Our latest thoughts on all things concerning private practice marketing and technology.  Enjoy our insights and reflections below.

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best website hosting for private practices

Hosting a business website refers to where its files are located and served from - this is its home, as it were. When choosing the best website hosting company, it's worth paying attention to many details that can have a large impact on the operation of your business website, as well as e-mail, if they are bundled together.  So what should you consider when choosing the best website hosting company for your business or private practice?

The very process of creating a website for a small business or a private professional practice is a demanding challenge. The list of items to consider is pretty long: your branding, graphic design of all the website elements, outlines, and content of not only your homepage, but also the service subpages, your blog, and a privacy policy. Equally important are issues such as the structure of your website, which will be responsible for the correct display on mobile devices, or elements that facilitate SEO optimization.  One of the other key elements of your website is choosing the right hosting company. Before you select from a large number of choices, pay attention to a few important things.

First of all - be very careful when choosing a hosting company

Sad but true - quite a lot of web hosting companies, especially the cheapest ones, have shady practices.  When you choose your host, you will likely be using the service for years - so choose one that you won't have to move to another hosting service provider later.  This will save you a lot of time, grief, and money.  Be suspicious of very low hosting prices and promotions.  Oftentimes, the first year of hosting is cheap but you're hit with a big increase when it comes to renewing.   The same is the case with "unlimited bandwidth hosting".  It sounds great in theory, but the truth is, that you will receive as much bandwidth as the hosting company can allocate to your resources in the context of the load by its other customers.  Shared hosting servers are usually stuffed to the brim with other customers, which will make your site excruciatingly slow (you can run a site speed test here). This is a notorious problem with cheap shared hosting services.  A slow site will kill your conversions and SEO.  Of course, you can also buy a VPS or a dedicated server, which the shared hosting company might encourage you to do. However, only businesses that have really huge traffic really need such resources to benefit from the expense, so it's not an appropriate hosting choice for a small dental or psychology practice website.

Which type of hosting is best for a private practice website

When choosing a hosting company for your private practice website, it's worth approaching the choice as it pertains to your individual needs. What is good for e-commerce or may not necessarily be good for you.  For example, a 15-page dental practice website with a blog will need little bandwidth.  An online store with hundreds of products will require a large amount of data transfer and fast MySQL databases.

When it comes to a private practice website, you can easily and cheaply find great website hosting that offers up to 20 GB in bandwidth, but just in case, check ones for 20-50GB, as well in the case if you are going to start a blog where you plan to have beautiful photos of your related to your practice and get really busy. You probably won't need fancy parameters for MySQL databases, but it's worth having this option.

Look at subdomains and email accounts

Pay attention to the number of subdomains and e-mail accounts offered. You shouldn't have any restrictions here. Especially if you plan to hire a larger number of independent practitioners, for whom it will be required to set up an e-mail address with your domain.

Do they have a hosting management panel?

We recommend choosing managed hosting - this means that your website installation on the hosting server is maintained on your behalf, as is commonly the case for WordPress websites.  Few businesses have the time or resources to do this themselves, as it requires significant technical knowledge.  This way, your databases, security, updates, and any other server administrative tasks are performed for you.

Make sure to get your SSL certificate included with hosting

You might have noticed that some sites have an "unsecured" inscription next to their site URL or a badge with a closed padlock icon.  This means that the internet connection you have just established has an SSL certificate. This is used to protect data sent between the website and the website user.  When running a private practice company, you will definitely want to have a contact form on your website, so you need hosting that will offer you data encryption for privacy and security purposes.  Most simple website hosting companies require a separate purchase and installation of SSL, which can add up in expenses and maintenance.  Make sure you choose a reputable hosting company that offers SSL as a part of their hosting package.  For this, we highly recommend a managed hosting service like Flywheel as the best website hosting company (we like them so much we chose them as our agency hosting partner!)

Can you choose the PHP version?

The hosting company should support the latest PHP version and pay attention to whether it's easy to upgrade your PHP version to the latest stable one on your server.  We're entering a pretty technical realm here, and this is another reason why managed hosting is a good choice for most businesses.  While many website content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress will force the use of newer versions of PHP, look for a host that allows you to easily switch between PHP versions if you're managing your hosting panel yourself, just in case something goes wrong.  

Check that they have a great backups system

This one is very simple.  You think you don't need backups.  Until the first time that your website crashes or is infected with a virus….  Your hosting company provider should provide daily backups that you should be able to restore immediately (1-click) and easily.

Make sure you can get help if needed

When it comes to hosting companies, customer service is extremely important. You should check the provider's working hours, and classic 9-5 working hours don't apply - your website will run 24 hours per day.  There can always be something wrong and errors need to be addressed as soon as possible.  Similarly, don't settle for robotic auto-responses and low-quality answers from outsourced centers overseas - this is a big problem with cheap shared hosting companies.  If you're reporting a problem, but the answer is to encourage you to buy more products - run for the hills.  Your hosting company should never try to upsell you - they should be there to support you, your sites, and your business!

Check if you can choose where the data center is

Find out in which country the hosting server will be operating. This is an important SEO positioning factor. When it comes to a private practice website, you don't necessarily need a specific location, but it will be a nice addition for sure. In addition, as a rule, websites with data centers in Canada and the US will work a bit faster than cheap ones hosted overseas.  Privacy is also a big consideration, so if you'd like your data to stay in your country, be mindful of the data center location.

So which is the best website hosting company?

Considering the above recommendations, we suggest that you pay particular attention to Flywheel as your best hosting choice.   While it's not the only hosting company out there, we've done extensive research prior to recommending it, to make sure it offers the best value and resources for our own healthcare and professional practitioner clients.  Their hosting plans are very reasonably priced and offer SSL and daily backups as a part of the service.  In the end, when choosing your hosting company, aim to strike a good balance between the quality of what you want to buy, the features offered, and the price you are willing to pay.

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