Now that you have a snazzy domain name, how do you send an email to it?  That is part of business hosting.  A full-service business hosting includes email, website, document storage, apps, meeting capabilities, and the like.  With so many choices out there, what do you really need, and what is extra?  In this post, we will discuss some of the key services and host providers that we use.

Business Hosting applications

What applications you need will be highly driven by the size of your company and the type of business you are in. For example, the needs of a larger business with multiple employees that sells products online differ greatly from a person that is renting out a single condo on Airbnb.  Let’s explore these two situations in the following paragraph.

The Single Person Small Business needs for hosting

This is the minimum setup I would suggest for this type of business.  First, you might need a business name; check out our post on naming your business. Second, you will also need a dedicated bank account and a registered business; if you are not sure about the types of businesses, click here.  These links take you to specific posts on these topics.  So back to business hosting, I would recommend every small business register with their state, get a domain name, get a business phone number, and a business email account. 

As a business owner, you will be handing out your phone number and email to hundreds of people.  You want to avoid a disgruntled guest calling your home and spamming your personal email account constantly.  Your guests will not care whether it is a free Gmail and Google Voice account or a paid custom account from a vacation rental perspective.    From a business-to-business perspective, you will want to get a domain name and a business email account.   Also, as your business grows, you will want a more professional account/domain name, and by that time, your desired name may be taken.  It is best to take the time and money to set all of this up at the beginning.  Below we will discuss some of the minimalist options to achieve this.  

The multi-person business hosting needs

For this size of business, you will want to move into a full business suite of tools.  Of course, your business needs to have a domain name and dedicate email addresses, phone numbers, etc., for each of your employees; but, at this point, you need to think about things like a website, online store, backup software, and shared/team business applications.  Depending on the company’s size, you may also want cloud computing services to ensure the availability and speed of your online website.  You will be looking to add pay-per-click and other advertising.  I recommend that some of the business applications, depending on your business, are VOIP phone numbers, a standard set of office programs (word processer, etc.), shared file storage w/ permissions for access, and online calendars.  This is not an exhaustive list.  Also, at some point, you will need Project Management Software (PMP).    You will have various tool suites like PMP, accounting, web hosting, online store management, inventory management, customer management, and the like.  While all this may sound daunting, it really is not too bad to set up. 

Setting up Business Hosting

As we go through picking services and setup up accounts, please read all of the services because a more comprehensive package may be cheaper than have a piece here and there. However, before we dive in, let’s get some terminology defined.  

  • Domain Name – A domain is like a mailing address for the internet. For example, my domain name is RelaxingCondos.com. 
  • Email –  Email is another service that a host (domain or other) will provide.  This allows you to receive email at your domain name, for example, info@relaxingcondos.com.
  • Website – At your domain, you will want to have some website, even if it is only a “Welcome to …. check back soon.”  Web hosting is a separate service from domain name hosting.  Often the same provided will provide both services, but for this and any hosting discussed below, you can use a different provider.    
  • WordPress – WordPress is like a website on steroids.  It is an application that runs on your website hosting service. It takes care of all the mechanics of website building. There are many free plug-ins available to enhance your website.  Basically, you start creating content with minimal/ no programming.  Relaxing condos, along with 455 million other websites, use WordPress.
  • Business Suite – Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all have a set of business applications.  Microsoft’s 365 for business is probably the most familiar.  These business suites contain document sharing, collaboration tools, word processors, spreadsheets, email, and much more. We will discuss these items below.   

Cloud Computing and Business Host

Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all have cloud computing solutions that allow for domain hosting, websites, WordPress, email, and Business Suite applications.  The extent and complexity of these cloud computing platforms are beyond the scope of this post.  To set up and manage your cloud service takes some programming/network admin experience.  There are many services out there to help your business set up this type of service. For example, RelaxingCondos.com is on the Google Cloud computing service.  The cost of these platforms ranges from free to $35/month for basic capability and up to $1000s/month for major corporations.  If you are interested in more information, leave a comment below.  

Domain Hosting

There are many, many domain hosts out there.  Here are three domain hosts I have experience with and would recommend.  All domain hosts have more services than just domain hosting.  First is GoDaddy.com.  GoDaddy, famous for its Superbowl commercials, is one of the leaders in solid domain hosting. Bluehost.com(paid) is known for its meager Webhosting price, along with its domain hosting.  Google Domains also provides a great domain hosting service, besides their cloud computing service.  Google is unique in that it offers free email forwarding with your domain.  For instance, if someone emails you at info@yourdomain.com, it will automatically send that email to your personal email account.  This can save you lots of money.   All of these choices are great to buy a domain name from; you can’t go wrong with any of them.  As you look at the services below, you will see that Google Domains gives you the largest bang for your buck.

Email Hosting

With all three of the domain hosting companies, email hosting is extra. Note: email forwarding is free with Google Domains.   This discussion ignores the first-year discounts that all three companies offer. GoDaddy offers Microsoft 365 Email accounts currently costing $2/month/user.  BlueHost(paid) also uses Microsoft 365 Email, costing either $5/month/user or $10/month/user for full access to Microsoft 365 (Office); see Business Suites below for more details. Google offers email hosting as part of its workplace package; see Business Suites below for more details.  Google Workspace costs  $6/month/user and includes email plus much more.   

Website Hosting (basic)

Google Domain includes a free website builder and hosting.  It also includes a free blog website for your domain.  After the introduction period, GoDaddy charges $9/month for website hosting. After the introductory period, Bluehost charges $9/month for website hosting.  The introductory period for both of these is 36 months with reduced prices. 

WordPress Hosting  

After the introduction period, GoDaddy charges $10/month for WordPress hosting; and after the introductory period, Bluehost charges $9/month for WordPress hosting.  The introductory period for both of these is 36 months with reduced prices.  With Google, you need to switch over to Google’s Cloud Platform.  Just for reference, a WordPress site costs about $15/Month with Google Cloud.  

Business Suites in conjunction with Business Hosting

As mentioned above, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all have a set of business applications.  These business suites contain document sharing, collaboration tools, word processors, spreadsheets, email, and much more.  Google Workspace includes everything included with a free Gmail account such as email, google drive, Gdocs, Gsheets, group calendars, meet, and chat.  As mentioned above, this costs $6/month/user.  For an additional $10/month/user, you can add a google voice to give each user a VOIP phone number connected to a computer or cell phone.  Microsoft 365 business costs around $5/user/month.  It includes a full set of web-based office products, Teams, email, and file storage.  Amazon services are integrated with their cloud computing.  The details and pricing were not easily figured out, sorry.  I use Google Workspace and Voice for Relaxing Condos and our employees.  It has been working really well.  

Other Software

Accounting and other software are needed to run your business.  I use and recommend Quickbooks Online(paid) for account software.  For Project Management Software, I use and recommend Podio.  For a detailed discussion of Podio, see my post on guest management software. However, Podio does much more than just guest management.   For a complete discussion of software and costs, sign up for our newsletter and receive a free gift on cost estimating!

Remember, if this sounds overly complicated, Relaxing Condos offers coaching services to get you started with any of your vacation rental business needs.  If you found this useful, please share it on social media using the buttons below. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Newsletter, Special Hot Tips, and our cost estimating guide delivered to your inbox!

–Jake