HostGator beat the competition in a few categories as we reviewed the best web hosting platform, but before we look at them in particular, let's consider why this choice is so important if you own a small business. In the search for reliable web hosting services for your company, one of the most important factors is uptime. But what exactly is uptime?

This all-important feature can be a little misleading in the way it's presented. Most companies report their uptime as a percentage, such as 99.99 percent or 99.998 percent uptime. That means that a particular server hosting your website will be up that percentage of time. While that may sound great, let's take a look at what uptimes below 100 percent can mean for your business.

Uptime and Its Effect on Your Business

If you calculate these percentages using days, hours and minutes, they become far more eye-opening. Let's start with 99.9 percent uptime. It's hard to get much better than that, but here's  how often your business website could be down.

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A 99.9 percent uptime equals 1.4 minutes per day, 9.8 minutes per week and 42 minutes per month. Over a year that adds up to 8.5 hours - a full business day lost. That means a day that your customers can't get in touch with you, can't perform a transaction with you and can't give you their money.

If you rely on your website for customer interaction, particularly e-commerce transactions, this downtime can become very costly.

Obviously, hosting services understand this, and those dedicated to providing a quality product do everything they can to ensure uptimes are as close to 100 percent as possible.

Cloud Hosting Is a Solid Solution

One way some hosting services are doing this is through VPS or cloud hosting. Through the redundancy of multiple servers, they're able to provide more stability so your site stays online, meaning your customers can reach you whenever they need to.

VPS or cloud hosting has become more common the last few years, and understandably so. The number of companies doing business online has only grown, and they need reliable services to keep their sites up and running.

More Information on HostGator

HostGator: Why it Wins

Our favorite cloud hosting service is the same as our favorite overall hosting service: HostGator. It's just hard to beat HostGator's pricing, packages of services, scalability and customer support.

HostGator's cloud hosting starts at $4.95 per month (the introductory offer at the time of this writing) for 2 cores of CPU, 2GB of memory, and unmetered bandwidth and storage. And with HostGator's low-density servers and multiple caching layers, you'll likely experience significantly faster load times as well.

If you require more, HostGator offers a business cloud package with unlimited domains, 6 cores of CPU and 6GB of memory. It also comes with unlimited parked domains and subdomains, plus unmetered bandwidth and storage.

Best of all, if you're just starting out and aren't sure you need something as robust as cloud hosting, HostGator offers shared web hosting, so you can start small and grow as your business grows. Likewise, HostGator lets you easily upgrade to a dedicated server if you outgrow its cloud hosting capabilities, ensuring your website is ready to handle all the traffic your hard work has earned you. ​

The Future of Cloud Hosting

According to market intelligence firm IDC, companies will spend $2 trillion by 2020 on digital transformation. And technology research firm Gartner predicts that enterprise cloud spending will grow to $383 billion by that same year. However, getting there may be painful for many companies, particularly larger companies and those relying on in-house legacy infrastructure.

Fortunately for smaller businesses, most are not faced with these difficulties. Moving into the cloud can be as simple as upgrading your service with the same provider. As the use of cloud hosting expands, small businesses may have an even easier time as new tiers of services become available. You may also expect to see more a la carte and hybrid options as new hosting services enter new markets around the globe.

This article was updated March 12, 2018.

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