Setting up a business website is not a lot different from setting up your own blog. The biggest differences are a couple of technical requirements that we will cover in great depth here.
Difference Between a Business Websites and Blogs
- 0.1 How We Reviewed Our Hosts
- 0.2 What to Look for in a Good Small Business Host
- 1 Our Top Small Business Web Hosts In Australia
Blogging for the most part is a fairly leisurely activity. The vast majority of bloggers don’t make much money from their blogs. Bloggers rely on their message, content and unique value to help readers. Small businesses in Australia requires hosts that are reliable and trustworthy.
Nothing reeks of unprofessionalism more than trying to find a company and their website is too slow to even use or doesn’t load properly. Expectations have changed and people have zero patience for any wait time long than two seconds
When it comes to small biz websites nothing radiates professionalism like a well built and lightening fast website.
How We Reviewed Our Hosts
If you check our Australian Host reviews you can read about our process in a lot more detail. Basically we run a development team that builds and maintains client websites. For the last decade we have built over 900 websites which we still manage hosting for.
Give the longevity of the project we have access to hosting data and uptime records for hundreds of sites across a wide spectrum of hosts. Basically, we got the data 😉
Using this data our Math whiz Spencer used some fancy graphs and statistical analysis (thanks Spencer) to find the bests hosts. Read more about our team here.
What to Look for in a Good Small Business Host
Luckily our top picks are also great for e-commerce hosting and blogging too. Below are a couple of important considerations to take into mind before buying. Not to worry our recommended hosts all pass with flying colors on all of these.
- Free Backups
Let’s jump into it.
SSL – Secure Socket Layer Protection
SSL might seem like a complicated idea but let me simplify it. What is does is form an encrypted tunnel from your visitor’s computer to your server. Within this tunnel any communication is safely protected, this includes financial transactions.
If your website accepts payments this is an absolute MUST. Some payment processors won’t even accept fund transfers if SSL isn’t active.
You’ll need a certificate in order to set it up. Most ripoff hosts like GoDaddy will charge you 59.99 a year for this. This is an absolute joke and it’s a shame that small businesses throughout Australia are scammed like this.
Don’t pay for SSL, our reviewed hosts all provide total free SSL which is a big savings.
Website backups are essential in an age where business sites are often the target of hacking or ransomeware attacks. Having constant reliable Backups provided Host side is the best option.
Backups maintained by users are unreliable and people often forget to backup their sites. Similar to how iCloud offers a cloud based alternative for backups so do most reliable hosts.
This is great if you don’t want to worry about your websites data
Uptime and Downtime
Site uptime is measured by the amount of time that your site is online without going down. You’ll want an uptime of above 99% and any decent host will provide just that. Anything below that is cause for worry and should be avoided.
Downtime is the amount of time a website might be down and unable to be accessed. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article downtime is a big nono for more businesses who want to maintain a professional image in their users’ eyes.
The biggest factor for downtime and uptime are whether two fold.
Datecenters are where the servers are actually physically located. The closer the data center the less distance the information needs to travel and the faster it will be. Choosing data centers that are closer to your visitors computer will greatly affect uptime.
Linus or Windows Based Servers
Linux servers are the bread and butter of most modern hosting solutions. They offered streamlined servers that can protect your uptime dramatically
As a small biz owner you’ll need to get the kind of web support that doesn’t leave you going through FAQs for hours or reading through Support forums for some complicated answer.
Technical issues can sometimes take hours to figure out and as a business owner you need to be able to focus in what matters. This is where quality hosting comes in.
Now the issue with hosting is that a lot of companies just outsource their support to India or Bangladesh. Don’t support this garbage by giving hosting companies your money, they already make more enough.
Any quality host should provide free technical fixes via live chat or a ticket system.
If you’re the kind of owner who saves your password as “password1234” then you’ll definitely want to pay attention here.
Good server side security can reduce your chances of sites being hacked significantly. DDSos protection on the DNS level is offered by our reviewed hosts. They also actively monitor websites for brute force login attacks as well as hackers trying to install ransomeware.
Cheap shared hosts are notorious for having their entire server hacked which gives hackers instant access to everyone’s website via their MySQL database.
Quality hosts allow businesses to scale up their product packages as their web traffic increases so you can save a lot of money. There is no need to buy a higher tier package when you can opt for a simpler plan that allows your business to scale up with your needs.
My suggestion would be for your site to use a lower tier plan and then move up as your traffic demand increases
While SEO is the responsibility of the site owner there is one aspect you should note. Using the cheapest web host for your business is a bad idea
The reason is your IP.
Cheap hosting providers will lump your site onto a server with thousands of spam blogs. When Google crawls your site they will see an IP hosted on an IP that is populated by mostly spammy blogs and as a result ranking organically in Google is a heck of a lot harder.
Our Top Small Business Web Hosts In Australia
1. A2 Hosting – Great Speed and Loading Times ($3.92/month)
Average Uptime: 99.1%
Average Load Time: 601Ms
Unbeatable Uptime and Fast Singapore Datacenters
A2 uses a newly built Singapore data center which in our research was faster than native Australian datacenter in Sydney and Melbourne. It might sound counterintuitive but Australian servers still use outdated technology including a lot of inefficient Windows based computing power.
A2 offers lightening fast support with native speakers. We gave them a battery of tests involving complicated Support questions and they handled them no problem.
We found the cheapest host that offers premium speed and uptime. Their introductory price point also offers a 40% off plan.
2. Siteground – Best Overall Hosting for Price/Speed/Uptime & Unbeatable Support ($3.95/month)
Average Uptime: 99.95%
Average Load Time: 475Ms
If you’ve read our other reviews you’ll know at this point we are a big fan of Siteground. We’ve been using them for the last seven years and have seen their services really level up. They are one of the only companies that actually upgrade their systems on a regular basis for speed and security.
Based again in Singapore we tested their speeds against other hosts and they crushed it. Higher quality computing power equals better speeds.
Support to Die For
Seriously try it. Siteground support kicks everyone else’s ass when it comes to helping customers. They actually pride themselves on it.
Free SSL and Backups
This alone will save you $60 a year which basically the pricing of hosting. With free Backups you don’t have to worry about anything either
Last thing to Consider – Cloudfare Hosting
We mentioned before that using a cheap hosting plan utilizes a shared IP. This can be an issue if the uptime is slow and you’re worried about security.
Another option is using a CDN or a content distribution network basically your web information is hosted on the cloud and therefore able to be accessed much faster.
It also offers enhanced security for those who want to have their sites on trusted IPs.
So that’s it.
We hope this guide has been helpful to you and you should have more than you need to handle all your small business needs.