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As you research the best web hosting for small business, you may come across terms and phrases that are unfamiliar to you. It is important to know what you need and what is nice to have.

What does caching do for a website?

A cache stores data temporarily, which uses less processing power on a server. Caching can occur in hardware or through software. If you visited a website once, the data for that page is cached, so the next time you visit, everything will load faster. It is a beneficial feature that can improve the performance of your site, especially for returning visitors to the site.

What is a CDN and do you need one?

A content delivery network (CDN) is a physical form of caching. A CDN typically distributes data across multiple servers located around the world. Typically, your site is hosted on a single server at one location.

Some web hosts allow you to choose the server that best suits your audience. If your audience is global, you may need to use a CDN. It enables faster load times for anyone accessing your website, regardless of where they live.

How important is WHOIS privacy?

When you register a domain name, you must include contact information, including your address and phone number. Anyone can look up WHOIS information on any website, so if you don’t mask your information, you could expose yourself to spam, telemarketers, and other unwanted contacts.

Some web hosts include WHOIS privacy with their hosting plans, but not all. You can use a business address and phone number, instead of your personal information. It may be worth the extra cost to get WHOIS privacy masking, which will display non-personally identifiable information.

Why you need an SSL certificate

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is an encrypted code that saves data being transferred to and from different machines. You’ll know a site has this if you see the small lock icon at the top left of the URL in a browser (also indicated by the “s” in “https”). Thus, you protect your site and your site visitors.

Having an SSL certificate is important, especially if you have an e-commerce website, because it helps protect credit card information and passwords. Also, you’ll find it easier to rank in Google’s search engine results if you secure your site with an SSL certificate.

Most web hosts include an SSL certificate at no additional cost, although there are still some that charge more for it. Also, most use the Let’s Encrypt version of an SSL certificate, which is Domain Validated (DV) SSL. A single domain SSL certificate is sufficient for most small businesses, although you may want to purchase an Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate, which provides more validity for your site.