This blog is going to be a very long one, but it’s important to understand each of the variables that go into this choice. Why? Taking the time to learn this and understand it the best you can now will save you a TON of money and time in the future. And who doesn’t like saving money and having more time!?
I hope the following information helps you make a more informed decision when you choose a web host for a music lesson business website!
Your Website Building Platform Determines Your Hosting Needs
Before you even think about choosing who will be your web host for your music lesson business, you need to decide what web building platform you will be using to create your site. This is the technology that allows you to create your site without having to code from scratch. The web building platform dictates what type of hosting company (if any) you need to use.
Some common building platforms include, but are not limited to:
If you plan to use WordPress.com, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, or Shopify, you can stop here. You do not have to worry about choosing a web host. Those companies double as both building platform and host.
If you choose WordPress.org, you will need to choose a hosting plan.
Start with the high end of your budget
In web hosting world, like many other things in life, you absolutely get what you pay for. Your hosting is the ground in which your website foundation will be laid. If that ground is unstable or unpredictable, your website will have problems.
There are different types of hosting:
- Free (usually this has ads on it and is unprofessional for a business to use)
- Shared (your website is on a server with many others)
- Dedicated (your website is on its OWN server)
- Cloud (your website is spread across many servers)
Web hosting is not something to go the cheap route on. You should always purchase the best web hosting you can reasonably afford.
It’s very rare that a music school requires anything more than a high quality shared hosting account.
While not free, shared hosting is definitely on the cheaper end of the varying options – and usually comes with a lot of perks when it’s high quality.
How can you tell if a web host is high quality? Well… there are a variety of factors. Let’s look at each factor in order from most to least important (in my opinion!)
A Great Host has a Great User Experience (UX)
User experience is important for you to consider when building your website, but what do you know!? – UX is also something you should care about when you are purchasing services as well.
When something isn’t working correctly on your website, you need help FAST.
A GREAT web host will make it possible for you or your web master to manage your site with ease. Things that make it easier to manage a website include: a control panel of some kind, 24/7 support (via phone or live chat), and a knowledge base where you can get answers to your questions without having to deal with contacting the host.
- Companies who only offer E-mail only support. At minimum, you want a 24/7 live chat line for emergencies.
- Anything that only allows you to log in to your account with SSH/FTP. This severely limits what you are able to do, and you need to be very advanced to be able to do these things.
Do They Regularly Update Their Server Software?
One of the things that cheaper web hosting companies get away with is lackluster security. In 2020, security is something you absolutely SHOULD be concerned about.
Remember the breach that Experian had a couple of years ago that leaked millions of social security numbers? That was because they didn’t update the software used on their servers that stored all of that information. The software that didn’t get updated in Experian’s case was the same as is used on many shared web hosting servers!
If you’re running WordPress, you will want to make sure that your host is running supported versions of mySQL and PHP at minimum.
MORE SECURITY: FREE SSL
I wrote an entire article about SSL a while back. An SSL is like an armored guard for your website. As of 2020, EVERYONE should have an SSL cert on their website, even if it’s a free one.
Avoid hosts that try to up-sell you on an SSL. They should have a one click, free option to install an SSL certificate.
Do not even entertain having a legitimate business website without having an SSL. Google may not rank you as high if you don’t have one – and many web browsers will now show your visitors a very scary message, causing them to leave your site before they even get into it!
As discussed in my article about how to speed up your website, you only have 3 seconds to capture your visitors’ interest. You want to get the time it takes your website to load to much less that that if possible.
While many things contribute to the speed of a website, hosting is a major factor.
At the time of writing this article, I find SiteGround to be one of the fastest shared hosting companies I’ve ever worked with.
Previously, if wanted to restore an old version of your website, shared hosting companies would charge HUNDREDS of dollars and on top of that, you would have to pay a web developer to restore things for you manually.
This is no longer something that you should accept as part of your hosting plan!
GOOD web hosting companies are now offering free daily backups. These backups can be used to restore your site to the day before, or even sometimes weeks before depending upon your plan.
Whether you are doing your website yourself, or you are having a pro work on it, I HIGHLY recommend choosing a plan that has daily backups and restore as an option. It’s a form of insurance which saves you a lot of money and time if anything does happen to your site!
If your music teachers don’t show up 10% of the time to the lessons you have scheduled them for, that would be a BIG problem, wouldn’t it? They’d likely be fired!
“Uptime” is the equivalent of your music teacher showing up for work. While servers do need maintenance from time to time, if your website is going up and down often, this is problematic.
If your website is down for long amounts of time, it can negatively affect your SEO and annoy your visitors!
Choose a web hosting company that is reliable and promises VERY high uptime. Again, SiteGround ranks high in reliability in my book!
Why pay $6 per e-mail address at gSuite if you can get it bundled in your hosting and have as many as you want?
Free E-Mail with your hosting account is a huge perk!
I personally have never paid for e-mail and have always hosted it on my web server. Saves a ton of money if you do it this way, and is so much more flexible if you have employees (or want to make it look like you are larger than you are!)
Storage (Disk Space)
If you’re looking for a new computer, one of the things you automatically consider is how much storage that computer comes with. For web hosting in 2020, this isn’t something you should be spending much energy on. A lot of the cheaper hosting companies will try to “wow” you with tons of space.
When choosing a web host for a music lesson business website, disk space shouldn’t matter very much.
Here’s the thing. If your website’s purpose is to advertise your music lessons – you should not be uploading giant files to your website. If you’re doing it correctly, you’ll never come close to using 100GB of space. (The hosting account that this website is on – which houses over 20 websites – is only using 8.64 GB of space currently!)
Free Domain with Hosting
This is just a marketing ploy. Don’t fall for it or let it influence your decision between one hosting company or another.
Keep your domain registration separate from your hosting account.
Don’t be swayed by “Free domain” deals. They are a TRAP
Finally, I advise you to GOOGLE the business you are considering going with for hosting prior to committing to their service. Web developers are really picky about hosting companies (for good reason). When you are choosing a web host for a music lesson business, you should be, too! I hope this guide helped you! If you need more personalized advice or are still unsure about what to do, please feel free to schedule a consult call by clicking here.