One of the biggest impacts on your business is the hosting provider that you choose and the experience that they can help you provide to your shoppers. It has long been a belief that the only way to get quality eCommerce Hosting was by paying a lot of money per month. However, that is not really true. The truth of the matter is that quality hosting does not have to cost a lot of money. Simply focusing your search to find an eCommerce Hosting provider that can deliver the experience that your shoppers need is more important then the price and often more then not the price of a quality hosting company is not a budget breaker.
One of the best things that you can do when you are looking for an eCommerce Hosting provider is to take your time. You need to realize how important this decision is to your long term business growth plans. Choosing the wrong business partner for your website can and will have a negative impact on your business.
Shared Hosting Is Not A Good Choice
While shared hosting a good choice for many websites due to the low number of visitors that they receive per month, choosing it for your eCommerce website is a bad idea. eCommerce platforms such as WooCommerce and Magento can and are resource hogs and will drag down the performance of your website as it grows on a shared hosting platform.
Shared hosting has resource limits placed on it that are to small for a quality eCommerce website. These limitations will not only slow down your page loading times it will slow down your shop sales as well.
You are better off choosing an eCommerce Hosting provider that offers you plans that can meet the resource needs of your website. Many hosting companies offer plans that are strictly for websites that use shopping carts. These plans offer more resources to keep your website running smoothly and give your customers the best possible shopping experience. Normally speaking these types of plans will be enough for many websites, but the truth is eventually you will need to be able to upgrade to a more powerful solution such as VPS (virtual private server) or a Dedicated Server.
So what do you need to look for in choosing an eCommerce Hosting partner
- Is The Hosting Company Reliable – eCommerce stores can be very profitable when they become popular. However, if the hosting partner you choose does not provide a solid hosting platform you might as well hang up any chance you have of growing your business. There are several factors that contribute to a reliable hosting network – the technical ability of the support team, the hardware they use and the data center connections to the internet. All of these play a huge factor in whether your eCommerce website will succeed or fail. Of course the main thing to remember is that your website will also depend heavily on your ability to promote it to your customers.
- The performance of the eCommerce Hosting plan – Your website needs to load pages quickly. Think about a website you have visited in the past that loaded slowly. I am pretty sure you didn’t wait very long before you decided that there must be a better place to buy what you were looking for or wanted to read. People simply will not wait for a slow loading website and this is something you really need to consider. When choosing your hosting partner you need to find out if their eCommerce plans are designed for applications such as WooCommerce, Magento and others. Also do they offer caching or are you going to need add a plugin. Caching is a method of storing pages for a visitor that allows for faster page loads each time they visit your website.
- Self-hosted or Shopping Cart – This is a choice you need to decide. There are advantages to each one. With self-hosted solutions you will obtain your eCommerce Hosting plan and setup your shopping cart on your own. The platform choice will be yours and of course it will be extremely design friendly. The downfall is that you will need to have some technical expertise such as web design and how to fix issues with your web applications when they crop up. A shopping cart provider such as Shopify or a marketplace like Etsy are quickly setup and provide technical help if needed, but at the cost of having a unique looking site that makes you stand out among the thousands of other websites trying to gain your shoppers attention. I have always opted for self-hosted plans. They are more flexible and offer you the freedom of design that you will simply not get with many of the cart systems such as Shopify. Also if you decide your web hosting provider is not meeting your needs you can simply transfer your hosting and website to a new business partner. This is not easily done with platforms such as Shopify, Etsy and others.
- 24/7 Support – Lets face it. You are going to need help at one point or another especially if you are new to hosting. eCommerce hosting should come with a level of support that matches your needs. If you submit a ticket for help and it takes their support staff hours to respond, how much money will you lose. Tickets are a great support system if done right, but can be frustrating when you are trying to convey your issue in typed words. Personally I prefer a company with U.S. based phone support. This allows you to actually get a live person and convey the issue a lot quicker and more efficiently then through a ticket based support system. No matter which way you prefer you should test them out by sending in a couple of tickets at various times over a couple of days. This will allow you determine their response times during different times of the day and week. Trust me when I say it really is frustrating when it is 3 in the morning and there is no answer to your ticket for hours. You can also checkout their reputation on websites such as Webhostingtalk.com before you commit to using their eCommerce Hosting.
- Do they offer room for growth – This is really important later on. In the beginning your new hosting provider may meet your website needs, but what happens when your site grows beyond the capacity of your current plan? You should be able to easily upgrade to more powerful plan whether it be a larger eCommerce Hosting plan, VPS or Dedicated Server. Don’t be afraid to ask them what options they offer if this happens. Any good hosting provider will always be glad to answer your questions and help you make an informed decision even if that decision means you will choose their competition.
Take your time – time is money
The biggest thing you can do is have patience. Taking your time to find the best eCommerce Hosting partner will play a big part in the success of your business. Choosing a company to host your website is not something you should take lightly. There are thousands of choices in hosting companies, but only one right one. Don’t trust your business to the first one you find because it could be a decision that you might regret.