Small business owners don’t enjoy the power that large corporations have when negotiating prices with suppliers so they have to take every opportunity to cut costs in all areas of their operations. Getting the best web hosting deal possible is part of that drive for value.

Why you need web hosting

Web hosting costs can vary greatly depending on the nature of your business and the purpose of its sites. Small business websites are good publicity channels Ecommerce enterprises could not exist without an online store and so their business website hosting needs are of primary importance.

When you need web hosting

Unless your small business revolves around IT, you are better off opting for a web hosting plan for your business websites right from the start of operations. The activities of small businesses usually center on the key skills of its founder and there is no point a non-technical entrepreneur trying to learn enough about web servers and all of the software they need.

The best web hosting providers supply all of the server resources, software, and an expert support team while still keeping business hosting costs down. It is a waste of time and money for any entrepreneur to try to perform all of the website hosting tasks.

How to choose web hosting

Web hosting providers offer many different configurations of small business web hosting plans. Web hosting services were very early entrants into the cloud services market and so some web hosting companies term themselves cloud hosting solution. The many hosting options described in different ways make choosing a small business hosting plan very difficult and time consuming.

Here are some terms to look out for when searching for a business hosting package:

  • Cloud hosting – Strictly speaking this is a managed server that includes cloud platform software but it can also describe any remote server accessed across the internet
  • Control panel hosting – The control panel is a graphical interface that enables the user to perform all website administration tasks without going down to the operating system
  • Dedicated server – A hosted server rented out in its entirety to one customer
  • Domain registration – Many web hosting providers started in business offering domain names for sales and still run that service
  • Linux web server – A server that runs the Linux operating system and usually deploys the Apache Web Server software
  • Reseller hosting – A rented web server that the customer divides up and sells on to many sub account holders
  • Shared hosting plan – Web hosting plans that give many customers separate accounts on the same server, sharing a common operating system. Access to the operating system is blocked
  • Server hosting – Can refer to a dedicated server plan or a VPS hosting plan
  • Virtual private server – A server that is segmented for rental to several customers. The separation goes right down to the bare metal server, requiring a separate operating system for each account
  • VPS hosting – The management of virtual private server accounts
  • Windows web server – A server running the Windows Server operating system and uses the Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) to manage website delivery tasks
  • WordPress website hosting – A web hosting plan that is tailored towards the management of websites that use WordPress and the plugins associated with that CMS package.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are just running a company with less than ten workers, you should aim for a shared hosting plan. If your business is very web intensive and you have lots of employees that need to access the server for their work, go for a VPN hosting package. Very large businesses would probably prefer a dedicated server. VPS hosting and dedicated server plans usually come with the option of a managed service, which includes all of the technical staff needed to maintain the web server. Those companies that already have IT skills would probably prefer to go without that service and opt for an unmanaged dedicated server or VPS hosting plan.

The best web hosting providers for small businesses

This web hosting review focuses on the web hosting needs of small businesses. We have examined the web hosting plans that are available on the market today and arrived at a list of the best web hosting services for small businesses. Key features that we looked for were:

  • Good customer support
  • Extras included, such as a free domain name and a free SSL certificate
  • Unlimited server resources to account for business expansion
  • Free site migration for those small businesses that already have a site but want to move it
  • A good reputation
  • A money back guarantee

Here is our list of the eight best web hosting providers for small businesses:

  1. HostGator
  2. Bluehost
  3. GoDaddy
  4. SiteGround
  5. A2 Hosting
  6. Hostinger
  7. DreamHost
  8. InMotion Hosting

You can read more about each of these hosting options in the individual web hosting reviews below.


 

HostGator

hostgator logo

HostGator is one of the oldest web hosting providers. It started out as a domain registration service and still carries on that business alongside its web hosting services. HostGator gives each customer a free domain name as part of the web hosting package. Other bonuses in the web hosting plans from HostGator are a free SSL certificate.

The configurations of web hosting options from HostGator are shared hosting plans, VPN hosting, and dedicated servers. Small businesses are more likely to go for the shared hosting plans. The hosting service has specialist WordPress hosting plans but the WordPress CMS is available for installation on any standard plan. The general shared hosting plans work out cheaper than the service for WordPress sites. They also include a library of plugins for WordPress, such as WooCommerce and other CMSs are available for free, including Joomla and Drupal.

The top plan gets a dedicated IP address and free SEO tools as well as other benefits that are available to all three shared hosting plans, such as free email accounts, free site migrations, and unlimited bandwidth.  

Pros

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free domain name
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited storage space
  • Unlimited subdomains
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • cPanel control panel
  • Customer support around the clock
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 45-day money back guarantee

Cons

  • Disks are not SSD

 

Bluehost

Bluehost logo

Bluehost offers VPS hosting, dedicated servers, and shared hosting plans. WordPress site hosting plans including a managed hosting plan with a support team included are also available. However, WordPress can be easily installed for free on a standard shared hosting plan. Once WordPress is activated on an account, it is easy to install the WooCommerce plugin to create an eCommerce online store.

All shared hosting plans get the cPanel control panel and include unlimited bandwidth, a free domain name, and a free SSL certificate. The basic shared hosting plan is just for one website and it has limits on server resources. The two higher plans get unlimited SSD storage space. None of the shared hosting plans get an email account manager. Instead, Bluehost recommends Office 365. That is an expensive service and buyers would have to factor that cost into their calculations. Cloudflare CDN is available as a paid addon. This will improve web page load time and cover for server downtime. All plans get $100 for Microsoft Advertising and $100 for Google Ads 

Pros

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free domain name
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited SSD storage space with higher plans
  • Unlimited subdomains with higher plans
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Cons

  • No native email account manager

 

GoDaddy

godaddy_logo

GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain registration company and also the largest web hosting provider in the world.  The web hosting services offers its customers a choice of Linux or Windows Server operating systems. It is able to provide shared hosting plans, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers.

The shared hosting plans of GoDaddy don’t include a website builder. However, content management systems such as WordPress with WooCommerce, Drupal, and Joomla are available for free and will be installed by the GoDaddy control panel on demand. These environments have website builders that have drag-and-drop layout creation options and templates and wizards to make site creation easy.

The basic plan of GoDaddy’s shared hosting options only hosts one website and has limits on access to server resources. All plans get unlimited bandwidth and a free domain name. The other plans, though, get unlimited disk space. Only the top two plans get a free SSL certificate.

Like Bluehost, GoDaddy expects customers to rely on Office 365 for email management utilities. However, GoDaddy does include a free subscription to that package for one year in all its shared hosting plans.

Pros

  • Free domain name
  • WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla can be installed on demand
  • Choice of Linux or Windows servers
  • cPanel control panel
  • Uptime guarantee of 99.9%
  • DDoS protection
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Free SSL certificate only with the top two plans
  • Money back guarantee only 48 hours
  • No email manager in the plan control panel

 

SiteGround

SiteGround is recommended by WordPress.org. Those who don’t want to use the CMS can create a unique website with the Weebly website builder, which is included in the SiteGround shared hosting plans.

There are three shared hosting plans at SiteGround. The top two plans can host an unlimited number of sites and the basic plan is organized just for one site. Bonuses in all three plans include a free SSL certificate, unlimited bandwidth, a free CDN, and free email accounts. The content delivery network (CDN) holds the protected site’s content on servers in data centers around the world so that they can be delivered faster to website visitors no matter how far away they are from the original host of the website.

Pros

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free FTP accounts
  • Free website builder
  • Free CDN
  • Fast SSD storage
  • WordPress hosting
  • WooCommerce plugin available
  • Weebly website builder
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a free domain name

 

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting provides dedicated servers, VPS hosting, and shared hosting plans. Small businesses would be better off with these value-for-money web hosting solutions.  Of the four plans, the Startup plan hosts one website, while the others all have no limit on the number of sites they can host.

Unusually, none of the shared hosting plans get a free domain name. All plans can host WordPress and they all get a free SSL certificate included. The plans all get SSD storage space and a webmail interface for email accounts, Cloudflare CDN to improve load times and cover for server downtime, and security features that include malware and DDoS attack protection.

Pros

  • Free Cloudflare CDN
  • Free website builder
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free FTP accounts
  • SSD storage space
  • Choice of data center location
  • WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla included
  • A no hassle anytime money back guarantee
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • No free domain name offer

 

Hostinger

Hostinger is an employee-owned company based in Lithuania. The business runs a domain registration service as well as web hosting.

The web hosting requirements of small businesses are better served by the company’s shared hosting plans and WordPress plans. The company also offers an email hosting plan. However, customers of the shared hosting plans don’t need to buy email hosting as an addon because email account management is included with all plans. Hostinger also includes a free SSL certificate and a free domain name with each hosting account.

It isn’t necessary to opt for the WordPress plan because the shared hosting environment has an installer that will set up the CMS. Joomla and Drupal are also options. The WordPress system has direct access to a library of plugins, which includes WooCommerce. There isn’t a website builder included in the shared hosting plans – it is a separate offer.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Website builder is an addon

 

DreamHost

DreamHost logo

DreamHost has some interesting cloud hosting options for those small businesses that develop software or offer remote services. These include a customizable cloud server package, which is a dedicated server plan but with cloud platform software installed on it. The hosting provider also has a plan called DreamObjects, which is specifically aimed at those who develop applications or offer WordPress customization services. This service is a host for program object storage.

Other small businesses would probably be more interested in the shared hosting plans of DreamHost. The company also offers a regular dedicated server plan and also VPS hosting.

The shared hosting plans are also offered in a dedicated WordPress package. However, the standard web hosting plans can all include WordPress for free and the CMS will be installed automatically on demand in any shared hosting account.

All shared hosting plans get unlimited bandwidth and good data transfer speeds. Email account management is included in these plans as are a free domain name and a free SSL certificate.

Pros

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Recommended by WordPress.org
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited email accounts on most plans
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • Customer support team available 24/7 with live chat support
  • 97-day moneyback guarantee

Cons

  • No malware protection

 

InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting offers the complete range of web hosting solutions: dedicated servers, virtual private servers, and shared hosting plans. Other hosting options from InMotion Hosting are managed WordPress accounts and reseller hosting. The company also provides a domain registration service.

The InMotion Hosting plans that are most likely to interest small businesses are its WordPress hosting packages and its shared hosting plans.

As with the other options in this hosting review, the shared hosting plans offer better value for money than the WordPress hosting plans. This is because account holders of the shared hosting plans can get WordPress installed, which gives them just about all of the facilities that they would otherwise get with a WordPress plan.

Shared hosting account holders can also opt for Drupal or Joomla. InMotion Hosting customers get access to a library of more than 400 software packages and an installer to set any of them up. Web hosting services also integrate easily with external utilities, such as Google Apps. This utility makes the shared hosting plans very flexible and easy to use for those who have little technical knowledge. The interface for hosting and domain management is the cPanel control panel.

There are three shared hosting plans. The basic plan is limited to hosting two websites, the second plan can host six sites, and the top plan offers hosting for an unlimited number of sites. In motion includes a free domain name and a free SSL certificate with all plans.  InMotion Hosting allows unlimited email accounts and unlimited bandwidth. Plans also include and malware protection.

Pros

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free domain name
  • Free website builder
  • Free site migrations
  • Free website builder
  • Spam protection for email accounts plus malware protection for the hosting services
  • Unlimited SSD disk space
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • WordPress and 400 other applications for free
  • 90-day money back guarantee
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • No CDN service