So you have no idea how to choose web hosting for your small business? No worries. We will help you make the best possible decision based on your needs and budget for web hosting. Let’s get started!
What will it be the purpose of your site?
When we are talking about small businesses, we often think of just a web presence. If all you need is a place where your client can find your contact information and see your products, this is the easiest and cheapest possible case!
You will need at least a domain name that identifies your business. Prices can go as little as 10 USD per year, and it might even be free with a 1-year hosting plan (plans from 50 USD per year).
Free hostings are an option too, but check if the storage space they offer and the bandwidth per month are enough for you.
CMS vs Custom vs Site builder
There are various ways to create a website. We all want to have a beautiful page, with a nice design and functional structure, but you should think about the extra staff.
It must be SEO friendly, which means to be easy for the searching engines to index it.
You also want it to be flexible, so you can add categories, pages, products, or services in the future.
And you want it to be easy to manage.
A custom website will require more money and effort to be developed. You will need a programmer. Later you will have a site built for you, but harder to update.
Site Builders are maybe the easiest way to do it. You can play with drag-and-drop features and make a very visually pleasing website in a day. But! Such a site might not be so customizable in the future, or its SEO might not be the best.
A CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal is the best choice. You can still easily create a site by yourself, but you will also have plenty of add-ons for future upgrades and customization. And, if at some point you want to leave the site management to another person, there are plenty of prepared WordPress administrators out there.
Visitors per month
First of all, if you are expecting no more than 100 visitors a day, literally any hosting is good enough. A free hosting plan with a paid domain (10-15 USD per year) is all that you need. If you just one to have a portfolio or contact page, you won’twon’t need a lot of resources.
If you are planning to sell through your site, you will need better performance, and you will need to guarantee a secured connection too. So for that purpose, you will need a paid plan with a SSL certificate.
- Up to 5000 visitors a month – any web hosting, including a free one, is good enough.
- Up to 50000 visitors a month, some interaction on the page, you will need at least a shared hosting plan.
- Up to 100000 visitors a month, and e-commerce platform, check VPS hostings.
Now that you know your goals check how much it will cost you. Most of the hosting providers have announced, on their plans, an approximate number of visitors for each plan and price per month. Get a plan with a similar number, and maybe just a bit larger. You don’t plan to stay small forever.
You can get away with shared hosting or cloud hosting – a free plan or a very cheap plan that costs around 5 USD per month for just a portfolio site.
For a small e-commerce site or site with heavy media content, choose VPS hosting. The prices start from around 15 USD per month. A good add-on is a CDN if you are managing an international site.
If you don’t want to do it yourself, a freelancer or an agency might cost you around 500 USD for creating a simple site.
Now you have a small business, but what about tomorrow? Medium-sized, large company, maybe even international. It is good to have room for expansion when you are choosing web hosting. When you need more resources, it is a lot easier to simply upgrade to a higher plan from the same web hosting provider. It is really good when the provider offers shared hosting and cloud, VPS, or even dedicated hosting. And if not, search for another one that offers free migration and migration assistance because it might not be an easy task.
So, creating a website is not hard at all, but please think first about your needs, your future goes and how much you can afford. Don’t forget security, and try to make your life easier with CMS and other standard tools.
Your site’s whole creation might cost you as little as 50 USD per year (hosting, SSL certificate, and domain name) if you do it yourself with a CMS or as much as a few thousands of dollars if you go with an agency.