When you decide to build an online business, some of the biggest things on your mind are likely which products you will sell and how you’ll fulfill the needs of your customers. You might devote a significant amount of time and resources into creating the right website for your online business, but what about your hosting provider?
Web hosting may not be top of mind as something that has far-reaching business consequences, but it ignoring this part of the equation could be a mistake. If you choose a web host that is less than reliable or doesn’t have the features you need, your business is going to suffer. Here is what you need to know about web hosting and some of the ways that hosting services can impact your online business so that you can get the services and return on investment you need.
What is a Hosting Provider?
You can buy your domain and create a website for your online business, but someone has to “host” it. A hosting provider gets your website online so that your customers can visit your site and generate revenue for your business.
The alternative to using a hosting provider is to purchase your own web server, which you’ll need to learn how to use and keep maintained. You’ll also have to store the server and pay for the power to run it 24/7. If there is a failure in the middle of the night, you’ll need to be on hand to take care of that; otherwise, your website will remain offline until you do.
Web hosting providers are meant to reduce the hassle and cost of putting your business online by “renting” server space to clients. As a customer, you pay either an annual or monthly fee to the web host. In exchange, the hosting provider is responsible for keeping its hardware working and up to date.
How Hosting Services Impact Your Online Business
Just picking a hosting provider at random may not be the best option for your online business. The truth is that they are not all equal in terms of quality and the services they offer. It’s vital that you do due diligence before signing up for a service. Why? Here are seven key ways that your web hosting services can impact your online business.
According to HubSpot, page load speed impacts conversions rates. Specifically, just a 1-second delay in page load speed can translate into a 7% reduction in conversions. Put another way, if your online business makes $100,000 each day, a 1-second improvement in page load speed would mean an additional $7,000 per day in revenue.
Since page load speed is vital, you need a web hosting provider that will help your site load quickly. Shared hosting might be more affordable, but you are “sharing” resources with other websites. With a Virtual Private Server (VPS), you get dedicated resources and better performance.
Speed is important, but so is website uptime. This refers to the percentage of time your website is online. Downtime translates to lost revenue for your business and can also impact your website search engine rankings.
When you choose a web hosting provider, they should be able to give you some statistics about their average uptime or downtime percentages. Uptime should be as close to 100% as possible.
Cybercriminals and hackers are likely to try to gain access to your website through a variety of means. If they are successful, this could have severe consequences for your business. This is why it’s vital that you pick a web host that offers strong security features.
Find a web hosting provider that has vulnerability and malware scanners in place to fend off malicious code that hackers might try to insert in your site. Your host should also do regular backups of data in case something does get through.
We already mentioned that page speed could impact your conversions, but how your website performs can also have an effect on your SEO efforts. Google began using page speed as a ranking factor a decade ago, meaning faster-loading web pages get rewarded with higher search engine ranking.
Uptime plays a role in SEO as well. When Google tries to index the pages on your website and finds that they aren’t online, it might either drop your rankings or deindex the page completely. In short, find a web hosting provider that is going to support your SEO strategy with good service instead of hurt it.
Another factor you need to consider with your web host is the Domain Name System (DNS) that it uses. A DNS is often compared to the phone book for the internet, meaning it is the mechanism for translating domain names into IP addresses. The DNS of your web host is vital because, if it is down, your website isn’t going to work.
When you choose a web hosting provider, you can use their standard DNS, or you can sometimes upgrade to a premium service. When using a premium service, you have more assurances of site uptime.
If you haven’t investigated the use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to improve the performance of your website, now is an excellent time to start. First, a CDN is a network of distributed servers that delivers content for your website based on the geographic location of the visitor and some other factors.
What does this have to do with your business and your web host? Using a CDN can help you optimize the performance of your website, allowing pages to load faster for your visitors. Some web hosts either come with a free CDN as a feature or make it simple to integrate a CDN. Further, using a CDN means you are using fewer server resources, so have a lower risk of disruptions from downtime.
7. Web Monitoring
What would happen if your business website was down for hours or even days, and you didn’t know about it? The potential is disturbing. You’ll undoubtedly lose some revenue. Beyond that, your business reputation might take a hit, as well as see a drop in your search engine rankings.
The quicker you know about a problem with your website, the faster you can do something to fix the issue and get things back online. The best web hosting providers will offer some type of web monitoring feature, even if it’s an upgrade. You’ll receive alerts about any issues that might impact your website before they can have a significant effect on your bottom line results.
8. Additional Tools and Services
Finally, different hosting providers also offer different additional tools and services that can help your business. These can be an asset in managing your business’ online appearance and communicating with your customers. For instance, some hosting providers let you set up a free business email address for you and your entire team. Not only does this help you separate your business communication from any personal accounts you might have been using to date. It also helps your business communicate coherently and inspires customer trust.
Web hosting can be critical to the success of your online business. If you don’t choose the right hosting provider, it could lead to damage to your brand’s reputation, lower search engine rankings, and loss of revenue. Before you sign up with a web host, understand your needs and options, and choose the one that will help you best achieve your goals.