May
17
Posted on May 17, 2010
Filed Under (Advice, Ecommerce, General Business) by jennifer

There are few service providers (except perhaps for lawyers) who are the subject of more derision than Web hosting providers. Indeed, ask any three business owners who have used the same Web hosting company (or read any online reviews) and you’re likely to get very different opinions.

Some of the most common complaints among small business owners about Web hosting companies: the customer service sucked; their Web site went down or was unavailable for an unacceptable amount of time; and all the hidden fees.

So to help you find a good, reliable Web hosting company for your small or mid-sized business, I spoke with over a dozen business owners and Web experts to find out what you should look for — and what you should avoid. I also looked at five of the leading Web hosting companies and created a comparison chart (below).

Some of the most important features to look for when choosing a Web hosting company:

* Look for a good, easy to use interface

* Find out how much bandwidth and disk space are included

* Uptime/Availability

* Scalability (Can the Web hosting company grow with your business?)

* Hidden fees

* How many email accounts come with each plan

* How many add-on and/or subdomains come with each plan

* If the service comes with sitebuilding tools

* If the Web hosting provider offers ecommerce tools and support

For more information, read my article, “SMB Guide: How to Choose a Good Web Host Provider,” on SmallBusinessComputing.com.

Web Hosting Providers Comparison Chart

BlueHost

FatCow

GoDaddy

InMotion

Yahoo

Price/Month

$3.95

$5.50

$5.59 (for Windows Deluxe Plan, if you purchase 12 mos.)

$7.95 (for Power package)

$7.46 for first 3 mos., $9.95/mo. after if you purchase 12 mos.

Setup Fee

None/Free

None/Free

None/Free

None/Free

None/Free

Disk Space/
Bandwidth

Unlimited

Unlimited

150 GB/2 GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

Uptime Claim

99.9%

99.9%

99.9%

99.9%

99.9%

Add-on and Sub-Domains

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Up to 100 included

Up to 1,000 included

Email

2,500 POP3/IMAP accounts

Unlimited POP mailboxes

500

Unlimited

1,000

Customer Service

24/7 phone, email, live chat

24/7 phone, email, live chat

24/7 phone, email, Web

24/7 phone, email, live chat

24/7 phone, email

E-commerce/
Cart

Free/Included

Free/Included

Free/Included (though SSL Certificate is an extra $29.99/yr)

Free/Included

$99.95/mo. For Yahoo! Merchant Solutions Standard Plan, which includes Web hosting

Site Builder Tools

Free/Included

Free/Included

$8.09/mo. For Deluxe 10-page Web site if you purchase 12 mos.

Free/Included

Free/Included

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