It’s 2018 and there are over 1.8 billion websites in the world. The majority of these get almost no traffic.
Is your small business one of these billion-plus bottom-feeders? What to do?
You have to work hard at digital marketing over the long haul in order to acquire traffic and qualified leads. Long gone are the days you could simply buy a website, blog a few times, and see some results.
There are several web hosts that offer a selection of services including marketing to help businesses grow. Yahoo Web Hosting is one of those. Will their approach work for your small business? If not, what alternatives are there?
- Overview: What Does Yahoo Web Hosting Offer?
- Who Owns Yahoo Web Hosting?
- What’s Included With Yahoo Web Hosting?
- Yahoo Web Hosting Features and Packages
- E-Commerce Tools
- What About WordPress?
- Support For Other Scripts
- Plan Capacity
- App Gallery
- Snapshot Backups: Limitations
- Infrastructure and Uptime
- 24/7 Support
- Site Migration
- Is Yahoo Web Hosting Right For Your Small Business?
- The History of Yahoo Web Hosting: Now Owned by Verizon
- Yahoo Web Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
Overview: What Does Yahoo Web Hosting Offer?
Under the Yahoo roof you can:
- Get a pre-designed website or store and customize it to suit your brand
- Get local SEO handled for you
- Purchase a domain and hosting
- Get domain-based email
Choose From Three Simple Plans
Rather than dazzling customers with myriad choices and lots of technical detail, Yahoo simply lays out three plan choices and lets users take their pick.
This simplicity, combined with big brand heritage, could make Yahoo Web Hosting a straightforward hosting provider for your business. But we think you should be aware of the limitations of its plans.
Who Owns Yahoo Web Hosting?
Yahoo Small Business — the umbrella website that offers Yahoo hosting, local SEO, websites, etc. — has gone through several name changes. They are now owned by communications powerhouse Verizon.
Yahoo has stuck to the shared hosting market almost exclusively and retains its focus on straightforward hosting for small businesses.
What’s Included With Yahoo Web Hosting?
The simplicity of Yahoo packages makes it easy to choose a plan. A clear table outlines what each plan includes at a glance. And because there are only three options, comparing them is simple. However, some of the limitations on the site are unusual.
Site Builder Tools
All three plans include site builder tools. On the Basic plan, the site builder is your only option. This plan limits you to one website with 10 pages. You have the option of building your site in your browser using a tool called “Site Solution.”
Site content is built using customizable blocks. For example, you can add a map to your website, or incorporate PayPal buttons. You can pay for extra blocks, or apps, at any time.
The other two plans allow you to use advanced site builder tools or third-party website design scripts. This means you can build a website using alternative scripts, including WordPress. But if you do plan to use WordPress, keep reading, because it may not be as simple as it sounds.
Yahoo Web Hosting Features and Packages
Here’s an overview of Yahoo’s small business hosting plans, tools, and packages:
If you’re not set on plain web hosting, and you’re thinking of setting up a store, take a look at the Stores service. “Stores” can be selected in the navigation at the top of the Yahoo Small Business website.
Video: Get a fast overview of what you can do with the Yahoo Live Web Insights iPhone app.
Stores is clearly a direct competitor to dedicated hosted e-commerce services like Shopify. If you build your store using this plan, you will be limited to the tools and services that the host provides, much like any other hosted e-commerce solution. But Yahoo does promise PCI compliance which is a must-have.
Marketing: Local SEO
Yahoo Small Business also offers local business listings. This is the core of what’s known as “local SEO.” And this is Yahoo’s contribution to marketing for small businesses.
It’s about getting “citations” — listings in business directories. It starts with getting your business verified and listed with large “data aggregators.” Then online directories can access your verified information and start linking to you.
Inbound links are important for SEO. Even when a directory lists you, but doesn’t link, it’s sending a positive signal to search engines. Yahoo’s services also include tools to manage your customers’ reviews.
Yahoo’s prices for this are reasonable.
There are other services online that will do this for you, leaving you to manage the process. Should you choose to handle it yourself know that it’s doable and not expensive at all.
The takeaway: Local SEO is critical, but small businesses need additional digital marketing — like content and social media marketing — in order to thrive.
What About WordPress?
Site builders are not suitable for every business. There are plenty of situations where you need more flexibility. And many businesses prefer to use WordPress because of its extensibility.
By extensibility, we mean that there are over 56,000 plugins you can add to a WordPress site to increase functionality. That added functionality may include things like live chat services or retargeting — a form of advertising that displays ads for your business to individuals after they leave your website.
Yahoo Web Hosting does not limit you to the site builder on the Advanced and Premier plans, so you have the option to install WordPress or an alternative. But be warned: WordPress provision is very low-key. In fact, support for it is only mentioned towards the bottom of the features list.
So if you get stuck using WordPress to build your business site, you will need to seek help from other sources, which may mean diving into the code yourself.
Caution: Limited Support for WordPress
Yahoo’s knowledgebase states that “Beyond the topics found in our WordPress Help Pages, we do not support WordPress.” Those topics are limited.
The company publishes a list of plugins they provide support for, but it isn’t much help to a growing business.
The official list of supported plugins includes a grand total of five, including two that display a Yahoo logo on your website.
The other three plugins are:
- Customizable Permalinks
- W3 Total Cache
- Web Hosting Warning Messages (displays an error message when necessary)
Want to Use WordPress? Here Are Some Options
Yahoo does not seem to be targeting WordPress users. If you plan on using WordPress you may want to consider going with a host that is known for their WordPress expertise and that provides what’s called “managed hosting.”
With managed hosting the technical details are handled by the host, including updating your plugins and core WordPress software on a regular basis. Some quality managed WordPress hosts to explore include SiteGround and WP Engine.
Support For Other Scripts
Aside from WordPress, other scripts and software just aren’t mentioned anywhere at all. You’d ordinarily see their logos prominently advertised on a host’s website.
But Yahoo would rather have customers use its own site builder, and then hook that up to its own merchant tools, which is why it doesn’t really publicize other options.
There’s also no phpMyAdmin, although the host does provide alternative management tools for databases. This could be an obstacle if you want to run e-commerce software, a CMS, a CRM, or other third-party applications.
What About Magento, Drupal, Joomla?
If you are interested in CMS options, such as Magento, Drupal, or Joomla, you are on your own. You can manually configure your hosting package to run these options, but Yahoo does not offer one-click options that many other hosts do. If you want to get set up with these easily, look elsewhere.
Assuming you’re happy to use the site builder (or the limited WordPress hosting offered on its plans), it’s time to drill down into the details of the plans.
Each plan — regardless of pricing — only allows you to create one website.
Only the top plan includes “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth. However, this comes with a pretty heavy disclaimer that any “large” business could find that its service is limited at any time.
The Basic plan doesn’t include any databases or MySQL provision, but the two more expensive plans do. Those two plans also come with snapshot backups and shared SSL, which the Basic one doesn’t include.
All plans include ample email addresses, a free domain name, and sufficient disk space and bandwidth for the majority of small businesses.
You can also install Yahoo’s apps — small add-ons that allow you to add extra functionality to your business website.
Apps can enable you to:
- Install Facebook Chat on your website so you can communicate with customers via Facebook Messenger.
- Install a live chat function
- Get set up with an advertising network
You can explore the different categories to get a better idea of how the apps can help grow your business website:
- Engagement and Retention
- Customer contact
- Brand presence and identity
- Payment processing
- Back office
- All the latest apps are in in the New category
Snapshot Backups: Limitations
When Yahoo says that it includes “snapshot backups,” what does that actually mean? Many hosts offer free backups, but only allow internal staff to access them.
When you look at the details of the Yahoo backup service, it does provide snapshots of files for customer use, which is good news. Additionally, you can restore files on-demand, and without any extra fees.
Limits of the Snapshot Service
Snapshots are taken every four hours, nightly, and weekly, and you can restore any file from a snapshot backup on demand. It isn’t possible to restore the entire account using the backup tool provided.
But the snapshot backup service will not back up databases. It’s only for files. And if you’re using something like WordPress, the database is where most of your content resides. That leaves you exposed to a hack or corruption that could wipe out your entire site.
Ordinarily, we’d recommend that you invest in a plugin to handle backups instead. But you may not be able to use a WordPress backup plugin because Yahoo prevents many plugins from being installed.
Manual Database Backups Are Possible
You can manually create a MySQL backup using the database utilities in the control panel, but you’ll have to remember to do this every time you make a change to your website. This can quickly become a chore and is not a recommended way to manage a business website due to the amount of administration required.
Infrastructure and Uptime
Yahoo Web Hosting promises 99.9% uptime. This doesn’t seem to be a guarantee as such, as there are no published plans to compensate customers if it fails to meet its target.
Web hosting plans come with SpamGuard Plus, which is designed to filter junk emails, as well as Norton Anti-Virus protection.
Yahoo doesn’t say where its datacenters are located, but it says that they are “geographically distributed”, which suggests there is more than one. If you’re looking for a host that offers a choice of datacenter locations, you’re out of luck; it doesn’t provide this option.
The host says that its Stores service has experienced 100% uptime for the last 5 years. But it doesn’t provide any proof of this, nor does it give a promise that this impressive uptime will be maintained long-term. There are no similar claims for its general web hosting service.
All plans come with 24/7 support from the Yahoo Web Hosting technical team, which is good news if you’re likely to need help outside regular office hours. You can access this support via phone or ticket, and there are clear instructions on the website.
It’s best to sign in to your account before contacting support. That way, the team will know which account you’re referring to in your ticket.
There are also a range of help guides on the website and a very active community forum where you can get help from the host and its users. Many frequently asked questions are covered there in detail.
The written guides are on the basic side but are adequate for this kind of hosting.
Video: The Yahoo YouTube channel features profiles of business owners using Yahoo hosting. The success stories include tips.
Remember: when contacting support, you should use the Yahoo Small Business support pages, and not the Yahoo Commerce Central support pages. Yahoo Commerce Central is a separate service, and staff won’t be able to access your hosting details.
If you have an existing site elsewhere, Yahoo offers limited support for imports. While there is basic functionality included for you to upload your files, we think it is not much more than a glorified FTP program (and without the bells and whistles you’d typically find in one).
Essentially, this is doable, but it won’t be easy or fast, and the results may not be what you expect.
Is Yahoo Web Hosting Right For Your Small Business?
Digital.com reviews lots of web hosting companies, and Yahoo is certainly one of the more unusual providers that we’ve featured.
It doesn’t market shared hosting in the way that many of its competitors do. It doesn’t offer VPS or dedicated servers, either. And if you want a domain, you can only get one if you get it with a hosting package.
Instead, everything about its hosting — and its Stores — will channel people primarily to its site builder tools.
This isn’t all bad. For many small businesses, a site builder is exactly what they’re looking for. As soon as you sign up, you can log on, drag-and-drop your site components into place, and get your site live the same day.
And the lack of technical jargon can also be a positive for people that don’t know much about hosting (and don’t want to learn, either).
Note of Caution for Businesses That Expect to Scale
But for businesses that see themselves growing quickly, there are really two key indicators of potential trouble ahead if you choose this kind of hosting:
- Most hosts would consider WordPress a core part of their service catalog. With Yahoo, WordPress is not prominently advertised, and not really supported in a meaningful sense. If you need to install a particular plugin on your site, strict security rules could leave you with a problem that is impossible to resolve. If you want a WordPress host, this isn’t a good sign. It really means you can only use WordPress for blogging and nothing more.
- Yahoo simply can’t offer any meaningful route to upgrade. There isn’t a VPS or dedicated server option, and you may not even be able to install a plugin to export your site content from the site builder. So your only recourse is to move hosts if you hit limits. And then, when you do so, you’ll find that its custom control panel makes it very difficult to preserve your existing data. Sure; you can export your database. But what about your mailboxes and settings?
All of this really makes Yahoo a reasonable one-stop-shop for micro-businesses, freelancers, and startups with a very small budget. Your site will look good using the site builder, and you have support when you need it.
But anything more complicated could be a headache in the long run.
Alternatives to Yahoo Web Hosting
If you are looking for an alternative to Yahoo Web Hosting, where should you look? Here are some good options:
- Bluehost: Bluehost offers a variety of hosting packages, supports WordPress well, and offers packaged digital marketing services.
- GoDaddy: GoDaddy is one of the most well-known web hosting providers on the internet. They offer a wide variety of hosting packages and services/add-ons that mean that it’s a one-stop-shop for everything you need for your website. They also offer digital marketing services.
- iPage: You can think of iPage as a budget-friendly version of GoDaddy. The company is also smaller, so it has a more personalized feel.
- GreenGeeks: If you’re looking for robust web hosting from an eco-friendly firm, GreenGeeks is for you.
Specialty Hosts for WordPress Users
Check out these managed hosting providers, known for their platforms that are optimized for WordPress and the WordPress expertise of their technical staff.
There are good things to be said about Yahoo Web Hosting. That simple snapshot backup tool leaves other hosts in the shade. And its site builder options appear to be perfectly capable for small businesses that need to get online fast.
Minimal WordPress Support
But it may not be the best choice for a growing business website, particularly if you want to use WordPress. The lack of support for plugins is a concern because it restricts what WordPress can do. And when you approach the host for help with WordPress, there’s nothing that they can offer you. For non-technical users, that means reaching a dead end.
What Problem(s) Are You Trying to Solve?
Before you choose any kind of web hosting, you need to have a clear picture of how you plan to build and market your business.
Is a site builder going to provide all of the features you need? Do you want an e-commerce solution as a standalone hosted service? Simple sites could thrive on these kinds of plans, but growing businesses may struggle to work around the limitations. In hosting, getting locked into one provider can be a risk.
If you’re considering Yahoo Web Hosting for your small business website, it would certainly be advisable to test-drive a plan before entering into a full contract. That may mean paying the fee, and leveraging that all-important 30-day money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.
The History of Yahoo Web Hosting: Now Owned by Verizon
For those interested in more detail on Yahoo’s history, read on.
Yahoo Web Hosting was originally created in August 1998 under the Yahoo Small Business brand. But it is no longer owned by Yahoo and therefore has nothing to do with search or email, two of Yahoo’s biggest products. (With that said, we do note that some packages come with $100 in ad credits that can be used with Microsoft’s Bing, a competitor to Google’s advertising programs.)
Yahoo originally decided to sell its stake in Alibaba to create a new holding company. At the same time, it planned to retain many other projects — including Yahoo Web Hosting — under the Yahoo brand.
This resulted in Yahoo Small Business being rebranded as “Luminate from Aabaco Small Business” in early 2015, in preparation for the deal going ahead. The new brand hinted at its planned spin-off of the hosting company to another entity, Aabaco Holdings.
But Yahoo CEO, Marissa Meyer, then reversed the deal, doing more or less the opposite of what she had planned. The valuable Alibaba stock was retained within Yahoo under a new name, Altaba. Most other parts of Yahoo — including Aabaco Small Business — were sold to Verizon in 2017.
This complex series of transactions and u-turns means that Yahoo effectively no longer exists.
he interim brand name, Luminate, has all but disappeared from view. It’s now a Verizon company, but the branding on the website still refers to Yahoo, as do many of the customer service personnel.
Yahoo Web Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions about Yahoo Small Business.
What kind of support options do you get?
All plans come with access to 24/7 phone, chat and online support. You can also browse the host company’s website for a wide range of articles. Posts cover a range of categories including marketing, e-commerce and email. There’s an active discussion forum on various support issues.
Does Yahoo Web Hosting offer easy WordPress installation?
You can install WordPress, but it’s not optimized for WordPress hosting. You’ll get no WordPress support, so this may not be an ideal option if you’re new to web hosting. If you go ahead, you’ll also be limited to the number of plugins you can install. Yahoo Web Hosting only allows for a limited number of plugins.
What’s the control panel like?
Yahoo Web Hosting doesn’t use the industry standard cPanel. But this doesn’t mean you’ll struggle to navigate the interface. The Yahoo Business control panel (also referred to as My Services panel) does appear to be user-friendly, and intuitive. You can add email, run marketing campaigns and manage your account from your control panel.
How do I activate WordPress on Yahoo Web Hosting?
How do I Activate WordPress on Yahoo Web Hosting?
Here’s how to activate WordPress on Yahoo Web Hosting:
- Sign in to your My Services panel
- Select the Web Hosting link
- You’ll see a welcome screen, choose WordPress
- Select the Activate WordPress option
- Enter your Username and password
- Choose an email address linked to your site domain where WordPress can send password reminders if you forget your password
- You’ll get to a screen where you can choose if you want your blog to be your home page
- Choose where to save your WordPress files (if you’d prefer to skip these steps, it may worth looking into WordPress optimized hosting solution option)
- Read and agree to various user license agreements, including WordPress , MySQL Database license and GNU General Public License Agreement. Then click the Activate button
- A Congratulations page will display once your site is activated. This page will include information about your blog, including the URL and blog settings.
Katie Horne, Bronwynne Powell, and Sherrie Gossett contributed updates, research, and SEO edits to this article.
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