Does your website need e-commerce compatibility?

If you have a website that primarily focuses on delivering content to its end-users such as a personal blog or a business site then you may not be very familiar with e-commerce hosting. If you plan on selling products or services via the Internet then your website will need e-commerce web hosting in order to do so. The major component that differentiates e-commerce hosting from your standard shared or dedicated web hosting is the fact that e-commerce hosting allows you to simply showcase your products or services on your website while also having the ability to accept payments for those services or products. Although this may sound relatively straightforward and easy to understand there are countless options to consider which at times can become extremely daunting.

So why do I need e-commerce web hosting?

Every year the percentage of people who conduct business over the Internet increases substantially. More and more people are deciding to use the Internet to make purchases which allows them the ability to avoid waiting in line, saving on their fuel costs, and reducing the enormous amount of paperwork and mail that is generated when you choose not to do your shopping or bill paying over the Internet.

It’s easier than ever for an individual to pay for goods and services over the Internet from their favorite provider while also having the ability to donate to their favorite charitable cause by simply transferring funds via the Internet. But, in order for them to have the ability to do this the websites they interact with must have the ability to accept payments while also ensuring that the data given from their loyal customers is protected and secured while also remaining private. E-commerce web hosting is the solution to these problems.

The Major Components of E-commerce Hosting:

When searching for e-commerce hosting there are many things that need to be taken into consideration to ensure you have the best service for the price. While it is important for you to look at every aspect of the hosting package you may choose to purchase there are some factors that are especially important for an e-commerce site.

Website Security – One of the major things that you need to take into consideration is security. You need to remember that the customers of your e-commerce store are going to be giving you their private information and you need to ensure that information is protected. Some of the information they will be giving you are their credit card numbers, address, city, ZIP Code, name, and sometimes even their date of birth. Another thing you need to take into consideration is whether or not you will have your customers create a username and password so that their information can easily be saved to your database. If your e-commerce site is not protected then you run the risk of identity theft and this is the reason why it is imperative to ensure that your e-commerce hosting provides the maximum amount of security available.

Up time, stay away from down time – If you’re relying on an e-commerce store to provide you a substantial amount of your income then it is extremely important that your website is available to your customers as much as possible. If you have a slow or unresponsive website than the customers will simply go elsewhere largely due to frustration and the fact that you are not a reliable business. This is the reason why it is extremely important that your e-commerce web hosting has an up time guarantee. Generally speaking an up time of 99.9% is the industry standard and you should look for hosting companies that offer this up time or an up time in this area.

Hosting types: Shared, Dedicated, Cloud, and VPS – When considering which type of hosting to choose for your e-commerce website it is important to choose the type based around how much traffic you believe your website will be receiving. If you have a new website and you do not think that the amount of traffic you will be generating will be substantial enough to show degradation of services then you may want to choose shared hosting to begin with. Once you start receiving more traffic and you notice degradation beginning to occur due to the shared hosting then you may want to progressively increase through dedicated, cloud, and VPS hosting. These options allow the ability to scale and grow rapidly.

Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that if you outgrow your shared hosting account and you need to upgrade then you will have downtime on your site which can negatively affect your website depending on the amount of time needed for your site to remain down. Often times if you find yourself in need of migrating your website to a more robust hosting package then you will want to do this extremely early in the morning (3 am)on the weekend (Sunday). Generally speaking this is the range of time when websites receive the lowest amount of traffic making it perfect for repairs.

Shopping carts, or buggies, whichever you prefer – Shopping carts are a way for your customers to choose the products and services you provide throughout your site and then check out when they are done browsing. If you use a specific or custom shopping cart you need to ensure that your hosting company is compatible with that shopping cart. If you do not yet have a shopping cart for your e-commerce website then you can browse through the one click installs and find out which shopping cart is the best for your needs which can help you dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes for you to set up your new website.

Payment systems, time to get paid – In general almost every web hosting provider will be compatible with the main payment gateways such as PayPal and all major credit cards. However it is imperative that you verify the payment gateway you choose to use is 100%compatible with all of the payment types you plan on accepting on your website. For example American Express is not always compatible with e-commerce packages which is something you need to verify before you state that you accept American Express.