Web hosting allows individuals or businesses to make their websites and applications available online. Web hosting providers supply the infrastructure and services that make this possible.
Choosing the right web hosting provider is vital for any online business’ success. A poor hosting provider can lead to slow website speeds, security vulnerabilities, and frequent downtime, negatively impacting sales and customer experience. For eCommerce websites, this can make or break your business.
This guide helps you know what to look for when choosing a web host for your eCommerce store.
Key Features of Web Hosting for eCommerce Websites
To start, let’s explore some of the eCommerce hosting key features.
Uptime is the amount of time infrastructure is online, available, and successfully operational, usually expressed as a percentage annually. Most hosting providers offer a service level agreement with guaranteed uptime. This feature means that your environment remains online for a specified period, or they will compensate you for downtime.
Providers universally present uptime and availability in the number of 9s (99.999% uptime, for example) the web host achieves, with companies seeking five or more 9s to guarantee reliable infrastructure performance and uptime. An uptime guarantee gives you peace of mind that the web hosting for your eCommerce websites won’t fail when you need it most.
Security is critical when choosing a web host for eCommerce websites since they deal with sensitive customer information, like credit card numbers and personal details. Unfortunately, this information makes them an attractive target for cybercriminals.
A security-focused web hosting provider helps prevent data breaches and protect customer information from theft or unauthorized access at the network and hardware level. Look for providers offering features such as SSL certificates, regular security updates, malware scanning, and firewall options to ensure your eCommerce website is secure.
Speed and Performance
Website speed and performance play are essential for the success of eCommerce websites. Online shoppers expect fast-loading websites and lack patience for slow sites or delayed purchases. Additionally, a slow website leads to higher bounce rates (people leaving your website in favor of another), lower search engine rankings, and decreased customer satisfaction, all of which means a loss of revenue.
Your eCommerce sites need to load quickly and perform well. Therefore, your web hosting provider should offer fast server and network speeds with adequate bandwidth and optimization features such as caching and content delivery networks (CDNs). These and other tools can mean the difference between your eCommerce company’s success and failure.
Scalability is an industry term that refers to adding additional resources when you need them. Cloud or dedicated solutions can scale or grow with your business, though they accomplish this task differently. Regardless of your environment, your web hosting provider should be able to meet your website's demands and accommodate growth.
A scalable web host for eCommerce retailers will offer competitive pricing, easy upgrade paths (relative to the need and available options), and solutions for sudden traffic spikes to minimize downtime and performance issues. Ensuring your sites can handle increased demand and provide a positive customer experience is the responsibility of you and your hosting provider.
Web Hosting Solutions for eCommerce Websites
Plenty of hosting solutions are available, depending on your website and its architecture. Here are some environment options when choosing a web host for your eCommerce site.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is a cloud computing service model in which a cloud services provider delivers computing resources. It takes the pressure off you and your team to obtain, configure, and maintain your hosting infrastructure. Instead, your chosen hosting provider gives you a server and components, network connectivity, physical security, and electrical power to your environment.
Many options fall into this category, some mentioned in other solution categories. Here are a couple of those options.
VPS hosting is an excellent option for eCommerce companies needing more control over their server than shared hosting allows. Most providers offer root-level access and dedicated resources such as RAM, CPU cores, and storage. In addition, customization options exist, including your choice of operating system (OS), control panel options, and the ability to install third-party software though management may be limited.
For eCommerce sites needing more resource configurations, dedicated servers provide the necessary upgrade from a VPS. Instead of a virtual server instance with allocated resources, a dedicated server gives full use of the physical server hardware and low-level administrative access. Also, you receive greater performance and security since you control every aspect of the server configuration.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software distribution method where a cloud provider hosts apps and makes them available to end users via the Internet. The service provider hosts the software on remote servers, maintains and updates the software, and delivers the services using apps, browsers, and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
SaaS products are abundant for all purposes, including eCommerce. Here are two of the most popular options.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. The Shopify platform provides a range of services to online shops, including payment, marketing, shipping, and customer engagement capabilities.
BigCommerce is a publicly-traded SaaS eCommerce platform for retailers. Their offerings cover online store design, search engine optimization (SEO), hosting, marketing, and security for small to large enterprise businesses.
Managed applications are hosting environments for top content management systems (CMS) and eCommerce platforms. These environments are typically fully managed, providing support for the hardware, network, power, and some portions of the software.
Nexcess is one of the leading Managed WooCommerce solutions available. Available plans range from starter to Enterprise and everything in between. The goal is to take the hosting off your plate so you can focus on your business.
An enterprise eCommerce system facilitates a wide range of trade and commerce operations. Companies want one solution for inventory and order management, accounting, customer relationship management, resource planning, marketing, reporting and analytics, and other functions.
There are numerous possibilities, but enterprise corporations have a limited number of eCommerce platforms capable of servicing their business needs. A good solution should be wider than commercial functions, supporting many near-commercial functionalities on a single platform.
In a server cluster, multiple servers work together, distributing web traffic and providing redundancy in case of server failures. They are a good option for enterprise eCommerce websites requiring high availability and reliability. This functionality ensures your eCommerce website is always available and handles high traffic volumes.
Additionally, server clusters offer more customization options and scalability than single-server web hosting, making them a good choice for growing and enterprise eCommerce businesses.
VMware is a useful virtualization technology for enterprise eCommerce websites. Businesses can create virtual machines (VMs) to test and deploy eCommerce applications. This feature helps reduce downtime and improve website performance by allowing companies to test new features and updates before deploying them to production.
Choosing the right web hosting provider is crucial for the success of eCommerce websites. With this in mind, this guide explores vital features to look for, including uptime guarantee, security, speed and performance, and scalability. It also outlines several web hosting solutions for eCommerce websites, ranging from IaaS to Managed Applications to VMware.
When choosing a web host, it is essential to consider your website's architecture and needs. Selecting the right web hosting provider can boost your eCommerce business's performance, while the wrong one leads to lost revenue and a poor customer experience. Use this post to guide you through finding the right web host for your eCommerce websites.
Ron is a Technical Writer at Liquid Web working with the Marketing team. He has 9+ years of experience in Technology. He obtained an Associate of Science in Computer Science from Prairie State College in 2015. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart and lives in Michigan with her and their children.
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