Finding the Best Web Hosting Service for Your Business

business team selection web server

The role of the internet in the business world of today is becoming increasingly important. Of course, e-Commerce is a fast-growing area online, but even for companies who conduct none of their business on the internet, it still plays an integral part the business’s success.

A business’s website is like another employee – except that it will work 24 hours a day, never take a sick day, holiday or never complain. It can act as your contact, receptionist, salesman, marketer, or even payment processor. Your website is the ideal place to show people who you are as a company, what you stand for as a company and set in stone your company branding. So, with so much responsibility, it is important that you get your company’s website right.

One of the main factors that make a website successful – or not is its hosting. This can affect the site’s quality and performance, meaning, fundamentally the difference between people buying -or not buying – from you. It is important therefore that you choose the right web hosting plan for you and your businesses, and that you choose the plan that satisfies all of your requirements.

Choosing a Web Hosting Service

When you are selecting a web hosting service, you will notice that there a lot of things to consider. It is, therefore, a good idea at first, to decide what it is that you need from your hosts before you search for your perfect host. You can then research to find the hosting plan that best suits what you need.

Some of the factors that you should be thinking about before you decide what web hosting service you will go for, include:

  • Where your potential customers are located.
  • How much traffic you are expecting have come through your site.
  • Are you planning on having more than one domain?
  • Are you planning on using your website for e-commerce and selling products?

Once that you have evaluated what your specific needs will be, you can then start to look at web hosting service providers.

The list on our best web hosting in Canada page is designed to help you to find a hosting provider based on your specific criteria.

Web Hosting Plans

There are four web hosting plans to choose from – dedicated web hosting, shared web hosting, VPS hosting or cloud hosting. They each have their benefits according to a business’s specific requirements.

A view of the server room at The National Archives
By The National Archives (UK) (The National Archives (UK)) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Dedicated Web Hosting

Dedicated web hosting is when you have an entire server dedicated to only your business. This will give you massive amounts of space – very useful especially if you are expecting large amounts of traffic to your website. A dedicated server is also necessary if you have an e-commerce site and will be handling information which needs to be kept secure.

For businesses with larger IT departments, a dedicated server can be run and maintained by them. There are, however, managed plans which are available to smaller businesses where your server can be managed independently.

Other benefits to having a server dedicated to your business is that you will be able to avoid downtime due to peaks in traffic – in fact, your website shouldn’t even slow down at busy times. You can also customize the software and install other systems that you need onto your own server.

The main disadvantage of the dedicated server plan is that it can often be expensive and you might be responsible to the running and maintenance of the server.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared web hosting is a great option for smaller businesses as it is in most cases, the cheapest option. As the name suggests, shared web hosting means that the server which you are using is shared between your website and others. There should be enough disk space and bandwidth to support both your site and the others which are sharing your server.

The main benefit to shared web hosting is in the price. It can be substantially lower than a dedicated server because the cost is split between a number of websites, and as long as you don’t have too much traffic it can be an excellent option for businesses on a lower budget.
The main disadvantage to shared web hosting is that you might see your website working a little slower at peak times – when all of the websites on your server are busy. Spikes and software issues might be shared by everyone who is on your server, which can be a disadvantage to businesses.

Virtual Private Server Hosting

Both shared and dedicated web hosting have their benefits and drawbacks, and for many businesses, the best option will be somewhere in the middle of the two. And this is what virtual private server (VPS) hosting offers. A shared server is used, but each website gets the same amount of space, meaning that peaks on other sites shouldn’t make any difference to yours.

It means that your website is safer and more stable compared to the shared web hosting options, but you will not be paying for the more expensive dedicated server hosting. It also means that your website will be able to easily handle large amounts of traffic without affecting its performance – or that of other websites which are sharing your server.

cloud hosting

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is where your website is hosted on a virtual online partition which takes its resources (such as disk space) from a network of physical servers. It is essentially a hosting platform which doesn’t rely on one physical server, and this can offer some benefits for business.

One of the main benefits is that websites can modify its server speed, according to its specific needs. For example, if you are selling a seasonal product such as Christmas tree decorations, for example, you will have peaks in the run up to Christmas. You can use more RAM and processing power at the times when you need them and then drop down at quieter times.

By using a cloud system, you won’t be affected by hardware or software issues – from your own server or from a shared server used by other websites. You also won’t suffer from traffic surges on either your websites or others’, meaning that your website is more reliable and secure.

When it comes to the reliability to cost ratio, cloud hosting is generally the best. It is important for the success of a website (and hence, a business) that a website is reliable and for this, it doesn’t get better than hosting your website on cloud. It gives you the flexibility to increase or decrease your resources according to your needs, meaning that you aren’t either paying too much and wasting money, or having a weak, slow and overloaded website, reflecting badly on your business.

The main disadvantage of cloud hosting is that files that are used on your website (such as images) might be stored a long way from the server that the request is being made to, resulting in a longer load time for a website page.

Location of Your Server

Another factor that you should be considering when you are deciding on hosting plans is the physical location of your server. The further away it is to your users, the slower it will take to load. It is worth thinking about who your users will be – and where they are, as well as their connection to the communications network before making a decision.

The closer that your users are to the server the better it will work for them so if, for example the majority of your users are in France, it is worth using a hosting service with servers in France. If you are a truly international business, it is recommended that you choose a web host with servers in the United States as the infrastructure of communication as well as the connection to other networks is excellent the US.

The location of your server can also affect your website’s SEO. Search engines such as Google like to see websites hosted on servers close to their users – as this will give the best user experience possible. So, for the best search engine rankings it is important to keep your server close to your users.

Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

Content delivery or distribution networks is a network of ‘Points of Presence’ (POP) across a global network, and the server is set up to enable you to deliver files quickly and efficiently. This is especially useful for large files – such as photos, music or videos – eliminating the problems which occur if your server is located a long distance from your users.

Finding the best web hosting service for your specific needs can be complicated but is of real importance to the performance of your website. Customer experience is everything in today’s competitive business world, so you need to make sure that your website offers the best that is possible.

Factors such as band width, disk space, location of the server, control panel quality and features, the guarantee of uptime, technical support, pricing and the CMS are all important factors to consider. By having a good idea of what you want before you start to look, however, you can start to find what is best for you and give your website a strong foundation to build your business on.