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If you have a website that focuses primarily on delivering informative content, such as a blog or a business site, then you may not be familiar with Ecommerce web hosting. However, if you ever plan on selling products or services via your website, then you will need Ecommerce web hosting.
The difference between Ecommerce and other types of hosting is simply the addition of a method for showcasing your products or services on your web site and providing a way to accept payments for the services or products. Although this may sound simplistic by nature, the many options to consider can be daunting.
Why do you need Ecommerce web hosting?
Each year the percentage of people who conduct business over the Internet increases. More and more people are opting to avoid long lines at malls, save money on fuel, and reduce the paperwork and mail they generate by instead utilizing the internet for their shopping and bill paying.
People can pay for goods and services at their favorite sites and can even donate to their favorite charitable organizations or support a site they enjoy by transferring money to the site via the Internet. In order to do this, though, you must have a means of accepting payments and ensuring the consumer’s personal data is secure and remains private. Ecommerce web hosting is the solution.
What should be your primary concerns when searching for Ecommerce hosting?
When searching for Ecommerce hosting there are many aspects you should consider to ensure you have the best possible service. While all hosting requirements should be looked at, there are a few that are especially important to Ecommerce:
Security – Remember that your customers are giving you personal information and sensitive information that needs to be protected. Credit card numbers, name, address, username and password are information that may be deal with on an Ecommerce site. If it is not protected you risk identity theft of your customers. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure any Ecommerce hosting you choose provides the maximum security options available.
Uptime – When you rely on your customers’ business to generate your income to stay in business it is important to make sure your website is available to them as much as possible. If your site is slow or unavailable your customers will go elsewhere due to sheer frustration and a sense that you are not reliable. Therefore, it is important to be sure your potential Ecommerce web hosting account has an uptime guarantee. 99.9% uptime is the standard and you should look for a host that guarantees uptime in this range.
Dedicated, Cloud and VPS – When considering Ecommerce web hosting, you may want to choose another option over shared. While shared hosting may be sufficient for a small start up business, as your business grows and the popularity of your site increases you may experience some degradation of services. If your business projections indicate the potential for a highly successful site you may want to consider dedicated, cloud or VPS hosting off the bat. These will allow you better scalability and accessibility when you grow. If you outgrow a shared environment and need to move from your server you may experience downtime which will adversely affect your business.
Shopping carts – Shopping carts are a way for your customers to choose your products or services throughout your site and then check out when they are done. If you use a particular shopping cart make sure your potential new host is compatible with your shopping cart. If you do not yet have one, see which shopping carts are available for one click installations so you can easily get your site set up.
Payment systems – Almost all web hosts will be compatible with the main payment gateways so you can accept PayPal and major credit cards. However, make sure to verify that your payment gateway is compatible with all payment means you plan to accept. American Express in particular is not always compatible with certain Ecommerce packages.
Test to ensure reliability
Once you have your site completely built, your shopping cart set up, and your payment gateway enacted it is imperative to test your site thoroughly before launching it to the public. This helps to avoid any problems encountered thus allowing you to address them before you put your customers at risk.
Go through your shopping cart and click on several products and check out using all the possible payment methods. Your shopping cart may provide a $1 test that enables you to test each payment gateway for $1 to make sure it is secure and working properly. If this is supplied take advantage of it but do not stop there. Do your own testing and once you are confident everything else is working properly you can launch your site and start conducting business.
Most web hosts will claim to support Ecommerce websites. However, some hosts are better situated to support them than others. Choose a web host that has a solid track record of hosting Ecommerce sites and one that specializes in providing those services. If you make sure you get all the essential components in an Ecommerce web hosting package you will have a secure and reliable site.
Want to learn more? Check out all of our great web hosting guides!