SMB Web Hosting Reviews
Congrats! You run a small business and you’re looking to build your web presence. These are exciting times!
I’m convinced that today, right now, in this day-and-age, is the single most profitable time to become an entrepreneur and start your own business. Never before in history have we had the opportunities we have today. By leveraging technology and the internet you can now dream up a business concept, put the plan in motion, and get the idea, product, or service in front of thousands of targeted people in relatively no time at all.
Regardless of the job market, economy, politics, or any other external factor, I believe you truly have the best opportunity to start a business and win in the marketplace – today!
It’s 2020, and if you’re in business, no matter what type of business, you need an online presence. Even if your business has nothing to do with the internet, you don’t plan on email marketing or receiving online leads, your small business website presents itself as validation, builds customer confidence, builds your reputation, and at the absolute very least serves as an enhanced online “business card” to put your best foot forward to your prospects and customers alike.
Jump ahead to the section most applicable to your unique small business hosting, email, or domain registration needs:
Small Business Web Hosting – Finding the Right Fit
USA Small Business Hosting
Best Business Startup Plan
Headquartered in Utah, Bluehost’s United States servers are also located in their Utah datacenter. Their parent company, Endurance International Group, is based in Massachusetts. Combined with exceptional USA sales and support, US-centralized server infrastructure, and a simple and very user-friendly interface and management console, Bluehost is my #1 recommended small business web host.
If your business is already online and you’re just looking for a better web host than your current provider, Bluehost wins out here as well as their server capacity and scaling plans accommodate established websites. For those start out hosting with Bluehost, you’ll be able to scale with your business without the need to upgrade to a more robust hosting solution.
As a Bluehost partner I’m able to extend a significant discount to my readers, bringing your rate down to just $2.95/month. Yes, you heard right – that’s mere pennies per day to host your small business website. Why wait? Signup today!
Best Hosting for Growing E-Businesses
If you’re running an ecommerce website, and seconds matter in your conversion rate and website’s revenue, then I’d recommend SiteGround. Their shared hosting plans are very reasonably priced, and their infrastructure is better suited for more popular websites. SiteGround support is also outstanding, with friendly, yet very technical, reps standing by 24/7 via tickets, email, phone, or live chat. I have hosted many websites with SiteGround and highly recommend them for any ecommerce or growing small business websites.
Get SiteGround for just $6.99/month per month and keep growing your web-based business!
Best Premium SMB Business Hosting Plan
If you require top-tier shared hosting for your WordPress business website, then look no further than WP Engine. They are excellent! Their Austin, Texas based company hosts all support in-house, and employs premium managed WordPress servers, designed for speed, reliability and uptime. Personally, I’ve never found a faster hosting company for WordPress websites than WP Engine. Their interface is very simple, yet powerful, and has a number of premium features such as auto-backups with one-click restore, phenomenal Texas USA support staff, and insanely fast servers.
Keep in mind, however, that WP Engine only hosts WordPress websites, so if you’re running Magento, Drupal, Joomla or another platform, you’ll need to host elsewhere, such as with Bluehost or SiteGround.
Additionally, premium service as good and fast as WP Engine comes at a cost with plans beginning at $35/month. However, if you have a high traffic website, then $35/month is a no-brainer, as the speed, reliability and will easily have ROI as you preserve your customer experience and NPS scores and protect the leads and/or revenue generated from your company’s website.
Shared hosting for WordPress business websites gets no better than WP Engine. They’re simply the best business website host there is!
Best Green Hosting Provider
If your small business prides itself on being eco-friendly and environmentally conscientious, then you’ll want to check out Green Geeks. We analyzed the top green website hosting plans to find the best bang-for-your-buck with the most truly green web host. The result, GreenGeeks was the clear winner, and holds our recommendation for green web hosting. The California based eco-friendly host, boasts a 300% renewable energy efficiency, meaning they calculate their energy consumption each year and purchase 3x the used energy in the form of renewable energy via the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
Pricing starts at $2.99/month for their Lite plan, which offers the best value for smaller websites or blogs that are just launching. The Pro and Premium plans are for larger, or multi-site projects that require increased performance, server caching, and bandwidth speeds.
In the past, green web hosts were written off as a marketing gimmick, or sub-par performers looking to appeal to a smaller niche segment of the market. This is no longer the case today. Companies like GreenGeeks are directly competing with the other hosting giants on website speed, uptime and reliability, security, and tech support.
Canada Small Business Hosting
Many Canadian businesses wish to host with a fellow Canadian run company, and require datacenters located in Canada to both adhere to Canadian privacy laws and to better serve pages to their Canadian customers. Beware, however, as many popular web hosts will advertise as “Canadian Web Hosts” but in actuality they have no direct Canadian offering, they do not price in Canadian dollars (CAD), and they have no Canadian datacenters. An example of this is A2 Hosting, which has landing pages for the whole of Canada, and location specific pages for Ontario, Ottawa, Quebec, Toronto, and Vancouver… but alas, there is no real tie to Canada here except for some “sneaky” marketing positioning.
So who do you choose to host your Canadian small business website? The answer is HostPapa!
HostPapa, a popular shared web host founded in 2006, is headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Their main datacenter is in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. I pulled one of the IP addresses from their Ontario, CA location and ran it through an IP location tool. The datacenter location was validated as being smack-dap in the middle of Oakville, ON, CA. (check for yourself here)
Furthermore, when purchasing from the HostPapa .ca website, all prices are denoted in CAD, another nice feature for Canadians!
HostPapa hosting is affordable, with billing options as low as $3.95/month CAD for a 36-month term. If you’d rather signup for a shorter term, you’ll just pay a dollar or so more per month. They’re the easy choice for Canadian small businesses looking to target customers in Canada with super fast local hosting.
You can check out HostPapa’s authentic Canadian offering here: https://www.hostpapa.ca/
UK Small Business Hosting
Finding quality United Kingdom based hosting is equally as challenging as finding a Canadian host. The same issues exist, with companies throwing up “sneaky” SEO pages that are geo-targeted towards those searching for location-based hosting. In actuality, most of those web hosts don’t operate in the UK, don’t have datacenters there, and don’t sell in the British Pound. So how do you find the right UK web host for your small business website? That’s where my research, experience, and personal recommendation comes in.
My #1 recommended web host for UK small business hosting is SiteGround (yes, the same SiteGround as listed above!). They have 4 datacenters worldwide, one of which is in London, UK. When testing from the UK (and Western Europe), this London location has extremely low latency and very fast response times locally. I also ran tests from Asia, Africa, South America and North America, and all were surprisingly fast from the London datacenter. You can test ping/traceroute for IP: 22.214.171.124 to check latency for yourself, either from your personal computer in the United Kingdom or Western Europe, or from a geographically distributed ping test service (dotcom-tools) – see how fast the response time is from London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Madrid, and Warsaw locations!
While SiteGround is not based in the UK (their headquarters is in Sofia, Bulgaria), they provide excellent 24/7 English-based support, so aligning support during UK time zones of Western European Time or British Summer Time are a non-issue.
SiteGround offers fast speeds with SSD drives included for all plans, and they deploy the latest speed technologies such as NGINX, HTTP/2, PHP7, and a free CDN. They’re also partnered with Let’s Encrypt to provide free SSL certificates with each account. All apps auto-update, they have a robust enterprise grade firewall system, and a very stable platform with auto-backups and easy restore functionality. SiteGround is truly an excellent web host, and one of my personal favorites as I have used them for countless website projects.
Best Email Hosting for Small Business
The easiest solution is to use the built-in email service provided by Bluehost, SiteGround, or HostPapa. But for those requiring a more robust email system with additional features, then I highly recommend GoDaddy for your business email. In addition to their general webmail system, they offer Microsoft Office 365 plans. Office 365 accounts come with the full suite of Microsoft productivity tools and start at just $5.00/user/month. Microsoft Exchange plans start at $7.99/user/month, and the Rackspace Email plans are just $2.00/user/month.
In addition to the GoDaddy hosted email, which starts as low as $1.99/month for the email essentials plan, I would highly recommend looking into the Microsoft Office 365 plans offered through GoDaddy. Here, the Online Essentials plan begins at just $5.99/month per user, and includes online versions of Microsoft Office, as well as a large 1TB secure online storage alocation.The Business Premium and Premium Security plans are even better, and a must if you need HIPAA compliance for your business.
Already have your business email setup elsewhere, but are looking to upgrade to Office 365 with GoDaddy? No problem! GoDaddy offers no hassle zero-downtime migration with no loss in productivity for your business.
If you’re looking for professional grade business email at an affordable rate in an easily manageable platform, then GoDaddy is the clear choice.
Additionally, for those businesses with on-prem email hosting, or a 3rd party IT company email system, I’d highly recommend moving your small business email to the cloud. By implementing a cloud-based email system like those provided by GoDaddy you’ll see numerous benefits such as:
- Your business will save money. Cloud solutions are almost always significantly cheaper than local systems.
- You will have better employee collaboration with cloud-based productivity tools.
- You’ll be able to access your data anytime, from anywhere in the world with internet access. Not just email access, we’re talking files uploaded to the cloud, served on demand 24/7, not sitting on your workstation back home.
- Your data will be far more secure as GoDaddy and Microsoft have enterprise grade security and offer the peace of mind of automatic offsite cloud backups.
Best Domain Name Registrar for Small Businesses
GoDaddy, the biggest domain registrar on the planet is the easy option here. I’ve personally registered hundreds of domains with GoDaddy as they are the easiest, most convenient platform out there. They focus heavily on small businesses in their popular advertising campaigns and offer lots of nice add-ons and amenities for small business owners looking to get online or grow their existing online presence. But the convenience and simplicity of the largest and most popular domain registrar comes at a slightly increased cost over some other lesser known domain registrars out there. GoDaddy standard .com domain registration will run you $14.99/year, which is often discounted to around $11.99 for the first year.
NameCheap is another great option to register a domain at, and I have personally registered (and hosted) many websites here as well. If you’re looking to stretch your small business budget, or are looking for a GoDaddy alternative, then NameCheap is a great option. At NameCheap, a .com domain registration will run you just $10.98/year.
How to Choose the Best Small Business Domain Name
Of course, if your business is building a brand, then you’ll want your domain name to be branded accordingly. However, if your website isn’t necessarily “branded”, and you’re looking for a more general domain name, then that can be a little difficult to select the right one! Luckily, I’ve found a great resource to help with this. Back in 2012, LeanDomainSearch.com curated a list of the 5,000 most frequently used domain name prefixes and suffixes. Below are the top 10, with the top 100 most popular domain name prefixes and suffixes below that in the expandable table.
The Best Options to get your Small Business Online
In summary, if you’re looking for the best setup for getting your small business online, I recommend you register your desired domain name with GoDaddy, setup your hosting with Bluehost, and if you’re not going to use the default Bluehost email and are looking for a more robust system, then setup your email with GoDaddy’s Office 365 package.
Congratulations again on your decision to start your own business, and the proactive steps you’re taking to get online and start growing your presence on the web! 2020 and beyond will be great years with much success!