Small But Mighty: What Kind of Hosting Does Your Microbusiness Need?

Published March 27th, 2014 by Michael Farin

Humans are adaptable animals. We’re just amazingly flexible, really.

So as the economy has gone downhill, naturally, more and more of us are opting for alternative employment models. You’ll spot humans working remotely and online, from home or from coffee shops, in a variety of microbusinesses: freelance writing, designing, or niche manufacturing. And – what’s even better – these adaptable humans are doing great. The start-up economy is booming, and microbusiness is officially on the rise.

There’s just one problem: All these creative humans need websites and web hosting. And the options can be bewildering.

For small start-up sites, the hosting options include SaaS providers, virtual private hosting, shared or dedicated servers, cloud hosting, and more. What’s the best hosting choice for a promising small business? Where should you, an entrepreneur, put your website to ensure the best functionality and visibility?

Before you answer that question, here’s a quick list of three things most microbusiness owners need from their web hosting platform.

1: Reliability. Business owners don’t need downtime and endless buffering. They – and their customers – need to be able to access their site 24/7, with no speed or handling issues.

2: Simplicity. Entrepreneurs are already busy. They don’t have a lot of time to manage their own servers, make finicky updates, or ride herd on a corral full of IT issues. The system needs to be easy to use – and if there are problems, there should be someone available at the hosting company to troubleshoot.

3: Reasonable bandwidth. As small businesses get larger, they’ll (hopefully) attract more hits and more traffic. But for now, a moderate amount of data transfer should be fine. There’s no need to pay for the extra server capabilities and hardware you’d need to handle 10,000 hits per day...yet.

So what’s the solution?

Shared web hosting is usually the best option for small business owners with this set of hosting needs. Shared servers host a number of small websites in one spot, sharing resources and bandwidth, and they’re by far the most inexpensive hosting option. The space on a shared server is more than adequate for a low- to medium-traffic website.

For larger sites with more needs and capabilities, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a shared performance metal (SPM) server or a dedicated server (the largest, most powerful and most expensive option). But for a micro-business? Shared Performance Cloud (SPC) servers are just fine.

One caveat: Make sure you sign up for shared hosting with a reputable provider that doesn’t cram too many sites on one server, and that offers consistent IT service and tech support. A good hosting provider can make the difference between a great web experience and a very poor one. And we need all the help we can get.

After all, we’re only human.

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