If you own a small business, you must own a website. Simply put, a business without a website is a business that leaves money on the table for the competition to scoop up. Whether you're simply promoting your company or selling products online, a website is key to commerce in contemporary times. As a result, finding the right web hosting service for your business is vital

This guide will help you make the smart, necessary decisions. Read on for our top picks, followed by what you need to know about choosing the right web hosting service for your small business

## Hostwinds Web Hosting
 Best for VPS Hosting
 Why We Picked it
Hostwinds offers many excellent web hosting plans, but its VPS service is a cut above the competition. It has several tiers of fully managed and self-managed VPS servers that let you select either Linux or Windows as the operating systems (an option that isn't as common as you would think)

 Who Its For
Hostwinds is ideal for small businesses that need more traffic-crunching muscle than shared hosting allows. Even better, the VPS plans' operating system options give you plenty of website-building flexibility

- Terrific uptime in testing
- Excellent reseller and VPS hosting plans
- Good customer service
- Minecraft server hosting
- Not every plan has a Windows server option
- Short money-back guarantee window
## AccuWeb Hosting
 Best for Dedicated Web Hosting
 Why We Picked It
With AccuWeb, you get excellent and varied Linux- or Windows-powered dedicated server options. The servers feature robust server configuration tools that are ideal for smaller businesses, and they impressively scale to accommodate larger businesses and budgets

 Who Its For
AccuWeb is best for companies that require power and reliability beyond what VPS hosting offers. If you have a mission-critical site, you want AccuWeb's dedicated servers that can handle the internet's many rigors

- Stellar uptime in testing
- Excellent dedicated hosting plans
- Offers a choice of Linux or Windows servers
- Helpful customer service
- Lacks unlimited email with Windows accounts
- No month-to-month shared hosting plans
## A2 Web Hosting
 Best for Managed WordPress Hosting
 Why We Picked It
WordPress' open-source nature means that anyone can tweak and improve the content management system (CMS). A2 leverages that feature to deliver an excellent, WordPress-optimized hosting environment that alleviates the potential stress associated with updating and patching the CMS yourself

 Who Its For

A2s managed WordPress plans are an outstanding option for entrepreneurs who want their hands free to manage other business aspects (or lack the confidence to update the CMS database themselves)

- Robust hosting packages, particularly WordPress
- Excellent customer service
- Terrific uptime
- Good money-back refund plan
- No Windows server options
- Relatively expensive
## DreamHost Web Hosting
 Best for Flexible Cloud Hosting
 Why We Picked It
Unlike traditional web hosting, cloud hosting is a dynamic server option that spreads site resources across multiple interconnected servers. DreamHost features prominent cloud hosting options among its various server options, delivering services that are affordable and reliable

 Who Its For
DreamHosts cloud hosting is ideal for businesses that need server freedom. A multi-server setup automatically backs up your site data, so you wont lose information if an individual server goes down. Likewise, if you need more power or resources, cloud hosting's virtually connected nature makes scaling up a cinch

- Strong security features
- Extensive domain-management tools
- Excellent cloud hosting offerings
- Unlimited data transfers per month
- Generous shared hosting money-back guarantee
- Useful WordPress staging feature
- No email with Shared Starter plan
- Lacks Windows-based servers
- No telephone support
## Liquid Web Hosting
 Best for Managed Hosting
 Why We Picked It
Liquid Web is one of the most powerful and renowned web hosting providers we've reviewed, as it delivers top-notch managed hosting solutions. The behind-the-scenes automation and impressive server specs dont come cheap, but you get a lot of bang for your buck

 Who Its For
Liquid Web is for businesses willing to pay more fortreatment. Your site is handled with exceptional care and attention, relieving you of most of the server management duties

- Robust dedicated, VPS, cloud, and reseller packages
- Prorated VPS plans
- Powerful, high-end server specs
- Terrific customer service
- Excellent uptime in testing
- Lacks shared hosting plans
- Expensive, with few refund options
## Ionos by 1&1 Web Hosting
 Best for Large-Scale Cloud Hosting
 Why We Picked It
1&1 Ionos has wholeheartedly embraced cloud hosting, offering numerous cloud hosting services that can be outfitted with either the Linux or Windows operating system. These cloud servers also come with managed and unmanaged plans, giving you even more excellent options to select from

 Who Its For

1&1 Ionos is for entrepreneurs in need of highly scalable cloud server solutions. It offers cloud-powered VPS servers that can be scaled to enterprise-class hosting, giving you the tools to build a robust website that can handle any challenge the internet throws its way

- Dependable uptime in testing
- Excellent cloud hosting packages
- Linux- or Windows-based servers
- Easy-to-use website creation tools
- Lacks reseller hosting plans
- Relatively sparse email options
## WP Engine Web Hosting
 Best for Enterprise-Class WordPress Hosting
 Why We Picked It
As its name suggests, WP Engine specializes in WordPress hosting. In fact, it focuses almost exclusively on accommodating WordPress users, which makes it a bit less appealing to more generalized businesses. If thats not a problem, WP Engine should be one of the first hosts you look at for small business hosting

 Who Its For
This host's for WordPress users who need high-scaling services. WP Engine features core WordPress plans with respectable specs, but you can also opt for customized, dedicated hosting to accommodate whatever traffic your business draws

- Terrific uptime in testing
- Outstanding customer service
- Daily backups
- Real-time threat detection
- Useful staging area
- Choice of either Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform cloud hosting
- Custom plans available
- Email isn't included with hosting plans
- Doesn't sell domains
## Cloudways Web Hosting
 Best for Prorated Plans
 Why We Picked It
Configure your plan, choose server details, and pay for what you need. Cloudways streamlines the sometimes-frustrating onboarding process that befuddles new business owners. Its top-level plans cater to midsize and enterprise-level businesses, too, giving your small business plenty of room to

 Who Its For
Companies that only want to be billed for what they need should use Cloudways. And there's nothing wrong with subscription-based plans, but Cloudways unique pay-as-you-go models are appealing in their own right

- Very easy to set up

- Excellent uptime

- Supports numerous apps

- Several flexible account tiers

- Pay-as-you-go plans

- Can try service for free before signing up

- Site cloning

- No domain registration option

- Email costs extra

## Media Temple Web Hosting
 Best for Outstanding Customer Service
 Why We Picked It
Media Temple is a great all-around web host that has feature-packed dedicated and VPS hosting plans. You cant really go wrong with the companys offerings, but its customer service is the most outstanding aspect. Regardless of the plan, you'll enjoy excellent, 24/7/365 tech support that's reachable via phone, ticket, or Twitter

 Who Its For

Everyone eventually needs customer support, so Media Temple's all-hours customer service policy is a nice touch. A good hosting plan is invaluable, but so is a support network that you can rely on any time of day

- Excellent uptime in testing
- Terrific, 24/7 customer support team
- Massive knowledge guide and help database
- Strong WordPress plans
- Lacks Windows-based servers
- No dedicated or reseller hosting
- Relatively expensive
## Pressable Web Hosting
 Best for High-End Managed WordPress Hosting
 Why We Picked It
With Pressable, you enjoy streamlined, managed WordPress hosting. This is made all the more convenient thanks to a literal sliding scale that lets you select the plan you need based on the visitors you expect (or the number of installations you need)

 Who Its For
Pressable is for WordPress users who want convenient, managed hosting. Picking a plan is ridiculously easy, and the managed hosting features mean you spend less time configuring options and more time running your business

- Unlimited monthly data transfers across the board
- Each plan includes a free SSL and CDN
- Automatic daily backups
- Malware scanning
- Useful staging feature
- Excellent Jetpack security tool
- Personalized onboarding
- Doesn't sell domains
- Doesn't let you select your cloud platform choice
- Lacks email
- Losing phone support in the near future
## What Is Web Hosting?
If you aren't familiar with web hosting, here's a simple explanation. A web host is a company that has servers that you'll use to store and deliver the audio, video, documents, graphics, and other files that make up your website and its content. These servers can be of the shared, dedicated, or virtual varieties. If you want to learn more about those hosting types, please visit the highlighted links that are sprinkled throughout this article for primers on each of them. If you want to launch your own web hosting company without many of the associated hardware headaches, you should look into reseller hosting

There are dozens upon dozens of web hosting services clamoring for your dollar and offering many hosting types. That said, we're focusing on a specific hosting type: business hosting. Business hosting is, admittedly, a somewhat vague term. Technically, if a business has a website detailing the company's location, operating hours, and other information, its hosting provider, no matter how small, is acting as business hosting. We are not focusing on that. Instead, we're highlighting web hosts that have infrastructures devoted to larger businesses

## What Is Small Business Hosting?
When you begin shopping for business hosting, it's good to have a list of the features you need. For example, you'll want a web host that offers virtual private servers, dedicated servers, advanced cloud server platforms (such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud), high-end WordPress options, custom server builds should you need it, and 24/7 customer support. Depending on your business focus, you may need a web host that can handle pageviews or visitors that rank in the high thousands or millions. Basically, anything more advanced than shared web hosting

If you're planning on selling a product, look for a web host that offers a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, because it encrypts the data between the customer's browser and web host to safeguard purchasing information. You're probably familiar with SSL; it's the green padlock that appears in your web browser's address bar as you visit an online financial institution or retail outlet. A few companies toss in an SSL certificate free of charge; others may charge you roughly $100 for that extra security layer

## How Much Does Small Business Hosting Cost?
A dedicated server will likely cost you more than $100 per month; it's definitely not cheap web hosting. The benefit? Your website lives on a server all by its lonesome, so it takes advantage of the server's full resources. You'll probably need to handle firewalls, updates, and maintenance yourself, however, unless you opt for a managed server, which costs even more money

Managed hosting is a service offered by web hosts that sees the company handle the care and maintenance of your dedicated server. Basically, the web host acts as your IT squad. If you rather have a web host do the server-relatedwork, managed hosting is the way to go

Depending on how you spec out your hosting package, your can easily expect to pay close to $1,000 per month. Maybe more! Still, that price comes with excellent security, stellar customer service that onboards you, and a scalable architecture that lets youas needed with no downtime

Some web hosts offer prorated plans that charge you by the amount of resources that your site demands. For example, Cloudways hosting plans start at $0.0139 per hour, which, including fees, equals roughly $10 per month. That's assuming that your site's online at the beginning of the month; if your site goes live halfway through a month, you'll see a reduced bill that reflects two weeks' worth of resources use. Similar rules apply should you quit the web host

## What's the Most Important Factor for Small Business Hosting?

All the aforementioned features are valuable parts of the web hosting experience, but none matches the importance of site uptime. If your site is down, new clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. As if that weren't bad enough, regular customers may lose confidence in your service if they can't reach your site. Or they may simply need access to a service or widget today, which means they might go to a competitor to get the job doneand never come back. Anyone who's ever tried to build customer loyalty understands that catastrophe

We include uptime monitoring as part of our review process, and the results show that most web hosts do an excellent job of keeping sites up and running. Sites with uptime problems aren't eligible for high scores, no matter how good the rest of their offering may be. All services suffer ups and downs, sometimes for reasons beyond their control. Those sites that fail to quickly address the problem are penalized accordingly

## Get Started With Small Business Hosting
PCMag understands that no two businesses have the same web hosting requirements, so we've rounded up our best-reviewed web hosting companies for small businesses and detailed their offerings in the table above so that you can get a jump-start on picking a service. If an offering catches your eye, make sure to click the appropriate link from the capsules below to read the in-depth review of the service in question

If you're just getting started with web hosting, make sure to check out our instructional pieces: How to Build a Website, How to Register a Domain Name for Your Website, and Linux vs. Windows Server: How to Pick the Best Server for Your Website

*Mike Williams contributed to this story.*