Our Website Backup automatically backs up your data – every day. And in worst-case scenarios, if disaster strikes, it’s ok – you can restore your data with a single “click.” So, get Website Backup and stop worrying about data loss. Get back to doing what you do best – running your business and making money. And speaking of money, here’s the best part – we’re offering it for only $2.99/mo.
By creating a website, you are creating an online presence. This allows you to connect with people that you might not otherwise be able to reach. Whether you’re making a basic website with contact information for your small business or medical practice, creating a landing page for your freelance work, a multi-page experience for your wedding photography business or you just want a place to blog about your thoughts on food, having a website will give you a dynamic advantage.
But remember that while these specifications are nice, they only apply to data residing on GoDaddy's servers. In the case of email hosting, for example, users reading their email using a local email client, like Microsoft Outlook, will still be storing all that data on their on-premises devices where it won't be automatically encrypted. That means for full security, you should still invest in local data encryption software. And for those employees who access data from the road and remote locations, keep their data-in-transit safe by using a virtual private network (VPN) client.
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.
The biggest drawbacks: scrubbing your records is not fast enough because the emails are retained for 14 days, and system logs up to 180 days. Also, compared to Rackspace, Zoho and G Suite, Fastmail has less storage space for a basic plan: only 2 GB for $3/user/month. Still, we’re giving it the highest rating, 5 for Value, on account of the sheer number of supported features.
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 done—and they might never come back. Anyone who's ever tried to build customer loyalty understands what a catastrophe this is.
While most businesses will have such suites in place, it often falls to the email service to provide an additional layer of anti-phishing and anti-malware protection. Our reviews found a surprising variance in this department, however, ranging from very robust to completely non-existent, so be careful. Since it's such a huge liability for business owners, this could be one of the most important factors in terms of background features. At the very least, it's better than filing an insurance claim or outright losing funds due to simple social engineering tactics.
GoDaddy's dedicated servers come in many Linux or Windows configurations. Economy (starts at $89.99 per month, renews at $169 per month) comes with four CPU cores, 4GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, unlimited monthly data transfers, three IP addresses, Office 365 Starter Email, and a free SSL certificate. Value (starts at $104 per month, renews at $199 per month) ups the RAM and storage to 8GB and 1.5TB, respectively. Deluxe (starts at $129 per month, renews at $249 per month) boasts 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. Ultimate (starts at $179 per month, renews at $349 per month) has a sizeable 32GB of RAM. Naturally, a long-term commitment nets you big savings. For example, if you sign up for 24 months of the Economy plan, you pay just $79.99 per month).
Something you’ve probably noticed is that I didn’t feature WP Engine on this list. This is no mistake (or at least I hope). As awesome as WP Engine can be, it’s just too expensive of a product to recommend to most small business websites. If you’re lucky, the price tag will be $19.33 / month = $232 / year, and potentially a lot more. This is just not the kind of investment that most small business owners will be eager to make.
Post initial setup, a primary concern will be the log-on issue. If your organization is fine with a separate log-on for your email provider, then this step will be quick. However, that's not typically what businesses want or users expect. In general, users expect to sign onto their desktops and have their email and file sharing sign-ons happen as part of that one-step process. Not surprisingly, this is called Single Sign-On (SSO) and it's enabled in one of three ways: through the use of a back-end directory service like Microsoft Active Directory (AD); an identity management service, like Okta (one of our Editors' Choice winners in that category); or several compatible web services that include SSO along with other apps and email services, like Google G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium (two of the top providers reviewed here). Which method you choose depends on how your business is configured today and your long-term cloud services strategy. It's definitely a conversation you'll need to have either with your in-house IT staff or your outside IT consultant.
Email isn't going away any time soon. Despite a rise in adoption of collaboration-based communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, 86 percent of professionals prefer to use email for business purposes. How companies host, store, and distribute their email—that's the area that has undergone a massive transformation. Businesses are veering away from costly onsite email servers running products such as Microsoft Small Business Server and looking instead to the cloud with hosted email solutions. Businesses of all sizes have realized the wisdom of going with a scalable and secure hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with guaranteed uptime that breaks down pricing into flexible, per-user charges.
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.
You can create a free and professional website all on your own. With Wix, you can start with a stunning template and customize it, or get a personalized website made just for you. When you choose Wix, you don’t just get a drag and drop website builder. You get the whole package. Free reliable web hosting, top security, the best SEO and a dedicated support team to help you along the way.
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. You can a find Jeffrey online at jeffreylwilson.net, or send him a tweet at @jeffreylwilson
In terms of plans, GoDaddy’s VPS plans look very similar to its Business ones. The only real difference is a jump in storage – up to 200 GB on the Expand plan – and therefore in price. GoDaddy promises to get your VPS server up and running in minutes, and takes care of managing the whole thing for you. These VPS plans are best suited to eCommerce sites, or resource-heavy apps. They’re also a good option if you have multiple sites on the go, as the isolated environment means one site won’t impact on the loading times of another.
Running in-house email servers does provide more control and wider customization as well as tracking and compliance for small to midsize businesses (SMB). But they require specialized on-site IT staff as well as the need to manually manage and support both hardware and software. A third-party hosted email service matches many of the advantages of in-house email without the expensive initial investment. The ability to manage the number of users, access the latest security protocols, and enjoy ease of connectivity and deployment of hosted solutions makes it a viable and competitive option.
Since GoDaddy has essentially repackaged Microsoft Office 365, you get a lot of bang for your buck in terms of email features, both on the user side and from an administrator's perspective. Assuming you go with the Business Premium feature set as we did, you'll get the full Microsoft Office Suite along with its business collaboration tools. This means the usual productivity apps, such as Microsoft Access, Excel, Outlook, and Word, but it also gives you additional team collaboration, online conferencing, and even VoIP phone calling via Microsoft Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. However, we are a little disappointed in the pricing structure, as some of what GoDaddy sells as extra-cost add-ons, such as encryption, is already present if you go with a plan directly from Microsoft.