If you are setting up a web based business selling products or services from your website you will require eCommerce web hosting. An on-line enterprise has some added requirements but the normal criteria for selecting a hosting service are still relevant, in fact they are of greater significance because of the potential to lose business if the hosting service is inadequate.
For an eCommerce website the following should be considered:
Uptime and Downtime – It will be of paramount importance that your site is at available all times, or at least as near to this as achievable. If customers want to buy and your site is down they will go elsewhere. Repeated downtime can seriously affect an online business.
Display Speed – Your site must run as fast as those of your rivals, if not faster. If web pages are slow to display customers will become frustrated and might move somewhere else. Even if they stick with the site and make a purchase they are less likely to return.
Technical Support – Your hosting service should have informed technical staff who can assist you 24/7. In the event of problems you will require help and a solution without delay.
Shopping Cart/Payment Processing – An eCommerce website hosting service will offer a SSL certificate to provide security for your customers and it must be simple to add a shopping cart (you may see a selection of shopping carts) to your site.
Upgrade Path – As you are starting a business which you expect to grow, it is essential that your hosting service can look after you as this happens. In particular, if you see your page loading speed getting slower you should to be able to promptly get extra resources allocated to your site.
Supplementary Functions – You should also expect extensive email functionality, backups, virus protection and protection from hackers and malware.
Some website hosting providers have special website hosting plans for eCommerce users, whilst others have the functionality accessible to their standard plans. In either instance you will need to take a hosting plan aimed at business users which will offer added services such as a dedicated IP address and private SSL certificate.
Shopping cart functionality is not consistent. Depending on the hosting company a shopping cart may be built-in into their offering (with how much you pay determining what functions you can use) or, at the other extreme, you may have a selection of 3rd party shopping carts you can make use of.
Changing your eCommerce website hosting service once you are up and running would be a major upheaval for your business that you want to avoid. Choosing your hosting service is consequently a crucial decision. You must look for a well known business with a first-rate reputation for support that should be in the business for many years to come. Time spent on research at the outset will be a excellent investment.
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