A web presence has become almost a business essential these days. Originally, online sales and marketing was the province of a few entrepreneurs and ignored by standard businesses. However, as the potential of the global market has become evident, more businesses have established their web presence in addition to their traditional storefront.
However, a web site requires a place to put it and that is the function of a web host. A huge corporation with plenty of spare staff and funds might host their own website, but for most businesses, a webhost is a good option.
That leaves the issue of how to select a web host and then how to select a hosting plan.
Selecting the Web Host
There are literally thousands of web hosts eager to offer your business their service it is no wonder that selecting a web host can be overwhelming for the business trying to establish a web presence. First things first though, you should evaluate a web host based on a few criteria that can help ensure you are satisfied with the service.
- Do they offer 24/7 technical support? What is their downtime? If servers consistently go down at a host site then the chances your business will find a good home there are small. Do they have testimonials from real customers? Is there a money back guarantee? A good company will not require you be locked into a contract without some recourse. Guarantees can help assure you can move your website if the web host is not performing.
- How much expertise does the user control panel require? If you are new to the web then the easier to understand a control panel is, the easier it will be for you to design your site if you are doing it yourself.
- If you are having a website designer create your site then you will also need ftp access to upload the site and the ability to execute scripts. Online sales will require a shopping cart. Different web hosts will offer different features and the right one for you will include the access you need to create your site.
- Email accounts for the website are essential and usually more than one account is required to maintain a business website. Inquire into that before committing to a website.
How Many Extras Does the Host Offer That You Need?
- Extras offered by webhosts are only features if you can use them. The ability to install 90 scripts with the click of a button may not be of much use to many businesses; however, access to a shopping cart may be essential.
- If you also sell a virtual product, you may have a password-restricted area. Some webhosts feature that ability and other do not. Ask about this feature if you foresee the need for it.
Once You Have Found the Right Web Host It is Time - Select the Hosting Plan for Your Business
There are many different types of plans available but the most common types offered are the shard hosting plan, the dedicated hosting plan and the virtual server plan. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Shared Hosting for Businesses
With this option, a host will serve many sites on a single machine. They update the machine and keep it running. There is less freedom of action due to security concerns on this type of host but it is inexpensive and can be a good alternative for a business site that is just starting out.
Dedicated Hosting Plans for Businesses
A dedicated hosting plan is possibly the least restrictive of all web-hosting alternatives. Your site is created on its own machine. No other site is hosted there. The server is managed by the web hosting company and depending on the service plan, technical assistance may be available.
A dedicated hosting plan will usually have the greatest bandwidth allowance and the largest amount of storage space of any of the hosting options. It also allows the greatest freedom of use of any hosting plan.
However, it does not come without a price and the price for dedicated hosting plans is significantly higher than other hosting plan types.
A Virtual Private Server
The virtual private server-hosting plan is a relatively new concept. Essentially, it is similar to the shared hosting plan in that several sites are present upon one server. Each site however is equipped with its own copy of the operating system on its partition. What this does is permit the user far more control over the applications and functions running on the machine than a shared hosting plan but without the price of a dedicated server.
Hosting is essential for small and medium sized businesses and choosing the correct host and web-hosting plan assures a continued and uninterrupted web presence.