Do you need ecommerce hosting for your site?
The hosting company that you choose can have a huge impact on your business. You’re depending on the hosting service to be fast and reliable.
If your site takes more than three seconds to load, you could be losing 40% of your audience. If your site earns over $100,000 a year, that could mean that you’re losing $2.5 million annually.
There are other factors that go into site speed other than hosting, but your hosting provider is the key source for a fast website.
If you want to choose the best hosting provider for your ecommerce site, keep reading to learn what you need to know before signing up.
What Are Your Hosting Needs?
You want to carefully consider your hosting needs the same way you consider hiring a website developer.
Are you planning or migrating a huge ecommerce site? Your needs will be vastly different from someone who’s just starting out with a small site.
If you’re just starting out, you might decide that all you need is a shared hosting account. You’ll want to make sure that you choose a hosting company that can grow with you. They should offer several options no matter what size business you are.
Higher volume sites should consider a dedicated server.
Ecommerce Hosting Must-Haves
Ecommerce sites have special hosting considerations. Here are the things you absolutely must have from your hosting provider.
PCI Compliance: Since you’re going to be handling online payments, you will need to make sure your website is PCI compliant. You’ll need to work with your hosting company to get it set up, and the company you go with should have a lot of experience in this arena.
High Uptime Percentage: No hosting provider can guarantee 100% uptime. If they do, do not use them. A lot of them will guarantee 99.9% uptime, which is the number you want. Anything less than that is unacceptable.
SSL Certificate: A SSL certificate adds another layer of encryption to your site. This is important to show customers that their information is safe and secure on your site.
Frequent Backups: As your ecommerce site grows, it’s going to be more and more important to protect your data. Your hosting provider should offer a way to perform daily backups to protect your most critical data. This way, you’re protected in case things go wrong.
Technical Support: Your ecommerce store runs 24/7 and so should your hosting company. Anything can go wrong at any time. You don’t want to have to wait hours for your hosting company to open up and fix a server issue.
Shopping Cart Installs: Your website host should be able to support one-click installs of popular carts and content management systems in one click. MutiPrimo, for instance, supports one-click install of WordPress, Drupal, and many other tools to make setting up your site easy.
Server responsiveness will matter as well. You’re going to want to make sure that the server is speedy, too. Not only will that impact customer relationships, but your SEO, too.
Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting
When you’re looking at ecommerce plans, you’ll come across terms such as shared hosting or dedicated hosting.
Shared hosting is having your site on a web server along with many other websites. The advantage is that it’s less expensive, but there are potential disadvantages.
You could be sharing a server with a website that sends out a ton of spam, which could shut down that entire server, including your website.
A dedicated server, on the other hand, is great for ecommerce sites. Dedicated servers tend to be faster, and more stable because other sites aren’t competing for the same resources on a given server. On the downside, they’re more expensive.
Entry Price vs. Renewal Price
Hosting providers are great at getting your business. They seem to have amazing prices, very similar to cable companies.
There’s a reason why the services are so inexpensive. That’s because your hosting costs could double the following year.
Read the fine print to check what the cost will be in Year 2 before you sign up.
Before you commit to an ecommerce hosting provider, take a look at their customer reviews. Chances are you’re looking to work with a company outside of your local area.
You won’t be able to visit them in person, so you have to rely on what others are saying about the company.
Customer review can be found by doing a Google search, looking at the hosting company’s website, the Better Business Bureau, and Yelp.
Test Their Customer Service
A giant marker of a company isn’t how much they’re up, it’s how they handle being down.
Sure, 99% of the time, the company is amazing and things will probably run smoothly once your ecommerce hosting is set up.
For the 1% of the time when things go wrong, you want to be sure that your site will be up quickly.
One way to know is by testing their customer service reps. Contact them with questions via email, chat, and phone.
You’ll want to note how quickly they respond and whether or not your questions are answered. If they take a while or deliver canned responses, then you might want to think twice about using them.
If that’s how they handle a general inquiry, how would they handle your site being down?
Finally, you want to work with a company whose values align with yours.
If care for the environment and sustainability are two core values of your ecommerce shop, then you’re going to want to work with a company that has the same commitment.
Sustainability matters in web hosting. One study found that web servers give off 632 kilograms of carbon dioxide each year, plus use 1000 kilowatt hours of energy.
Choose the Right Ecommerce Hosting Service
Picking the right ecommerce company for your business matters.
You’re not just picking a hosting company, you’re really picking a business partner. In order for your ecommerce company to be successful, you need to have a hosting service that’s fast and reliable.
That’s the first step to having a successful ecommerce business.