In 2020, it’s extremely important for small businesses to have a web presence—there’s no way around it. Yes, social media is great, but the most important digital property a business can have is their own website—hands down. This is where customers will ultimately land at some point in the buying cycle to learn more about your business, and it’s something they’ll judge you on—a good website can literally make or break your entire business.
At this point, you’ve probably spent some amount of time researching small business web hosting. You’re most likely trying to answer questions like “who has the best web hosting for a small business?” and “where can I find the cheapest web hosting for small businesses?” These are great questions, but it’s almost important to try to understand exactly what makes a web hosting company good for a small business—and that’s where Instructify can help!
Instructify was created to help people learn how to build amazing websites, and that includes small business owners! But before you can build a great small business website, first you need to understand how/and where to host it—and that’s what this page is about (the “where”)!
Before we get deeper into this, a quick FYI—we might get compensated in the form of a small commission if you purchase web hosting for your business from one of our links. We absolutely hate dishonest, crappy websites that push bad products—so just know that all of the recommended hosts on this page we either have used or currently use!
Because small businesses don’t always have the same kind of budget, we’ve gone ahead and broken this page down into different categories so you can see what might be the best small business web hosting for the size/needs of your business.
The Cheapest Small Business Web Hosting – Our Overall Pick
When it comes to running a small business, you’re generally trying to work within a budget, so it’s important to consider how you can get the best small business hosting for the lowest price. With that said, we’d totally recommend Bluehost as our pick for affordable small business hosting.
Why? Well, to start, our Bluehost promo coupon gets amazing hosting with 24/7/365 US-based phone support for only $2.95/month. Bluehost is super solid, and unless you have a giant website with hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, then their shared hosting should be more than adequate. They are our #1 pick for almost any type of small business website and we couldn’t be happier with them ourselves.
The Best Web Hosting for Medium to Large Small Businesses
Bluehost is amazing—and good enough for just about any size small business website, but if you’re doing a lot of ecommerce orders or need to step up to a bit more power with some robust features like WordPress caching and some other bells and whistles, siteground</a is a great option.
They have (in our opinion), the most responsive support team in the business. They offer 24/7/365 support via phone, chat, and ticket support which is pretty hard to find these days. Of all the servers we’ve ever tested, they’ve got some of the fastest available and their pricing isn’t bad either, starting at $3.95/month. Don’t believe SiteGround is awesome? Look and see where Instructify.com is hosted—yep, siteground</a.
eCommerce Web Hosting for Small Businesses
There are really two ways to look at ecommerce websites for small businesses—you can either build your own using WordPress or a similar CMS and then host the site yourself, of your can choose to use a sitebuilder where you design the site and they do all the hosting for you.
When it comes to hosting your own WordPress ecommerce website we’d definitely recommend either Bluehost or SiteGround—they’re both two of the best and most affordable options. They both take security seriously and have a lot of different options and addons for ecommerce sites.
That said, if you’re looking for an all-in-one small business website that’s built from the group up for ecommerce with minimal management, it’s extremely hard to beat Shopify. The thing about Shopify is that it’s 100% built for ecommerce sites—it’s all they do, and they do it well. They have a lot of extra features for ecommerce such as shipping tools and the ability to accept credit card payments. These are all things you’d have to pay extra for and/or plan for if you were hosting your own ecommerce website. Because of that, when it comes to small business ecommerce websites we really recommend Shopify.
The Fastest Hosting for Small Business Websites
Everyone knows nowadays that website speed is an important factor, both for keeping search engines happy and keeping users happy. Ideally, your website should load in under 3 seconds, with 2 seconds or less being extremely speedy. So, that raises the question—what is the fastest web hosting for small business websites?
In our testing, it’s been siteground, with an average load time of 2.87 seconds among the sites that we tested (assuming they were optimized and otherwise dialed-in). This is a great time, and it’s why we’d recommend SiteGround as the fastest small business web hosting.
Email Hosting for Small Businesses
Generally speaking, when you sign up for a host like Bluehost or SiteGround, you’ll get email hosting included along with the rest of your web hosting. However, some specialty hosts like WP Engine don’t offer email hosting—they only focus on hosting the website and leave the email hosting up to you. Therefore, some people need email hosting because their web host doesn’t offer it, while other people may already have web hosting but want to keep their email servers separate. In this case, there are really two options.
First, you can simply purchase a Bluehost or SiteGround account and just use it for the email hosting and not for the web hosting as email hosting is included. This isn’t a bad option because you can actually host a site later if you want to, and they have excellent support.
The second option is to set up email hosting with a company that only offers email hosting. Two examples of this are Amazon WorkMail and Rackspace. Between the two, Amazon is definitely a bit cheaper, but Rackspace definitely has better support. The user interface is better at Amazon, but Rackspace has been in the email hosting game longer than Amazon, and it shows a little bit in the polish of their overall service and levels of support. You can’t really go wrong with either one, depending upon budget—but if you’re looking for the cheapest option, that’s going to be Amazon.
Registering a Domain Name for Your Small Business
It’s pretty obvious that you can’t buy small business web hosting without a domain name—so that’s definitely something that you’ll need to take care of.
If you already have a domain name then you have nothing to worry about…however, if you don’t, then we recommend Namecheap 100%. The are cheap, but also very high quality in terms of support and their interface. They don’t play games with cancellations or transfers and the don’t constantly try to upsell you like other domain name registrars (*cough* GoDaddy). They get our recommendation 100%
Hosting for Small Businesses – Tips & Things to Watch Out For
When it comes to finding hosting for your small business website, below are some tips and tricks that you can use to get the best deal possible, and also to avoid some common pitfalls.
GoDaddy is Overrated – Stay Away
In our opinion, GoDaddy is incredibly overrated. Sure, they’re a household name, but they are expensive for privacy and renewals—almost double or more that of other registrars. And aside from their telephone support for domains, their support really sucks in our opinion. It’s been our experience that the chat technicians GoDaddy uses are incredibly inexperienced and slow—and they aren’t even that cheap. It’s pretty easy to tell that GoDaddy’s main business is domains and their hosting is somewhat of an afterthought (it really shows once you get into their cPanel and start poking around with your site). If you’re thinking about GoDaddy, we’d recommend trying Bluehost or siteground instead.
Cheap Hosting Isn’t Worth the Headache
It may be tempting to try and find the cheapest small business hosting that’s out there, but take our word for it—that’s a bad idea. Think about it—your business and reputation are on the line with your website, do you really want to leave that in the hands of a sketchy company? Of course not, so it really makes sense to buy the best hosting you can afford, and at $2.95/month for a good quality web host, Bluehost is the way to go. In terms of overall business expenses, any business that’s running should be able to afford less than three dollars per month for web hosting.
What About Free Hosting for Small Businesses?
Honestly? Don’t even think about it. Even if you’re hosting a nonprofit website, it’s not worth the headache. The old saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” really rings true here, so make sure that when you’re thinking about business website hosting that you’re really focused on finding a competent company.
We’ve recommend a few great hosting companies for small business websites here, so you can consider those or search for others—either way, make sure to do your homework and don’t just sign up with any hosting company to get things moving. Support is very important and it’s something that’s absolutely critical when it comes to a good hosting company. The good companies will have good support, and the bad companies won’t, it’s as simple as that.
How About Uptime and Reliability?
Most good hosting companies will have an uptime guarantee that’s north of 99.9% which means that as part of their service level agreement (SLA), they guarantee that their servers will be online this percentage of the time, otherwise they will typically credit you for part of the month or the entire month, or offer you some other benefit.
Holding a hosting company to an SLA and finding a good company that can prove their uptime is as a good as they say is critical. Don’t make the mistake of signing up with a lower-tier hosting company, only to find out that their servers (and consequently your website) are down all the time and on top of that when you need help their support may not even be available—not a good situation. So, make sure to find a hosting company that has good (and provable ratings) for uptime and reliability (hint: Bluehost and SiteGround have both of these things).
Using Yahoo or Another Free Email Service
Here’s the bottom line—it looks incredibly unprofessional when you have a free email service like Yahoo our Outlook.com (the free version) as your business email. Some people even decide to use a free @comcast.com email that comes with their home TV service for their business email.
Nothing—literally nothing—online scream unprofessional like that. If you’re going to run a business website, you need to have email that is structured like “email@example.com” etc. This shows that you care and have taken the time to make sure that you have a real website with custom email and a polished digital brand presence. Using a free email service just makes it look like you slapped something together. And if you like the ease of use and features that come with free email services, you can still use many of them with a custom domain, so you don’t lose out on that end either.
Final Thoughts About Hosting for Small Businesses
You need to choose a host that’s right for your business and your budget—and only you can know that. The purpose of this page is just to get information out there (which is ultimately our opinion) that may help you be a little better informed with a different perspective to help you make a choice about web hosting.
We stand by the recommendation of Bluehost, SiteGround, and Namecheap—they are all awesome and we use them on a regular basis ourselves.