A small business has different sets of challenges as compared to fairly large e-commerce businesses.
The market is filled with web hosting platforms, most of these support e-commerce businesses.
But are all of these suitable for your small business?
Small businesses have their own constraints and needless to say, it requires a plan which is affordable and at the same time provides a fairly good hosting service.
Well, no one really tells you, which hosting platform would be suitable for a small business. As a result of this you end up paying for features, you probably might never require.
Definitely no one wants to be in such a situation. So best is to get to the crux of what are the best web hosting platform suitable for small business.
This is exactly what I will be discussing over here, but before that let me provide you details of what you need to look into while choosing a hosting platform.
Which things should I look for before choosing hosting for my Small business?
A lot of times, the parameters to be considered while choosing a hosting platform, seems to be a black box.
Many times, beginners as well as experienced users, end up choosing a hosting platform which might not stand up to the expectations.
In such cases, users are left with no option but to bear with the hosting services.
So here are the things you should look out for before choosing any hosting platform.
Uptime defines how long would your hosting platform remain up and running. This definitely is an important parameter to look for while choosing any hosting platform.
You definitely do not want your business to take a blow, owing to your hosting provider’s downtime. So if the uptime is inconsistent or you see it going below 99.9%, then you need to rethink your choice.
A hosting provider is said to be reliable if it provides dependable uptime, security, response time. In order to be reliable, the hosting provider needs to have a substantial infrastructure to provide these features.
This includes features such as SSD, Backup and restoration, 24/7 monitoring, CloudFlare CDN, distributed architecture and similar technologies. Such embedded features make a hosting platform reliable.
Reliability is very closely associated with security. Needless to mention, a small security flaw in your hosting platform, could cost you a heavy price.
The security features could range from basic level security features such as SSL to other more sophisticated security features.
Once you have created your website, you definitely do not want to take any risk. The first thing you need is backup of your website and database.
So if your hosting platform is not giving you a backup service, then you might as well rethink about your choice.
Similarly, few hosting platforms, allow backup at a separate pricing. It is best to check if this is affordable. Backup and restoration services play a key role while choosing any hosting platform.
Renewal price is the one you would need to pay in the longer run. So while in most cases, the first time pricing looks attractive and affordable, it is best to also check the renewal rates.
You need to check this for the plan you choose as well as the domain. Several hosting platforms have higher renewal pricing as compared to their first time pricing.
While this sounds fair, you definitely do not want to be in for last minute surprises. If the renewal pricing is exorbitant, then you are left with no choice but to bear with the high renewal rates once you have committed to a particular hosting platform.
Customer support includes everything that a hosting platform provides to make your web hosting journey simpler and seamless.
This includes the customer support reachability such as a 24/7 customer support availability. Other essential features include – live chat, email reachability, phone services, tickets.
Apart from this one should also consider other features such as video tutorials, FAQ, Blogs, Community support, Forum, dedicated resources and such similar features which can make using a hosting platform simpler.
The idea is to help experienced as well as novice users to develop a website, fetch more information and troubleshoot issues in the least time. And this can be done only if the hosting platform has a strong customer support.
Now that I have provided details of what exactly you need to look for while choosing hosting platform, let me get further and give a walk-through on the best hosting platforms for small business.
Here’s a quick look at the best web hosting for small business 2018:
5 of 2018’s Best Web Hosting Companies for Small Business
This happens to be one of the 20 largest web hosting platforms.
BlueHost was first launched in 2003 and is headquartered in Provo, Utah, USA. It powers more than 2 million websites worldwide.
Now, let me provide more details on how BlueHost performs for your small business.
I started to monitor Bluehost uptime metrics by paying for their hosting plan myself. Below is a snapshot of what I have recorded.
You can see full detailed data here.
In most cases, BlueHost has provided a consistent uptime of around 100%. This assures, your business would have the least impact because of any downtimes.
Reliability and Security:
BlueHost supports SSD storage for every plan. It ensures good speed even with the basic plan.
BlueHost has technology which identifies websites that are using excessive resources and reassign them to an isolated system. This way all websites can maintain a consistent performance and response time.
Its custom technology allows you to upgrade as you scale up.
With a more advanced plan, you get the support of CloudFlare CDN to enhance your website performance.
Other optional security features included are – SiteLock, CodeGuard, Spam Protection, account isolation.
Yes, BlueHost does provide backup services. With the lower end plans, backup is optional and comes with a separate pricing.
You get CodeGuard at $2.99/month. With the backup services, BlueHost provides daily backup, monitoring, and one-click restoration.
The more advance plan includes CodeGuard.
With BlueHost, you do not renew at the same pricing. Each plan has a different starting and renewal pricing.
The Basic plan starts at $2.95/month and the renewal is $7.99/month. Similarly, Plus and Choice Plus plan have starting pricing of $5.95/month and renewal is at $10.99/month and 14.99/month respectively.
You can reach BlueHost support in different ways. This includes email, live chat, tickets or phone.
Apart from this, BlueHost has a separate Knowledgebase section which caters to queries on diverse topics.
The support is available 24/7. Also included is a dedicated blog section and an FAQ which is equally useful.
BlueHost provides diverse customer support option, which equally caters to advance as well as novice users.
It has over 45000 customers spread across 83 countries. Their value-added services along with performance are one of the key indicators.
FastComet provides a series of hosting options which also includes Joomla, OpenCart, WordPress to name a few.
Let me get into more details of how FastComet performs.
FastComet’s Uptime history you can see here.
Truly speaking, their uptime metrics is pretty impressive.
Worth mentioning is their consistency in maintaining the uptime, which in most cases is 100%.
Reliability and Security:
Speaking about Reliability as well as Security, FastComet takes every precautionary measure to ensure both they are reliable as well as secure.
So what exactly do you get for a small business?
The basic plan includes daily backups, CloudFlare CDN, SSL, BitNinja Server Security, web application firewall.
Additionally, the plan also includes Spam Expert, Malware removal and a rocket booster which provides 3 times more resources per account.
It provides backup from the past 7 to 30 days.
There are no restrictions or separate pricing to access these backups. You can use FastComet’s restore manager to get a one-click restoration.
In addition to this, you get a 24/7 support for any kind of restoration with no added cost.
FastComet provides most of the essential features in its basic plan. It has 3 plans – StartSmart, ScaleRight and SpeedUp.
The StartSmart has a starting price of $2.95/month and the renewal is again at $2.95/month. The ScaleRight has a pricing of $5.95/month and renews at the same price.
The SpeedUp plan has a starting price of $9.95/month and renews at the same price. Overall, the pricing is affordable, budget friendly and it’s a win-win situation since you renew at the same pricing.
FastComet has multiple ways in which you can get in touch with them. It has live chat, phone, and email options. The live chat popups instantaneously the moment you browse their website.
Apart from this, you would also get a separate dedicated tutorial section on their website. The tutorial consists of ample of versatile topics being covered.
The e-commerce section is separate. All the tutorials have an option to be viewed as a text or as a video. Along with this, there are dedicated blogs on different topics.
FastComet support is available 24/7/365. On the whole, FastComet has sufficiently large provisioning to support its customers.
It is headquartered in Montabaur, Germany. The company offers shared hosting along with domain registration services.
E-commerce support comes with ePages software. It supports hosting on both Linux as well as Windows platform.
Let me get into more details about 1&1 IONOS.
1&1 IONOS supports unlimited traffic with a 100 GB storage for its business plan. It provides a scalable level of performance based on the plan you choose.
1&1 IONOS does not give any specific uptime commitment for its shared hosting plans. However, I have monitored their uptime for my website and this is what I found.
Overall, the uptime metrics is fairly within the expected hosting standards.
Reliability and Security:
1&1 IONOS offers different levels of performance for your hosting. This starts from level 1 to level 5 being the most superior performance. This is categorized based on the configuration.
It provides CDN with Railgun which is optional in the business and pro plan. But is included in the Expert plan.
It also offers an optional SiteLock feature and is free with the higher end plans. To fasten the data transfer, 1&1 IONOS implements gzip.
In case of 1&1 IONOS, backup services are included with the plan. It provides a daily backup which includes back up of Webspace as well as databases.
Data recovery is also part of the business plan. With 1&1 IONOS you don’t have to pay additional for backup and restoration services.
You can use the 1&1 IONOS backup manager application to manage your backups and restores.
1&1 IONOS provides 3 plans– Business, Pro and Expert. The Basic plan starts extremely cheap at $1/month if you choose a 12-month plan.
However, the renewals are higher priced.
The Expert plan starts at $9/month if chosen for 12 months. Post this the renewal happens at $15/month.
Well, over here the renewal is something you need to watch out for if you are thinking of using 1&1 IONOS in the long run.
This trend is similar if you choose any e-commerce plan such as WooCommerce, Magento or others.
You can reach 1&1 IONOS through their hotline number. This is available 24/7.
Apart from this, it has a Help Center which has guides across multiple topics.
You can avail their online help center support, in case you are a registered customer. Apart from this 1&1 IONOS has a community and also includes a list of FAQs which are equally helpful.
iPage was first launched in 1998 and is one of the oldest web hosting platforms available in the market. It is headquartered in Burlington, MA, USA.
It is a platform which is well-known for its easy to use drag and drop features and helps beginners create a website with zero coding.
Let me now check each of these parameters for iPage.
iPage has a performance-based load balancer which ensures you can remain up even if one of the servers goes down.
It also has a UPS power backup and generators, to ensure the least impact to your website.
See iPage hosting’s full uptime here.
Reliability and Security:
iPage provides a 24/7 security monitoring. You can choose their enhanced security suite at a pricing of $100.
It provides a performance-based load balanced server, which ensures your website performance remains consistent irrespective of the traffic.
You can also choose website security and domain privacy at a separate pricing. The email hosting provides a spam filter which is customizable and also has virus scanning.
iPage has backup and restoration services, though this is not included as part of the plan. This needs to be chosen separately.
It provides a daily automatic backup. On an average, this costs $1/month or $35.98 for 36 months.
Renewal plan: iPage does not provide multiple plans, however, it has a different pricing based on the duration of the plan you choose.
So in case you choose a plan for 1 year, which is the least you need to choose, the starting price would be $2.99/month. Post this the same plan renews at $9.99/month.
In case you choose a 2-year plan then the starting price is $2.49/month and the subsequent renewal for this plan is at $8.99/month.
The next is a 3-year plan which starts at $1.99/month. This is the least priced plan. The renewal for the plan happens at $7.99/month.
In addition to this, you have a help knowledge base available over their website. Here you can search on different topics.
Few of the topics covered over here are – advanced hosting, email hosting, website builder, domains, CGI scripting, database, security, to name a few.
Next on my list is GreenGeeks which is well-known as an eco friendly web hosting platform.
GreenGeeks has been around for over 10 years and caters to over 35000 customers and has hosted more than 3000000 websites.
It is headquartered in California, USA. GreenGeeks provides a range of hosting options and is popular for its technology and eco-friendly hosting.
Further to this, let me provide more details about GreenGeeks.
GreenGeeks guarantees a 99.99% uptime. It provides easily scalable hosting options with proactive server monitoring.
In most cases, GreenGeeks provides a whopping 100% uptime, much better than what they guarantee.
Reliability and Security:
Each of the plans uses SSD and provides unlimited storage. Let’s Encrypt wildcard SSL is part of all the plans.
It has nightly backups, CloudFlare CDN which gives enhanced performance. As you move to a higher pricing, the computing doubles with each plan.
It uses container-based technology, which provides maximum security and is easily scalable. Also included are account isolation, proactive server monitoring, real-time security scanning, automatic app updates, and enhanced SPAM protection.
Beyond this, GreenGeeks ensures hardware and power redundancy. It supports HTTP/2 protocol.
Speaking of backup services, GreenGeeks does everything to ensure your data is safely backed up.
It takes daily backup of your website. This is retained by GreenGeeks for 24 hours for disaster recovery purpose.
Apart from this, at any point, you can take backup of your website files, database, and emails. This requires no add-on services or a separate pricing.
GreenGeeks provides 3 different plans – Ecosite Starter, Ecosite Pro, Ecosite Premium. The plans with longer duration are cheaper.
The Ecosite Starter plan starts at $3.95/month. This is for a period of 36 months which is the least priced. The same plan renews at $9.95/month.
The Ecosite Pro plan starts at $6.95/month and renews at $14.95/month. Whereas the Ecosite Premium plan starts at $16.95/month and renews at $24.95/month.
You can reach GreenGeek’s customer support over email, phone and live chat.
It has 24/7 customer support.
Apart from this, the website has a dedicated support section with an exhaustive knowledge base. The knowledge base covers various topics as well as FAQs.
Along with this, there are several website tutorials and a blog which cover topics of hosting interest.
Through this post, I have provided you the best available options to host a small business website. I have provided details for 5 hosting providers- BlueHost, FastComet, 1&1 IONOS, iPage and GreenGeeks.
For each of this, you would find uptime is consistent or rather is at par with expected industry standard.
Having said this, I would like to highlight, that for each of these the renewals are higher than the first time pricing. These are popular hosting platforms.
With iPage and BlueHost backup is not included as part of the plan. 1&1 IONOS does not have a live chat support. So definitely choosing these platforms, depends on what exactly are you looking for.
With FastComet you get a range of security features. It uses advanced technology to ensure its services are reliable. Not only this the uptime in most cases is 100%. It has good customer support.
FastComet includes Backup services as part of its basic plan. Well, if you need more reasons then you renew at the same price and the most basic plan starts at $2.95/month.
FastComet provides Joomla hosting, WordPress hosting, WooCommerce hosting, OpenCart hosting, Dolphin hosting, ZenCart hosting.
Finally, my take over here would be FastComet for obvious reasons. While all platforms are good, FastComet is rich in feature and definitely an affordable option.