How To Choose The Best Hosting For Your E-commerce Site
Web hosting is complicated enough as it is. Once your website needs to offer products and services and begin to accept money, things can get a whole lot more complicated.
E-commerce, or the process of giving and receiving money over the Internet, is when the free-form nature of the Internet meets the reality of business and finance. Choosing the right web host and E-commerce platform is crucial to the long-term success of your online ventures. Choosing poorly can result in outages, downtime, and even financial trouble.
How to choose the best hosting for your E-commerce site is a complex process but it all starts with a little R&D.
1. Research & (Web) Development
Begin looking into products and services that sound like what you’re looking for. Much like how many web hosts offer different tiers for the various needs their customers have, E-commerce platforms tailor fee structures, monthly rates, and access to various services to the size of the business they are aiding.
Web hosts are often looking to centralize your business. You’ll find many web hosts that offer package deals that include the website’s hosting, website’s domain name, as well as E-commerce setups. These services are often far easier for first-time website owners, who may not be inclined to purchase the services separately and arrange for each to accept the other.
Generally, you’ll want to research trusted web hosts that specialize in E-commerce, or offer services that are highly comparable with your chosen E-commerce software. In some instances, E-commerce software will offer their own web hosting—even further blurring the lines between web hosts, E-commerce software, and website creation.
2. Features to Look For
E-commerce allows for customers to hand over their credit card information in order to order products or access services. While that may sound obvious, it’s important to keep in mind when looking through web hosts and their offerings for E-commerce solutions.
You’ll generally need to be on the lookout for the easiest possible way for your customers to find the products they want and purchase them quickly. Mobile compatibility is a massively important feature, for instance. If your customers are purchasing your products from their phone, navigating the standard site may be more of a struggle for them than it is worth.
Similarly, your web host needs to be fast and reliable. Slow websites and constant waiting for pages to load may give customers second thoughts about going through the hassle. At the same time, if your customers cannot access the site due to constant outages and server problems, that’s a significant amount of business lost due to a web host.
Compatibility is also massively important. While many services attempt to offer those all-in-one packages, you may have already created your website or digital storefront on a separate website. Figuring out how your website looks and how to design it is hard enough, but if you fail to find a reputable host, you may struggle to get that content over to the audience.
Many web hosts offer migration and similar services that move your website or storefront to their servers in only a few simple steps. This is particularly useful for those who use WordPress, as many web hosts offer dedicated WordPress hosting to attract customers and offer a hosting solution that’s right for them.
3. Planning Ahead
The key to uncovering a good web host is not to see how well your site looks when the service is performing as advertised, but how quickly your web host can lend a hand when something goes awry.
The customer service aspect of web hosting is often overlooked but vitally important. If you notice error messages or receive complaints about your website from your customers, talking to representatives of the web host will be necessary.
Search online and make sure that your prospective web host has the customer service and quick response you may need to use. While hopefully, a phone call to technical support won’t be necessary anytime soon, make sure that if that moment comes, you can trust in your web host to get the problem solved and make things right.
4. Know Your Guarantees
Finally, keep in mind that what your web host promises to do and what it is legally required to do are two different things. For the protection of both of you, know exactly what the service you’re paying for offers and what it does not.
Many web hosts utilize what is referred to as a Service Level Agreement, or SLA. This is a shortlist of the exact terms and conditions your web host agrees to for the cost of your business. Ignoring any hyperbolic claims they may be making, this SLA is the securing contract between you and your web host.
Choose a web host that offers a boilerplate SLA and isn’t afraid to go above and beyond the stipulations of the contract. This ties into the research you’ll need to do, so don’t be afraid to read some customer reviews and see what’s been noted.
Knowing your guarantees keeps things transparent and reduces the risk of misunderstanding. It is also the same document the web host will fall back on in case of a dispute, so making sure everyone’s on the same page is important.
The right web host is going to take some work to find. Since there are thousands of options to choose from, there are likely dozens that deserve your business, and many more that do not.
Keep in mind your level of technical expertise and choose a web host that can meet that level and far exceed it. Your web host is more than just another service you need. It is your partner in business.
So do your research, find web hosts that specialize in E-commerce, and get your storefront online today. One the product starts moving, you’ll be glad you chose the right partner for the job.
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