WHAT FEATURES SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A WEB HOSTING SERVICE?
While price is certainly a key factor for small business owners, there are other features you'll want to weigh when choosing a hosting provider.
Storage and bandwidth: The amount of storage and bandwidth you need depends on what you plan to have on your website. If you have (or plan to have) a lot of high-resolution images or list a huge inventory on your site, look for a plan with a lot of storage. Bandwidth determines how fast information travels to and from your site. Therefore, if you have high traffic, post videos or downloads on your website, seek plans with a higher amount of bandwidth. Pad your estimate with room for traffic spikes and growth. Also, be aware of "unlimited" plans. Unlimited never means infinite. You'll see this term a lot when looking for hosting services. Most of the time, these plans base their claims on the average customer. If your website exceeds the allotted amount, you may have your service suspended, be charged extra or asked to move to another plan. Always check the terms for these limitations and ask the sales representative about the specifics of your plan.
Security: Security should be a top concern for small businesses, especially those that have an e-commerce website. Most reputable website hosts have SSL encryption, spam protection and some form of site backup. If you are running an e-commerce store or need extra security, however, look beyond these basics. For example, many hosting companies provide advanced encryption levels and other features, like DDoS protection and hack protection. These services are usually outlined in the more advanced plans. Even if you don't have or need an e-commerce site, you should still get an SSL certificate.
Automatic backups and one-click restore: The best services offer regular backups and one-click restore. Daily backups mean that if your website is hacked or compromised because of an error, you can get back nearly all your information. It can be the difference between an hour-long outage and one that lasts days (or months) as you recreate content. Plus, it's good for peace of mind.
Customer support: Whatever web hosting company you consider, be sure you can trust that it will respond to your needs quickly and that its reps are very knowledgeable. Most web and cloud hosting services can be reached quickly and offer multiple ways to contact them, such as live chat, phone support and email ticketing. Many also have a blog or online knowledgebase that can answer frequent web hosting questions.