How to Choose the Best SME WordPress Hosting
Every SME needs a website and every website needs web hosting but the list of hosting providers is long and, to be frank, the choice can be overwhelming. So what are the options for businesses and what factors are most important when choosing SME WordPress hosting?
WordPress now supports websites for millions of SME businesses. It’s popular because it offers a content management system SMEs can update themselves along with a stack of free and premium themes, plugins and widgets to help them personalise their site.
Similarly, WordPress hosting can offer a whole bunch of features to support WordPress websites of all types and sizes, keeping them running smoothly and securely.
What’s the difference between optimised and managed hosting?
Both optimised and managed WordPress hosting services offer platforms specifically designed to work with WordPress. This means WordPress sites will run more smoothly on them than on other hosting platforms and pre-installed or one click installation of the WordPress CMS system will be included. Both optimised and managed hosts may offer extra features such as automatic data backups and page caching. You may also get access to customer support from a dedicated team of WordPress gurus who can help with technical queries and hiccups. Other benefits include greater security and reliability although the level of service you get will vary from host to host.
Security and encryption
A good managed WordPress hosting provider will understand the importance of security. Keeping your data safe will be a priority feature of their service and will include daily backups with instant data restoration, encryption of data and storage behind a robust firewall.
One of the key functions to look out for is automated monitoring. Is the system you’re buying into designed to monitor sites routinely? If it is then it will detect, report and repair critical issues as they happen which stops them causing a problem with your site and its availability.
While we’re on the subject of security, you may want a service that offers Secure Socket Layer (SSL) which encrypts data travelling between website and browser. An SSL certificate means a little green padlock will be displayed in the browser when people land on your site. Some hosting services include a free SSL certificate whereas others will charge extra.
This is something many SMEs don’t think about it but it’s actually one of the most critical elements of a hosting service. If your site’s offline your clients and customers won’t be able to find you. Reliability needs to be a top priority and if you can find a WordPress host that offers a 99.95% uptime guarantee you will have the peace of mind that your site won’t keep going offline just because there’s a sudden rush of hits.
The need for speed
Speed matters because online customers don’t like waiting around for a site to load. It matters so much that Google has started penalising slow sites in its search rankings. Google’s own figures suggest that a half second delay in page load speed can reduce the amount of traffic to a website by around 20%. As a general rule of thumb the cheaper the host, the slower the load speed but that isn’t always the case. Some hosting services are built in such a way that they can optimise load speed without charging a fortune for the service. Typically these services will showcase speed as one of their USPs and they will use load balancing and SSD storage for higher performance and scalability.
We’ve already mentioned that 24/7 Helpdesk Support is a common benefit of managed WordPress hosting. This is all part of the customer service offering and choosing a host with good customer satisfaction levels will make a real difference to your business as it grows. Other signs of good customer service are a clear and informative ‘Contact Us’ page on the host’s website that gives a telephone number, email address and office address rather than just a contact form. You’d also expect to see a dedicated login section of the website for registered customers. This indicates that customers have access to their own control panel. Look out for unlimited data transfer too and a scalable service that will meet your business’s needs as it evolves.
Money back guarantees
Finally, SME WordPress hosting should offer a decent money back period. A 60 day money back guarantee gives you enough time to test the service thoroughly and make sure it really does live up to its promises and the needs of your SME. If you’re not happy you have the freedom to cancel and request a refund.