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How to choose the best website hosting services for your business in Singapore: The complete guide

by Kirby Poh, Eng8ge

Website hosting services provide the gateway that allows small and medium enterprises (SME) to engage with existing and prospective customers via their website. They’re essential to publishing – uploading – your online platform.

What web hosting services entail

Internet hosting services store websites in powerful computers called servers, which are linked to a high-speed computer network. When a person initiates a lookup of your website on her PC, the internet hooks up with the web server containing your site’s files and transfers them back to her computer so that she may view your website.

Therefore, web hosting offers the services and technologies needed for a website or web page to be viewed.

Top web hosting services will ensure a high level of security to protect you and your customers, particularly important to safeguard payment information in e-commerce web hosting.

They’ll also usually integrate email hosting services, including spam-filtering, into your web hosting package.

Besides being email service providers, business web hosting companies may offer unlimited web hosting in terms of storage and bandwidth, and value-added services such as automatic backup and website building tools.

Common web hosting services SMEs use

As technology has advanced, different types of web hosting have emerged to meet the needs of businesses and their customers. They are:

  • Shared hosting
  • VPS hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • Dedicated server hosting
  • WordPress hosting

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is the most common, where many people share a single server.

Advantages of this system – which is a popular choice for SMEs – include affordability and ease of use. On the downside, it can be less flexible than other types of website hosting.

VPS hosting

VPS hosting – the option many larger businesses choose – uses virtual private servers (VPS), which performs almost like a fully-dedicated server (thus, you have your own space), even though it’s running within a shared hosting environment.

Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting is like VPS hosting. However, it’s easier to add resources to (or remove from) cloud servers, and they experience greater uptime.

Dedicated server hosting

With dedicated server hosting, you get your own server and all its resources, solely for your use. You can select the exact software and hardware specifications of the server to meet your needs.

Dedicated hosting gives you full control but is costly – there’s no one else to share the cost. Further, unless you pay extra for managed dedicated server hosting, you’ll need the technical know-how to configure and manage the server.

WordPress hosting

Since 30% of the world’s websites are powered by the WordPress content management system (CMS), there’s a good chance your website is running on WordPress too.

WordPress web hosting services will ensure all WordPress requirements are met, the servers are tuned to maximise the performance of this CMS, and every WordPress-related security issue is addressed.

What’s more, the installation of WordPress on the server can be a convenient one-click process, and the themes and plug-ins used for web design and development could be configured to be upgraded automatically.

Reseller hosting

IT companies that want to provide hosting services but don’t have their own data centre turn to reseller hosting to host websites on behalf of third parties. The reseller buys the host’s services wholesale and then resells them to customers.

Linux vs Windows web hosting

Linux and Windows are the types of operating systems used for web hosting. Businesses would select either Linux or Windows web hosting services depending on the software packages they need to use. For example, Linux supports open-source WordPress, PHP, and MySQL, whereas Windows is compatible to .NET and Microsoft SQL Server proprietary to Microsoft.

Generally, SMEs would opt for Linux web hosting if the software applications they use aren’t Microsoft-related.

Benefits of shared web hosting for SMEs

Let’s shed more light on shared web hosting as it’s the most common hosting plan SMEs would acquire.

With the shared hosting platform, each company gets their own disk space, databases, email accounts, and FTP (file transfer protocol) account for uploading and managing files on their website.

Important factors to consider when choosing a shared hosting service include:

  • Price
  • Data storage available
  • Performance
  • Technical support

Shared hosting is usually offered at very affordable rates – could be a few dollars per month only. Other benefits of shared web hosting include:

  • Customisation. Although resources are shared, the webmaster manages the site with control panel tools that allow for a certain amount of customisation.
  • Convenience. Your web hosting will be managed by experts, so you can concentrate on running your business.
  • Effectiveness. Shared web hosting provides the levels of bandwidth (the amount of data that can be transmitted in a given length of time) and disk space that SMEs need.

How Eng8ge chooses its web hosting services provider

The common issues that SMEs in Singapore face with their hosting services provider include:

  • Frequent website downtime
  • Internet bandwidth issues
  • Server overuse resulting in web pages taking a long time to load
  • Lack of automatic backup
  • Costly data recovery services
  • Slow response from technical support

We’d encountered some of them in the past too!

Because the websites of Eng8ge’s spread-payment clients are hosted with us, we’re extremely particular in choosing the most professional web hosting providers.

It’s paramount server performance is consistent, as being taken offline would nullify the positive effects of the internet marketing services we’ve rendered to our customers – resulting in lost revenue opportunities.

Further, to ensure maximum accessibility to their sites and quick web page loading, fast servers that aren’t overused or have limited bandwidth are essential. Speed has a bearing on ranking on Google search engine results pages.

We also take security very seriously. A badly-secured data infrastructure centre leaves a website vulnerable to hackers. This can lead to poor search engine performance, plummeting customer confidence, and loss of income.

Should a mishap occur, we need an effective backup system to make sure downtime is minimised, and we expect the highest level of fast technical support.

Top 11 tips for finding the best website hosting services

Based on our own experience, here are our top 11 tips on choosing the best web hosting company for SMEs.

1. Choose a web hosting plan that’s appropriate for the purpose of your website – corporate, e-commerce, membership site, or hosted applications like Gmail and Uber. A shared hosting plan would suit a corporate website while e-commerce and membership sites typically opt for VPS hosting or cloud hosting.

2. Read trustworthy reviews by high-authority platforms, like CNET, PCMag and TechRadar. Beware of the many fake reviews by unscrupulous websites just out to make affiliate income.

3. Refrain from using a web host that’s ill-equipped. There’re still many bit players with poor facilities in the hosting market, so SMEs can lose critical business data if they utilise them. Find out whether the data centre of the website hosting service is properly set up, with an environment cooling system, backup power, server redundancy system, and data backup system.

4. What’s bundled in the web hosting prices – SSD servers, free https including static IP address and TLS/SSL certificate, scheduled backups, security, email accounts, support?

5. Find out whether you’ll be able to upgrade your web hosting plan when usage increases.

6. Establish which country the servers are located in. Locality may affect data transfer and web page loading speed – which can hit search marketing performance – although this problem is now rare because of technological advances.

However, if your business’s customers and web visitors are from Singapore, you may want to choose a web host with a data centre providing website hosting in Singapore. Then, if a submarine communications cable is damaged due to a severe storm or earthquake, internet access won’t be affected.

7. Avoid lock-in by the web hosting provider. If you choose a website builder like Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix, it’ll be difficult to switch to another platform or a different web hosting company. Therefore, we recommend an open-source platform like WordPress web hosting, and a server operating system like Linux web hosting.

8. Use a direct web hosting service provider. Many IT service providers subscribe to white-labelled reseller hosting plans and brand the package for resale as their own. Because there’s additional mark-up, their pricing could be higher. Support response would also be slower because there’s a need to go through a middle man.

9. Consider whether to separate domain hosting and web hosting or keep them together. A domain name is your business’s internet address. In the same way that people use your company’s street address to find your premises, they find you online through your domain name, which you need to register with a domain hosting service.

Many web hosting businesses offer free domain name registration in the hosting package. However, if you want to change your host without affecting your domain. it’ll be a lot easier if you’ve kept hosting and domain separate.

10. Test the web hosting company’s customer support. Sales support is rarely a problem because they want your money. However, aftersales assistance is often a bone of contention. Besides giving ready help on technical issues, a good web hosting support service will also provide DIY resources on issues such as SSL certificate installation and email account setup. This helps your business to avoid paying additional service fees.

11. Your web hosting company should be fairly sizeable and profitable. They then have the funds to invest in periodic hardware and software upgrades.

Why Eng8ge looks abroad for our web hosting services

As a Singaporean business, Eng8ge strongly supports local SMEs. However, we had to look beyond local providers for our web hosting requirements because in many cases they couldn’t quite measure up to our – and our customers’ – expectations on quality and pricing.

Our web hosting service providers are InMotion Hosting and A2 Hosting, who both invest substantially in industry-leading hardware and high-power solid-state drives (SSDs). This SSD web hosting ensures that even shared hosting customers get super-fast page loads.

Although Eng8ge partners with A2 Hosting and InMotion Hosting, our views are honestly held. We’ve chosen to collaborate with these companies because of their excellent infrastructure, reliability and high level of service, and attractive pricing. We believe they’re the best – taking into consideration these factors!

A2 Hosting

Based in the US, A2 Hosting sprang into life in 2001. It’s the brainchild of CEO, Bryan Muthig, who had a solid background and experience as a UNIX systems administrator. The company now boasts data centres across the globe, including Singapore.

A2 Hosting is ideal if you’re looking for a premium shared hosting service with a data centre in Singapore optimised for speed.

It’s rated A by the US Better Business Bureau and has won numerous industry awards.

InMotion Hosting

Another US-based company formed in 2001, InMotion Hosting also provides fast, reliable, and affordable hosting from its data centers in the States. It has a reputation for helping SMEs to achieve online success.

InMotion Hosting is for you if you want a web host with a strong technology and customer focus, plus excellent tech support.

In recognition of its outstanding business practices, InMotion Hosting is rated A+ by Better Business Bureau in US and a 3 out of 3 stars CNET Certified Service Provider for 15 years!

Benefits of A2 Hosting and InMotion Hosting services

  • Guaranteed uptime of 99.9%, compared with the 99.5% most local providers achieve.
  • Hosting on SSD storage, which is more reliable and faster than hard disks. Our partners don’t charge extra for this, unlike many Singaporean hosting services.
  • Free SSL security, whereas most local providers charge extra.
  • Free website migration services if you’re switching from another web host.
  • Real 24/7 support and a live chat service. In most cases, local providers don’t provide tech support in person after normal working hours.

SingHost

If you have a strong preference for a local web hosting company, SingHost seems to provide quality value for money.

They offer SSD server hosting at no additional charges, 99.9% server uptime, and straightforward price plans.

However, on the downside, they don’t offer cloud or dedicated server hosting and phone support.

Why we steer clear of some big-name web hosting services

You may be wondering why we aren’t singing the praises of big names like Bluehost, HostGator, and Just Host.

After these companies were acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG), their levels of service and reliability have reportedly nosedived.

EIG has acquired many hosting operations – more than 60 of them. If you’re with one of them and become dissatisfied with the service, you could switch hosts and unwittingly end up with another EIG-controlled outfit.

There have been numerous complaints about HostGator, mainly centred on billing and support issues.

We won’t recommend web hosting companies under the EIG wing until they show a marked improvement in their business practice and service levels.

We’ll continue to monitor them, so watch this space.

A2 Hosting and InMotion Hosting price plans

We do earn a small referral fee when companies purchase a hosting plan from A2 Hosting or InMotion Hosting via our website. That said, the service providers will not pass that cost onto you.

The fees we receive go towards funding the research and writing of insightful articles like this to help SMEs.

How to compare web hosting prices

Most web hosting companies mark down their first-year subscription fees as a marketing tactic to attract new customers. On renewal, fees revert to regular pricing.

So, when making price comparisons, you should look at the total cost of using the service on a multi-year basis and be alert to other potential costs that may be incurred.

A2 shared hosting plans

View other A2 web hosting plans

InMotion shared business hosting plans

View other InMotion web hosting plans

Conclusion: Advantages of acquiring the best web hosting services

The best web hosting services will ensure you have a consistent line of communication with your customers and prospects. Unlimited bandwidth and storage – plus high levels of uptime and speedy access to your web pages via solid-state drives – will ensure you don’t miss out on generating sales leads.

Besides maximizing your potential to increase revenue, top web hosting services will include a broad range of powerful features in their packages, including security measures to protect both your business and your customers. You’ll also get email hosting with spam-filtering, so you don’t have to wade through a host of irritating, irrelevant content.

An established, reliable web host will have the resources to finance ongoing upgrades to their systems to ensure you maintain a high level of online visibility. And when it comes to aftersales support, the best web hosts will provide outstanding tech support services.

Having the peace of mind of knowing that experts are in control of your web hosting will allow you to do what you do best – get on with running your business.

How to start

Eng8ge’s Online Presence Managed Services is currently available in Singapore only.

Engage us by phone, email, or through our contact form, and our client services specialist would get in touch with you within 2 working days.

Location
10 Anson Road, #27-18
Singapore 079903
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