When seeking a web host for your website, it’s important to consider your business and website’s specific needs and purpose. Depending on the type of website and what it’ll be used for, a certain type of web hosting may suit your needs better than another, whether it be shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting. Furthermore, if you run a business and plan on selling products online, you’ll then need to look into ecommerce hosting. Though it works quite similar to general web hosting, ecommerce hosting requires some specific features for security purposes, as well as other related software.
Seeing as many of the features offered with ecommerce hosting are essential, and in some cases required, finding the right host for your ecommerce site is crucial to your business. Not only that, but you also have customers to satisfy. You need to ensure you’re offered optimal uptime, quick load speeds, and more. With this let’s take an in-depth look at ecommerce hosting, how it works, and the top providers for such.
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What is Ecommerce Hosting?
In short, ecommerce hosting is simply a type of hosting set in place specifically for those selling goods online. Also written as e-commerce or eCommerce, this type of hosting requires a range of specific features and functions, many of which are required for businesses, as they’ll be processing personal information from customers. Within these requirements for such commercial sites, there are SSL certificates, payment processing, software for shopping carts, and more.
Aside from the security and shopping-related features included with ecommerce hosting, most hosts will also provide a variety of solutions and functionalities so businesses selling products can thrive online. Whether it be online catalogs, inventory management, and more basic features like web design. In other words, you’ll have similar options to that of plain web hosting. All in all, many of the top web hosts provide ecommerce solutions alongside their standard plans.
How Does Ecommerce Hosting Work?
As with any form of web hosting and creating a website, those with ecommerce platforms are going to need to register a domain name before going live. Not only that, but ecommerce stores specifically need to set up payment processing, as well. Of course, most web hosts will offer these aspects as part of the plan you sign up for. Considering this, you need to ensure the host you choose offers such.
As we’ve alluded to above, the setup, plans, and function of ecommerce hosting platforms work quite similarly to normal hosting. Factors like web design, content, and plugins are still accessible and work as they would with any platform. While many web hosting providers offer ecommerce solutions, you’ll also have the choice to have your site hosted via ecommerce-specific platforms.
For instance, Shopify is one of the most common and popular ecommerce sites, and they even offer their own hosting. Within, you can setup your website as you would with any platform, and the ecommerce features and functionalities are provided for you—that is, an SSL certificates, payment processing, and shopping cart functions. While Shopify is a great choice and viable option for many with ecommerce sites, it’s not the only platform available.
Top Web Hosting for Ecommerce Sites
When it comes to ecommerce hosting, you’ll have two options: hosted and self-hosted platforms. With hosted platforms, like the aforementioned Shopify, the platform will both offer ecommerce functionalities and features and host your website. With self-hosted platforms, on the other hand, you’ll essentially be using ecommerce platforms with a host of your choice. This is quite similar to sites who use WordPress CMS, but host their site through another provider, rather than WordPress.
Considering these two options, we’ve detailed a couple of the most popular web hosts for hosted and self-hosted ecommerce platforms below.
Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
You’ll have a variety of options within hosted platforms, but the two to follow are renowned for their functionalities and features. Let’s take a brief look at two of the top dogs: Shopify and BigCommerce.
Shopify: With a simple user interface and a plethora of available apps, you can customize a broad range of features on Shopify. While there are some restrictions, such as altering the checkout page, Shopify allows you to quickly add the aforementioned apps to site with ease. Plus, upgrading to higher plans reduces the payment processing fee, which is otherwise the typical 2.9% +$.30.
BigCommerce: Boasting features for small businesses and enterprises, BigCommerce is another popular option for ecommerce hosting. They also boast a 99.99% uptime (compared to the 99.5% average for ecommerce platforms) and claim to offer some of the fastest sites available. Additionally, they offer multi-layered security, DDOS protection, and automated fraud detection.
In utilizing a self-hosted ecommerce platform, you’ll also have to find a host. In other words, you’ll need both the ecommerce platform and a web hosting company. For instance, you may choose to use Magento (detailed below) as your ecommerce platform, which you can then integrate with, say, rackspace®. Again, two of the most popular self-hosted ecommerce platforms are detailed below.
As you seek ecommerce hosting providers, pay close attention to their site speed. A slower website can truly hinder ecommerce sites, as customers will simply find a quicker site to order their products from. In fact, Amazon claims they’d lose $1.6 dollars a year if they slowed their site speed by just one second!
Magento: As a leading ecommerce platform, Magento offers a range of features within packages specific to types of businesses. By this, we mean they offer plans for small businesses, large enterprises, and more. They currently have over 250,000 users and offer a range of customized extensions. However, due to its complexity and ability to customize, Magento is often best suited for those with more experience in web design and development.
WooCommerce: WooCommerce makes things a bit easier for users. They list trusted hosting providers on site, with plans listed for each provider. From here, you can add on a long list of extensions, customize themes, and add a variety of plugins. Of course, they offer a support team, safe and secure payments, and a 30-day money back guarantee if it doesn’t work out for you.
Keep in mind, hosted ecommerce platforms are going to cost a bit more, but the advantages of such may outweigh the costs, and they often do. However, if you’re familiar with web development or someone within your business is, self-hosted platforms are a viable option.
As our trusted domain and web hosting provider, 1&1 offers an array of high-quality hosting solutions at an affordable rate. Better yet, you are able to integrate many ecommerce platforms with 1&1 for added efficiency.
Tips for Choosing
When choosing a provider, whether it be hosted or self-hosted, you’re going to need to pay mind to several factors. To help those with ecommerce store find the perfect hosting solution, we’ve laid out a few tips to keep in mind throughout the endeavor. Take a look:
- If you run a small business, ensure the companies you consider offer plans for such.
- For those seeking self-hosted platforms, you’ll need to determine whether shared, VPS, or cloud hosting is right for you. VPS and cloud hosting are quite similar and they’re two of the more common options within web hosting.
- As mentioned, site speed should be a main concern for ecommerce sites, as site speed can make or break a sale.
- Ability to customize is also huge. Ecommerce is all about conversion rates, so you need to design your site with the user (shopper) in mind and make navigation as easy as possible.
- Finally, ensure the security features of the platforms you consider are sound. Of course, most platforms will offer extensive security, as it’s a requirement for ecommerce.
Monitor Your Website with StatCounter
No matter the type of ecommerce hosting you choose, it’s always advised you monitor your website’s traffic to ensure your site is performing as intended. With StatCounter and our web tracker, you can closely track a range of metrics to determine how users navigate through your site and where they exit. With this, you can then make necessary changes to acquire and retain site traffic.
If you need any assistance, be sure to contact StatCounter support by filling out the form provided below.
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