourself having to use terminal commands to view the contents of your server or to make changes unless you have the budget to hire a professional server administrator to take care of these tasks for you.
Check to see what kind of server security is in place in the server that you’re thinking about using. You will want to be able to access your server via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). You want daily backups to be made of server contents, in case of problems. You also want an easy method, with only one or two clicks, to install Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. Check that your hosting company performs regular security maintenance to keep your site safe. Your hosting company should have a published security protocol that you can look at so you know how they keep their servers safe.