Best Web Hosting Services for Small Business

Small business owners know that they have to control costs in order to compete with bigger competitors. Having a website is a great way to reach out to potential customers with little cost.

Getting a business site together can be a daunting task for those without technical knowledge. It is difficult to know where to start. Well, here’s a tip. Start by getting a domain name and a web hosting package. Fortunately, domain registration companies are usually also web hosting providers. Better still, it is very common for these website hosting companies to bundle in a free domain name with a web hosting plan. The best web hosting services include all of the components needed to create and manage a small business website.

So, find the right small business web hosting company to ease the journey to ecommerce success. Cut hosting costs by combining all of the business hosting website utilities your new site will need.

Small business hosting options

There are three types of web hosting services, each offering a different server hosting solution. These are:

  • Shared hosting plan
  • VPS hosting
  • Dedicated servers

Most of the servers used for web hosting use the Linux operating system. However, some web hosting companies offer their customers the hosting option of a Windows operating system.

A shared hosting plan puts several customers on the same server. These plans are the most cost-effective and so are the most widely used type of web hosting used today for small businesses. The server has account software loaded on it that keeps the services used by each customer separate. However, they all share a common operating system.

A customer who could get down to the operating system could access the files spaces of all other customers on the same server. For this reason, shared hosting packages include a control panel. The control panel blocks access to the operating system while also providing all of the functions that a customer would need operating system access for.

VPS stands for “virtual private server.” In VPS hosting, several customers use the same server, in a similar manner to shared hosting plans. The big difference is that the disk space and other server resources are partitioned before the operating system is installed. The partitioning isn’t physical, it is managed by a software system, called a hypervisor. However, the operating system is contained within the account and so there is no way that one customer could access the files of another on the same server.

Hypervisors are flexible, so it is possible for the web hosting company’s technical support team to adjust the settings on the partitions and expand the space allocated to each customer.

A dedicated server plan allocates an entire server to one customer. This gives the account holder a lot of resources and so it is rarely a hosting option chosen by small businesses. Both dedicated hosting and VPS hosting plans can be offered as a bare server, or with the services of a technical support team included. The server only plan is called an unmanaged dedicated server and the plan that includes technicians is called a managed dedicated hosting package. VPS hosting plans can also be offered as a managed service.

Other services that some web hosting providers offer are called cloud hosting and reseller hosting. These are variations on VPS hosting. A cloud hosting plan includes a cloud platform installed on the account. Reseller hosting packages give space on the server that can be subdivided, so the main account holder can create a hosting service and market and manage accounts without having to buy a server. In this scenario, the reseller gets hypervisor software that manages the divisions between subaccounts within the main reseller account.

Shared hosting plans

Small business owners usually get all of their requirements met by shared hosting plans. Web hosting providers know that the main market for these types of hosting accounts and they present hosting packages that make creating a website easy. As experienced specialists in the field, these web hosting companies know exactly what utilities are needed in order to successfully create and manage a website for e-commerce.

The bonus features that are common to shared hosting plans are:

A free domain name – most web hosting providers are also domain registration services and so can source domain names at marginal cost.

A free SSL certificate – this is needed to create an HTTPS connection. E-commerce sites can’t collect payments without HTTPS protection and Google Chrome now blocks access to sites that don’t use the schema. Most hosting companies get SSL certificates for free from Let’s Encrypt.

Unlimited bandwidth – That means the webserver passes through all traffic no matter how high the volume. This is a great feature for small business owners that hope for a lot of customers.

Unlimited storage space – A website has pages that need to be stored and also should keep logs of access. Other files that would need disk space include sales transaction records, generated orders, and invoices, and payment transaction logs. SSD disks operate at faster speeds than traditional storage media.

Multiple websites – Most web hosting providers offer a cheap plan that will only host one website and higher plans that host more or even an unlimited number of sites.

A content delivery network (CDN) – A website can be accessed from all over the world, but data transfer times to faraway countries are slow. A CDN stores copies of the site at data centers all over the world to improve load times to all locations and cover for downtime at the main host. The most successful provider of CDNs is called Cloudflare.

A content management system (CMS) – This will aid the creation of web pages and organize the menu structure of a website. The most popular CMS in the world is WordPress. Other well-known systems include Drupal and Joomla.

A control panel – hosting control panels remove the need for the website administrator to know operating system commands. The most common type of control panel used for shared hosting plans is called cPanel.

A website builder – An environment that helps non-technical people create a website with drag-and-drop layout assembly features. This is not necessary where a CMS is in use because that will include templates and wizards that guide the site creation process.

A typical small business owner knows all about the subject of a website but nothing about how to get that information onto web pages and make it accessible to the public. The best web hosting packages for small business owners should make running a website easy.

The best web hosting plans for small businesses

This hosting review will cut down the time you need to spend in order to find then ideal web hosting plans for your small business. Then best web hosting providers are:

  1. HostGator
  2. GoDaddy
  3. Bluehost
  4. SiteGround
  5. Hostinger

The following sections detail the best web hosting plans offered by our recommended business website hosting providers.

HostGator

HostGator is one of the oldest domain registration companies and web hosting services in the world. It has three shared hosting plans and also has VPS and dedicated server solutions. The company also has managed WordPress hosting plans. However, WordPress is also available for free with all of its standard shared hosting plans.

Single site hosting plans

If you’re sure that you only want to set up one website for your small business, the Hatchling Plan of HostGator would be a good option. This service has WordPress available for free with a one-click install. The plugins available for WordPress at HostGator include WooCommerce, which creates an eCommerce website. HostGator also offers a one-site WordPress hosting plan.

Multi-site hosting plans

The Baby Plan and the Business Plan from HostGator are two shared hosting plans that allow unlimited websites. Both of these have a one-click installation of WordPress for free and include the WooCommerce plugin. The Business Plan also includes free SEO tools to help your sites gain visibility on search engine results pages. The Standard Plan and the Business Plans of HostGator’s WordPress hosting service host two and three websites respectively.

Pros

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free domain name
  • Free site migration
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited storage space
  • Unlimited subdomains
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • cPanel control panel
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • WordPress plans cost a lot more than the WordPress-including shared hosting plans
  • Website builder costs extra

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is the largest web hosting provider in the world and it is also the world’s largest domain name registration services. The company offers shared hosting plans, VPN hosting plans, and dedicated servers. Unlike the rest of the web hosting companies in this hosting review, GoDaddy offers its customers a choice between Linux and Windows servers. The company also has specialist WordPress hosting plans.

Single-site hosting plans

The Economy plan hosts one website. The storage space offered with this plan is limited to 100 GB, but the plan included unlimited bandwidth and one-click free installation of more than 125 applications, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. A support team enhances security protection software which includes DDoS protection. Four WordPress hosting plans are designed to host just one website.

Multi-site hosting plans

GoDaddy has three shared hosting plans that can accommodate an unlimited number of websites. These are the Deluxe, Ultimate, and Maximum plans. The Deluxe plan doesn’t include a free SSL certificate, but the other two do. All of these plans include unlimited storage capacity and allow unlimited subdomains. GoDaddy also has four managed WordPress plans that host multiple websites: five, 10, 25, or 50. The WordPress plans include more free templates and plugins than the standard shared hosting plans.

Pros

  • Free domain name
  • Free SSL certificate on higher plans
  • WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal included for free
  • Free site migration
  • Choice of Linux or Windows servers
  • Uptime guarantee of 99.9%
  • Security features include CageFS storage space containment
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Free SSL certificate not included with cheaper plans
  • Money-back guarantee only 48 hours
  • Customer have to use Office 365 to manage email accounts

Bluehost

Bluehost has four shared hosting plans and also offers VPS hosting and dedicated servers. Small business owners would also be interested in the WordPress hosting plans available from Bluehost. All plans include a free domain name, a free SSL certificate, and unlimited bandwidth.

Single-site hosting plans

The cheapest of Bluehost’s four shared hosting plans caters to one website. The plan includes 50 GB of SSD storage space and is allowed to include 25 subdomains.  All of the shared hosting plans include the one-click install of WordPress. 

Three advanced managed WordPress hosting accounts, called WP Pro, are also available. These are each built for just one website. One more option is an eCommerce hosting service, which includes WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin and has three plans. The cheapest of these, Basic, is built for one website. A member of the professional support team gives the account holder a call while setting up the service.

Multi-site hosting plans

None of the WP Pro plans hosts multiple sites. However, the three upper shared hosting plans offer unlimited site hosting and include unlimited storage and allow unlimited subdomains. The two higher eCommerce plans also allow an unlimited number of sites and include unlimited server resources as well as SEO tools to get better rankings with search engines.

Pros

  • Free domain name
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited SSD storage space (except for basic plans)
  • Unlimited subdomains (except for higher plans)
  • Free site migration
  • 24/7 customer support including chat support
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No email account manager – Office 365 is available as an add-on

SiteGround

SiteGround is a leading web hosting service. Unlike the other web hosting companies on this list, SiteGround doesn’t operate a domain name registration division. The company offers shared hosting plans and a cloud hosting service. The cloud hosting category of services is actually a VPS hosting operation. Within the VPS hosting division, SiteGround offers reseller hosting plans. The web hosting company operates data centers in the USA and in the Netherlands.

Of all the categories of web hosting that SiteGround offers, its shared hosting plans will interest small businesses most. These are also marketed as managed WordPress hosting plans and managed WooCommerce hosting services. However, it should be noted that WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin are both available for free with the standard shared hosting plans. All plans include a free SSL certificate and a free email system with unlimited accounts but SiteGround doesn’t include a free domain name in any of its plans. All plans get access to the Weebly drag-and-drop website builder.

Single-site hosting plans

The cheapest of SiteGround’s three shared hosting plans is called StartUp. This includes WordPress for free and hosts just one website. Customers of this plan get a free CDN and unlimited bandwidth. Disk space is limited to 10 GB. 

Multi-site hosting plans

The two higher shared hosting plans of SiteGround are called GrowBig and GoGeek. These have no limit on the number of websites allowed per account. However, the disk space allocation will place a limit on the number of hosted websites in practice. This limit is 20 GB for the GrowBig plan and 40 GB for the GoGeek plan. The GoGeek plan also gets priority access to the customer and technical support teams through email, web form, and chat support.

Pros

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free FTP accounts
  • Free CDN
  • Fast SSD storage
  • Free website builder
  • Free site migrations
  • A free email account manager
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Daily backups for free 
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free domain name

Hostinger

Hostinger is a very large web hosting service with more than 29 million customers. The company is employee-owned and based in Lithuania. The company offers shared hosting plans and VPS hosting. The company’s dedicated server plans are marketed as cloud hosting plans and Hostinger has a range of WordPress site hosting services that are based on the shared hosting model.

All shared hosting plans and WordPress plans include a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt and an email system with unlimited email accounts (one email account on the cheapest plan). The service offers a site builder, but this is not free. Shared hosting plans all have one-click install access to WordPress. Drupal, Joomla, and PrestaShop are all also available for automated install for free and any owner of a WordPress hosting account or a standard shared hosting plan can get the WooCommerce plugin installed on demand.

The WordPress accounts are more expensive than the shared hosting plans. None of the WordPress plans include a free domain name.

Single-site hosting plans

The cheapest of the shared hosting plans is called Single Web Hosting, so it is clear that this plan is intended for small businesses that only want to operate one website. This plan gets 100 GB of bandwidth and can only include two subdomains. The plan doesn’t include a free domain name and can only have one email address. There is no single-site option among the Hostinger WordPress Hosting plans.

Multi-site hosting plans

Apart from the Single Web Hosting plan, Hostinger has two shared hosting plans that have no limit on the number of sites they can host and they both include a free domain name. All of the WordPress hosting plans from Hostinger are allowed to host up to 300 websites and all get a free domain name included. The capabilities of those plans are limited by the disk space allocated to each, however. This is 20 GB, 100 GB, and 140 GB for each of the three plans.

Pros

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free domain name (except with the Single Web Hosting plan)
  • Unlimited bandwidth (except for the basic plan)
  • Email accounts included
  • Free site migrations
  • SSD storage
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Website builder is an addon

The best of the rest

The top five services in this hosting review are not the only web hosting providers that we would recommend. However, we limited the list of recommended web hosting companies to five because we realize that small business owners probably don’t have the time to read through the details of web hosting plans from a long list of providers.

For those who want to explore more and need a slightly longer list of hosting providers to look at, here are five more web hosting providers that we would also recommend.

  • InMotion Hosting
  • A2 Hosting
  • DreamHost
  • iPage
  • WordPress.com

All of these services have good deals on shared hosting plans and WordPress accounts. In fact, WordPress.com even offers a free account, which is ad-supported and doesn’t include a domain name.

Selecting the best web hosting provider

As a small business owner, you probably don’t want to spend too much money on what you regard as a marketing avenue. Some small businesses operate entirely on the web, following an eCommerce model. However, hosting costs need to be held down even for online businesses. 

All of our recommended web hosting providers offer very competitive rates for their services. The cheapest plan of each hosting service can be as little as 99 cents per month, including all of the extra utilities, such as access to WordPress and a free SSL certificate. 

Your next step in starting up a website is to decide exactly how many websites you expect to create. With this information, you will be able to rule out or focus on the single-site web hosting plans. Look at what extras each plan includes for free in order to work out which is the most economical plan. For example, a plan that doesn’t include a free domain name and for which you need to pay for a separate system in order to have email addresses won’t work out all that cheap in the end. 

Now you know where to look for a hosting solution you can start to plan your domain names and check whether they are available. Next, look for a web hosting service that can get you that domain name and host your small business website for a reasonable price.