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The Difference Between Small Business Hosting and Shared Web Hosting

Published on 7/18/2011 by

Which do you need?

If you’re a small business owner looking to get your first website online, is it better to go with a standard shared web hosting account or a specialized business hosting plan? Let’s take a look.

Shared web hosting defined

Shared web hosting accounts come in all shapes and sizes. Go from one web hosting website to another, and you’ll see that each host offers a wide variety of plans that will suit almost any budget. With shared web hosting, you’ll be given a very basic service that will allow you to get your domain online, where you will manage it through a control panel. Most hosting plans today also come with FTP access, a set number of email accounts, a control panel and preinstalled software. If you’re getting a blog going or a small personal site, shared web hosting plans are a perfect fit because your needs are small and so is the cost of the hosting package.

The basics of business class hosting

Business class hosting offers a wider variety of features that are geared specifically toward those doing business online. With business class hosting you’ll be given these things:

  • The ability to create more email addresses than you can with a shared hosting plan.
  • More email storage.
  • Blackberry and Smartphone push to manage your sales and customer service.
  • SSL certificates.
  • IP addresses.
  • Access to Google webmaster tools, search engine submission tools and Adsense.
  • Multiple user access
  • Larger space and bandwidth limits.
  • FTP access.

If you’re running a business with thousands of employees or need up-to-the-minute notification of a sale, it’s clearly advantageous to choose business class hosting over shared web hosting.

What about small businesses?

For small businesses—those who won’t need to create hundreds of email addresses and don’t anticipate selling thousands of dollars in goods each day-- you can benefit from either a shared web hosting or business class plan. The choice is yours. 

Some things to consider:

Cost:  There can be a huge difference in price between shared and business class hosting. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles that business hosting offers, it makes more sense to go with shared hosting.

Shopping carts:  Both shared and business class hosts are capable of managing your eStore. If you’ll be using a third party payment processor, like PayPal, you won’t have to concern yourself with an SSL certificate of dedicated IP, and can just stick to the less expensive shared hosting.  On the other hand, if you’ll be processing credit card payments yourself, it’s less hassle and less expensive in the end to go with business hosting, where those fees are built-in to the hosting service.

Access:  How many people will be managing this domain? If it’s only a handful of people, shared web hosting will suit you just fine. If you have an entire network of people who need to manage and operate your website however, you’ll need to sign up with a business web host.

Remember, the quickest way to find the host that will work best for your needs is to spend some time reading web hosting reviews. Reviews will lay out all the advantages and disadvantages of each host and let you know what to expect when you sign up.