Best Web Hosting For Small Business

Best Web Hosting For Small Business

If you are looking for the best hosting companies for small business, then look no further.

In this article we compare and rank our picks for small business web hosting.

We conclude this article with a buyers guide which includes 8 important factors to consider before you commit to the best hosting plan for your small business.

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Best Business Hosting Companies

This table ranks the best small business hosting providers whilst showing a few of the features and their entry-level pricing.

Rank

Root Access

Site Migration

24/7 Supoort

Pricing

godaddy review

Yes

Free

Yes

Free trial. From $24.99 per month

bluehost review

No

Paid

Yes

Free trial. From $9.99 per month

dreamhost review

No

Free

Yes

Free trial. From $10.95 per month

siteground review

No

Free

Yes

Free trial. From $3.95 per month

a2 hosting review

No

Free

Yes

Free trial. From $7.99 per month

Best Overall Small Business Host

GoDaddy

If you’re in need of power, then GoDaddy is the choice for you.

Their hybrid offering combines the power of VPS with the ease of use of shared hosting.

GoDaddy offer three VPS hosting plans; Enhance, Grow and Expand plans.

These plans include 2, 6 and 8GB RAM respectively, with storage of 60, 120 and 150GB.

Pricing of the Enhance plan begins at $24.99, with the Grow and Expand plans being $34.99 and $49.99 per month.

One drawback relates to the plan period. The price displayed on GoDaddy’s website is for a 3 year plan period.

This can be a lengthy period for a small business as your venture may not have a definite 3 year outlook.

One thing we like is the fact that GoDaddy includes a free SSL certificate and a one year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Business Email.

GoDaddy support includes live chat, ticket/email service and an online knowledgebase for their users. Whether you’d like to solve the problem yourself, or need assistance, GoDaddy has you covered.

We would like to highlight the fact that many hosting plans aimed at businesses are centered around power and performance as opposed to ease of use.

GoDaddy has been able to combine performance and ease of use which is a great plus for small business. For this reason GoDaddy ranks as our overall best host for small business

If you are in the market for a hosting plan that is slightly more powerful, but would still like the ease of use that you’re accustomed to on a previous shared plan, then GoDaddy is for you.

Main Features

  • Root access
  • 1 dedicated IP
  • Unmetered bandwidth

What we like

  • Free SSL for a year
  • 24/7 Expert VPS support
  • Remote management console
  • You can choose your PHP version

What we dislike

  • Lengthy signup period to receive displayed price

Most Functionality For Business

Bluehost

BlueHost has been a web hosting leader since its inception in 2003.

They provide top-notch hosting plans which include all necessary features and their plans for small businesses are no different.

BlueHost offer three Cloud hosting plans, the Starter, Perfomance and Business Pro plan.

The main difference between each plan is the RAM included and the number of CPU cores.

The Starter plan comes with 2GB RAM and 2 CPU cores, the Performance plan offers 4GB RAM and 4 CPU cores and finally their Business Pro plan includes 6GB RAM and 6 CPU cores.

Pricing ranges from $9.99 per month for the Starter plan to $25.99 per month for the Business Pro plan; the Performance plan sits comfortably in the middle at $13.99 per month.

A common gripe has been BlueHost's page loading times compared to their competitors.

Although their page load times when tested reflect reasonable speed, many users complain that entry-level plan loading times can sometimes be slow.

The thing we like most about BlueHost’s Cloud hosting is that all site data is mirrored across several different devices. By mirroring your data this way, BlueHost allows for a safer and more reliable website.

Failover technology allows BlueHost to manage hardware issues by automatically redirecting users to a proxy server which is live whilst rebuilding the server which is down.

BlueHost provides great power and reliability to small businesses through their Cloud hosting plans. With a range of add-ons on offer, you will find all necessary plugins in one place.

Main Features

  • Free SSL
  • SSD Storage
  • Free Domain

What we like

  • Integrated caching
  • Instant scaling
  • Resource monitoring
  • Automated failover
  • Simple billing

What we dislike

  • Page load times could be faster
Key Takeaway

Bluehost has created Cloud hosting plans which are reliable, powerful and easy to upgrade. They offer all necessary plugins and add-ons in one place which allows users to find all the functionality for their website.

Best Starter Business Host

DreamHost

Although shared hosting plans are not as reliable as VPS and dedicated hosting, they are still powerful enough to cover fundamental business needs.

DreamHost offers shared hosting plans which cover these fundamental needs and more. Their plans include unmetered bandwidth, MySQL databases and emails.

WordPress comes pre-installed meaning that a functional website can be up and running within a few hours.

Performance-wise, SSD storage ensures your website’s performance is always at an optimum.

Pricing is flexible with monthly billing and longer term 3-year contracts on offer.

The monthly plan begins at $10.95, however if you opt for a 3-year contract you will see the price drop to $7.95 per month.

DreamHost offers a lengthy money-back guarantee period set at 97 days. With this amount of time, you will undoubtedly have enough time to test their service.

One drawback of the DreamHost experience is their control panel. DreamHost have developed their own control panel which means those confident with cPanel or Plesk may have difficulty adjusting.

A great addition is the free privacy protection included in DreamHosts plans.

Privacy protection saves you the hassle of receiving endless amounts of emails from scammers and website developers the like.

Another handy extra can be found in the unlimited domains included in each plan.

Overall DreamHost offer a very strong shared hosting plan which covers all the fundamentals for small businesses.

If you do however require more, they also offer a range of more powerful plans from managed WordPress hosting, to Dedicated and Cloud hosting.

Main Features

  • Unlimited traffic
  • SSD storage
  • SSL certificate
  • Unlimited disk space and bandwidth

What we like

  • 97 day money-back
  • 100% Uptime guarantee
  • 24/7 tech support

What we dislike

  • Custom control panel  which causes issues for those who are confident with cPanel and Plesk
Key Takeaway

DreamHost's shared hosting plans were created for users to take their ideas online. Their plans cover all the fundamentals and are scalable if you require more power.

Most Client Focused Host

SiteGround

SiteGround probably provides some of the best technical support in the hosting industry. Having expert support on your side is crucial as a small business. 

SiteGround offer three great managed WordPress hosting plans for small businesses.

Startup, GrowBig and GoGeek make up the three managed WordPress plans. 

Pricing begins at $3.95 per month for the Startup plan, $5.95 per month for GrowBig and $11.95 per month for the GoGeek plan.

Managed WordPress hosting plans are great for small businesses as they allow you to create a professional website with excellent functionality in a single day.

WordPress is created in such a way that even a beginner can easily create an attractive website.

One drawback for us is the fact that SiteGround limit the disk space per plan.

This drawback really only affects those websites which feature many videos or high resolution pictures and require a significant amount of storage space.

One positive is the fact that the service is managed so the security and updates are handled by SiteGround.

Managed security means SiteGround will secure your site with their server firewall and patch against the usual WordPress attack points.

SiteGround's managed WordPress plans brings functionality and ease of use together at a price point which favors small businesses.

Their support team is made up of WordPress experts who are known to be efficient and effective at problem solving. 

Their useful plans and great support service ensures that as a small business, your experience will be a positive as possible.

Main Features

  • Free SSL certificates
  • Daily backups
  • Free CDN
  • Staging tool

What we like

  • Top rated support
  • Essential WordPress features included
  • Excellent uptime

What we dislike

  • Disk space limitations
Key Takeaway

SiteGrounds managed WordPress plans combine ease of use with functionality. These plans allow even beginners to create a functional website in an afternoon. Their expert WordPress support team will keep your site running smoothly throughout your hosting experience.

Best Value For Money

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting is renowned for their power and performance.

Their shared hosting plans are a perfect solution for small businesses looking for great pricing but also sufficient power to meet their needs.

The Lite, Swift and Turbo make up A2 Hosting’s shared plans.

Unlimited storage, free SSL&SSD storage, unlimited transfer and anytime money back guarantee are amongst the features included in each plan.

The Lite plan begins at $7.99 per month, with the Swift and Turbo plans priced at $9.99 and $18.99 per month respectively.

An obvious drawback is price. A2 hosting is an extremely powerful hosting provider, but the price attached comes in much higher than their competitors. 

One great feature of A2 Hosting is their turbo speed. This speed is said to be up to 20x faster than competitors. A lightning fast website increases the user experience.

The customer support at A2 Hosting is also at the highest level. We’ve found that not only are their support teams quick to respond, but you’ll find them amongst the most knowledgable in the business.

A2 Hosting is probably the most value for your buck in terms of performance and price.

Their turbo speeds, great pricing and added features means your website will handle business critical functions with ease. 

Main Features

  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited transfer
  • Free SSL & SSD

What we like

  • Anytime money-back guarantee
  • Up to 20x faster page loads

What we dislike

  • Price is considerably higher than competitors
Key Takeaway

A2 Hosting have created hosting plans aimed at those who require more performance. At their price, this may be the most value packed shared hosting plan on the market.


Small Business Hosting Buyers Guide

Small businesses require cost effective solutions to host their website while maintaining great functionality and ease of use.

In this buyers guide we have identified 8 factors which allow small businesses to do just that. Considering the online challenges many small businesses face, these 8 factors will serve as a guide to finding the right hosting solution for you.

Below we cover everything from email and scalability to pricing and reliability, so without wasting anymore time, let's get straight into it.

Email

When you’re running a small business, you’re going to be in constant communication with clients and a large part of this communication will be via email.

Our advice is to take a close look at the number of email accounts that are on offer and especially how much size is allocated to emails.

There are hosting providers out there that offer as little as 5 email accounts and the storage accompanied can sometimes be just a few megabytes. Even if you’re a one-man show, 5 email accounts just isn’t enough, so be sure to look for a host who provides plenty or better yet, unlimited accounts and a large amount of email storage.

SSL Certificate

A SSL certificate secures your website and encrypts all sensitive information. For example, when you search something from your browser, the browser will connect to a server and request information. The server then, in response, will send the SSL (https) and the public server’s key.

At this point you may be asking, but why do I need this? Well Google will now alert users who visit your website, that your website is not secure. To ensure that users have a safe experience on your website, it is necessary to have a SSL certificate.

Many plans now include a free SSL certificate in their plans, but be sure that this is included as well as what the SSL renewal cost is.

Reliability

If your website is a business critical function, which most business websites are, then reliability is an absolute must. Reliability can easily be found by looking at the host’s uptime percentage.

The uptime percentage shows what amount of time their servers are uninterruptedly online. For a user to access your website, the server needs to be online so that it can respond to a user requesting your website files.

Good uptime percentages are around the 99.98% range however there are hosts that boast to have 100% uptime. Be mindful of a hosts uptime percentage, as this will technically become your websites uptime percentage, so it’s critical that it be good.

Scalability

As you experience more traction and more users begin to find and frequent your website, you may need more resources to handle this amount of traffic. Finding a host who easily allows you to scale your website makes it easier in the long-run.

Many hosts will offer great add-ons which allow you to cope with an influx of traffic before the need to change plans, so don’t be shy to enquire with their sales staff about scalability.

Signup Price vs Renewal Price

It is important to note that there is a significant difference between sign-up and renewal prices with all hosting providers.

Renewal prices can be two or three times higher than your initial sign-up price and therefore we would suggest comparing your final options on not only sign-up, but also renewal pricing.

eCommerce Features and Support

Hosting providers create plans which support different apps and e-Commerce functionality. Take time to research the plugins, Apps and e-Commerce needs your website will require and be sure that your potential plan supports them.

Sometimes the functionality you will need is included and sometimes add-ons are required, usually at an additional cost.

Expert support is also crucial, especially if you’re a beginner, and therefore don’t be afraid to test the customer support. Ask them about functionality and if the plan you’re interested in is correct for the functionality you need.

Subscription Period

The subscription period is always a hot topic as the price displayed on a hosting website usually has a period attached to it. Many hosting provider’s displayed price is for a two to three year period.

Running a small business means you are probably price sensitive and committing to a two or three year plan can be tricky. Our advice is to be sure that the price you are seeing is related to the correct period that you are looking for.

Customer Support

Customer support may be last on this list, but it is certainly not least. Everyone knows that when something goes wrong, a good customer support is critical to solving your issue.

Take your time to read reviews about your potential host’s customer support. Be sure to focus not only on responsiveness, but also expertise.

It is great if the support response time is fast, but if personal are not technically sound, then your issue will take longer to be resolved.

Finally be sure to check that several support systems are in place; live chat, telephone, email/ticket service and an extensive knowledge base are the standard support lines in the hosting industry.

About the Author Devon Ramages

Devon is our resident online business and social media guru. With a background in digital marketing, Devon has worked in a consulting capacity helping small business scale their reach and engagement online. When not consulting or writing about online business, Devon can be found surfing in his hometown, Cape Town, South Africa.

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