So you’ve got a website. You’ve also got products and services to distinguish, prospects to convert and customers to engage, plus a brand reputation to nurture online along the way.
Now you just need a reliable web hosting provider — a company to play that essential gatekeeping role in getting your website live on the internet.
In this guide, we’ll discuss your business’ choices in today’s provider marketplace, plus what to look for when vetting potential hosting companies once.
WHICH WEB HOSTING FEATURES DOES YOUR WEBSITE REQUIRE?
When it comes to finding the right web hosting provider, try not to put the cart before the horse — meaning don’t rush out to find a host before understanding the design, usage and nature of your website. First, you need to consider:
1. WEBSITE CAPABILITIES AND FEATURES
Consider the full state of your website. What activities, media and content does it currently support — and which features are you hoping to build new pages for?
For example, your website may currently have architecture dedicated to:
- Sales pages, from one central sales page to endless aisle-mirroring scrolling
- A secure payment portals
- Personalized customer accounts, profiles or portals
- Multimedia content
- Blogs or vlogs
- Real-time online chat options
Before picking a web hosting provider, you must first understand the functional nature of your website plus how you intend to build and expand it. Some hosts have a suite of infrastructure tools dedicated to supporting certain types of websites, while others offer broader hosting and support styles.
2. BANDWIDTH AND STORAGE
Be honest about your bandwidth and storage realities. Small businesses or new startups beginning to gain traction will likely have fewer people visiting their sites simultaneously, as well as fewer pages to manage, files to upload and less strenuous network activity. As a result, a modest bandwidth amount — also known as your byte upload and download speeds — from your internet provider can be more prudent without sacrificing functionality.
Many hosting providers build contracts around bandwidth and storage amounts. For that reason, it’s important to understand your website’s traffic patterns and bandwidth usage to find that Goldilocks provider.
3. TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND WEBSITE UPDATES
Who performs the bulk of your website’s current design and management, like editing product descriptions, A/B testing a strategic landing page or uploading a new blog post?
For many small businesses, the brunt of that website maintenance work falls on your shoulders. It doesn’t have to, though. Some hosting companies offer website maintenance services, including page-building, traffic monitoring and even cybersecurity defense layers. If these features sound attractive to partially or fully outsource, you can filter providers even further to only those offering site maintenance and ongoing support.