E-Commerce Decisions: Choosing the Best Website Host for Your Needs
If you want to launch an ecommerce store, the very first thing to consider is your website host. You can have the best website ever, but it won’t matter if the host is not suitable. So what do you need to consider to choose the right host?
Uptime is one of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing your host. This is the amount of time that your website will be available, and good web hosts will guarantee a certain amount of uptime.
This is often 99.8 percent or something similar, which works out as an hour or so of downtime each month including scheduled maintenance.
The server should be monitored 24/7 to keep uptime to a maximum, and this often means a server in a large data center. Ask to see recent statistics for uptime, and a good host should have no problem with this.
Hosts will provide various hosting packages that provide different amounts of data transmission and data-storage capacities. When starting out, a shared hosting account is often fine, where one server is shared with other sites.
However, as your site grows, you may require a Virtual Private Server (VPS), which will contain fewer sites. And the next up is a dedicated server just for your site, which could be managed or unmanaged.
This is another key thing to consider. Your customers will want your site to load fast, so don’t let your host let you down here – otherwise you could lose business.
Things may go wrong, or you may not understand something, and if you are hosting your ecommerce store, you want 24/7 support so you can speak to someone when you need to.
How should you check the level of support? Send an email to the host at the weekend in the early hours of the morning and see just how quickly they get back to you.
Security is essential because you will be taking online payments. You should have a private Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate to give your customers confidence, and this will protect their passwords and card info by encrypting data before it is sent to your order form. Something like IBM iSeries hosting may also be suitable for your business applications because of its high level of security.
The cost is obviously a consideration, but don’t go on cost alone. Just choosing the cheapest option is not going to be a good idea because you want a host that provides everything you need. So find a competitive service, but don’t just choose the cheapest you can find.
Trustworthiness of the Host
Do your research before deciding on a host. You can easily read online reviews from other businesses, so find out what the general level of service is like and whether you can trust the host before making your decision.
Choose the Best Host for Your Store
Choosing a host is one of the steps that you will want to take a long time over. Don’t rush this stage because you will want to make the right decision from the start. Changing hosts later on can be a hassle, and you want to make sure that your website provides the best experience to your customers right from the first day, so keep all of the above in mind when making your decision.
Evan Gregory is a small business owner himself, and knows the struggles of ‘getting it right’ whether that be employees or website design. He writes on small business topics for various websites.