Ecommerce companies need secure, reliable web hosting for business transactions handled online. Secure payment processing, guaranteed uptime, and reliable backup systems are critical to ensure a positive online shopping experience.
Compare several ecommerce web hosting plans online to find the right fit for your online business budget, sales volume, and specific requirements.
Decide if your ecommerce website needs dedicated or shared web hosting. Shared hosting, while usually more affordable, can be risky for online business owners. Other websites sharing space on the host's server can upload content to the server to use on their own website; however, this content, which may include viruses or bad script, affects all server users.
Dedicated web hosting for business users is preferable to keep security tight and prevent server overload.
Ask the ecommerce web hosting business representative about available features and facilities. Compare the amount of bandwidth with each plan. Make sure the hosting company supports your PHP, SQL, Perl or other special requirements. The plan should include a secure socket layer (SSL) to encrypt payment data, or offer it as an add-on. Look for at least 99% uptime and a money-back guarantee if you find the hosting plan unsatisfactory.
Ensure web hosting compatibility with your existing ecommerce website features. There is nothing worse than signing up for a service, only to realize it conflicts with your existing website. Make sure your ecommerce web hosting plan, shopping cart, and payment processor are all compatible.
Price each ecommerce web hosting plan and understand all included features, as well as those that cost extra. After listing the features and benefits of each plan, calculate the true monthly expense and list the missing features or downfalls of each plan.
Contact any other B2B service providers to ensure compatibility. Before making a decision, contact your payment processors, shopping cart providers, and web programmers to double-check that each of the web hosting plans you are considering will work with your existing services. It is much easier to prevent a mistake like this than to correct it.
Switching hosts after launching an ecommerce business can be time consuming and tricky; do the legwork and research to make the right choice the first time. Go with an established, reputable company such as Web.com (a publicly-traded company that includes popular brand 1ShoppingCart.com), or New York Internet, established in 1996.
Do not fall for common marketing ploys such as the offer of unlimited disk space. This is rarely required and while it seems like a great deal, offers no real benefit in web hosting for business.
Once you have shortlisted three to five ecommerce web hosting companies based on their pricing and plan features, try to contact each by email and phone to clarify any remaining questions. Web hosting for business is an international affair; if the company does not offer 24/7 live support, avoid their service. Fast problem solving and technical support are critical in preventing unnecessary downtime and lost revenue.