The Internet has transformed the way wesolve our problems. With information now at our fingertips, we find products,services and help online, instantly. Therefore, it has never been more importantfor businesses across scales and sectors to maintain a robust digitalfootprint.
An excellent digital footprint is impossible without dedicated infrastructure. Therefore, a good Web Hosting is the bedrock of this infrastructure. Hosting is your website’s Internet address.
Therefore, the premium the real state, thestronger the website potential. A hosting service provides servers, tools,networks and the entire framework to keep your website live and working.
Some Factors to Evaluate Hosting Options On
Over the years, we have worked with ourfair share of hosting providers. As a small business, we have inferred some keyelements you should look for when purchasing these services.
- Dedicated and VPS hosting are better options than shared plans
It may cost around USD100 a month. However,you will provide an excellent user experience because of dedicated resources.You can opt for unmanaged plans where you will have to handle elements likefirewalls and site maintenance.
If you want services for the same, you canopt for managed servers. However, it will cost higher.
VPS hosting is often the best choice for small businesses. It employsthe power of cloud networks to offer solutions that are cost-effective anddedicated at the same time.
Servers are portioned, unlike in sharedhosting services. Therefore, your website gets dedicate OS, RAM, storage anddata transfers. By spending USD20-30 a month, you can create dynamic websitesand handle healthy traffic.
Hosting Features Essential for Small Businesses
Uptime is the Most Critical Factor
Your site needs to be live on the netperennially to be instantly accessible to customers and clients. If it is down,it brings down business credibility as people coming to your site cannot accessit and lose confidence.
Result: A Winfor Your Competition
Use Pingdom to evaluate uptime. It is athird party tool that gives accurate results.
Site Speed is the second most critical factor
Google Data shows that 53% morepeople bounce off pages that don’t load within 3 seconds.
Otheressential features include:
- Solid-state or traditional hard drive storage
- 24/7 Customer Support in case of emergencies
- Unlimited monthly data transfers
- Unlimited email
- Linux Based Servers (as they are more common)
- SSL Certificates in case you are planning to sell stuff
Keeping these factors in mind, we havecurated a list of seven tried and tested web-hosting providers that provide thebest solutions to small businesses.
#1 A2 Hosting
With A2, you can get unlimited storage andmonthly data transfers starting at just USD7.99 a month. However, if you wantmultiple domains and unlimited emails, you need to pay more.
You can have unlimited emails by buyingtheir Swift plan at USD9.99 a month.
Features like faster site caching and loadtimes are available at higher costs (USD18.99 and upwards).
A2 Hosting is known for having the fastest loading time (336ms on average). It means lower bounce rates, awesome user-experiences and overall excellent site performance.
It provides a proprietary security tool to its customers called HackScan. The unique tool monitors your website 24/7/360 for malware and other forms of attacks. Apart from that, several data centers allow for scalability and DDoS protection.
Some other features that make A2 Hostingcompelling as an option include:
- Free site migrations: You can migrate 1 to 25 websites depending on your plan.
- One-click installations for major integrations including Joomla, Magento, Opencart, WordPress, Drupal, and WooCommerce.
Unlike any other hosting provider, A2hosting offers an anytime money-back guarantee. Here, you have the usual 30-dayrefund policy. However, suppose you pay for the first two years and aredissatisfied by the end of one.
You can apply for a refund. A proratedamount for the remaining time is refunded. However, additional services likedomain registrations, migration or setup charges are never refunded.
Another small drawback is the higherrenewal rates compared to introductory offers. If you don’t cancel 15 daysbefore renewal due dates, they automatically charge you.
If you want something to work with windowsframeworks, then A2 is the best choice. It provides features like Plesk Onyx17.8 control panels that make development and deployment super-smooth.
SiteGround guarantees 99.99% uptime atincredible speeds of 713ms. These features make it a prevalent choice forhosting among small businesses as your site visitors have a great userexperience every time. You get round the clock support.
All plans come packed with essentialfeatures, including:
- Free CloudFare CDN to keeplarge files off the servers and maintain high site speed.
- SSL Certificates on all plansfor secure browsing (Google Guidelines)
- Email Accounts
- 30-Day Money-back guarantee onshared plans
- 15-Day Money-back guarantee on otherplans
- Servers spread across threecontinents
Their customer support options are rock-solid. Customers can find quick answers in the SiteGround knowledge base. You also have a 24/7 live chat both online or over a call. Their average response time is less than a minute.
SiteGround may not be the cheapest option,but it does provide a vast range of options from USD3.95-USD729 a month. Itoffers all kinds of hosting services so that you can switch as and when yourrequirements change.
The price upgrades bring in added benefits like free email accounts, one-click installations, and daily backups.
These guys have gone a step further andcreated a customized WordPress plugin thathelps you in site migration- SiteGround Migrator. There is no restriction onthe number of sites you wish to migrate.
Higher plans offer free service on top ofthese benefits. However, if you exceed the limits on any plan, the extracharges are USD30 per additional website.
It is an ideal choice for companies and individuals just beginning their online journey. You can install builders like Weebly with a few clicks! Extensive integrations are available with:
Therefore, you depend less on developers. Pros who want to play with code will get fun stuff like GIT, SSH, WP-CLI, SFTP, and phpMyAdmin with higher plans.
Their AI-Bot Prevention toolblocks attacks before they can enter the system. You can check out that theyblock anywhere between 500,000-2 million attacks every hour. However, if youare looking for freebies like complimentary domains, you will not find themhere.
If your operations involve a lot ofWordPress, then Kinsta may be an ideal choice for web hosting. Its overallperformance and reliability can be mapped from its premium clientele, whichincludes General Electrics, Ricoh, Intuit and UbiSoft.
The plans offer scalable but the same features, more or less, making it easier to upgrade. The critical difference lies in the storage offered and the number of WordPress sites one can host. You can host up to 100 websites in the highest tier.
One thing I like about them is that you can send in customized requirements andthey will tailor a plan just for you.
With servers to choose from across 15 data centers spanning 5 continents, you get excellent uptime and site speed. If you are a WordPress user, then you get specialized features like:
- Site Migrations
- Extensive Security
- Optimized caching processes forpopular plugins
- Optimized stack for WordPress
The support consists of developers having experience with WordPress plugins, themes, Linux systems, and other complicated frameworks. They can help you instantly with any issue. Built-in features like PHP 7, LXD containers, MariaDB and Nginx reverse proxies keep WordPress performance top-notch.
Security features include DDoS attack detection, uptime monitoring, and malware protection. If you are an e-commerce enterprise, then you can create faster user experiences via Kinsta caching rules. They only cache static pages, excluding checkout and account pages. It enables your e-commerce site to run fast.
Kinstais one of the few hosts that have created a customcontrol panel at par with the widely trusted cPanel most others provide. It hasa simple UI and attractive designs.
Another unique feature Kinsta offers isswitching between different PHP versions without the need for server migrationor any downtime. If you are building complex applications, you can test themfirst before final deployment in their testing environment.
Other features that make Kinsta an idealchoice for Webhosting include:
- SSH Access, GIT, VIM and FTPfor developers
- Free daily backups in each plan
However, while you can cancel your plan atany time, there is no money-backguarantee.
Unlimited features across all levels ofpricing, WordPress specialization and a slew of other features make Kinsta aperfect choice for small businesses that exploit WordPress and are looking toscale up fast.
Many people shy away from WPXHosting afterlooking at their shared hosting prices. Entry-level prices start at USD24.99 amonth (allowing 5 websites unlike others). However, scaling up is moreaffordable compared to other popular hosting providers.
Like most hosting services, WPXHostingservers are cached via in-built caching systems at the root level. These arefar superior to standard cache plugins. Optimizations like CDN integration,minifications, browser caches are done effortlessly.
You get enterprise-level security features, which include DDoS protection. The proprietary malware cleaner scans websites and eliminates security loopholes in real-time.
WPX offers unlimited SSL certificates onall plans ensuring safe user experience across all verticals. Speed is enhancedusing SSD Apache servers, which also boost query response times and time tofirst byte (TTFB) by 200%.
Using Apache servers adds reliability toyour website as it never goes down. 99.9% uptime is guaranteed.
Backups can be critical issues when you gofor shared hosting services. That is not the case with WPX plans. You get dailybackups that are automated and don’t charge any extra fee. It also offers One-Click on-demand backups so that younever lose an important file.
A unique feature that WPX offers is settingup an email account under your domain attribution. Other hosting providersdon’t have this feature.
It also offers a custom dashboard, unlike the cPanel, which can be complex to maneuver. The WPX dashboard is highly user-friendly and has features like one-click WordPress installation, FTP access, and backups.
WPXHosting is an ideal choice for businesses/startups/individuals who are looking for strong foundations to gallop ahead. It has cheaper upgrades, unique security features, and a great server infrastructure to keep your website performance stellar.
#5 Digital Ocean- Unmanaged VPS
Digital Ocean is the go-to choice for mostdevelopers and businesses that haven’t used VPS hosting before. You can have aserver ready with a few clicks in five minutes.
However, if you don’t have a developerexperience, things might get tricky. The web hosting services offer advancedvirtual Linux servers across all plans. These are called Droplets.
They come with SSH access and solid-statedrives. It means the superior quality of servers and consequently increasedreliability. You have to pay only for the resources you use. VPS powered cloudhosting allows developers to create virtual machines for new projects quicklyand efficiently.
These features alone make available planscost-effective. Using droplets, you gain complete control of your web hostingoperations.
They come in two forms:
- Perfect for standard webpages and web apps
- 4 vCPUs allocated in shared format for lightning speeds
- 8 GB of memory
- 160 GB of SSD Disk Space
- 5TB Bandwidth
You get all this at an awesome price of USD40 per month.
CPU Optimized Droplets
If your applications have intensivecomputations and an extensive sitemap, you need dedicated CPU resources. Youget 2 dedicated vCPUs along with 4 GB of memory, 25 GB SSD disk space and 4TBbandwidth for USD40 a month. They are ideal for:
- Video encoding
- High volume scraping
- Machine Learning and similarprojects
Optimized droplets are relatively costlieras they provided dedicated resources.
These droplets are flexible acrossoperating systems including Cloud Linux, Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, CoreOS andDebian. They have pre-built images integrated. This way, you save much time oninstalling your OS. You can start deployment much faster!
All other standard security and serverfeatures are available with Digital Ocean including one-click installs for appslike MySQL, Docker, Node.Js, WordPress, Ghost, PhpMyAdmin, Ruby on rails andmore.
However, if you don’t want to gettechnical, it may not be the best choice. It’s ideal for developers who needmaximum control and flexibility.
Some of you might already know this thatDigital Ocean and CloudWays are partners. The latter is built on top of theservices of the former. While Digital Ocean is managed and technical, CloudWaysis a wholly managed service.
CloudWays is based out of Malta and workswith five world-renowned cloud service providers:
- Google Cloud
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Digital Ocean
You get all the things managed viaCloudWays while they get their infrastructure from the above five companies.Here is a definite advantage- you get world-class features and never have toworry about maintenance and management.
It has standard features like flexible pricing and is ideal for small businesses with limited budgets. It supports various platforms including WordPress, Larvel, Magento, PHP, and Joomla.
Choosing the Digital Ocean plans or Linodeplans are best for getting a good start. As you scale up, you can switch toGoogle Cloud or AWS for advanced features. All this happens without the hassleof managing complicated tasks like setting up Apache servers.
It also has a customized control panel with brilliant monitoring and scaling tabs to monitor server performance.
However, there are some areas whereCloudWays needs to work. The 3-day trial is much shorter compared to the refundpolicy that other web hosts offer.
- Temporary URL allocation: Nodomain registrations
- No email hosting
- Customer support can sometimesbe too technical
Overall if you are looking for completelymanaged services with a balance between price and power, CloudWays is the wayto go.
As the name suggests, this WebHost is proud of giving back 600,000 Kilowatt-hours of power credits they use every year. With a positive carbon footprint that the earth sorely needs, GreenGeeks also offers state of the art hosting services catering to over 35,000 clients.
You get 99.9% uptime, free domain to startwith, 493ms of loading time (second on our list) and a guarantee of 100%satisfaction. Customer support is highly efficient as compared to othercompetitors. GreenGeeks goes the extra effort when inculcating customerrelationships.
They offer the latest generation ofenergy-efficient Xeon processors developed by Intel. 64 GB DDR3 ECC registeredmemory to boost performance to higher levels. You also get RAID-10 SSD storagearrays. They enable maximum performance and redundancy.
CloudFare powered CDNs allow for bettersite optimization, especially when you have a geo-targeted audience. It doesn’tcome with any additional costs. Cached content allows for faster delivery andensures an excellent user experience.
GreenGeeks provides advanced security for its customers. Their data centers are laced with central biometric card security systems.
However, some cons come to mind whentalking about this WebHost. The first and foremost is their refund policy. Theysay that they offer a free domain.
However, when a refund is applied in thesame condition, they reduce it by USD24.95, citing a domain registration fee.This can set people off. Also, this is why you should always read the fineprint.
If you want their lowest rates, you willneed to sign up for the long term.
Overall, GreenGeeks looks out for theenvironment while providing sustainable hosting services. They hit all theright checkmarks for small and medium scale businesses looking to scale uponline assets efficiently.
According to Tibus, an average of USD7908 islost every minute when a server goes down. When you adjust these numbers for asmall business, the relevance of an excellent web hosting service becomesparamount.
Your hosting should be:
- Fairly priced
Therefore, when deciding, actively readevery detail offered in hosting plans. Many web hosts can have an initial low pricebut lead to expensive upgrades. Some may offer limited versions of essentialfeatures in their low priced versions and charge you to bump up.
Comparing plans and exploring multipleoptions is the way to proceed. The features you pick should completely alignwith your business needs.