Web hosting is by no means a commodity business. Hosting providers might all be doing the same thing — giving you a place to share your business with the world on the internet — but they’re by no means equal.
Depending on the provider you choose, you might find one that offers outstanding speed, but not nearly enough storage to keep all of your stuff in one spot. And if it’s Linux servers you’re after (and in most cases, you should be after Linux servers), not every web-hosting provider will fit the bill.
Ultimately, small business owners should be looking for affordable web-hosting providers that can offer features they need that are unique to their circumstances. If you deal heavily in graphics, for instance, you might want a hosting provider that offers more storage across their plans. If you’d want to go with a company that offers the fastest speeds, be on the lookout for plenty of RAM and bandwidth.
And regardless of which provider you choose, ensure that they have 24/7 customer service available to you, so you can address problems any time of the day.
But if you’re looking for specific solutions and don’t want to waste time searching for the right fit, read on for our look at the best providers for different needs:
Best Overall: HostGator
HostGator offers the finest balance of speed, storage, and price of any web host right now.
When you sign on to HostGator, you’ll have the option of choosing any plan that matches your budget. At the lower end is Cloud Hosting, which is actually up to two times faster than some traditional hosting options and is far more scalable. If you’re opting for WordPress hosting, HostGator’s solution offers solid speed and security.
But if it’s higher-end processing you need, you should opt for HostGator’s virtual private server, or VPS, hosting or top-of-the-line dedicated hosting. Both offer total control over your hosting environment, outstanding performance, and the kind of customizability some small businesses might need.
HostGator pricing starts at just $4.95 per month.
Best for Restaurants: DreamHost
Restaurants might be looking for web hosts that offer solid speed and enough support on the software side to work with third-party booking or online-order services. But restaurants are notoriously low-margin businesses. And saving a few bucks might be a key factor.
Realizing that, DreamHost is an ideal solution for restaurants. It comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect, like a variety of speed and storage options, but offers it all at a starting price of just $2.59 a month, making it one of the cheapest solutions in this roundup.
Additionally, DreamHost offers support for popular web services, like WordPress, for hosting your site and WooCommerce for handling online ordering. It even has templates built-in that allow you to quickly get a basic restaurant site up and running.
Best for E-Commerce: Hostwinds
Hostwinds doesn’t focus as heavily as some of the others in this roundup on basic solutions. But it will offer outstanding support for any company hoping to build out an ecommerce platform.
Hostwinds makes a few promises for its hosting. For one, it says that if you’re not satisfied with the service within the first 60 days of use, you’ll get your money back — guaranteed. Additionally, Hostwinds promises 99.999-percent uptime and 100-percent satisfaction. In a world where online storage needs to be up and running, that’s important.
Hostwinds comes with shared hosting plans that start at $3.29 per month, but its Business plan, which starts at $5.64 per month, is really your best bet if you’re looking to implement an ecommerce service. On the tech side, Hostwinds offers a variety of solutions, including cloud hosting, VPS, or dedicated servers. Indeed, you’ll find just about anything you want here, regardless of whether you’re operating a fledgling online store or one that’s growing in leaps and bounds.
Best for Real Estate: Bluehost
In the real estate industry, reliability is critical. You need to know that your host can guarantee solid uptime and that it offers enough storage to house your listings. And Bluehost can do it.
Bluehost offers a variety of hosting solutions, including shared, cloud, VPS, and dedicated packages. Its shared plan is essentially a quick-launch service that helps you get something up and running in no time. And at $2.95 per month, it’s awfully cheap.
For real estate efforts, however, you might want to consider its VPS or Dedicated services, which give you far more control over your hosting environment. They deliver scalable resources, so you add on third-party services as time goes on, as well as full root control, so you can tweak anything you want along the way.
Bluehost’s VPS plans start at $18.99 per month and you can sign on to its Dedicated plans for $79.99 per month.
Best for Blogs: WordPress
WordPress has been a leader in the blogging market for years. And although you can install WordPress on the server of your choice, if you’d prefer to have your own WordPress.com account where you can share your thoughts with the world, opt for WordPress’ own hosting solution.
When you choose WordPress, you’ll find it’s easy to figure out what you need. There’s a Personal plan for just $4 per month for those who want to publish their diary, and an $8-a-month Premium for additional storage and the option to monetize your blog. The top-of-the-line Business plan will cost you $25 per month, but it’ll give you far more storage and design customization and offers you a unique URL that won’t show WordPress.com branding.
Regardless, if you want to grow a blog and start communicating, WordPress is the way to go.
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