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The best web hosting for a small business | october 2017

    Page last updated: October 2017

    In this day and age, it’s critical for businesses of all sizes to have a website—especially small businesses. Without one, potential customers may not be able to find you online and current customers may have trouble sending business your way if there isn’t a website address they can give out.

    You’ve probably landed on this page about small business web hosting because you realize that you can’t have a website without hosting—which is true! But where do you begin? How do you know which companies are good, and which companies are unreliable? How do you know which small business web hosts are worthwhile and which ones are simply a waste of time and money?

    Well, that’s where Web Hosting Buddy comes in! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite web hosting companies for small businesses and put them together on this page. Whether you’ve got a little mom and pop shop, or a small business that generates a ton of revenue, we cover all of the bases in this guide.

    Before we continue—a quick note about the links on this page: if you decide to purchase any web hosting for your small business from this page, we might receive a small commission. This does NOT affect our opinions or reviews in any way whatsoever. In fact, you can find a list of hosting companies on a separate page that we urge people to stay away from, despite their high paying commissions! Web Hosting Buddy is proud to provide good, honest information, and that’s never going to change!

    As you continue reading on, you’ll see that we’ve selected different hosts that are better for certain types of small businesses, depending upon their size and budget. Alright, let’s dive into the list of small business web hosts!

    The Most Affordable Small Business Web Hosting

    If you’re a small mom & pop shop or a sole proprietor, you probably don’t need a mega-size hosting plan with all sorts of bells and whistles. In this situation, budgets are probably a concern too, so you don’t need a hosting company that breaks the bank. However, it’s important to have a hosting company that can grow with your business so you don’t have to switch if you like them.

    In this case, we’d recommend Bluehost

    Visit Bluehost

    The awesome thing about Bluehost is that they offer single site plans that are pretty cheap, but they also offer full-on dedicated servers if your business scales and you need more power.

    Bluehost is probably the best all-around host for a small business as they’re pretty inexpensive (plans start at $2.95/month). Their support is good and they offer live chat help 24/7/365 which is a nice feature if you just need to jump on and solve a quick problem without having to open a support ticket and wait for a response. It’s hard to go wrong with Bluehost and they’re one of the few companies that we recommend as a general, all-around good host that covers a lot of different bases.

    Web Hosting for Medium-Sized Small Businesses

    If you’ve got a medium-size small business and need something that’s a little more robust with a few advanced features (but something that’s still affordable), we’d highly recommend SiteGround. They are literally becoming one of our absolute favorite hosting companies. Their level of support is basically unmatched even by some of the really expensive hosting companies, and their reliability is top-notch.

    Visit SiteGround

    They have a great built-in caching system that helps your pages quickly and their prices start at about $3.95/month for a single site, which is affordable for most small businesses. They are excellent with WordPress too, so if you’re a looking for small business WordPress hosting, they are literally one of the best options you can choose.

    Web Hosting for a Small Business with a High Traffic Website

    If you’re running WordPress and have a high-traffic website, there’s really no better option than WP Engine. They are the WordPress experts, and rightfully so. From slick automated backups to extra security features, if you’re a small business hosting WordPress these are they guys to go with, hands down. They’re a little more expensive than other hosts (their cheapest plan starts at $22/month) but they are absolutely worth it.

    Visit WP Engine

    If you’ve got a high traffic website and are not planning to use WordPress (you really should consider it), then we’d recommend going with Liquidweb. They are based out of Michigan and their support is among the best you’ll ever find. They offer 24/7/365 telephone, email, and chat support. If you need any more reassurance, Web Hosting Buddy (at the time of writing) is hosted with Liquidweb—what else do you need to know?

    Visit Liquidweb

    eCommerce Hosting for Small Businesses

    eCommerce hosting usually requires a few important things—an SSL certificate for a secure checkout, the ability to handle a lot of visitors at once, and extreme reliability. If you’ve got a small business and are looking for eCommerce hosting, you’ll need to be sure you choose a host that has all of these things. In our professional opinion, there are a couple ways you can break this choice down.

    If you need a host that has multiple options in terms of hosting a WordPress site or other platforms like Joomla or Magento, we’d recommend SiteGround. They have a very slick system in place to provide free SSLs, they are super reliable, and they have awesome support—which is really important for an eCommerce website. Think about it—if your site goes down and customers start complaining, this can be disastrous to your reputation.

    Visit SiteGround

    However, if you’re going to be running WordPress for eCommerce and have a little bit more of a budget, we’d recommend going with WP Engine. They have a great staging environment for making changes to your site without affecting the live site that customers see, and a lot of other great features for eCommerce.

    Visit WP Engine

    Blog (WordPress) Hosting for a Small Business

    In this day and age, most small businesses should do some type of blogging to stay relevant, provide expertise on current topics in their industry, and also to connect with their customers. The most popular blogging platform right now is WordPress. Any of the hosts mentioned above can host WordPress and do a great job with it.

    Email Hosting for Small Businesses

    Email is a critical part of any business, and it’s important to have a very reliable email host for your small business. If you’re using Bluehost, Liquidweb, or SiteGround, they offer email hosting within their platforms. However, WP Engine does not offer email hosting as they like to focus purely on being the best website host they can, without the distraction of email.

    There may be another situation where you already have hosting for your website but are looking to simply just get email hosting and point your domain’s MX records at an email host.

    In any event, we can strongly recommend Rackspace as the best email hosting company for small businesses. They have excellent tech support, great pricing, and provide various options for standard email inboxes as well as Microsoft Exchange inboxes.

    Visit Rackspace

    Domain Registrars for Small Businesses

    This is a topic that deserves its own page (which is coming soon), but for now, we’ll just say that NameCheap is our favorite domain registrar. They are affordable, responsive, and everything you’d want in a registrar. Don’t believe us? WebHostingBuddy.com is registered with them, so think about what that says!

    Visit NameCheap

    Things to Avoid

    When you’re looking at web hosting for small businesses, it’s easy to get sucked in to a marketing trap. Here are some common web hosting pitfalls that we think small business owners should avoid:

    Pre-Fab Website Builders

    While it might be tempting to use one of those pre-fab website builders like Wix or SquareSpace, the problem with these “What You See Is What You Get”(WYSIWYG) website builders is that they don’t offer much flexibility; not nearly as much as hosting your own WordPress website and learning how to use a web server.

    It can be incredibly tempting to use something like this to put up a quick site, but if your business grows and/or you decide you need to make some technical customizations; you’ll be out of options. Not to mention the fact that you’ll need to port the existing site over to a real web hosting company. These may be ok for something simple hosting a nonprofit website, but they aren’t really all that robust in terms of what small businesses need.

    Our best advice is to take the time to learn how to use a real web hosting company and build a WordPress site. This way, you can customize things as you see fit and have total control over your website.

    Free Blogs

    Don’t use a free blog (like Blogspot.com or WordPress.com) where your business site ends up to be something like “yourbusinesshere.blogspot.com” or “yourbusinesshere.wordpress.com.” This looks unprofessional, cheap, and dilutes your brand. Domains and web hosting is cheap enough as it is—if you’re running a business you should be able to afford a few bucks a month to do it the right way.

    Free Emails

    Don’t use a free Yahoo email ([email protected], etc.) for your business. Don’t use any other free email services either. It looks incredibly unprofessional and also dilutes your brand. Register a domain and at a minimum buy email hosting even if you don’t plan on building a website right away. You’ll look more professional and have more flexibility over your email settings and brand presence.

    GoDaddy

    While they put a lot of money into marketing to small businesses, there are better options out there in our opinion. If you’re searching around for hosting for your small business, it’s hard to avoid seeing a GoDaddy ad targeting businesses owners, so chances are that you’ve seen one already and may even be considering them.

    They aren’t a bad host or domain registrar at all; we just think there are better options out there for small businesses when it comes to web hosting, with better support and better features for the money. Their support isn’t bad, and their reliability isn’t bad either, but it’s just not up to (in our opinion) what we think a small business host should be.

    Cheap or Low Quality Hosting

    In the world of web hosting, the saying “you get what you pay for” is definitely true. If you’re running a personal blog you might be able to get away with having lower quality hosting (although we wouldn’t recommend it). However, if you’re a business, your reputation can really suffer if customers find your website to be down or offline frequently. Our best recommendation is honestly to spend a little money on hosting to save a bigger headache down the road and preserve the online image of your business.

    Choosing a Hosting Company for Your Small Business

    At the end of the day, only you can make a decision that fits your budget and meets your needs. One thing that we’d recommend when looking at reviews is to be careful of websites trying to push low quality hosts (such as iPage) on you just to make a quick buck on hosting commissions.

    At Web Hosting Buddy, we are dedicated to being honest, transparent and providing real reviews—not fake, salesy reviews just to push people into buying something so we can make money. As you read this page, you can count on the fact that the companies listed here are all companies we’ve used ourselves extensively and not just something we’re promoting to make money. In terms of small business web hosting, Bluehost, SiteGround, WP Engine, Liquidweb and Rackspace are all companies we use and can honestly recommend.

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