Thought I would take a bit of time out of my normal postings to provide an article about web hosting for small business websites.

For a website to function and work for the small business it has to be properly designed, optimized, and promoted but it also needs to UP! How many times do you go to a website and get that 404 page error?! Web hosting is just as important to the small business and too many business owners really do not understand or realize this. Recently the small web hosting company that I run, got an award for great service and support so I had to share it here! LOL 🙂

Yeah I want to brag some but I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss web hosting.  So today interviewed Jeff Raybould of  Bluehost Coupon and  Best Web Hosting and asked him some of the key questions I get from clients regarding hosting.

Q. Jeff, tell us a little about yourself.
A.  Larry, I have been in the web hosting industry for a few years and my partner/cousin has been in for over a decade. Together we run several web hosting review sites with our primary goal of finding the best web hosting for each of our readers. The thing that separates us from others is that we understand what might be the best for reader A isn’t the best for reader B. That is why we do so many reviews and spend countless hours researching stuff.

Q. So, how do you define web hosting?
A. This is a question asked by many people when we tell them we are in the web hosting business. Web hosting is a service provided where a “host” stores user’s files on servers in a datacenter. These servers are configured to serve up these files when requested through the internet. There are many different types of web servers, but for most individuals and small businesses these are shared web servers that run on a Unix/Linux or Windows operating system.

Q. What  makes a good web hosting company?
A. The factors in determining a good web hosting company are many. These include cost, support types (email/phone/etc), support hours, and server uptime. The cost of a good host shouldn’t be more than $10/month for entry level hosting in our experience. Good hosts typically offer phone support with low hold times and should be available during the hours where you, the user, will be working on your site. This doesn’t mean you need 24 hour phone support as you might not be working on your site at 4 AM (this is usually done more by hosts with international focus). Server uptime is obviously a big one! You can search the web for user reviews or look for uptime charts on each host to see if they have reliable web servers.

Q. Why should a small business be concerned about web hosting?
A.  Small businesses need web hosting to expand their business reach/customer base. The internet offers a low cost way to reach millions more potential customers. In the old days it was good enough to be listed in the yellow pages, but the internet is now most people’s yellow pages. If you’re not on the internet, you’re not on their radar. A website is a good idea for all businesses – not just those selling products. People want to find you for contact info, hours of operation, history, etc as they don’t want to have to pick up the phone and dial.

Q. What are the key components that are in a web hosting package?
A.  The most common features that people look for and are provided by a good web host are things such as disk space, email accounts, databases, and FTP access. The disk space is important because this will determine how many files you can save to the server – unless you’re doing lots of photos/video – 50 MB is a good starting place. Email accounts – we’ll this depends on how many users you need to setup. Most small businesses use under 10 email accounts. A majority of websites are now using dynamic features driven by a database so this is increasingly important. Most sites can run on 1 database. FTP access is still the preferred method for file upload (including through programs like Dreamweaver).

Q. Does it matter if you use Windows or Unix server?
A. Some people have a preference for Windows or Unix, but the choice should be made based on your needs. Unix/Linux hosting can be much cheaper than Windows due to the licensing costs, but Windows servers can offer different tools than a Unix server. Unix/Linux servers usually run leaner and cleaner than Windows in that they don’t use up as much system resources so they can perform better for serving web pages. If you’re looking at using other Microsoft products such as ASP scripting and remote access features – you may want to opt for Windows.

So my company, Touchstone Hosting was awarded:

so if you need web hosting, let me know. Thanks again Jeff for your time