Best Business Web Hosting Provider 2017
Our 2017 Best Business Hosting Award goes to InMotionHosting.com, a veteran in the web hosting game backed by a team of experts with diverse technical backgrounds. InMotion Hosting is a popular choice among the internet business community, and part of the reason is related to its rich set of e-commerce tools. InMotion Hosting truly makes a fine choice for business-class web hosting requirements. InMotion Hosting is an industry leader in offering business customer-centric web hosting packages. InMotion Hosting's innovative software gives you the best speed and efficiency that no other web hosting company can offer.
About InMotion Hosting’s Business hosting
When you're looking for the best feature sets, the utmost compatibility with industry standard software, the most bang for your buck, and the most comprehensive technical support in town, InMotion Hosting delivers. The web host brings the best of all worlds under one roof, providing unbeatable service at rock-bottom prices.
- In addition to award winning technical support and 99.9% uptime, InMotion Hosting's exclusive Speed Zone technology helps keep your website and email fast by locating your data as close to you as possible.
- The Better Business Bureau is the leading agency in the country for consumers researching the companies they deal with. InMotion Hosting has continually maintained an A Rating with the BBB for nearly 5 years.
- InMotion Hosting support is comprised of 100% In-House, U.S. Based technicians available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- The backing up of your data and web files can help ensure that the recovery of that data is as smooth as possible. While most hosting companies allow you to backup your own data, InMotion Hosting goes a step further and backs up all customer data every 48 hours.
- cPanel Control Panel
- Fantastico Script Library
- 1-Click Install: Joomla, Mambo, Drupal, phpBB, SMF, Wordpress, b2evolution, PHPNuke, Image Galleries
- Max Speed Zone Technology (Multiple Data Centers)
- 24x7x365 System Administration
- Category A, PCI Compliant Data Centers
- 24/7 Toll-Free Phone and Email Support
- Ultra Fast and Reliable Quad Core Xeon Servers
- Top Tier Network/99.9% Uptime
Best Business Hosting Nominees - May 2017
Path to choose Business hosting
Business Hosting: 12 things to consider
You need a hosting plan for your business. But all the web hosts look the same! What on earth do you look for? We asked our experts at WebhostingGeeks, and they came up with this list of 12 things to look for when it comes to web hosting for business websites.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a business owner in need for a reliable hosting service. Businesses often have different hosting needs compared to blogs or eCommerce websites. If you are looking for advice on blog hosting, please go here. Otherwise if you’re looking for eCommerce hosting, go here.
The first thing you must decide is the type of hosting you want for your business. We’ve made an article about the differences between the types of hosting here. The key differences are summarized below:
- Shared hosting - $
Shared hosting is the type of hosting where your website shares a physical server with many other websites. Shared hosting has limited resources depending on the server. Shared hosting also has limited customizability: you’re stuck with the software pre-installed on the server. The IP address is also shared with your fellow cohabitants.
- VPS Hosting - $$
VPS stands for “Virtual Private Server”. It means that while you share a server with many other websites, each website has its own sandbox: a virtual server. When it comes to VPS hosting, the software on your virtual server is fully customizable. However, you’re still constrained by hardware and resource limitations of the server.
- Dedicated Hosting - $$$$
Dedicated hosting means hosting on a dedicated server. This is the most expensive option, but also the most flexible option. Your website is the only website on a dedicated server, and that means you can customize both the hardware and software to your liking. You also get all the resources available on that server.
The most common choice is, of course, shared hosting. Sharing a server is more than enough for most businesses. If your business receives less than 20,000 unique visitors a month, then we recommend starting with shared hosting.
2. Refund Policy
When choosing a hosting plan, always look for the refund policy. You never know how good a hosting company is until you try their service. Who knows, you might end up loving it. But it doesn’t hurt to have a money-back guarantee.
A good, confident hosting company will have a 100% money-back guarantee for at least 14 days. 100% money back means that the refund is given regardless of the circumstances. The industry standard length for money-back guarantees is 30 days.
SSD stands for “Solid State Drive”. It is a computer drive without moving parts, hence “solid state”. A SSD is like a giant memory stick, and its read/write speeds are up to 3x faster than a normal hard disk.
If your server is equipped with SSD, it may be a huge boost to your website speed. Speed has been shown to be an important factor in Google rankings, not to mention the boost in user experience. This is especially important for business websites because for every second it takes your website to load, you lose a whopping 7% conversion rate.
In most cases, you should expect to pay extra for SSD.
4. Advertising coupons
It seems these days, hosting companies are offering all sorts of perks for customers. The hosting experts at WebHostingGeeks unanimously agree that the one perk worth its weight are the free advertising coupons.
Usually a shared hosting account will come with $100 in free Google Adwords advertising, and another $50 in Bing or Yahoo search advertising. If you already advertise online, then the coupons are perfect to make an immediate return from your hosting investment. If you don’t advertise online, then $150 in free ads is the perfect playground to try it out.
5. SSL Certificates
SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer”. It is a security protocol used to encrypt the data transfer between the user and your website’s server. Whenever you see “https://” at the beginning of a URL, the website uses the SSL protocol to protect customer information.
[The lock means the website uses SSL]
Having a SSL certificate is required if your business processes online payments, because protecting credit card information should be your number one priority as an online merchant. Having SSL is also required if you have a secure login form on your website. If your users enter a username and password to login to your site without an SSL certificate, a hacker can easily see their username and password in clear text. This would allow someone else to impersonate your visitor, but it allows for a far more dangerous possibility: Because users often use the same password on many sites (including their bank accounts), an attacker can potentially compromise many other accounts.
Even if your website does not process payments or have logins, it is still highly recommend for all businesses because SSL conveys trust and authority. Many shared hosting plans will provide a shared SSL certificate, for a small fee or free or charge.
Email is the primary means of conversation in this day and age. Thankfully, most hosting companies offer free email hosting with your website hosting package. As a business, you want to have a custom branded email, something like contact@YourBusiness.com. It appears much more professional than having YourBusiness@Yahoo.com.
Look for 3 things when it comes to email hosting:
- Number of email addresses – how many email addresses can you create?
- Email storage – how much storage do you get in total? What about per email address?
- Email client access– Can your business email be accessed on a phone or computer? Do they offer support to set up the email account on your Outlook/Phone?
7. Site Backups
The information you have on your business website should not be the kind of information you’re willing to lose. Many unexpected calamities can happen in hosting. Your website shouldn’t be at the mercy of the data gods.
The best insurance policy against sudden failures is a regular system of backups. Having a recent copy of your website can turn utter catastrophe into minor inconvenience.
Some hosting companies provide regular automated backups for free. Other companies offer a one-click backup tool that you can use at your convenience.
[inmotionhosting, one click backup, cpanel]
Also be on the lookout for free backup restores. Restoring your website from a backup copy takes time and patience, so it’s always better to have the hosting company do it for you!
8. Software (Ruby on rails, python, php7, etc)
“Wait, what the heck is this? I’m not a programmer!”
You don’t have to be a programmer for software to be important. By software we mean software installed on your server by your hosting company. Software determines what kind of website you can have. It also has a surprising effect on the speed of your website.
A side note – if you are running WordPress, a webhost with PHP 7 support can make your website up to 3x faster. PHP 7 is the newest and most efficient iteration of PHP.
9. Disk Space
Disk Space is the amount of stuff you’re allowed to store on the server. For the most basic hosting plans, the disk space allowed is usually 500MB or 1GB. Some companies have begun offering unlimited storage for even the most basic plans.
Even 500MB is more than enough for a small to medium sized website. A basic WordPress install takes up around 20 MB, custom themes and backgrounds 10 MB. This leaves you 470MB for your posts and pages. If we assume a generous 2MB/post, your basic server can store 235 pages of information before filling up.
Storage space is rarely the limiting factor when it comes to hosting. You’re much more likely to be limited by bandwidth and CPU resource restrictions, as your business grows and more and more people visit your website.
10. Monthly data
The montly data cap is the amount of data you can send and receive each month. It is essentially the number of visitors your website can serve. This is arguably a more important metric than storage. The average website is 3MB to load. This means your server must send 3MB of data to every single visitor that lands on your website. If your webhost gives you 10GB of bandwidth every month, at 3MB/page, it means you can serve 3413 visitors per month.
[Data transfer is how much data you can send and receive]
You can use google analytics (https://analytics.google.com) to check how many users visit your website each month. Afterwards, use GTMetrix (https://gtmetrix.com/) to find out how big is the average page on your website. Afterwards, simple math will provide you an estimate of the bandwidth necessary.
11. Server Speed
Server speed refers to many things. It can mean the processor power, the data transfer rate, the latency of the connection, the read/write speed onto the hard drive, etc. In the end, all of these factors will affect how fast your website loads.
The central aim for a business website is to provide a pleasant user experience. A slow, unresponsive website is the opposite of pleasant. We chose server speed as the second most important aspect of business hosting because user experience is critical for business success.
The hard part is that you can’t test for server speed until you actually host your website on there. This is where the money back guarantee comes in. After you have your website fully set-up and ready to go, check your website with:
- ByteCheck – it checks for the Time to First Byte, or how long it takes between browser request and server response. The TTFB should be no more than 200 miliseconds.
- WebPageTest– it checks for loading speeds and gives you a waterfall diagram of the loading speed and order of the elements on your website. A waterfall diagram looks like this.
12. Reliability/Uptime Guarantee
Server reliability is one of the most important aspects when it comes to web hosting. You’ll hear it referred to as an “uptime guarantee”, where the hosting company guarantees that your blog will be accessible most of the time. This guarantee is usually fulfilled in the form of a discount or cash credit.
The general rule is that the higher the uptime guarantee, the more reliable the server/company is. Companies will usually offer one of the following uptime guarantees:
- 99% - this allows your site be down for at most 432 minutes (7 hours) per month (43200 minutes)
- 99.9% - this allows almost 45 minutes of downtime. This is the most common uptime guarantee, as 45 minutes is about what the amount of offline maintenance a server needs per month
- 99.99% - this allows for just 5 minutes of downtime. 99.99% uptime guarantees are incredibly rare, and is usually only offered by cloud hosting companies.
If your website is down, you will be compensated for the downtime, usually in the form of a credit to your account determined by the host. More often than not, your downtime will not be compensated at all. Carefully read over the Terms of Service and figure out the downtime circumstances covered by the guarantee.
A Note on Customer Support
Customer support was not included in this list despite its prevailing importance. This is because, while customer support makes or breaks a hosting company, it is relatively less important for business websites. Business websites are often static websites with infrequent updates. On the other hand, merchants and bloggers may update their websites multiple times a day.