Hosting Basics

Starting a small business is a complex task.  Researching everything pertaining to your small business from taxes to appropriate licensing can be a chore, and then you embark upon finding out how to get your website up and running.  There are many pieces that make up a website, and today we are going over hosting.

So, what is hosting?  Why do I need it for my small business?

A website can more or less be broken down into 3 key parts, the host being one of the key parts:

  1. A domain name: This is effectively your business name.  Like associating a business name with your physical office address, you ‘point’ your domain name to your website’s host.
  2. The website code: The website code and database is more or less your brand and interior design.  It is how your decorate your digital office.
  3. The website host: The host is effectively the office itself.  It is what your online visitors access via their computer, tablet or mobile device, and (like an office space) is typically leased from a hosting provider for a block of time.

What provider should I go to for hosting?

There are A LOT of providers for web hosting, but there are two important qualities of what makes a good small business hosting provider: price and support.  Look for a provider with pricing options that top $15.00/month (anything more is a waste of money), and 24/7 tech support.  We feel that 24/7 support is very critical, and not every hosting company provides this.  If something happens to your website in the late evening or on the weekend, you want to be able to contact your hosting provider right away to get the site back up.

What provider do you recommend for small business?

Sandia Digital has a lot of clients with a variety of hosts, but the ones we recommend are GoDaddy, BlueHost, and HostGator (as a disclaimer, we are not affiliated with them, nor do we receive any kind of compensation for mentioning them).  Each of these hosts are reasonably priced and are very easy to contact at any time of the day for just about any reason.  They also upgrade their systems routinely, and offer a variety of products and services including SSL certificates and virtual/dedicated servers.

Leasing a Host

I picked a hosting provider, but there are still so many options!

That’s okay!  We will go over the Operating System (OS), space you need, pricing options, and any other important tips to help you pick the correct host.  We will start with the operating system below:

Linux OS

“Linux” is an umbrella-term for a large variety of operating systems (OS).  Your hosting provider may call your hosting platform “Linux”, or alternatively “CentOS”, “Red Hat”, or a different OS altogether.  The choices in Linux operating systems for small business tend to vary only slightly, and you will rarely (if ever) notice these differences.  Sandia Digital recommends Linux operating systems nine out of ten times for your small business, as a large majority of websites and web code will run perfectly on Linux.  In addition, the price for Linux hosts is generally lower than Windows hosts.


Windows OS

The Windows operating system is one most people are very familiar with, so it is natural to gravitate towards it as an option web hosting platform.  However, using Windows as a web host is generally not necessary and may in fact pose complications for your website.  Depending on your hosting provider, the Windows host you need may not have the proper code and database framework for your website.  That said, Windows web hosts are required for any website that runs MSSQL Databases or ASP code, though this is a small minority of websites and databases today.

Not Usually Recommended

I picked my host’s OS, but what about space and power?  Should I get ‘Economy’, ‘Mid-Range’, or ‘Deluxe’ hosting?

The biggest item to consider here is what functionality your website will have, such as e-commerce, photo galleries, and user interactivity.  We will go over these options below.


We recommend economy hosting generally for smaller websites.  These are websites with ~10 pages, single contact form, small photo gallery, and updates that occur a few times a year.  We don’t recommend this for e-commerce sites.  You should pick an economy host with the below features:

    • 25GB Storage
    • Unlimited Bandwidth
    • 1 Database
    • 24/7 Tech Support

Avg: $5/mo

Mid-Range Hosting

We recommend mid-range hosting for businesses with a greater web presence.  These are websites with 20+ pages, blogs, testimonials, multiple contact forms, larger photo gallery, and updates that occur several times a month.  You should pick a mid-range host with the below features:

    • 100GB Storage
    • Unlimited Bandwidth
    • 2 Databases
    • 24/7 Tech Support

Avg: $9/mo


We recommend deluxe hosting for businesses that have a significant web presence.  These are websites with 30+ pages, e-commerce functionality, multiple contact forms, a large photo gallery, and updates that occur more than once a week.  You should pick a deluxe host with the below features:

    • Unlimited Storage
    • Unlimited Bandwidth
    • 10 Databases
    • 24/7 Tech Support

Avg: $13/mo

Other Considerations

What else do I need to know about small business hosting?

While your host is an incredibly important key to your small business website, you should also consider the following:

  1. Domains: Many hosting companies (including the ones mentioned earlier) provide domain registration.  In some cases, domain names are even included as a package with the host you purchase for free!  Take a look around to see what hosting companies offer this free service before purchasing a domain.
  2. E-Mail: Just like domains, many providers (including the ones mentioned earlier) provide e-mail services.  In many cases e-mail services are included with the hosting package you pick, however you will need to make sure that configuration is right for you.
  3. Backups/Updates: To defend against malicious parties, we highly recommend that you have your website backed up and updated frequently (at least weekly).  Many hosting companies will offer backup services for a fee, however we have rarely encountered providers that actually update your website.  Sandia Digital offers this service, and you can read more about our plans here.

Still have questions?  Sandia Digital is happy to help!  Contact us using the information below, or access our contact page here.