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Having a stable website has long become an imperative for almost any organization, company, or one-person business that aims to expand its online authority and reach connected consumers. As digital marketing strategies become commonplace in businesses of all sizes, the demand for reliable web hosting services increases and the choice of a web host becomes one of the critical decisions.

Naturally, the parallel growth of web marketing strategies and the demand for web hosting services comes as no surprise. In fact, according to the latest statistics, a growing number of small-to-medium-sized businesses (3 percent up from 2013) plan to invest in their websites rather than any other digital tool. Since no serious business can succeed in the digital age without developing a recognizable website, choosing a provider that can support its development across different stages is one of the key success factors.

Despite the variety of web hosting plans and packages now available, choosing a suitable host is certainly not an easy task. In fact, this is one of the decisions that can bring substantial difficulties if made ad-hoc or without taking all the relevant features into consideration.

This article will therefore try to cover some of the most important factors that should influence such a choice and give advice to business owners on recognizing a solution that will properly support their growth plans.

We’ve included information specific to a few types of business websites—company sites, eCommerce stores, community or personal brand blogs, and startup websites—so we can cover the needs specific to a variety of business owners.

Dynamic company website

Although not normally intended for extensive promotional or marketing activities, company websites play a major role in creating brand awareness among both partners and consumers. So, they need to represent a company’s mission and communicate the right message through both content and visual elements. More importantly however, company websites need to be stable enough to resist any possible breach attempt.

Given the fact that this group of websites is most frequently targeted by hackers, they need to employ the highest security standards. Namely, as reported by Symantec last year, the larger the company the greatest the risk of cyber attacks, which is why these websites need to run in the safest possible hosting environment. The logical solution that offers maximum security is dedicated server hosting because it is configured and maintained by in-house IT teams that can manage all the sensitive operations without exposing company data to malevolent attacks.

Of course, considering the price of dedicated servers, many smaller companies may opt for more cost-effective solutions and choosing a provider with a great reputation in terms of security. This is most frequently the case with small businesses, which can get excellent value for the price they pay with almost any premium package offered.

Ecommerce stores

Following the trends in ecommerce development, the hosting industry expanded the offering to solutions that enable even the people without much technical skill to set up and run a website that is able to integrate shopping carts, intuitive checkouts, and easy payment processing. Thus, even a non-techie or one-person business can build a neat ecommerce page that has all the necessary features with website builders such as Shopify and Weebly.

However, even though these platforms initially provide the most important resources, they may not prove to be great solutions after a company reaches several thousands of daily visitors. Namely, with self-hosted solutions, your abilities to manage code and server configuration are highly limited, which is great for those without in-house IT teams, but bad in terms of security issues.

Thus, depending on your team’s capabilities, you will probably find VPS hosting a better option since it provides the required stability and necessary flexibility at an affordable price.

Community or brand blog

Every website is a lead generation tool in one form or another, and this is why none can afford extensive service disruptions. If your business assembles a large community of readers, any downtime can trigger a negative perception of your brand and cause your visitors to go away.

If, however, it receives highly fluctuating amounts of traffic (on specific dates or days of week), you need a solution that can support such variations. Therefore, as any other website that needs enough storage to support dynamic content generation, brand or community blogs are great candidates for basic web hosting plans. These come with limited amounts of storage space and bandwidth, meaning that you won’t end up paying for resources that you don’t actually need.

Startup website

As opposed to some larger organizations, startup businesses rarely have sufficient budget to invest in dedicated servers at the initial phases of growth. This is why their websites and applications are mostly run on cloud servers, which represent an excellent way to cut IT costs by paying on subscription basis.

This is also beneficial in terms of scalability, which is an important feature to look for in a web host for every business that expects rapid expansion. Namely, cloud hosting enables smooth upgrades to better premium plans and is able to cope with unusually large amounts of traffic at any point. Furthermore, startups can easily build multiple websites such as those intended for testing only, which is another way cloud hosting can support their mission critical processes.

Conclusion

The effect your website leaves on your target audience is certainly an important factor of your overall sales and marketing strategy, but here it is not only web design that counts.

Instead, overall performance in terms of speed, availability, and security plays an important role too, which is why you need to take all these factors into consideration when planning your company’s online growth.

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Sarah Green
Sarah Green

Sarah is a web analyst and a researcher interested in emerging web technologies, especially those that change traditional business settings. She regularly covers the industry's news and is happy to chat with you on Twitter.