1. Industry
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://ecommerce.about.com/od/eCommerce-Design-and-Dev/a/How-To-Select-The-Right-Hosting-For-An-Ecommerce-Website.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

How to Select the Right Hosting for an Ecommerce Website

The Right Website Hosting Is Crucial for an Ecommerce Business

By

Cables plugged into a network server
Rose / Mueller/Stock4B/Getty Images
An unreliable website can sound the death knell for an ecommerce business. Your best strategies will fail if you ignore the primary requirement of successful ecommerce: a reliable hosting solution.

The Difference Between Conventional Hosting and Ecommerce Hosting
The difference between conventional hosting and ecommerce hosting is that the latter comes pre-loaded with software such as a shopping cart, a catalog builder, a store designer, and a payment processor. If you are comfortable with purchasing and managing your own software, you can gain a substantial price advantage with conventional hosting.

7 Parameters to Evaluate Hosting Providers
  1. Server Hardware
    Your ecommerce website will be hosted on a server. The technical specifications of the server will determine your website's performance. Make sure that your server has adequate resources to scale up over time.

  2. Reliability and Uptime
    For a website to be reliable, not only do you need the right hardware, but also the right maintenance regimen. Two identical servers may have substantially different performance, if one is maintained well, and the other is not.

    You can determine the quality of maintenance by checking server uptime. In addition, you can judge the reliability of a server in the following ways:

    • Many hosting providers maintain a real time log of server status. Keep track of the log.

    • Scores of websites publish consumer experiences. After you narrow down your choice of hosting providers, make sure that they are not notorious for chronic hardware issues.
  3. Security
    Maintaining the highest levels of security is critical when you transact money online. Evaluate the security measures that the hosting provider offers. Additionally, make sure you keep an ear to the ground to find out about security-related issues.

  4. Ability to Deal With Traffic Spikes
    Traffic on most ecommerce websites is seasonal. For instance, on some shopping websites, traffic skyrockets during Christmas. You should determine whether your hosting service can withstand traffic spikes.

  5. Reliable Shopping Cart
    A well-supported open source shopping cart is the most common choice of ecommerce businesses. Ensure that your hosting provider supports your preferred shopping cart software. Ideally, the shopping cart should come pre-loaded with your hosting account.

  6. Pricing
    There is little correlation between the quality and price of hosting. A premium priced service could well offer inferior hosting, and a discount-hosting provider might have all the specifications you seek. Ensure that you pay a competitive price for all the hosting features you need.

    Additionally, do not ignore the cost of scaling up. Some hosting providers will lure you with bargain-basement prices, only to fleece you later with outrageously priced upgrades.

  7. Customer Service
    There are hardly any hosting services that do not offer 24/7 support. What varies is the quality of service. An ecommerce business does not change its hosting provider frequently. In a sense, you are wedded to your hosting provider. Therefore, ensure that the quality of customer service is up to the mark.
Some Popular Ecommerce Hosting Providers
  • HostGator
    HostGator is one of the biggest hosting providers. It is famous for low prices, reliability, and customer service.

  • GoDaddy
    GoDaddy has a sizeable presence in the hosting market, though it is more famous for domain name registration. Its ecommerce hosting comes with some outstanding store designs.

  • Yahoo
    Yahoo has one of the longest track records as a provider of online storefronts. Its ecommerce hosting accounts are feature-rich. However, its prices are high.
Final Words
With rapid strides in technology, hosting can seem like a commodity service. However, there are many kinds of hosting providers. Make sure to select the right one. Your website's performance depends on it.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.