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If you have a website (or would like a website) for your small business you’re going to need a web hosting company. The good news: there are many available to choose from. That’s also the bad news. With the many options available – which one are you going to pick? To make an informed decisions, you’re going to have to learn a little bit about web hosting. In this article I’ll share some of my thoughts and experiences, to help you choose the right web host for your small business or even personal website.
What is a web hosting company?
A web host provides the space that allows you to store the files that makes up your website. They store your website on one of their servers. Each time you type a web address into your browser , the browser asks for that website’s information from the server and then the browser displays the result on your screen. Without a web host, you can’t have a website (unless you have your own server, which typically is not ideal). Some internet providers say to provide you with some web space, however this is typically not the type of web hosing that’s suitable for a small business site.
Types of hosting plans
There are different types of hosting plans available. Most people start with shared hosting. What that means is that the web host company hosts more than one account on that server. There is also dedicated hosting which means you get your own server. Another type, which is gaining a lot more popularity, is virtual hosting, where you get a “virtual” server: your private piece of the actual big server. If you’re just getting started, most users will generally only need shared hosting unless you have a large website with thousands of visitors per day or custom applications.
If you have your own site, you (should) want to have email addresses at your own domain, like [email protected]. Nothing looks more unprofessional than seeing a company car with the website address nicely printed on it, and a free e-mail address listed underneath like Gmail or Hotmail. Almost all hosts provide at least basic email their packages.
A website that is frequently down will lose a lot of visitors. Most people have only a few seconds patience before they get annoyed when a website hasn’t loaded yet. If someone tries to visit your website and it’s unavailable, they will simply go somewhere else and you lost their business. The best way to find information about a web hosting company is to research reviews online. Remember to take reviews with a grain (or bag) of salt.
Price is always a factor, especially for small businesses and startups. Don’t forget that you often get what you pay for, although it’s not necessarily true that the most expensive hosts are the best. Your best bet would be to go with a web host that is neither cheap nor expensive but in between.
It’s inevitable that something will happen to your website at one point or another. When it does, it’s important you’re able to get a hold of someone as quickly as possible. Is the web host company’s technical support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round? Trust me – especially when things aren’t working it’s important you get a response for the web host company as quickly as possible, never the next day.
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P.S. Questions, comments, compliments? Join the conversation and text me: 604-210-8668. I’d love to hear from you.