Choose web hosting for your ecommerce business is no different from choosing a location for your physical store, because at the end of the day, it is all about the location.
As soon as you have decided to go into ecommerce, and have come up with a set of products and services that will make up your business, the next step is to consider web hosting.
There are thousands of web hosting providers all over the place, and this large number means that you are faced with a difficult choice. Whether you want to start with any of the regular hosting plans until your business grows to the point where an upgrade is needed, or you want to jump into ecommerce hosting from the beginning, your choice of web hosting will greatly influence the success of your online venture.
When it comes to ecommerce business, you have the option of choosing ecommerce hosting or any of the others.
There are several reasons why you should consider ecommerce hosting over other regular hosting plans, as this platform accommodates a wide range of features and functions that will help you run a fully operational online retail outlet. For example, ecommerce hosting typically comes with a multiple payment processing options, comprehensive ecommerce security, shopping cart functionality, and lots more. All these are the features you need to effectively and efficiently run an ecommerce operation. But this is a lesson for another day.
As an ecommerce operator, it is your responsibility to ensure that your buyers enjoy optimum user experience on your website, and to offer this type of experience, you need to have the perfect website and the perfect web hosting. No matter how beautiful your site is and how awesome your products are, your choice of web hosting provider will play a huge part in influencing your site’s overall performance, thus contributing to a smooth and seamless user experience.
If you are looking at setting up an ecommerce operation, or want to migrate from one web host to another, ensure that you follow the best practices covered in this article when choosing a web hosting provider for your online business.
What to consider when choosing ecommerce web hosting
If you are just starting your ecommerce business, you may be tempted to pick a web hosting provider because of their affordable plans. While cost is a vital factor when choosing web hosting, site speed, and a few other performance related factors are just as important.
Of course, you can change hosts at any time if you make the mistake of choosing the wrong one, but this involves huge hassles for your site and your customer, and may have a negative impact on your business. Don’t be too focused on saving a few dollars that you fail to see the big picture.
To help make your choice easier, here are a few considerations to make when choosing web hosting for your online store.
The size of your business
When considering web hosting for your ecommerce business, one of the things you should think about is the size of your operation.
If you are just starting out or believe in starting small, it is unlikely that you will need a host with the capacity to handle heavy traffic. But if you do things right, your business can kick off and grow rapidly, meaning that you will quickly outgrow a small web host.
- Would your host be able to handle your traffic demands as your business grows?
- What happens if your marketing pays off and you receive an influx of customers to your site?
You need to be sure that the web hosting company you are considering has scalability features and can offer resources to meet the growing needs of your site without disrupting its performance. If the current hosting company you are considering will not allow your business to scale rapidly, you need to look elsewhere.
Ecommerce security needs
As an ecommerce operator, one of your top priorities should be security. If you have been following the news lately, you may have heard of the steady rise in the number of cyber attacks, most of them targeted at small businesses. It is your responsibility to ensure that your website does not become a victim, and this means choosing a web hosting partner that provides top notch web security.
Many hosting packages offer the following security features:
- SSL security certificate
- Web application firewall
- DDoS prevention
- Spam filters
- Antivirus and antimalware protection
- Domain name privacy
Whether you are starting small or looking to start big, your web hosting partner should provide all of the above listed at the very least.
A reliable web hosting provider will also make backup and restore provisions available, so that in the event that you do face a disaster, you will be able to recover your site and be back up and running in no time.
Hosting server uptime
No matter how beautiful your ecommerce website is, if customers cannot access your site whenever they want, you have a slim chance of success.
In fact, one of the reasons people prefer shopping online to buying in physical stores is that they are not constrained by regular closing hours or holidays. But when your site is not always online, the purpose of selling online is defeated.
Your web hosting provider should be able to guarantee that your website will be available 99.9% of the time. This means that your site will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The downside of poor and irregular server uptime is that you will lose a lot of customers, which will significantly affect your revenue. Your search page ranking will also be affected. To put it in perspective, for every one minute Amazon is offline, the ecommerce giant stand to lose as much as $220,318.80. This underscores the huge cost of downtime to ecommerce businesses.
No matter your level of skill with ecommerce platforms and application, a time will come when your website is faced with challenges that you cannot resolve on your own. This is when the true test of web hosting technical support is made.
Technical support is a crucial part of the success of your online business, because when something goes really wrong, they are the ones to help you get back online. Therefore, it is important that your web host has the resources and skills relevant to your ecommerce website, and that you will be able to get all the assistance you require when you need it.
When choosing web hosting, ask around to be sure that your provider has a dedicated team in place, who can be reached at any hour of any day, and who will fix things with minimal hassles.
Some of the places you can go to get the information you need about the state of their technical support are review websites and on social media.
This list of criteria will not be complete if price is not included. However, price can be a tricky point as everyone wants a web hosting provider that both affordable and reliable. Thankfully, it is possible to get both in the same place. You only have to know where to look.
That said, pricing should not be your sole metric for choosing web hosting as this may force you to choose shared hosting, which may not work well for your particular kind of website. In all truth, very few shared hosting plans can provide all the features you need to successfully and efficiently run an ecommerce operation. These features come expensive.
The key is to take some time to compare prices of different providers, weight the features they offer, and figure out the combination of price and features that work for you.
There are so many things to consider when choosing web hosting for your ecommerce business and we have tried to cover some of the essential points here. However, you should also be willing to invest your time in doing proper research on every provider you are considering so that you don’t end up making a choice that can negatively impact your new business.