Choosing a reliable website hosting service is one of the very first and most critical steps in your website development and marketing strategy.
As a web hosting provider, HostPapa (ranked #1 in the top 7 web hosting providers of 2018) is here to help you make informed decisions that will result in increased productivity and stimulate the growth of your business.
Regardless of how cliché this may sound, your hosting choice at the end of the day is arguably the foundation of your website’s success.
This is because if you mistakenly choose the wrong hosting solution for your website, it’ll slowly kill your website, and you might end up losing everything to hackers.
According to Hosting Facts:
The number of hacked websites in 2016 increased by 32% compared to 2015, and Google has made it clear that they’re not expecting this to reduce anytime soon.
In this definitive guide, we’ll share all the best web hosting practices (i.e., steps to take to ensure you get the best hosting results) for your company website.
But before we proceed, it’s important that we understand what website hosting truly means.
What Is Web Hosting?
Most people don’t usually think of where a website is — or even what a website means.
When you switch on your computer, launch a browser, and visit Facebook, Twitter, Google, or log on to your email — what are you really doing when you visit a website?
What has happened at the backend? Assuming it’s TheStar.com, for example, where is it actually located?
To put it succinctly, web hosting consists of a service where all your website files are housed in a computer which makes it possible for the website to be accessible over the internet with its connection to the World Wide Web (WWW).
The computer in question is not much different from the ones we use at home but it is called a server. So, people on the Internet can typically get to see your website when they access the website files residing on that server.
Web Hosting Best Practices for B2B Companies
HostPapa wants to help you get the most out of your web hosting plan and provider, so consider these best practices to get the best out of the experience:
- Acceptable Use Policy
- Domain Registration Terms
- Spam Policy
- Affiliate Terms
- Unlimited Policy
are all important.
The policies can indeed be very long, boring, and time-consuming. Bear in mind however that taking the time to read all these policies will be well worth your time and save you lots of pains later on; especially if you are creating a business website.
The best web hosts will pride themselves on their transparency, and reliable providers such as HostPapa always encourage its users to be as informed as possible about their terms, so that they can get the most out of their plans and the relationship with the host.
2. Understand “Unlimited” Aspect of Hosting Packages
When it comes to hosting packages, the word “unlimited” is used to indicate several privileges that you can enjoy. This will include different types of unlimited such as:
- Unlimited domains
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited Email accounts
- Unlimited websites
- Unlimited subdomains
However, you may eventually discover that the “unlimited” plan is actually limited. The first limitation web hosts sometimes put on their Terms of Service is related to usage types. HostPapa doesn’t place any hard limits to storage or bandwidth as it relates to your website functions and growth. Unlimited bandwidth and data transfer means just that — no set limits on the amount of visitor traffic a website can receive or on the amount of content a customer can upload to their website in any given month. Be sure that your understanding of “unlimited” matches that of your host.
3. Keep Yourself Informed
Every industry needs an informed consumer, and web hosting is not exceptional. Like with the “unlimited” example above, web hosting companies are also constantly evolving in all aspects, especially in their uptime guarantee. Go for a web host that understands your specific needs and has plans suitable for you. You have to arm yourself with different options and be ready for changes which are, of course, inevitable.
4. Don’t Pay Extra for Services You Don’t Need
When you purchase web hosting, you should only pay for additional products and services that will complement your plan. If you don’t have a need for it, there’s no need to pay extra.
For example, on the checkout page, there are usually a number of “upsells” that are often offered such as:
- Domain name privacy
- Dedicated IP and/or SSL certificate
- Backup Services
- Web design, SEO, or Business Consulting
Even though some of them are actually useful and essential, you want to be very careful not to just tap “Continue” right away without double-checking to ensure you aren’t buying things you don’t need at the moment. A trustworthy provider such as HostPapa might offer options that they believe will improve your site and its performance, but you’ll always have the power to pick and choose what you want as a customer and won’t have unnecessary upgrades thrust upon you.
5. Take Advantage of Free Domains Offer
Instead of spending extra cash to register a domain name, look for a web hosting provider that offers a free domain with your hosting plan. At HostPapa, we offer free domain name and easy-to-use tools for getting the most out of your website and app.
6. Ensure the IP of Your Web Host Isn’t Blacklisted
In a shared hosting package, it takes just one bad customer to ruin everyone’s experience. Wondering what happens when your server’s IP is blacklisted?
Here’s the point: If the IP of your web hosting or server gets blacklisted, it can stop you from doing business. In this case, you cannot send out emails because other servers will also block your email and it’ll get bounced back.
Luckily, there are many locations where you can check to know if your server IP is blacklisted:
Running a Website
In order to run a website, you need a computer that’s connected to the internet — which can receive requests, take the right action, and respond. When people talk about servers for their website, this is exactly what they’re referring to.
Computers store the files required to run a website — together with the software needed to deliver those files to anyone who seeks for them. In theory, you could run a website from your desktop computer at home, but that would be a horrible idea.
To start with, you’d have to understand how to properly set it up to run a website (which is not an insignificant matter). Aside from that, you’d have to also leave it on and connected to the internet 24/7. But even if those things could be managed, your home computer is only designed to deal with one user at a time.
Unfortunately, if many people try to visit your website, your computer and internet connection would both certainly reach their limits and your website would immediately stop working.
However, instead of running a website on your personal desktop computer, you could just buy a server. This is just a better, faster, and bigger computer. Assuming it’s something you could afford (they’re very expensive) and assuming you could properly set it all up (it’s difficult) and assuming you could also get a faster internet connection with lots of bandwidth (costly and not always available), you could then comfortably run your website from that server.
Obviously, this is a crazy idea. It’s too expensive — too complicated — too tedious — and too time-consuming.
The Work of Web Hosting Companies
Now, this is where web hosting providers like HostPapa come in, effectively solving this problem for you. We have purchased the big expensive computers, we have properly set them up to power your website, and we have also made sure there’s a reliable and fast internet connection. We’ve done all the complicated work.
Once you buy a hosting plan, you are literally borrowing a space in our computers (or sometimes, one of our computers if your website is large).
With a hosting space, you’re able to put the software and files that are required to run your website where it can be easily accessible by anyone who desires to view it. Moreover, we provide the necessary tools needed for managing your piece of the computer, and for building and running your website.
While using a web hosting company for your website, the website is not somewhere in a cloud or floating in an alternate dimension. It’s a collection of actual, real computer files sitting on an actual real computer somewhere, in a building.
However, the location of that building, and what that computer looks like will totally depend on the hosting company you choose.
Funny enough, you may never see this computer in question, or even have an idea of where in the world it is located. But it’s not magical, and it’s not much different than the computer you use at home, even the one you’re using right now.
Different Types of Hosting for B2B Companies
As we’ve seen above, every web hosting service is typically a specialized computer that stores the website files and handles requests from visitors and users. The basic dish can come in different flavors, although, it depends on how the computing resources of the server are allocated between the provider’s clients.
At HostPapa, we feel that it’s essential to offer a number of different options tailored to the needs of our various clients. Businesses come in many shapes and sizes, and so the best web host will offer a number of plans and packages. So instead of trying to figure out what to choose while reading features and reviews written by marketers, it’s best to start by thinking of what kind of hosting you really need. Or better yet, visit our site and speak with one of our staff members via live chat and get a walkthrough of all our packages.
1. Shared Hosting
This is the most common form of web hosting. Shared hosting is the least expensive of all hosting plans and, of course, the least powerful.
With this hosting type, several web hosting customers are sharing the same computer. All the websites on the various accounts are also stored on the same drive, delivered by the same web server, and processed by the same CPU.
It’s easy to notice why this is less costly than the other options. This is simply because the hosting company is allocating relatively few resources to you.
There are downsides, as you must have guessed. One of the biggest disadvantages of a shared hosting plan is that the entire websites from all the different accounts are sharing and competing for the same limited computer resources.
However, the servers that hold shared hosting plan websites are much bigger and powerful than your normal home computer, so they can comfortably host hundred (if not thousands) of websites without difficulties — provided that none of the websites are too popular or require lots of resources.
Every image and asset file, every page load needs a little attention from the web server whenever someone requests it.
But if you are running a content management system or a complex web application, this would need more than a trivial amount processor power to assemble content into a page, query a database, or take any other action.
Individually, this stuff can be incredibly fast as to seem instantaneous. But generate over hundreds or thousands of visitors within a few minutes, and you’re right on your way to getting your website crashed.
Furthermore, a downside of a shared hosting plan is the inability to fully customize the hosting environment. We know that this one might not mean a lot to you. For example, if you are running a simple WordPress blog, you can succeed without having to make any tweaks to your environment.
However, if you are trying to run a more complicated website, like a custom application built on a complicated framework, you’re definitely going to run into some trouble when you can’t correctly install all of your dependencies.
If your site is relatively small, or you’re still in the process of growing your user-base, a HostPapa shared plan is likely the perfect launchpad for your site.
At HostPapa, all shared hosting plans include at least two websites, a minimum of 100GB of disk space (with options to expand), but it also comes with unlimited bandwidth and a free domain registration among other essential features. With a user-friendly cPanel, WordPress ready hosting for those who prefer to use this platform, visitor-friendly performance, and finally a 99.9% uptime guarantee, it’s obvious why this is such a popular hosting option.
Those who sign up for a HostPapa Business or Business Pro hosting plan can also enjoy a 300% performance boost thanks to HostPapa’s rocket fast servers, automated back-up and restore service in case of unforeseen incidents or emergencies, as well as Domain Privacy Protection and Premium Wildcard SSL to keep sites safe from hackers. HostPapa’s easy to navigate website also allows prospective users to compare plans and find which would be right for them.
2. Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is where a server is split into virtual machines so that numerous virtual servers can be hosted on one physical machine, each with its own separate Operating System (OS).
In other words, a VPS sits somewhere between shared hosting (many people sharing one server) and dedicated hosting (one account per server) (more on this later).
With a HostPapa VPS, you have your own dedicated server — the server is not a physical one, but a virtual machine.
Each VPS has access to the server’s primary components such as disk space, CPU, and memory.
With a VPS hosting plan, you have total control of the environment, just as you would with a dedicated server hosting. This is especially useful if you are running a SaaS (software-as-a-service) business or developing custom applications.
A virtual private server can either be used by web developers, agencies, or web designers to sell hosting services to their clients, or they can be used to host more demanding and complex applications for one client.
The major advantages of a virtual private server are flexibility, scalability, and power.
Because the virtual private server has allocated resources such as RAM and CPU, they are insanely fast and powerful.
Furthermore, with a VPS, you can sell the services to your own clients if you wish just like Reseller Hosting, or you can simply reserve it for just one application or website for extra power and security.
Unlike reseller and shared hosting, there are no configuration problems so you can setup your VPS just the way you need it. That’s not all, you can also choose from a range of Linux systems for your virtual private server.
HostPapa VPS hosting is also extremely scalable. This means that you can increase the RAM or CPU to the level you need without having to make any physical changes or downtime as you would with a Dedicated Server (see below).
With a VPS from HostPapa, there is a dedicated set of resources for each website which means that business owners can pick and choose which specific features they want to use and pay for. This way, companies and their online visitors can rely on a stable connection, with built-in server monitoring, plus VPS provisioning on blacklist free IPs, as well as lightning fast speeds.
However, you must understand that flexibility and power come with its own price and a VPS does require some level of technical know-how to administer it.
3. Dedicated Server
In simple terms, a Dedicated Server is a physical server reserved completely for a single customer. In this case, there is no sharing with other customers within the same hosting company. The server is completely for your use only and that includes all of the main components such as disk space, RAM, and CPU.
While a Dedicated Server has many advantages, it is also incredibly complicated and very expensive when compared to other hosting plans, which is why HostPapa doesn’t offer this service. With a Dedicated Server, you start with a set of fixed resources (CPU, Disk Space, RAM), and that means you may end up paying more initially for resources that you may not actually need.
4. Scalable Cloud-Based VPS Hosting
With this type of hosting plan, your Virtual Private Server (VPS) isn’t one of several on a single server. Instead, it is one of the hundreds all making use of a giant pool of computing resources.
Ideally, hosting companies keep the average amount of resource use well within the limits of the actual level of computing power at-hand. This could be as low as 50%. If usage suddenly increases because of traffic spike on one website, overall usage spikes as well, but stays within what the system as a whole is able to handle.
This equally works perfectly for websites as they grow over time. The web hosting company adds more computing resources or power — or reorganizes how the virtual machines are positioned on the system, so as to maintain optimal performance as each website’s usage profile changes.
Another advantage to scalable cloud-based hosting is that you’ll usually pay for only what you use. This is especially vital for B2B companies that can’t afford to pay for high-end web hosting while starting but will eventually require the bandwidth if the business blossoms.
5. Managed Hosting
If you need the power and bandwidth of a Dedicated Server or VPS, but don’t have the technical knowledge to perform serious server administration, a managed hosting plan might be your best choice.
Managed hosting is a word that covers lots of different types of hosting plans, but one thing they all share in common is that the web hosting company offers some kind of proactive technical assistance. This might be as easy as installing software and helping with initial settings, to ongoing monitoring and upgrading.
Some managed hosting plans give you direct access to a virtual private server or a dedicated server, and the hosting company equally offers quality support in addition to that basic hosting service.
This offers you the flexibility to do whatever you want, but without having to know everything about server administration.
Furthermore, other managed hosting plans are geared toward certain applications like WordPress, and your interaction with them is limited to that one installation.
In this case, the whole environment has been configured to provide the best experience with just one application, and there is really nothing else you should do.
This is good if that’s the only application you need, but it does not give you much control.
What Are You Buying When You Buy Web Hosting For Your B2B Company?
Web hosting is not a tangible service. You can’t really see or touch it. As a result of that, it’s easy to assume that all web hosting plans are equal, or that it isn’t worth spending money on.
Now, to fully understand the various pricing types available in web hosting, it’s important to know what you’re actually paying for when you buy web hosting, and what the hosting company is spending your money on.
1. Data Centers
Of course, servers must sit somewhere, so extra expense is paid for the physical location of a server. These are usually large buildings housing hundreds or even thousands of servers.
These buildings and every piece of equipment in them must be well guarded, cooled, and maintained for adequacy. Data centers use lots of electricity, and they must be located in a place that has availability of very high bandwidth, high-speed internet access.
While the majority of the software used by web hosting uses is Open Source, it doesn’t apply to everything. Conspicuously, the most popular control panel that is available for web hosting accounting management (cPanel) is patented software that has to be licensed and paid for.
If you want a Windows hosting plan, most of the software on the server is patented, and that is why Windows hosting is often more costly than Linux hosting. Which is the primary reason why it’s always advisable to use Windows hosting if you have a specific need for that platform.
Although you will never see it, the physical equipment (the servers themselves) is one of the biggest expenses of web hosting. These are very powerful and fast rack-mounted computers.
Using better, and more expensive equipment is one of the most impactful things that premium web hosting companies could do to enhance their service. Faster equipment here means faster website load times, which is helpful for both you and your website users.
If you want to get a prompt answer when you send out an email or call someone, you’ll have to use a hosting company, like Hostpapa, which offers a superior level of customer support.
The support might come in the form of detailed guides, FAQs, phone support, knowledge base articles, help desk ticketing system, or email support. Proactive server management can also be thought of as a form of support.
Just like everything else, you can expect that a very comprehensive support system is going to be more expensive than an otherwise equal hosting package without a good support program.
What to Look For in Web Hosting For Your B2B Company
Below are the various things you should always consider when purchasing a web host.
Bandwidth is a measure of the maximum data that passes from your website to your users in a particular time period, usually per month.
If you are running a site for a small business or a personal blog, and you don’t expect to be getting a lot of traffic, then the “unlimited” shared hosting bandwidth will certainly work fine for you.
However, if you’re building a bigger website that will eventually handle thousands of visitors per day, then paying for bandwidth will become a problem.
You can analyze your current traffic (and trending) if you are moving from one host to the other. This will enable you to determine how much bandwidth you actually need in a plan. Our HostPapa support staff can also help you determine if your needs have begun to exceed your current plan’s capacity, and also help you migrate to a new plan if necessary.
Otherwise, if you’re just starting a new website, and don’t have much knowledge of what you’ll eventually need, or how quickly you’ll get there, it’ll be better to choose a plan where your hosting costs are variable depending on your daily traffic.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the things you can personally do to boost speed (reducing your assets, using a CDN) will reduce your bandwidth usage.
The amount of storage you need will always depend on several factors but if you are running the type of website that’s designed for shared hosting packages (small business sites and personal blogs) you will be perfectly fine using a smaller plan.
If you’re building a website that will specifically host lots of music files and high-resolution images, you will definitely need over 1GB of space — which HostPapa can provide.
If you are creating a normal website that happens to have lots of photos — for instance, a recipe blog with several pictures per post, or an e-commerce website with too many product images — you’ll perhaps be okay with 2 to 4GB space for a good long while. Simply visit our site and speak with our chat staff to find out which plan will be best for your needs.
The main hurdle with building a new website is that you have no idea of what your specific needs will be in the future. Basically, you can make some normal guesses about how much storage and bandwidth you’ll need, but those are often just guesses.
Because of this, one of the major critical things to consider when getting a web host is “how easy is it to upgrade” if the need arises. Find a host like HostPapa that can help you migrate easily.
4. Customer Support
According to statistics, “19.9% of web hosting clients say technical support is the most important thing in choosing a web host.”
Unless you are just running a personal blog and don’t really care if it goes offline, ensure you choose a hosting company that has superb customer support.
According to this Entrepreneur.com article, “look for hosting companies that offer 24/7 phone support, online chat, and email access.”
Problems will always arise. Even with the most straightforward website and the best web hosting company in the world, there will always be one problem or the other.
Technology is just too complex for that not to happen. You, therefore, want to ensure that you have a hosting company like HostPapa that will assist you in dealing with the problems when they surface. Our award-winning PapaSquad Support Team is available for you 24/7/365, and if you need even more help, we offer the option to join one of our weekly webinars or you can book an exclusive 30-minute one-on-one video training session with a HostPapa expert — visit our site to find out how.
Almost every web hosting company offers a control panel for easily managing your web hosting account. But some of them make it incredibly difficult to access your account in some other ways.
At the very least, you want to have FTP (file transfer protocol) access to your files. Additionally, SSH (secure shell) access, which provides you a command line interface to the server, is also necessary to have, even if you don’t really plan to use it (you never can tell).
It’s equally important to find out if it’s possible to install extra programs on your server, and how hard that is.
However, this might not be a problem for you (you’ll probably never use anything except WordPress), but it’s advisable to find out ahead of time, especially if you think you might eventually want to run other applications.
When choosing a web hosting provider, make sure they can help you improve your website speed in some way, because it does affect page speed, according to this source.
Your website should load as fast as possible. If your website visitors have to wait for long for your page to load, it’ll give them a poor experience, and they may leave; never to come back.
Furthermore, Google now uses website loading speed as part of their ranking factors. This means that slow loading can murder your SEO efforts.
Unfortunately, the loading speed of a website is affected by lots of different factors, and only a few of them depend on the web host. And almost every web hosting company advertises that their service is “luminously fast.”
However, there are tips you can use to determine if one web host will be faster than the other.
- Location: The closer your users are to a data center, the faster your page will load. If the majority of your users will likely be in one area, choose a web hosting company with a data center near that location.
- Detailed server hardware stats: As stated earlier, the details are sometimes difficult to figure out, but the simple fact that the web hosting provider is advertising their server setup is often a good sign.This (at least) means that their service is not being run on top of someone else’s equipment.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN): Many web hosting companies provide a built-in partnership with a CDN. This will drastically boost the speed of the website, as images and other resources are offloaded to faster servers.
- Solid State Drives (SSD): These are much faster than the traditional spinning disk drives.
A vital consideration with all of this is not only speed but consistency. If a website is usually remarkably fast, but then slows down sometimes, that is more dangerous than if it was only decently fast all the time.
Bear in mind that what you do with a server will have a significant impact on how fast your website runs. Remember to limit the use of plugins, optimize your website code, implement a CDN, and use any relevant caching tools.
Finally, upgrading your web hosting package can have a big impact on page loading speed. This is especially true for resource intensive websites.
For example, the guys at 10x Digital Inc recently conducted a page load speed study that gauges the impact of upgrading from a basic shared hosting plan to a virtual private server. The results confirm definitively that a VPS hosting plan from a provider like HostPapa offered a 62% improvement in page load speed:
As you can see, you might also consider upgrading to a higher hosting package if you want to enjoy the best uptime and speed.
There you have it. In the end, the ideal web host should provide personal and customized services to its clients. If you choose a provider that doesn’t listen to you or care about your business in the long-term, you’ll struggle to scale your business.
When it comes to choosing the right web hosting provider make sure you do your research and browse around for quality web hosting reviews and comparison sites.
Better yet, use the best practices that we’ve shared with you on this guide to make informed decisions. Remember that the success of your website or blog, to a large extent, is dependent on the reliability of your web hosting provider, so choose wisely!