How to Host a CRM Website?

Disclosure: HostScore is reader-supported. When you purchase through our links, we may earn a commission.

Who should read this? Ideal for beginners and intermediate users, this guide offers step-by-step instructions for setting up an open-source CRM website in a self-hosted environment. For small to medium businesses, hosting your own CRM offers several key benefits compared to subscription-based models: Full control over your data, extensive customization options, and affordable.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of hosting your own CRM website using EspoCRM on a budget host.

EspoCRM is an open-source solution that stands out for its flexibility and power, allowing businesses to fully manage their CRM on private servers. TMD Hosting is chosen for this article for their strong support and straightforward setup features.

Step-by-Step Procedures

1. Select a Hosting Provider

Selecting the right host is essential for the performance and reliability of your EspoCRM installation. Consider these critical factors when choosing a provider:

  • Traffic Volume Capacity: Your host must handle the expected traffic to your CRM smoothly, ensuring no lag or crashes that could impair customer interactions.
  • Data Security: Opt for a host with strong security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and SSL support to safeguard sensitive customer data.
  • Budget Constraints: Choose a hosting solution that fits your budget while offering a good balance of cost and functionality.
  • Software Compatibility: Ensure the host supports all technical requirements for EspoCRM, including specific PHP versions and necessary server configurations.

For a reliable and smooth EspoCRM operation – we recommend TMDHosting (cheapest plan starts below $5/mo, upgrade to VPS or cloud hosting if you need more server capacity) or FastComet. Both providers offer specialized support for EspoCRM, facilitating easy one-click installation and ensuring optimal performance. They stand out for their consistent reliability and excellent customer service, making them great choices for your CRM hosting needs.

2. Installing the CRM Software (EspoCRM)

When hosting EspoCRM with TMDHosting, the installation process is simplified through their one-click installation feature. This means you won’t have to manually upload and configure the EspoCRM software. Instead, you can:

  1. Login to cPanel in your TMDHosting account
  2. Navigate to Softaculous section (at the bottom of your dashboard).
  3. Select EspoCRM from the list of applications and click to install it.

This one-click installer handles all the necessary configurations and database setup, making it an efficient way to get EspoCRM up and running without diving into manual installation details. Alternatively, if you are setting up a new website, you can also ask TMD support to install the CRM for you.

For those hosting their CRM on a different web host and need guidance to manual installation, here’s the official download and instruction page.

Installing the CRM Software in TMD Hosting.
TMDHosting offers a tailored environment for EspoCRM where you can install, update, and manage the CRM website easily.

3. Basic Configuration of the CRM (EspoCRM)

Once EspoCRM is installed, the next step is to configure the system according to your business needs:

  • Admin Account Setup: Start by logging in with the administrator credentials you set during installation. This account allows you to manage other user accounts and set permissions.
  • Customizing Settings: Adjust essential system settings such as locale, timezone, and currency through the ‘Administration’ panel to suit your operational needs.
  • Data Import: EspoCRM facilitates the importation of existing customer data in various formats. It’s important to ensure data integrity during this process to maintain accurate records.
  • Modules and Fields Customization: Tailor modules and fields to align with your business processes. EspoCRM’s flexibility allows you to modify the system to accurately reflect the specific data points that are relevant to your customer interactions and operations.
  • Security Settings: Set up security measures to control access and permissions, safeguarding your CRM data and enhancing overall data protection.

These initial steps are vital to ensure that EspoCRM functions smoothly and aligns effectively with your business strategies.

4. Integrating Additional Tools and Services

Enhancing your EspoCRM setup with specialized integrations can tailor the system to meet your unique business needs more closely:

  • Email Platforms: Integrate EspoCRM with email services like MailChimp or Active Campaign to facilitate email campaigns and track responses directly within the CRM.
  • Telephony Systems: Connect with VoIP services such as Twilio to manage calls and log interactions, which boosts your communication capabilities.
  • Calendar Applications: Synchronize EspoCRM with calendar tools like Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook to streamline the scheduling of appointments and set reminders.
  • Implementation Steps: To add these integrations, go to the ‘Integrations’ section in EspoCRM’s administration panel. The setup typically requires entering API keys and configuring synchronization settings.
  • Monitoring Performance: After integrating new tools, it’s important to monitor the CRM’s performance to ensure these additions do not compromise system speed or reliability.

These integrations not only expand the functionality of EspoCRM but also enhance its alignment with your operational workflows and customer engagement strategies.

5. Final Testing and Going Live

Thorough testing is crucial before going live with your EspoCRM system to ensure everything functions as expected:

  • Functionality Testing: Check all CRM operations including data input, report generation, and user access controls to confirm they work correctly.
  • Integration Testing: Test the integration of tools and services like email platforms and telephony systems to ensure seamless functionality with the CRM.
  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Engage a group of end-users (start with your company sales team!) to test the system in real-world scenarios, identifying any usability concerns.
  • Performance Evaluation: Assess system performance under various loads to verify stability and responsiveness.
  • Final Adjustments: Implement any necessary changes based on feedback from testing to configurations or integrations.

After all tests are passed, you can confidently launch your EspoCRM system. This structured approach ensures a smooth transition and optimal performance from the start.

Cautions for Hosting CRM Websites

Because of the nature of CRM website, you are likely to deal with a much larger data sets and longer user dwell time compare to other types of website. Therefore, there are certain things you need to be aware of when hosting a directory websites.

When hosting a CRM website, there are several cautions to keep in mind:

  • Data Security: Protecting sensitive customer data is paramount. Ensure robust security measures are in place, such as encryption, secure access protocols, and regular security audits. A third-party WAF (like Cloudflare or Sucuri) is highly recommended in most scenarios – the basic version is free anyway. Consider installing ransomware protection (WithSecure, Acronis, etc) if your budget allows.
  • Regular Updates: Keep both the CRM and any integrated tools up-to-date to benefit from the latest features and security patches. This is why it’s recommended to host with a web host that support easy installation and maintenance of your CRM software – you don’t have to download / upload / troubleshoot CRM updates manually.
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery: Implement a routine backup strategy to protect your data from accidental loss or corruption.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Adhere to legal standards and regulations like GDPR or HIPAA that apply to customer data storage and processing.
  • Monitor Performance: Regularly check the system’s performance and address any issues that might affect speed or availability. You can signup an account at WebPageTest to test and compare the performance of your CRM site; use Uptime Robot to track your CRM site’s uptime.
  • User Training and Support: Provide adequate training and support for users to mitigate risks associated with human error and to maximize the effective use of the CRM system.

Alternatives: Different Ways to Build and Host Your CRM

Choices in CRM Solutions

When considering how to build and host a CRM system, businesses have several alternatives.

  • Cloud-Based CRM: Services like HubSpot and Microsoft Dynamics 365 offer highly scalable cloud-hosted CRM solutions without the need for physical infrastructure. Cost is higher in generally, but you’ll have less headache in managing the infrastructure and better supports in using your CRM.
  • On-Premise CRM: For organizations requiring complete control over their data and customizations, on-premise solutions can be hosted internally. Though, be aware that this option requires a significant investment in IT infrastructure and personnel.
  • Other Open Source CRM: Besides EspoCRM, SuiteCRM or Odoo are two popular CRM / ERP systems to make use of. The installation and configuration processes are similar to what we mentioned here.
  • Hybrid Solutions: A hybrid approach allows businesses to host critical data on-premise for security while utilizing cloud services for additional scalability and integration capabilities.

Quick Comparison Table

CRM TypeDescriptionExamples
Cloud-Based CRMHosted off-site by the provider, offering scalability, automatic updates, and minimal IT infrastructure requirements.Salesforce, HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics 365
On-Premise CRMHosted internally on company’s own servers, offering full control over data and customizations.Custom deployments based on open-source or proprietary software
Open Source CRMPlatforms that provide customizable and self-hosted options, often with community support.SuiteCRM, Odoo, EspoCRM
Hybrid SolutionsCombines on-premise and cloud solutions to balance control with scalability.Custom hybrid configurations

Highlights: HubSpot Free CRM

HubSpot Free CRM
Screenshot of Hubspot Free CRM page (visit here).

I found HubSpot Free CRM just recently and thought it’s a useful business tool for many. Getting started is completely free (you don’t even need to submit credit card info). Everything in your CRM system will be hosted in their cloud servers and you can store up to 1,000,000 contacts in your account.

The free CRM tool offers a range of features such as email tracking, contact and pipeline management, scheduling, and the creation of email templates. It also includes tools for performance tracking, like email click-through rates and interaction timelines – which are crucial for optimizing marketing strategies and improving customer engagement.

Other Web Hosts to Host Your CRM Websites

In addition to TMDHosting and FastComet, other web hosts suitable for CRM hosting include:

  • InMotion Hosting: Known for its years of solid business track record and reliability, making it a dependable choice for growing businesses.
  • Cloudways: Offers excellent customer support and highly scalable cloud hosting solutions, ideal for CRM applications for larger businesses.
  • Hostinger: Cheap shared hosting packages, user-friendly control panel, and comprehensive self-help knowledgebase – suitable for businesses seeking budget solution.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, this guide has given you a clear understanding of how to host your own CRM website and introduced you to some alternative CRM solutions worth considering. Hosting your CRM provides your business with enhanced control and the ability to customize features to your needs.

Launch your CRM website with confidence, equipped to optimize customer relationships and streamline operations.

More from HostScore

Hosting Cost Calculator

Are you overpaying for your web host?

Tell us about your website and we'll help estimate how much you need to pay for your web host for the next 12 months.

Try Now (Free Tool)

Popular Hosting Search

HostScore readers are also searching for...

Article by Jerry Low

Jerry Low has immersed himself in web technologies for over a decade and has built many successful sites from scratch. He is a self-professed geek who has made it his life’s ambition to keep the web hosting industry honest. For latest personal updates and news, follow Jerry on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo of author