How to Select the Perfect Web Hosting Plan for your Business Website?
In the current commercial market, a website plays one of the most important roles in the success of a business. It is the second identity to your company and can act as your address, contact and even part of your brand image.
The quality and performance of your website depends a lot on its web host and the choice of the hosting plan. So if you don’t make the right choice, you are playing with the success of your website. It will eventually make an impact on your business, which could translate into a significant percentage of your profits.
So make sure that you have the perfect web hosting plan.
Your Web Hosting Needs
The first step to choosing the right web hosting plan is not to go around and do the research.
It is about evaluating your business’ needs from your site. We propose the following questions, the answers to which will help you begin your search.
- Are you going to host multiple domains?
- Are you going to have an e-commerce section on your website to support your sales?
- What will be your traffic volume?
- Where are your customers?
Ultimately you are simply choosing between the web hosting plans that fit best for your business. It is best to start to host with the provider that offers all major hosting plans, so you don’t have to jump providers, which they make extremely complicated while trying to retain their customer.
Don’t forget to use the wizard on our homepage that narrows down hosting providers based on your criteria.
Major Hosting Plans
The next step will be to check the features of the 4 major hosting plans. Every decent web host will have these packages and many will have even sub-plans under these major plans. The features, benefits, and the limits can also vary from one host to another. Let’s check what each of these plans usually has.
Shared Web Hosting
If you have a small or mid-sized business website, a shared hosting plan can be an affordable and perfect option for you. Modern shared hosting plans offer a lot of disk space and bandwidth to meet the needs of small and medium sized websites. Shared web hosting can be good for small businesses that generate just average traffic.
As the name suggests, choosing a shared hosting plan means your website will be hosted on a server which is shared by many other websites. While your needs are fulfilled, it will be affordable. It is affordable because so many websites are sharing the cost of the server resources.
But there is something that goes against this plan too. Having so many websites on the same server could mean interference in the form of a decrease in performance. Other websites can have traffic spikes or software issues, and the results will have to be ‘shared’ by everyone on the server. If you can afford a little more (because quality comes at a little higher price) you should consider a dedicated hosting plan. A shared hosting plan could still have some restrictions in terms of traffic volume, software support and database support.
Dedicated Web Hosting
As the name suggests, a dedicated hosting plan will ‘dedicate’ an entire server to your website. Imagine the amount of disk space and bandwidth you will have at your disposal. But there is a catch to it – the price. It can be quite expensive because you will have to afford the cost of running and maintaining the server.
If your business fits into any of the following two categories, this can be the perfect hosting plan for you:
- You have a website that receive tons of traffic every day.
- You have an e-commerce business or some other niche operations that require the highest level of security for information.
So what are the other advantages of having a dedicated server? You will not have to worry about downtimes because of traffic spikes. The upper limits will be so high that your website will never slow down or have a downtime because the traffic just shot up. Besides, you will be able to customize the software programs and operating systems you want to install on the server. Dedicated web hosting is recommended for larger websites that have high traffic volume at all times.
This plan is usually available in two forms – managed and non-managed. The choice will depend on whether you can manage your server yourself or not. Many companies have their IT department taking care of their dedicated hosting plan. But if you want, you can choose the managed plan and get the web host to do the job for you.
A virtual private server (VPS) plan goes between the shared and dedicated web hosting plans. That may seem to be confusing. It is basically a shared server having other websites on the same server, but all the resources are divided in a fixed proportion. So you have an assurance that a spike in another website’s traffic will not affect your site’s performance.
As can be expected, VPS is more affordable than choosing a dedicated package. But it is highly stable and safer compared to a shared plan. It is similar to dedicated hosting in that it can handle a larger volume of traffic. If you have a large site that receives tons of traffic all the time, a VPS plan could be ideal.
The world of web hosting is quite complex. So we cannot just wrap up with these hosting packages. There is more to hosting your website than choosing one of these plans. Each of these packages will have several factors. You will have to consider them even when you are evaluating the above-mentioned 3 options. So these main factors are disk space, bandwidth, the quality and features of the control panel, technical support quality, guarantee of uptime, CMS and pricing. These factors will have certain limitations and it is up to you to determine that your chosen plan has these limitations meeting your specific requirements.
Cloud hosting offers many advantages over both shared and dedicated hosting solutions. Your major benefit is being able to modify server speed based on your specific needs. For example if you are selling christmas lights, your traffic will peak few weeks before Christmas, this is when you will probably need more processing power and RAM.
Choosing cloud hosting also means additional security and reliability. Software issues in other cloud servers aren’t going to affect your servers. It doesn’t matter how the traffic surges take place in other cloud servers, your resources aren’t going to get affected. Besides, you will not have to worry about hardware issues too.
Cloud servers are known to have the best-possible reliability to cost ratio. They also offer you the benefits that come with cloud computing. If you are thinking of choosing or upgrading to standard dedicated servers, cloud hosting may prove to be more efficient economically. You will be receiving more resources and faster server for almost the same price. Even when you need additional resources, you could easily make adjustments. In cloud hosting traffic surges don’t cause any issues.
The major drawback is the storage location. Files to serve your website like images may be located quite far (distance wise) from the server that the request is being made to, thus extending the load time for the page.
You should not only consider the choice of the web hosting plan, you should also take into account the location of the server. The ideal location will depend on a number of factors – your target markets, quality of hosting providers, and their connection to the communications network.
When choosing the location of your servers, keep in mind the distance for data to travel between the server and your users. This distance is going to affect the speed at which your website loads for your target audience. So if you have your target market in Germany, you should be choosing a web host that has servers located in Germany.
The hosting provider’s infrastructure and network are also going to have an impact on speed. So if your target market is the global marketplace, then having your servers in the United States could be a good decision. The communication infrastructure and connection to other networks is of the highest quality in the U.S.
Server location can also have an impact on your website’s search engine optimization. SEO is something you don’t want to compromise upon. Google takes server location into account for when trying to check if your site is relevant to a specific country. So if your server is located nearer to your target audience, it could be helpful in ranking higher. Besides, if your website is using distributed content delivery networks (CDNs) or if it is hosted in a location with better server infrastructure, it can also send a positive signal.
What is CDN?
Now that we have mentioned CDN, it will be worth explaining what it is and why you may need it. A Content Distribution Network or Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a server setup that enables faster and highly efficient “delivery” of your files, especially heavy media files. It will maintain copies of your files at different locations known as Points of Presence (POPs) across a global network. This helps speed up the process of file deliver and your website and content loads faster. This system thus eliminates the concept of server proximity to your target marketplace. So if your business involves delivering rich media such as photos, video or music to your target audience, you should consider choosing a hosting service that offers this system.
There are a lot of web hosting companies out there. It’s essential to select a hosting provider carefully since your business will depend on it. Set up a strong foundation for your site!
Are you contented with your web hosting provider? What did you do the last time you experienced downtime? What important features do you look for? Share your experience by leaving a comment below.