Hosting Your Online Business: What You Need to Know
Five tips to choosing the right hosting company for your small business website
What are your business needs?
Before you choose a hosting company you need to fully consider what your business actually requires from them. Whether your site is used for blogging, promotion or selling, its function will dictate the type of provider you need.
From simple packages to cover basic web hosting (ideal for blogging, for example) to more high-spec hosting solutions (better for demanding e-commerce websites), it’s important to determine your goals first and work backwards from there.
Does your server come with expert help
Many businesses today have an online presence but this doesn’t necessarily mean their staff are all technically minded and understand the latest advances in data management.
By choosing a hosting provider that offers server management, your site will be monitored by experienced IT experts and the service should troubleshoot any problems encountered before it leads to downtime for your website
Make sure your business website is backed-up regularly
A full website backup of your data should be provided by your hosting company, at least once a week for small businesses. Before committing to a plan, find out how regularly your web host does this and find out where your data is being stored. Ideally, this should be on a separate server backup system in case any technical disasters hit.
Is your business website properly protected
Constant surveillance is the best way to ensure your website runs according to plan. This year saw three huge software bugs which compromised thousands of servers. A lot of the time, your server can be safeguarded with up-to-date antivirus software, firewalls and thorough system maintenance via software patches.
Another good tip is to approach a hosting company with your top security worries to see what recommendations they have for improving the resilience of your online presence.
What are the host’s priorities?
A hosting company’s main priority should be to limit the risk of security lapses on your server. They should be using the best hardware equipment and have their own servers in a secure environment. As with so many things in life, remember that you get what you pay for.
Reputation is key to your firm’s success
SSL certificates are the foundation of secure data transfer and one of the hallmarks of an authentic site. They are particularly important for online retailers – sensitive data such as credit card details or passwords should be encrypted before sending them through other browsers.
Your credibility as a business rests on your ability to not only protect your own data, but your customers’ too.
Availability and having a hosting agent that you can reach
Unfortunately, it is inevitable that your website will encounter glitches and server problems from time-to-time. When this happens, it’s important for you to be able to reach your provider easily and quickly, at any time. Technical support is extremely important so try to choose a web host that not only offers a telephone support number, but an email or forum based support option too.
Consider a hosting server that offers one-click simplicity
Hosting providers that offer one-click installers can be really helpful to your company. With one-click you can easily set up the right software with relatively little technical knowledge. What’s more, some one-click software automatically installs updated versions of plugins as they are released, fixing any reported security issues before they affect your business.
As your business grows so may your hosting needs
As your company grows so will the demands on your website. Consequently, make sure your hosting provider allows you to upgrade your bandwidth easily, enabling your website to develop and grow in tandem with your business.
Doing your research is essential before choosing a hosting platform, utilise your network and use Facebook and Twitter to check up on your potential web hosting provider and see what other people are saying about them. People are generally quite honest on social media and give detailed descriptions of customer support, performance and services.
This article was written by Daniel Foster, the co-founder of web hosting company 34SP.com