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What is Business Hosting?
Do you own a business or are looking to start one? Every business needs a good website, and any business website is going to need hosting. What issues do you need to consider when looking for a business hosting plan for your website?
A number of different factors need to be taken into consideration regarding website hosting for a business:
- What type of business are you running?
- What type of website do you need?
- How much traffic do you expect?
Different Businesses Need Different Hosting
The biggest distinction between different types of businesses, as it related to websites and hosting, is whether the business is primarily an online business or an offline business.
If it is an online business, the website is the business. On the other hand, with an offline business, the website is more like an advertisement for the business.
Online Business Hosting
If you are running an online business, you need a high degree of reliability from your hosting company. An outage will cost you revenue, so you need to guard against that as much as possible.
To help ensure that your site has a minimal amount of downtime, consider the following:
- VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting, rather than Shared Hosting — With Shared hosting, you are literally sharing resources with other customers and other sites. This sharing can cause problems for your site. For example, a sudden spike in traffic on someone else’s site can cause your site to slow down or become unavailable. VPS hosting is much more reliable.
- Guaranteed uptime. — Look for a web host that has a high uptime guarantee. Be sure to check if the guarantee is backed up by anything.
- 24/7 Support, especially Phone Support — Problems will occur from time to time, that’s just how life is unfortunately. If your web hosting company has a really good support program in place, those minor problems can be dealt with quickly before they fester into major catastrophes.
- Read reviews. — We have a huge number of web hosting reviews on our site. Check them out. This will give you a much better sense of a hosting company’s reliability and support system than anything the hosting companies publish in their advertising.
Different Types of Online Businesses
There’s a lot of variety in online businesses, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus on three different types. Most online businesses will fall into one of these categories:
- Affiliate Marketing Businesses
- Ecommerce / Online Shopping Businesses
- SaaS (Software as a Service) Businesses
Affiliate marketing businesses usually involve some kind of content generation such as blogging, in order to draw traffic to affiliate links. For these content-heavy types of websites, you need a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress or Joomla.
Most shared hosting plans will run a WordPress site with no problem. If you are just starting out, and don’t have a lot of money to spend on hosting, a shared hosting plan might be a good idea to test the waters and start building traffic with. If you do this, you want to make sure you look at upgrade options with the shared plan. Many hosts make it easy to upgrade to a VPS plan from a shared plan. Compare different hosting companies based on the plan you’ll end up with (VPS), instead of the plan you’ll be starting on.
Ecommerce businesses — online stores — have different software and different hosting needs. Depending on your exact needs you could run a WordPress site with an ecommerce plugin, or it might be a better idea to use a dedicated online store software package like Magento or Zen Cart.
Whichever software you use, you’ll probably want to start out with a VPS plan instead of a shared plan. You’re going to need your own IP address and Security Certificate. As compared to content-focused sites, ecommerce sites require a lot more computing resources and bandwidth. People click on a lot more individual pages, and quite a number of things happen when assembling catalog views, recommended product listing, shopping cart pages, and checkout. The threshold for number of visitors before shared hosting plans start to fail is much lower, and you don’t want that failure to happen right when you’re starting to become popular.
SaaS, or Software as a Service, businesses are any kind of business centered on an online app. Many of these are free (like Gmail and Facebook) and others are subscription-based.
With SaaS businesses, you are building a new app, and you need a lot of people using it. So cookie-cutter shared hosting is obviously out. A dedicated server might be a good idea, but you’ll probably have the best luck with a cloud based VPS plan, especially one that allows for a high degree of server environment customization.
Offline businesses don’t need to worry quite as much about their hosting environment, but there are still things to consider.
Most websites for offline businesses are primarily content-focused, and should be run on a good Content Management System. For the majority of businesses, WordPress will work extremely well for this.
If you are a fairly small business without a lot of money to spend on a hosting account, your best bet is probably a reasonable shared hosting account. If your website is primarily a handful of content pages and perhaps a blog, and you expect to have fewer than a thousand visitors on an average day, this will be the most economical option.
For larger non-tech businesses that need a website to handle a decent amount of traffic, and can afford to pay a reasonable amount for hosting, a managed WordPress Hosting plan might be a really good idea. This will give you the power and bandwidth you need for your traffic, without you having to deal with managing a hosting account.