- Some Factors to Evaluate Hosting Options On
- Hosting Features Essential for Small Businesses
- Site Speed is the second most critical factor
The Internet has transformed the way we solve our problems. With information now at our fingertips, we find products, services and help online, instantly. Therefore, it has never been more important for businesses across scales and sectors to maintain a robust digital footprint.
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, the stronger 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 our fair share of hosting providers. As a small business, we have inferred some key elements 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 like firewalls and site maintenance.
If you want services for the same, you can opt for managed servers. However, it will cost higher.
VPS hosting is often the best choice for small businesses. It employs the power of cloud networks to offer solutions that are cost-effective and dedicated at the same time.
Servers are portioned, unlike in shared hosting services. Therefore, your website gets dedicate OS, RAM, storage and data transfers. By spending USD20-30 a month, you can create dynamic websites and handle healthy traffic.
Hosting Features Essential for Small Businesses
Uptime is the Most Critical Factor
Your site needs to be live on the net perennially to be instantly accessible to customers and clients. If it is down, it brings down business credibility as people coming to your site cannot access it and lose confidence.
Result: A Win for Your Competition
Use Pingdom to evaluate uptime. It is a third party tool that gives accurate results.
Site Speed is the second most critical factor
Google Data shows that 53% more people bounce off pages that don’t load within 3 seconds.
Other essential 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 have curated a list of seven tried and tested web-hosting providers that provide the best solutions to small businesses.
#1 A2 Hosting
With A2, you can get unlimited storage and monthly data transfers starting at just USD7.99 a month. However, if you want multiple domains and unlimited emails, you need to pay more.
You can have unlimited emails by buying their Swift plan at USD9.99 a month.
Features like faster site caching and load times 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 Hosting compelling 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, A2 hosting offers an anytime money-back guarantee. Here, you have the usual 30-day refund policy. However, suppose you pay for the first two years and are dissatisfied by the end of one.
You can apply for a refund. A prorated amount for the remaining time is refunded. However, additional services like domain registrations, migration or setup charges are never refunded.
Another small drawback is the higher renewal rates compared to introductory offers. If you don’t cancel 15 days before renewal due dates, they automatically charge you.
If you want something to work with windows frameworks, then A2 is the best choice. It provides features like Plesk Onyx 17.8 control panels that make development and deployment super-smooth.
SiteGround guarantees 99.99% uptime at incredible speeds of 713ms. These features make it a prevalent choice for hosting among small businesses as your site visitors have a great user experience every time. You get round the clock support.
All plans come packed with essential features, including:
- Free CloudFare CDN to keep large files off the servers and maintain high site speed.
- SSL Certificates on all plans for secure browsing (Google Guidelines)
- Email Accounts
- 30-Day Money-back guarantee on shared plans
- 15-Day Money-back guarantee on other plans
- Servers spread across three continents
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. It offers all kinds of hosting services so that you can switch as and when your requirements 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 and created a customized WordPress plugin that helps you in site migration- SiteGround Migrator. There is no restriction on the number of sites you wish to migrate.
Higher plans offer free service on top of these benefits. However, if you exceed the limits on any plan, the extra charges 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 tool blocks attacks before they can enter the system. You can check out that they block anywhere between 500,000-2 million attacks every hour. However, if you are looking for freebies like complimentary domains, you will not find them here.
If your operations involve a lot of WordPress, then Kinsta may be an ideal choice for web hosting. Its overall performance and reliability can be mapped from its premium clientele, which includes 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 and they 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 for popular 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.
Kinsta is one of the few hosts that have created a custom control panel at par with the widely trusted cPanel most others provide. It has a simple UI and attractive designs.
Another unique feature Kinsta offers is switching between different PHP versions without the need for server migration or any downtime. If you are building complex applications, you can test them first before final deployment in their testing environment.
Other features that make Kinsta an ideal choice for Webhosting include:
- SSH Access, GIT, VIM and FTP for developers
- Free daily backups in each plan
However, while you can cancel your plan at any time, there is no money-back guarantee.
Unlimited features across all levels of pricing, WordPress specialization and a slew of other features make Kinsta a perfect choice for small businesses that exploit WordPress and are looking to scale up fast.
Many people shy away from WPXHosting after looking at their shared hosting prices. Entry-level prices start at USD24.99 a month (allowing 5 websites unlike others). However, scaling up is more affordable compared to other popular hosting providers.
Like most hosting services, WPXHosting servers are cached via in-built caching systems at the root level. These are far 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 on all plans ensuring safe user experience across all verticals. Speed is enhanced using SSD Apache servers, which also boost query response times and time to first byte (TTFB) by 200%.
Using Apache servers adds reliability to your website as it never goes down. 99.9% uptime is guaranteed.
Backups can be critical issues when you go for shared hosting services. That is not the case with WPX plans. You get daily backups that are automated and don’t charge any extra fee. It also offers One-Click on-demand backups so that you never lose an important file.
A unique feature that WPX offers is setting up an email account under your domain attribution. Other hosting providers don’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 most developers and businesses that haven’t used VPS hosting before. You can have a server ready with a few clicks in five minutes.
However, if you don’t have a developer experience, things might get tricky. The web hosting services offer advanced virtual Linux servers across all plans. These are called Droplets.
They come with SSH access and solid-state drives. It means the superior quality of servers and consequently increased reliability. You have to pay only for the resources you use. VPS powered cloud hosting allows developers to create virtual machines for new projects quickly and efficiently.
These features alone make available plans cost-effective. Using droplets, you gain complete control of your web hosting operations.
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 intensive computations and an extensive sitemap, you need dedicated CPU resources. You get 2 dedicated vCPUs along with 4 GB of memory, 25 GB SSD disk space and 4TB bandwidth for USD40 a month. They are ideal for:
- Video encoding
- High volume scraping
- Machine Learning and similar projects
Optimized droplets are relatively costlier as they provided dedicated resources.
These droplets are flexible across operating systems including Cloud Linux, Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, CoreOS and Debian. They have pre-built images integrated. This way, you save much time on installing your OS. You can start deployment much faster!
All other standard security and server features are available with Digital Ocean including one-click installs for apps like MySQL, Docker, Node.Js, WordPress, Ghost, PhpMyAdmin, Ruby on rails and more.
However, if you don’t want to get technical, it may not be the best choice. It’s ideal for developers who need maximum control and flexibility.
Some of you might already know this that Digital Ocean and CloudWays are partners. The latter is built on top of the services of the former. While Digital Ocean is managed and technical, CloudWays is a wholly managed service.
CloudWays is based out of Malta and works with five world-renowned cloud service providers:
- Google Cloud
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Digital Ocean
You get all the things managed via CloudWays while they get their infrastructure from the above five companies. Here is a definite advantage- you get world-class features and never have to worry 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 Linode plans are best for getting a good start. As you scale up, you can switch to Google Cloud or AWS for advanced features. All this happens without the hassle of 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 where CloudWays needs to work. The 3-day trial is much shorter compared to the refund policy that other web hosts offer.
- Temporary URL allocation: No domain registrations
- No email hosting
- Customer support can sometimes be too technical
Overall if you are looking for completely managed services with a balance between price and power, CloudWays is the way to 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 start with, 493ms of loading time (second on our list) and a guarantee of 100% satisfaction. Customer support is highly efficient as compared to other competitors. GreenGeeks goes the extra effort when inculcating customer relationships.
They offer the latest generation of energy-efficient Xeon processors developed by Intel. 64 GB DDR3 ECC registered memory to boost performance to higher levels. You also get RAID-10 SSD storage arrays. They enable maximum performance and redundancy.
CloudFare powered CDNs allow for better site optimization, especially when you have a geo-targeted audience. It doesn’t come with any additional costs. Cached content allows for faster delivery and ensures 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 when talking about this WebHost. The first and foremost is their refund policy. They say that they offer a free domain.
However, when a refund is applied in the same 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 fine print.
If you want their lowest rates, you will need to sign up for the long term.
Overall, GreenGeeks looks out for the environment while providing sustainable hosting services. They hit all the right checkmarks for small and medium scale businesses looking to scale up online assets efficiently.
According to Tibus, an average of USD7908 is lost every minute when a server goes down. When you adjust these numbers for a small business, the relevance of an excellent web hosting service becomes paramount.
Your hosting should be:
- Fairly priced
Therefore, when deciding, actively read every detail offered in hosting plans. Many web hosts can have an initial low price but lead to expensive upgrades. Some may offer limited versions of essential features in their low priced versions and charge you to bump up.
Comparing plans and exploring multiple options is the way to proceed. The features you pick should completely align with your business needs.