If your business isn’t online, does it really exist? While we aren’t quite at “Ready Player One” levels, most people turn to the online world for goods and services. We often talk about the critical role your website plays in the state of your business but believe it not, hosting is an essential part of that, too.
What is Hosting?
Hosting is where your website “lives.” Your website consists of files, photos, code, words, and more. All of that is stored on a server. Your provider gives you a space to rent on that server so you can store all your website stuff. That provider may also offer backup services, maintain that server, and manage some software and hardware updates. (Do you know your hosting login?)
What Are the Types of Hosting?
The six most commonly used hosting are shared, virtual private server, dedicated server, cloud, managed, and colocation.
- Shared hosting is inexpensive, simple, and recommended for small businesses. Your website’s files are added to a server with many other users.
- Virtual private server hosting is for more advanced, technologically savvy users. It is similar to a dedicated server, but each website is on its own virtual server and links to a physical server that is used among other users.
- Dedicated server hosting is expensive, used for high traffic, and heavily controlled. Massive companies might choose this or those with security concerns.
- Cloud hosting is used via a network; your website is spread across multiple servers. This type of host is safe and is expected to be used more in the future. It gives your business the ability to grow; because of the branches of servers it uses, resources are more accessible, and the chance of faults are greatly reduced.
- Managed hosting is the type most small business owners use; it’s shared hosting, but with technical support, daily management, configuration, and more.
The short answer: SEO. While choosing the $10 per month hosting seems like a good way to save money, it might be costing you in the long run. Inexpensive providers may cause problems for your website that lead to you being found less and therefore having fewer customers. Here are some problems caused by bad hosting provides:
- Server downtime – If your site goes down, you’re not shown in search results and even those who go directly to your URL won’t find you. Cheaper hosting options may be down more often. Choose one that talks about reliability.
- Page load time – Google cares if your pages are loading too slowly. Do a site speed check to see how yours holds up. While many factors affect page load time, hosting is one of them — the first one we check for clients.
- Choose Shared carefully – Shared hosting is not all created equal. You can get shared hosting and still get decent load times, good service, and more. Shop around before buying.
- Server location – Consider shopping local on this one. Servers located in the Raleigh area are going to serve up sites faster to people searching nearby. Of course you may not find Raleigh-based servers, but even if not, make sure yours are somewhere in the U.S. — not in another country!
Other Problems Caused by Cheap Hosting
Search Engine Optimization is one of the main issues we address for people who went with the cheap option. But your business deserves better hosting for other reasons too, including:
- Security – You get what you pay for!
- Poor Customer Service – Ditto. When your website goes down or something goes wrong, can you call a real, live human and get it fixed fast? A high-quality host will offer technical support 24 hours a day and will be invested in customer service.
- Limited Features and Control – As your business grows, so does the traffic on the site; it is key to possess a good host, in order to support the growth.
- Negative Image of your Company – If the site is down or slow, not only does this affect SEO, but it may lead to negative reviews. (This has actually happened to people.)
If you’re trying to decide what hosting provider to choose, feel free to ask us. This decision is as critical as any other you make in your business