Find The Best Web Host For Your Online Business

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-08-2121

Want to make money blogging? Here are more thoughts on how to start an online business.

With the recession causing so much unemployment and the threat of job loss looming over many heads, people have been hunting for ways to make up for lost income. Some of us have become proactive by developing a business on the side in order to mitigate the risk of job loss, even while we still have jobs. I think that even a small profit from a side venture can help quite a bit.

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Online Business Startup Costs Are Cheap

So I wanted to write a little about online business, since it happens to be one fairly easy way to try to create an income stream apart from your day job. What’s great about an online business is that it doesn’t take much to get it started: it doesn’t require that much money. You can run a business for under $100 a month, and more often than not, it’s much cheaper than that!

In my case, I started out using all the free tools I could get (but of course!), but over time, I realized that “free” wasn’t going to sustain a business indefinitely, nor would it make it easier and less frustrating for me to handle any growing pains that may come. In some respects, there are still a lot of things you can get for free in this business, but with a small outlay, you can set up a site, no sweat. So how about we discuss what it is you need to get started on your online adventure?

How To Find The Best Web Host For Your Online Business

If you want to go the free route to start with, you can. Just sign up with or and set up a blog on the spot. You’ll get a built in community there that can send you a bit of traffic your way.

If you’re looking for more flexibility and the ability to brand your site, then you should consider going “independent”. Perhaps you’d like to start your own recipe blog, or would like to build your own t-shirt site. Maybe you’re interested in setting up a site to represent your professional self online, and may want to leverage this somehow. Or you could simply be looking for a company that can provide you with email hosting services. Either way, you’ll need to choose a web hosting provider that’s affordable, easy to work with and reliable.

What’s great about cheap web hosting services is that they can offer quite a lot for the money. Take a look at some of the features you’ll get for under $10 a month (as an example):

  • Free domain name or domain transfer
  • Instant set up
  • 1 click installer for over 50 website scripts
  • Diskspace and bandwidth
  • Free site building tools with templates
  • 99.9% network uptime guarantee
  • Customer support
  • Easy cancellation process
  • Domain registration and hosting, email accounts and email hosting services
  • E-commerce services, which are tools to help you launch your online store
  • Online marketing services such as SEO and link building services

Here are some things to determine before you sign up for any service:

  1. What’s your budget? Can I swing this for less than $100 a month, or should I expect to pay more? Based on the pricing structure, you may find that one web host will work better for you than others. Take for instance Microsoft Office Live Small Business: the plan offers many free services but will charge you a bit higher (than other web hosts) for the use of additional resources.
  2. How much space do you need? Are you putting up a website with thousands of pages, or can you get by with less space? Although it doesn’t hurt to get more space than you need now, you don’t want to pay extra each month for 500 GB you’ll never use.
  3. Does the web host give you the tools you’ll need to build the website, or do you need to make the pages on your own? These days, you can simply choose free or low cost templates and skins to build your site, although some people prefer to hire professional designers to do this job for them.
  4. What are your hardware requirements? You’ll need to know if your existing hardware can work with the web hosting provider. For instance, if you’re using a Linux machine, then you can’t really sign up for Microsoft Office Live Small Business, which requires you to work with a Windows or Mac OS X platform.
  5. What about your domain name? Does the web host handle this service or should you find a domain registrar?
  6. How is the customer service? This is actually the achilles heel of many hosting companies. Many of them find it tough to stick to a 99% network uptime guarantee (hello, Dreamhost) and fall short of their promise to keep your site up most of the time. So find out what you can about a company’s reliability before signing up with them.

The Best Web Hosts Come Highly Recommended

Before you commit to a web host, take a look at several of them. You might like the tools and services of one provider over that of another, even if it costs a little more. You can check out our list of cheap web hosting services for a comprehensive list! Here’s a sampling:

Web Host
Monthly Rate (Sample Plan)
HostMonster $5.95 a month Great customer service, free set up, free domain name or transfer
Blue Host $6.95 a month One of the older web hosting companies around with a strong reputation, Has received many awards
IX Web Hosting $3.95 to $7.95 a month Top customer service, Has an unconditional money back guarantee
Lunar Pages $2.95 a month Has diverse packages from a simple email service plan and basic hosting to dedicated hosting
PowWeb $4.88 a month Uses proprietary load balancing technology for high reliability, simple “one plan” package
1 & 1 Hosting $3.99 to $19.99 a month Various plans are available including basic hosting, business hosting, VPS packages, dedicated servers and ecommerce support

As far as web hosting providers to avoid, there are a few, including HostGator, Web Hosting Pad and Fat Cow. I’ve had a few friends complain about their lack of customer support and professionalism, so be wary of dealing with these services.

Starting with a few key decisions about pricing and the size of the site you intend to build, you can create an implementation plan for hosting and developing your site. So if you’re an online entrepreneur, I’d love to hear about your experience with setting up your own business and how your web host has been treating you!

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Mix August 22, 2009 at 12:34 am

Neat article and comparison. One thing all should neglect is the Unlimited tag. There is nothing in the world that is unlimited. Mostly there will be some cap in the diskspace and bandwidth. Only thing is you can ask them to remove the cap once you reach that. Mostly I have seen the cap is set at 10GB.

So instead think more about uptime, response time etc.

Studenomist August 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I went with bluehost because it is simply and easy to use. My account came with a free domain registration. The one time my server went down I called them and they quickly helped me out.

Hadi Satria August 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Thank you very much for these tips. Very helpful!!

Achooda August 22, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Online businesses are crucial especially during these recession days.This will ensure your economic safety.

Silicon Valley Blogger August 23, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Thanks for your input! Yes….None of these web hosts can be “perfect” so it’s not uncommon for servers to go down on occasion, especially if you run on a shared server. But what I found *very* important is for customer support to be attentive to my requests and questions when I am ever faced with downtime. I was on DreamHost for a while, but they are really the worst, in my book, when it comes to customer service. It takes hours for any response and in the meantime, you twiddle your thumbs waiting for your site to come back to life.

So after almost a year of torture with them (I gave them many chances to prove my impressions wrong), I switched to HostMonster and it was a relief. Their customer support was fabulous and easy to reach (they would chat with me online and the phone wait was never too long). And all issues were fairly easy to resolve (usually I had a script that would bog down my site that would cause intermittent slowness). So yeah, my vote is with HostMonster and BlueHost, which have solid reputations in this business.

SMART BEKANTAN August 24, 2009 at 2:02 am

Great tips. They’re very helpful. Thank for posting them.
I have a plan to build a website to sell virtual credit cards (vcc). But I had a trauma about a hosting and domain provider domain. My account was stolen. And i lost my site.

Now,i just play with a blog.

J. Money August 24, 2009 at 6:09 am

I’m all about Godaddy. Been using them for 9 years and haven’t had a single complaint yet 🙂 both with domains and hosting – excellent customer support as well. Am I the only one that uses them in the PF niche? Don’t see many giving them love…

Silicon Valley Blogger August 24, 2009 at 8:29 am

J Money,
I’ve had the opportunity to use GoDaddy as well, and have had no problems, but man, their website is the most cluttered thing I’ve seen anywhere! They really need a facelift over there. Other than that, they’re cool. 🙂

And I’ll echo your question, J — what I find ironic is how many PF sites use DreamHost still and seem to be satisfied with it. So was I the only one in the entire PF niche who thought they were substandard?

CM Duncan August 24, 2009 at 9:40 am

We’ve had good luck with BlueHost and I’ve used HostGator for some personal accounts. Haven’t had any problems.

Scott Lovingood August 24, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Most of my sites are on Bluehost simply because of the “unlimited” number of add ons. I do have one hosted at Dreamhost but right now it is just a holder page. They ran a special for a year at $7.77 including domain name. I figured I would try it but so far I much prefer the interface at Bluehost.

I have gotten fantastic response from both emails and phone calls from them (Bluehost). No issues yet with Dream but when its a static one page site what can you expect.

There are some other free options though . Weebly and Blinkweb would be two that come to mind. Haven’t used either of them yet but thinking about playing around with them.

Richard Gorham August 25, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I think the comparisons in this article are solid, and I agree with the post recommending BlueHost as a quality provider. I have also used Bluehost in the past and was pleased with their service.

The one thing that I would say is important to add is that while any web host can provide the tools to establish a website, very few really take people by the hand and show them how to build a solid online business. In my opinion, there is a major difference between creating a website and creating an online business that is viewed well by both human visitors as well as the Search Engines. This is why I host all of my websites as Sitesell. I’m certain most would agree that you only have a real business if you have real traffic.

Jared August 25, 2009 at 8:01 pm

I’m surprised anhosting isn’t up there. That’s the site I use.

Lee September 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Being a bit of a geek, I went the mid-point of getting a hosting provider and getting my own server. Instead, I use an ‘RPS’. This is like a VPS, but slightly more dedicated.

Save me explaining it — here.

Mark September 11, 2009 at 2:36 pm

In general stay away from anything that is advertised as unlimited. If you want quality high uptime hosting you will have to pay more than $10 per month for it (or just get lucky). Also it is important to spend some time backing up your data (including email and databases). Don’t leave this to your host’s promises. Lastly consider a VPS for higher performance and reliability. A VPS will allow you to control your hosting environment and will reduce the risks of a shared site knocking you offline during those busy periods.

Andy September 17, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Great post! Have you ever checked out Microsoft Office Live Small Business? Small Business websites are inexpensive, ad free and easy to use. MSFT hosts these websites for as little as $15 a year and you can add email and shopping carts.

Check it out here!

MSFT Office Live Outreach Team

Robert November 8, 2009 at 12:41 am

I use Pow Web and it is great. Great customer service, always up, and it has Word Press built right in!


Emma November 17, 2009 at 3:41 am

Thanks for the post! The info and ideas are great!

Linda Goodfaith November 20, 2009 at 11:47 pm

I want to set up a Wordpress blog and decided to go with HostMonster as my web host. It’s really worked out well for me. Also, Wordpress as a blogging platform has been relatively easy to use and I am now using some of the add-ons.

Mariano November 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Very nice list and a great resource for picking a hosting provider. There are other smaller ones out there that might be a little more reliable but are more expensive.

Starting a blog on or blogger is fine, but if it’s going to be the basis for a business I would actually recommend against it. Firstly, any kind of SEO that you do for the site credits those services rather than your domain; secondly, you’re limited in terms of what kind of advertising you can do on those sites. Making the minimal investment in your own site makes sense if you intend to use it as a revenue generator; if done right your return will be far greater than your investment.

I’ve also seen some people mention GoDaddy and my $0.02: They seem to be a reliable service provider, but I agree that they’re horribly cluttered on their web site and make it difficult for the average user to discern what they need and what they’re actually getting. They could seriously use a good user interface expert over there…or just simplify their packages!

Great advice, and thanks for the information!

Russ Blanc December 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I have had the opportunity to use many web hosting providers in the past 10 years. I currently use Bluehost because of their affordability and price point. This year was big in the hosting industry. Prices have dropped below $5 per month, web hosting has become unlimited and multiple sites can now co-exist on one account. Excellent! What will 2010 bring in the web hosting industry?

Kevin February 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I use Best web hosting by far, especially for business / ecommerce. They have Cloud hosting which ensures uptime, redundancy, and scalability.

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