There are a staggering number of web hosts out there and unless you know what you need it can be very frustrating to look. While it is certainly a great idea to consult with your developer (they may offer hosting themselves suitable for your site) you may not be able to afford a dev or you might be a dev yourself looking for guidance.

In choosing a host, there are a lot of things to consider:
-Business needs
-Efficiency of application
-Support needs

There is no such thing as a one size fits all host. You may favor one host and your coworker might favor another. Ultimately, a company goes with the preferred host of the person they feel is most qualified to tell them what to do for their site, typically the hired developer.

While this isn’t bad advice, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Many times a developer will place a client’s site on their own shared hosting account which means the only person with panel access or data ownership is the developer. This is never a good idea and you should always have full control panel or even server access if possible. Whether you actually use it is irrelevant, but you should always own your hosting account. Also, make sure billing is in your name, preferably the company owner’s name.

Hosting your business website is so different from hosting your personal sites. While most hosts will generally be ok with you putting your business site on a “personal” type of account, this should always be as temporary as possible or even more ideal, avoided. Personal grade hosting is meant for small sites or ones of minimal financial importance, as those servers are typically loaded down with as many accounts as required to reach a profit margin. Consider that most shared servers cost $500+ a month and if you’re paying $15 or less a month for your hosting, you’re not making a proper investment in your business if you think this is a good idea to put your company web presence on it. It’s not worth the risk of thousands of dollars worth of downtime that can and does happen regardless of uptime guarantees. Consider also that the most a host will do is provide a credit for downtime as they are not obligated to pay for your lost profits.

Simply put, you need to look for business grade hosting. Business grade hosting usually includes:
-Spam protection via external server
-SSL certificate
-Weekly or daily offsite backups
-Non-oversold servers

What is overselling? Simply put, that’s when a host tries to cram as many accounts on one server to turn a hefty profit. Your business site is not cattle, it needs room to breathe.

Unlimited disk space is also a sham. Most hosts cut the cord at 25gb. There is no such thing as unlimited disk space as all hard drives eventually get full. Going back to avoiding oversold servers, make sure to buy accounts that have metered disk space. This is a good sign the host doesn’t play sardines with their servers.

Your website will use things like CPU and memory, and the more traffic you get, the more resources you will use. On shared hosting it is easy to reach the limit especially on personal type accounts. Proper business grade hosting has much higher limits and is designed for ecommerce and professional business sites. There are only a few things that you can get away with on personal type hosting, such as squeeze pages or lead capture pages, or even a light blog, without running into a real problem stability wise due to resources. Again, if your site is making any real money or at least paying your bills, then it needs proper hosting. Being cheap is a disservice to yourself and will cause you problems in this arena.

Consider your support needs too. Some business hosts provide development, SEO, and even web design services. Most “retail” hosts (personal grade hosts) only provide the hosting element and require you to find your own dev and seo guy. While this is normally not a problem, be aware that there are hosts out there that include this under one roof and this is why those generally cost more. They understand business and know there’s a lot more that your business needs than just a place to park your website. Also, not all hosts offer phone support or 24/7 support. Make sure you know your support options and their scope before signing up.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are the basics to look out for hosting your business websites.