If you are one of the millions of people who run a small business from your home, you know how challenging it can be to manage every aspect of your company on your own. Of course, being a small business owner is also very rewarding. No matter what type of business you run, you want to have a good website that you can use to attract customers, provide important business information, help with branding, and much more. When getting ready to set up, you may wonder how you can host your small business website from home.
The fact is, however, that in virtually every situation, having your site hosted physically in your house isn’t a good idea. Instead, you need a good hosting company that will allow you to manage your site from home while keeping the physical hardware and other equipment safely in a dedicated data center. To learn more about how to do this, read through this article where you will learn about things, such as:
- What is website hosting?
- What makes for good small business website hosting?
- How to manage your site from home
What Is Website Hosting?
To put it simply, website hosting is where the data for your website is located. In most cases, this means the physical server as well as any network connections needed to provide access to your site. Small businesses almost always want to work with a dedicated hosting company to provide all of the resources needed to run a website.
If you want to host your site physically in your home, you need to buy expensive hardware, software and pay your internet service provider (ISP) for a dedicated internet protocol (IP) address. Doing all of this on your own quickly becomes cost-prohibitive and it would also require that you have advanced technical knowledge of how to set everything up and maintain it, which isn’t easy. Paying a web hosting company to handle all of the hardware and networking requirements is much more common and affordable.
What Makes for the Best Small Business Website Hosting?
There are thousands of different web hosting companies available to consider. Choosing the best one for your particular situation helps ensure you get the hosting services you need at a price that’s within your budget. Fortunately, small business web hosting is surprisingly affordable and the best hosting companies also provide you with the software and other tools you need to manage your site from home. When choosing a hosting company for your small business site, you want to consider several key factors.
Type of Hosting
When shopping for web hosting, you will find that there are several different options in terms of how the hosting hardware is set up. The one you choose depends on how much traffic you expect on your site, what type of content you will be putting on your page, and other factors. The following are the different types of website hosting to choose from:
- Shared hosting: Shared hosting is where multiple different sites are set up on one physical server and share all of the system resources like disk space, memory, and network bandwidth
- Virtual private server (VPS) hosting: VPS hosting has multiple websites on one physical server but each site is given exclusive access to a set amount of each system resource for added stability and power
- Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting spreads the data for each website across multiple physical servers, which adds redundancy
- Dedicated servers: A dedicated hosting server is where one website is on one physical server, so nothing is shared.
Most small businesses want to use either shared or VPS hosting since they are very affordable and work great for most small to midsize websites. When making a decision on which is right for you, make sure your hosting company not only has the option you need today but also the option to upgrade to something better should it become necessary.
Hosting Service Specs
Within each of the categories listed above, there are options for what type of system resources you have available for your website. The most important system specs to be aware of are disk space, memory (RAM), and network bandwidth. You can also add an uptime guarantee to this list of key hosting specs to be aware of.
While technically speaking, more of all of these system specs is better, a basic small business website typically doesn’t require a lot of any of them. The exact requirements your website will have depends on several factors including how much traffic you expect to get, how much content will be on your site, and what type of content it will be. For example, if you are hosting videos on your site, you need much more disk space and bandwidth than if you are just hosting text and basic images.
If your small business only serves customers from a small geographic region, it’s a good idea to have a hosting company that operates out of a data center that’s fairly close. This minimizes the risk of downtime caused by regional Internet outages and also reduces the distance data has to travel, which speeds things up. While closer is always better, if the typical visitor to your site is in the same country as your hosting provider, you will get great service.
Cost of Hosting
The cost of hosting is always going to be a factor to consider. Finding a hosting company that offers good quality services at a fair price isn’t that difficult. The fact that there’s so much competition in the web hosting industry has helped to improve the overall quality and keep the prices quite low. For example, if you just need shared hosting for your small business website, you can typically get a great service for less than $10 per month. If you need more advanced hosting, the monthly costs go up, but you can even get a good quality dedicated server for around $100 per month in many cases.
How to Manage Your Small Business Site from Home
Once you have chosen what web hosting company you want to work with for your small business site, you need to learn how to build and manage everything from home. After signing up for your website hosting account, you will be provided with instructions for how to access your hosting environment through your normal web browser.
Once you have logged into your hosting environment, the specific steps that you need to take to create your website depend on what type of content management system (CMS) you want to use. For example, most websites are run on the WordPress CMS. Most web hosting companies will install WordPress for free or show you how to do it with just a couple of clicks.
Once your CMS is set up, you just log onto the “back end” of the platform and you can add content, adjust images, link different pages, and much more. While managing your small business website does have a learning curve, it is surprisingly easy even if you have no technical experience in this area. You won’t have to know any programming or web development knowledge to create a beautiful website for your small business.
Need a great web host? Want to save some time? This shortlist is your best place to begin: