I was interviewed by Inc. Magazine this week for an article on what to look for when selecting a small business web hosting provider. Here are some of my thoughts from my own experiences:
What are some common mistakes small businesses make when looking for a web hosting service?
They purchase a cheap, shared hosting platform that gives them more headaches than the discounted price is worth. I made this very mistake while starting my company several years ago prepaying 12 months of service for a cheap host that I could only use for two months before having to make the switch to a better provider. I had to eat the cost.
What are some questions companies should answer before they start looking?
Is it shared or dedicated hosting? If you’re serious about your site you want to go with the latter. And make sure to see how many, if any other sites, will be hosted on your same server as many times “dedicated hosts” still share sites.
How tech-savvy do you have to be to make an informed web hosting decision?
You need to know you’re way around, but there are a lot of resources to help the “tech inclined” such as asking associates and doing your due diligence.
Are email hosting and domain purchase usually included? What should people expect in the package?
A lot of times, yes. But go for the more reliable hosting service. Don’t fall for immaterial value-adds like free domains and email.
What budget range should businesses allocate for web hosting?
$50-100 per month should get the job done for almost any small business looking for reliable service. That goes up the more traffic your site gets.
Do hosting companies usually charge monthly or annually?
They generally discount the price the more you prepay, so paying a year in advance lowers your long-term costs, but be wary of lock-ins at unproven providers.
Finally, is there a reliable web site or service you’d recommend for finding web hosting providers?
Not really. A lot of hosting providers create bogus ranking websites to mislead prospective buyers. The best resource when considering a web hosting provider is word of mouth; ask around and find out what other people have successfully used.