For more than a decade now, influential publishers, online magazines, and news sites have been periodically issuing calls to small business owners to create websites for their business. As of 2017, more of them heeded the advice than ignored it — surveys show that seven out of ten small businesses have a website, and nine out of ten that don't have a website yet plan to build one by the end of 2018.
If you still haven't built a website for your business, or if you're starting a new business and you want to go digital from the very beginning, you have your work cut out for you. You need to find someone who can build your website, someone who can populate it with good content, and someone who will host it. And if you're thinking that the way your website looks and how it's built is the only thing that matters, you should know that the hosting you choose affects your website in every important way, from SEO to its very ability to be accessed. It might be worth your while, then, to avoid the bad apples when looking for hosting providers.
When they're trying to sell you their services, web hosting providers will offer you certain things. Some will guarantee 100% uptime, while others will offer unlimited storage space or bandwidth. When you see an offer like this, that seems too good to be true, that's a sign that it probably is.
100% uptime would be great. It would mean that there are no chances that your website will ever go offline. The problem, however, is that no one can guarantee it. Even the very best hosting providers will experience occasional downtime, and those who claim that this won't happen to them are plainly not telling the truth. Good hosting providers offer more realistic guarantees, usually a decimal point beyond 99.9% uptime, so anything between 99.96 and 99.99% is considered good.
As for unlimited storage and bandwidth, you should know that both storage and bandwidth cost the hosting providers money. Providing unlimited amounts of these resources, even if it was possible, would be a financial suicide without increasing the pricing every step of the way. It's more likely that the hosts who are advertising unlimited amounts of anything are just hoping that your website doesn't reach a limit at which they will have to either take it offline or charge you for a different plan.
Unrealistically Low Prices
It's only natural that you want to keep your costs as low as possible when creating a business website. It makes sense to shop around for the hosting option that gives you the most features for the least money. But it also makes sense that you will have to pay more for quality service.
Some hosting providers will offer you great options and low prices. If one of them catches your eye, dig a bit deeper and find out whether the pricing structure changes after a period of time. This is the modus operandi of too many hosting providers — they bait you with low rates, only to drastically increase them after you've spent a year with them. And migrating your website to a different hosting service is a lot of hustle, so it would be better to avoid it and get things right from the very beginning.
Even if you hire someone to build your website for you, you'll still have to invest your time and your energy into the process. You'll need to make a lot of decisions, from how you want your customers to navigate your website, to which colors you'd like to use. But no matter how exhausting that may be, you should always set aside some time to research web hosting providers.
A good starting point would be to find statistics about web hosting usage. That should give you some idea about the biggest players on the market. Once you've narrowed down your choices to a few candidates, you can look up customer reviews. Make sure you find out about the quality of their customer support services, as well as their overall reputation. You can also check them at the Better Business Bureau, to see whether they've had any complaints made against them.
There are great and reliable hosting service providers out there, and with a little work, you'll have little trouble finding them. However, if you can't find the type of service you need and you want to have complete control over your web hosting, you can host your website on your own. You can get one of the rack mount computers at SuperLogics, and with plenty of learning and practice, you can become your own web host.