Getting started building a website can be tough. There are dozens of web hosting services out there, and comparing all the prices and features between them can be tedious. We do all that checking for you, however, and Yahoo Small Business leaves a fair number of boxes unchecked. Its lack of advanced hosting options places it in a different category than DreamHost, HostGator, or Hostwinds, our Editors’ Choice picks. That said, if you’re just looking to create a very basic website, Yahoo’s offering is easy to use and uptime is solid.
Shared Web Hosting Packages
Shared web hosting is for people interested in entry-level web hosting. With shared hosting, your website literally shares server space with other sites. This roommate situation often results in cheap web hosting, so there’s no large financial risk on your part. However, there is a downside. If your website sees a huge traffic surge (yes!), your hosting provider may take the site offline so that it doesn’t negatively impact its neighbors by hogging resources (damn!).
Yahoo Small Business, like Domain.com, forgoes month-to-month shared hosting plans. Instead, it offers three tiers of Linux-based hosting. The Basic shared hosting package (starting at $4.49 per month with an annual commitment) includes a free domain, 100GB of storage, 1000GB of monthly data transfers, 250 email addresses, and 10 website pages.
The Advanced plan (starting at $5.89 per month with an annual commitment) improves on the Basic package by including 500GB of disk space, 5000GB of monthly data transfers, 500 email addresses, unlimited website pages, WordPress support, and “virtually unlimited” databases. The Premier hosting plan (starting at $6.79 per month with an annual commitment) adds unlimited data transfers, unlimited storage, and private domain registration.
Those are respectable shared hosting plans, but they’re bested by what HostGator offers. The Editors’ Choice for shared web hosting offers a choice of Linux- or Windows-based servers, as well as unlimited storage, monthly data transfers, and email addresses with each plan.
No Advanced Hosting Plans
Sometimes you simply need more web hosting power, but you won’t find that with Yahoo Small Business. Like Register.com, Yahoo Small Business lacks many advanced hosting plans. It lacks cloud, dedicated, VPS, WordPress, or reseller hosting; it’s shared hosting or bust. If you need that extra muscle for a highly trafficked site, I recommend visiting our roundups to discover the best services in each hosting category.
Consider, too, that while you might not need anything more than shared hosting today, what happens if your site really takes off and needs a higher-end back end in the future? Having to port a website to a new service isn’t the end of the world, but do you really want to go through the hassle of choosing and learning to use a whole new service again? There’s no need to when so many providers offer the whole gamut of hosting choices.
Building a Yahoo Small Business Website
As soon as you finish signing up for a Yahoo hosting plan, you click Get Started to build a website. Doing so takes you to the Web Hosting Control Panel section. Clicking Create & Update launches the free and simply named Website Builder, a drag-and-drop website-building app.
Yahoo Site Solution makes it easy to add themes, layouts, HTML widgets, and contact information to your fledgling website. The website builder lets you construct simple, attractive pages, but if you want a more polished look, calling a professional designer may be in order.
You also have the option to use WordPress as your site’s foundation. Understand that Yahoo Small Business doesn’t have the specialized WordPress hosting packages offered by the likes of DreamHost or Media Temple. As a result, Yahoo Small Business lacks the CMS-specific environment, staging, and customer service that make those plans so worthwhile. Note also that, despite the fact that it offers no specialized WordPress features, Yahoo requires that you sign up for the more expensive Advanced plan for WordPress hosting.
If you really just want very simple and cheap WordPress hosting, you might be better off going with the turnkey WordPress.com, which even offers free hosting.
If you’re looking to sell products, Yahoo Small Business has you covered with three e-commerce store packages: Starter, Standard, and Professional. The plans share many similar features, such as a free domain, UPS shipping integration, credit card and PayPal processing, and unlimited storage and data transfers, but they differ in significant ways.
Starter (starting at $10 per month, billed annually) includes 1,000 email accounts and a 1.5 percent transaction fee. Standard (starting at $25.95 per month, billed annually) has just a 1 percent transaction fee, gift certificate capabilities, upsell and cross-sell tools, and API access for third-party software. Professional ($254 per month, billed annually) includes everything that was previously mentioned, but it drops the transaction fee to 0.75 percent. That may not sound like a lot for the jump in price, but if you do a decent volume in sales, it could pay for itself pretty quickly.
Building a store with Yahoo is as simple as building a webpage, so you’ll have no problem adding images, links, and the like.
All Yahoo Small Business plans include Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. This tech encrypts data as it moves between a website and end user (and vice versa), thus securing it from people with malicious intent. I commend Yahoo Small Business for including a free SSL certificate with each hosting package, as it’s a valuable safeguard when you’re looking to sell products online.
Purchased separately, SSL certificates can be relatively expensive. Register.com, for example, sells standalone SSL certificates starting at $26.50 per year (with a two-year term) and they top out at $390 per year (with a two-year term). The higher-priced tiers offer stronger site-wide security features. For example, if you want store protection, full site protection, and the green security padlock in your site’s address bar, you must shell out money for a pricier SSL (though you should search around for deals).
Website uptime is a vital web hosting element. If your site goes down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. Rest assured that, if your site is down when someone wants to make a purchase, your competitors’ sites are just a few keystrokes away. A customer who makes a purchase elsewhere might never come back. Accordingly, no site that does poorly in our uptime tests can get a good rating on PCMag, no matter how good it is in other respects.
To get an indication of each service’s stability, I use a website-monitoring tool to track my test sites’ uptime over a two-week period. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings my website and sends me an alert if it is unable to contact the site for at least one minute. You’ll want year-round stability, of course, but two weeks is generally enough to get a decent performance snapshot. In this case, the data revealed that Yahoo Small Business is incredibly stable. In fact, it didn’t go down once.
While most hosts are generally fairly stable, that’s not always the case. In a recent review, for example, Register.com went down for extended periods during its 14-day test period.
Limited Customer Service
Yahoo Small Business offers 24/7 online ticketing support, as well as a database designed to answer frequently asked questions. On the other hand, telephone hours are limited
To test Yahoo Small Business’ customer service, I dialed the
Yahoo Small Business comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is par for the course among web hosts, but DreamHost tops it with an impressive 97-day refund window.
Should You Yahoo?
Yahoo Small Business offers easy-to-use, accessible site-building tools and respectable customer support. The service lacks dedicated and VPS hosting, however, and it sometimes makes you commit to an Advanced or Premier account for features you normally get with other web hosts’ basic accounts. If you need more robust features, DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds are our top picks.
For more, check out our tips for creating the best website and our primer on how to register a domain name for your website.