Choose an internet service provider for your business

ISP website hosting services

Guide

As well as providing internet connectivity, your internet service provider (ISP) can also host your website or e-commerce site.

You can use your ISP for the actual design and development of your website, or work with a specialist web designer and place your designed site on your ISP's host server.

If you're using your ISP to host your website, make sure that the right capabilities, functionalities and sufficient bandwidth are in place.

Server software

Any ISP that offers website hosting will be able to host a straightforward website. If all that you need is web pages displaying information, you don't need to worry too much about the technology behind it.

However, if you want a more complex website, eg to provide a search facility or e-commerce using a secure payment system, you will need to ensure that your ISP is capable of supporting it. If not, you may want to consider a specialist web hosting company.

See more on website hosting options.

Some website applications require specific operating systems. The two main types are Linux and Microsoft. It is important to check which of these your website hosting provider can support and if they have any other requirements for databases, web servers, programming languages etc.

Bandwidth speed and throttling

Your website will need a fast connection to the internet. This is determined by the bandwidth - the amount of data that can be transmitted and received by an internet connection.

If your connection is not fast enough, accessing your web pages will be slow - particularly if many users are trying to access your site at the same time. If you exceed your monthly website hosting data transfer allowance, your website may not be accessible or the bandwidth may be throttled to operate more slowly.

The ISP hosting your website will impose bandwidth limitations, so you will need to consider:

  • if these are feasible
  • how much will it cost if you exceed them
  • how will the ISP inform you if are close to exceeding your limits

E-commerce requirements

E-commerce sites will need a shopping cart and e-catalogue software and may need online access to database applications. If you need an e-commerce site, you should establish:

  • which database and web server technologies your ISP supports
  • how much information they can hold and what storage space they offer
  • how frequently do they do automatic backups of your website files and database
  • how much web traffic they can handle
  • what are the monthly data transfer costs
  • are guaranteed hosting uptime and customer support available

You will need a secure server for the receipt of payment information such as credit card details. Check that the security controls and features are in place.

See how to set up an e-commerce website (video tutorials).

Be aware that the ISP may charge a large premium if it needs to install and maintain software specifically for your site, or set up and renew Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates. Depending upon your requirements it may be better to use a dedicated web hosting service provider.

Consider more pros and cons of using ISP for hosting.