Web hosting tips for small businesses

It hardly needs saying, but a functioning website is vital for small businesses in today’s digitally connected world. Without a website, small enterprises stand to lose out on a lot of potential business. Given that setting up a website is go easy today, there’s really no excuse for not having one, no matter the size of your enterprise. In the following article, we’ll cover just a few of the ways that you can get set up with that all important website and how best to do it.

Choose the right web hosting service

Choosing the right hosting company is a largely a matter of knowing how much work you want to and can do yourself and how much you want to farm out to someone else. Of course, the more technologically capable you are, the more you can keep things in house. However, web hosting is something that requires a third party provider. Depending on just how much work you want on your plate, some companies offer a full spectrum service and will even help you build your website. If you don’t want to tinker with WordPress – or don’t even know what WordPress is – leave your website construction to professionals. Fundamentally, you’ll need to take stock of your own needs and then find a web hosting service that can fulfil them. Generally speaking, it’s a better idea to rely on a third party provider rather than a single in-house employee for your website – tempting as it may be – so as to avoid entrusting one person in your company with the sole responsibility for your company’s online presence.

Know the difference between kinds of hosting

Generally speaking in this article, we’re assuming a lack of technical knowledge on the part of our readers. However, this is one area where it pays to read up a little. Your choice of hosting service will really depend on your needs and as such it’s worthwhile knowing what options are available. There are three basic types of web hosting: shared, VPS, and dedicated. Shared hosting means that your site will run on the same server as multiple other sites. This means that you’ll likely only pay a few pounds a month, but on the downside, your site might run a little slow. If you’re only just starting out, your site is static, and there’s barely any programming running on it, shared hosting will probably be fine for your purposes.

Virtual Private Serving hosting lets you determine the configuration of the server. This is probably the most technically demanding option. Your site will still be sharing a server with other sites, but considerably fewer and will consequently run faster. Of course, you can expect to pay more for this faster and more customisable option. Finally, dedicated servers do pretty much what it says on the tin. A dedicated server is dedicated to your website and yours alone. You can do whatever you like with it and it will run as quickly as possible. However, dedicated hosting is easily the most expensive option out there and most small businesses will find that shared hosting will satisfy their needs.

Consider a managed server

If you’re really not sure of your needs and want to leave all of tricky details of web hosting in the hands of a third party, a manged server might be just the solution for you. A managed server entails an automated and human team managing and running your server. They’ll take care of updates, viruses, backups, and more. Unmanaged servers will generally run just as well, but they do not come with advantages of a managed server. Strictly speaking, managed servers are for small businesses that expect to run a lot of complicated programming on their site, but can’t afford to maintain the server-side in-house. Consequently, if you opt for a manged server you should be technically proficient and willing to work with the server management team to optimize the options and configurations you want. Expect your web designer to work closely with the server management team. This kind of arrangement will likely work best if you’ve already given consideration to the general management of your website, something we’ve discussed elsewhere.

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