Americans love shopping in their pajamas! In 2018, nearly 221 million Americans shopped online. But they also browsed online stores. And they compared product prices online at least once. Further, 14 percent of Americans admit they research a brand online. And they say that happens before making any purchase decision.
Experts expect these numbers to swell in the coming years. This is because online shopping not only gives the liberty of shopping from the comfort of the home but also saves time and money.
Further, online brand information and customer reviews enable online shoppers to know about the product even before entering a brick-and-mortar store.
The increasing online shopping penetration has made it critical for businesses to strengthen their digital presence. As a result, most businesses have their own websites or online retail platforms, showcasing their products and services and offering the best user experience possible.
A website’s user experience can relate to something as basic as how easy it is to load or use the site. This is largely determined by your hosting provider. Below is everything you need to know about web hosting and how to choose a suitable service provider for your website.
1. Know Which Web Hosting Plan to Choose
With thousands of web hosting providers competing for your attention, it can be tough to choose the most appropriate web hosting plan for your small venture. Further, super-technical web-hosting terms like bandwidth, uptime, DNS, and GB can be pretty confusing.
As your business grows and gets more traffic, you will need to move from one web hosting plan to another. Therefore, it is worth understanding the most popular types of web hosting that are suitable for small businesses.
In shared hosting, your website is hosted by a server that hosts other websites too. Though shared hosting offers the advantage of shared cost, the website owner has less control over the quality of user experience. Since many sites are sharing this space, their performance will be affected by the other sites’ performance. For instance, a site with high traffic can adversely affect your site’s loading time.
This type of web hosting is best for startups and entry-level websites. If you are planning to launch your website, go for shared hosting and upgrade to the next level when you get more site traffic.
b. Virtual Private Server (VPS)
VPS hosting is one step above shared web hosting. Though the main physical server is shared by websites, each of them has its own virtual server. Websites using VPS hosting experience faster load time compared to shared hosting. It offers an effective web hosting solution for businesses wanting to upgrade from shared hosting without having to bear the high cost of a dedicated server.
Small business sites with low and growing traffic can benefit from VPS web hosting. Further, if your site has many images and videos, it’s best to use VPS to ensure satisfactory site speed.
In dedicated web hosting a website rents an exclusive physical server from the service provider. This type of hosting is expensive but allows you to implement a wide range of software and applications on your site.
Dedicated web hosting works best for sites with high volumes of traffic. You should consider upgrading to a dedicated server when your venture scales into a full-blown e-commerce platform.
The cloud-based web hosting is a relatively new technology. The cloud host has multiple individual servers that work together to house your site. The biggest advantage of cloud-based hosting is that it can accommodate a surge in traffic while offering an excellent user experience.
Cloud hosting is ideal for sites that are between shared and VPS web hosting. If your website is growing and driving consistent traffic, its ideal to switch to the cloud from a shared hosting plan.
e. Managed WordPress Hosting
Besides the aforementioned web hosting types, managed WordPress hosting is gaining a lot of popularity among startups and businesses that used WordPress as their web building platform. In this type of hosting, the service provider will keep your WordPress installation up-to-date, thereby protecting your website from hackers and other security threats.
2. Be Familiar with the Common Web Hosting Features
Knowing what the following web hosting features mean can help you choose a suitable web hosting provider for your business site.
a. Bandwidth refers to the speed of your network. Higher bandwidth will enable more visitors to access your site at a time, while maintaining smooth user experience.
b. SSL or Secure Socket Layer Certification adds encryption to your site, thereby protecting your personal and visitor data. All major web hosts offer SSL certificate.
c. Uptime is one of the common features advertised by web hosts. Though most companies offer 99.9% uptime, it’s best to read customer reviews to determine whether users experience issues like downtime (when your visitors can’t access your site).
d. Backup is an important web hosting feature that cannot be ignored. Choose a plan that offers a backup for your website and company files.
e. Data storage should be considered with respect to the disc space your site actually requires. Most web hosting firms offer unlimited data. Make sure you read the fine print before picking such a plan as they may attract hidden costs.
3. Compare Various Web Hosting Services
Finding the best website hosting provider is a tricky undertaking. Imagine you are looking for rented accommodation. You will never sign a rental agreement without checking aspects like the authenticity of the landlord or broker, affordability of the property, and whether the house is structurally fit to accommodate your household needs.
Similarly, when looking for a suitable web hosting provider, it is important to choose a service that offers a healthy uptime and load time. Further, the service provider should be reliable, fairly priced, and offer exceptional support and the required security certificates.
A poor web host can adversely affect your site’s speed (and search ranking and online authority!), thereby wasting your business resources. Hence, it’s wise to evaluate your options before making a decision.
4. Take Time to Gather Information from Third-Party Reviewers
Every web host provider wants business. Hence, they will try to advertise their best features, causing you to make a hasty and uninformed decision. Though the most reputed web hosts have built their authority in the domain by offering exceptional services, it’s a good idea to visit a few third-party reviewers who can offer you unbiased opinions in this matter.
These reviewing websites conduct thorough research on the web hosts, offering you insights that can help you make the best decision for your business.
As you scale your small business, the needs of your website will increase and become more complex. It is critical to be receptive to these changes and take the necessary measures to offer the ultimate user experience to your customers and drive conversions.
An effective web hosting is an integral part of user experience. We are sure the information shared above will help you beef up your web server, thereby taking your small business to the next level.