Choosing a web hosting service for your small business

If you are thinking of setting up a website for your business, you will need to find the right company to provide web hosting.

Based on our own experiences at Bytestart, here are some tips to ensure you choose the right provider from day one.

Web hosting tips for small companies

1. By far the best way to choose a reliable web host is through recommendations from colleagues or other business owners.

2. Unless you are a technical wizard, you should look for a web hosting company with a good reputation for customer service. We have had dreadful experiences with some providers who offer woeful support, and others who will reply to questions within minutes or hours.

3. Most small businesses will never need even a fraction of the “extras” provided by many hosting companies, so focus on the most important things you need – this may include databases, bandwidth and email addresses. Most web hosting firms will provide self-extracting software for you to operate blogs, forums, and other features you may want for your website.

4. If you are running a small operation, in all likelihood ‘shared’ hosting is all that you will require. This simply means that a sizeable number of domain names are hosted on a single server.

For more complex operations, or for large traffic sites, ‘dedicated’ hosting is the way to go. There are other options between the two, such as Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting, which you should also investigate if the need arises.

5. Price is always a consideration for small companies. For shared hosting, you should not need to spend more than £100 per year for your package.

You can often pay significantly less than this, but we would strongly recommend steering clear of web hosting companies that offer hosting for a very low fee. If you do pay just a few pounds for a year’s web hosting, you are unlikely to receive the quality of support offered by more realistically priced offerings. You might get cheap hosting but it could well cost you much more in wasted time.

6. The platform you choose may also be important for your business – Linux or Windows. Although the majority of sites are hosted on Linux servers, if you have specific needs to run Windows applications (e.g. ASP.NET) – then you should choose a Windows package. You can always check with your supplier before making your choice.

7. Take a look at prospective hosting companies’ web sites. Are they written in easy-to-understand language, do they explain how the hosting packages work in practice? Is the price information simply presented? Typically, the nature of hosting companies’ own websites can often give an initial impression of the experience you may have as a client.

8. There are many good hosting companies out there. We don’t recommend individual companies on Bytestart, but we have had good experiences with Clook and PAC Web Hosting on some of our recent projects. The support provided by both companies has been impressive, and hosting packages with both companies are competitively priced.

Bytestart Limited

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