Ecommerce Hosting: How to Choose the Best Provider
Finding a reliable eCommerce hosting provider is the first critical step towards building and managing a successful online store. Here are the top benefits of reliable hosting, things to consider, and the top players in the hosting world.
Starting an eCommerce business can be overwhelming, especially for newbies. Do I choose a provider that only offers hosting services or an all-in-one provider? Which platform do I choose? Is there anything I should know before I start my quest for the best provider?
To help you, we'll be discussing every aspect of how to pick the best eCommerce hosting provider for your needs, preferences, and budget. We'll walk you through the benefits of getting a top provider, top things to consider, and what to keep in mind. In the end, we'll take a look at some of the top-rated hosting providers and discuss their features.
Benefits of Working With a Reliable Host
You'll Get a High-Performing Website
Here are some eye-opener statistics:
- More than 50% of your web users expect your site to load in three seconds or less.
- Even a 1-second delay can result in an 11% decrease in traffic.
- 46% of users don't revisit a low-performing website.
- 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad shopping experience.
All of the statistics that you saw above only confirm the importance of choosing a reliable host.
Reliable hosts will make sure your website performance is optimal. Websites that are high-performant rank well in Google and can outperform their lower-performing competitors. For example, let's say that your site loads in six seconds, and your competitor's site loads in three, Google will rank your competitor higher in search results.
Not to mention that slow websites negatively affect user experience. And when your user experience drops, so does your conversation rate.
Customers Will Feel Safe to Make a Purchase
You can't just expect to create an eCommerce website and start collecting people's private information like credit card info and billing addresses.
People don't want to do business with sites that aren't secure and trustworthy. For example, if your site isn't encrypted with HTTPS, it will be labeled "not secure". Would you buy from a website that's identified as "not secure?" Probably not! Neither will your clients.
That's why most reliable eCommerce hosting providers provide an SSL certificate that "transforms" your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Seeing the HTTPS label on your bar will help improve consumer confidence in your brand.
Google announced in 2014 that an SSL certificate will boost your ranking position. And one case study by Comodo discovered that a digital certificate installed on a website can lead to customers spending higher amounts of money in a transaction.
Ask any eCommerce website owner what's the most frustrating thing that can happen to their site, and they will say "a website crash." Why? Because every second your website is down, you're losing money.
One study found that downtime can cost small businesses up to $427 per minute. This number is an average, but if you want to calculate the rough estimate of your downtime cost, use the formula below:
Downtime cost = minutes of downtime x cost-per-minute.
For a small business, use $427 as cost-per-minute.
Losing money is one side-effect of experiencing downtime. Another side effect is that customers will lose trust in your brand. If they try to land on your site and are not able to, they will most likely start looking for an alternative. If this happens more than a few times, they might stop coming altogether.
Top Things to Consider When Choosing a Provider
Monthly Traffic Volume
What's your expected monthly traffic? If you're just beginning your eCommerce business, chances are you won't need an eCommerce hosting provider with high-traffic capabilities. In this case, the best option for your small business eCommerce store is shared hosting.
Shared hosting is the most popular option for small businesses with minimal levels of traffic. This means that your website will be stored on a single server with other websites similar to yours. Shared servers are also the most affordable option, which is especially appealing to smaller companies.
But if you're planning on growing and scaling your business, you may want to think about how you will accommodate that growing number of visitors.
In this case, the best option is a dedicated hosting or cloud hosting. Dedicated hosting is when a single server plays host to a single website, and cloud hosting is similar to shared hosting but with more scalability, flexibility, and redundancy.
Cybersecurity is a major concern for companies of all sizes. Websites are attacked daily, and some of those attacks are fatal to businesses attacked.
In fact, according to a report by the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of small businesses shut down in less than six months after a cyber-attack.
Cybersecurity is especially important for smaller businesses. Why? Because they don't have the resources to make a security breach go away. On top of everything, a company may have to pay a significant fine for allowing the theft of its customers' private information.
That's why it's critical to choose a hosting provider that offers a secure website infrastructure that's up-to-date with the latest updates, patches, and security protocols. A secure eCommerce hosting provider will act as a "shield" for your website and hold off any attacks.
Compliance is a major consideration when choosing an eCommerce hosting provider. A reliable provider should offer detailed assurances on how it will protect the data collected from your website.
This is the purpose of PCI DSS compliance. PCI DSS compliance are standards all businesses that transact via credit card must abide by. In a way, it's a guarantee that your customers are transacting securely.
Website Transfer Services
You might be a newbie to the eCommerce business and are in the midst of starting your first site. Or, you might have an existing website and want to transfer your site over to a new web hosting service.
If this is the case, you'll want to choose an eCommerce hosting provider that provides domain transfer services. Some hosting providers offer technical help to assist the website owner in transitioning their site from one host to another, efficiently and rapidly.
Small businesses with limited budgets often have an instinct to go with the cheapest option. However, the cheapest providers are not always the most reliable. You may end up spending lots of money on purchasing add-ons, which can be quite expensive.
Investing in a reliable provider that offers a premium product is a smart idea for eCommerce businesses. This will ultimately mean less downtime and a high-performing website. So, by all means, consider choosing a premium package that includes plenty of features from a reliable eCommerce hosting provider. In the long run, you'll save more money than you'll spend.
It's been revealed in 2018 that mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic. In the first quarter of 2020, mobile devices generated 51.92 percent of global website traffic.
With these statistics in mind, it’s safe to say that having a mobile-friendly website is vital for your business.
You want your website to function properly on a phone and a tablet. The entire site should fit perfectly on the screen so that users won't have to zoom in and out.
Having a mobile-friendly site comes with a number of benefits, including:
- A higher ranking on Google Search.
- An improved user experience.
- Increased average time on site.
So, if you plan on having a successful eCommerce business, you must cater to mobile users and consider mobile shopping. Failing to do so means that you're losing on a majority of your potential customers.
Security features and mobile capability are of high importance, but there's another equally important factor, and that's customer support. Nobody wants to come across a problem and have no one to answer their call for help.
The best hosts are those who offer different types of support, including:
- 27/7 phone, chat, and email support
- knowledgebase that will act as a self-serve online library of information
- priority support for users on more expensive web hosting plans
- automatic notices when the servers are down
Think of your eCommerce hosting provider as a business partner. A good business partner is someone who's trustworthy and reliable. It's the same with eCommerce providers. Choose a trustworthy company that has great reviews for its customer support and maintenance from users.
Hosts vs. All-In-One Providers: Which One Is Better?
Creating an eCommerce online store demands to have the skills for managing such a business. If you're experienced with web development, finding a reliable hosting provider is the only thing on your list. We'll assume that you possess the know-how to add items, manage your inventory, design product pages, and optimize your site to be SEO-friendly. Not to mention taking care of things like downtime, security, and website performance.
However, if you're not skilled with web development, then working with an all-in-one provider may be the best solution.
The main difference between working with an eCommerce hosting provider and an all-in-one provider is that an all-in-one provider will take care of every aspect of ensuring you have a healthy and high-performing eCommerce site.
Working with a company that only offers web hosting services is not recommended for beginners. This will mean that you'll have a provider that will keep your site up and running, but you'll have to build your entire eCommerce store infrastructure.
On the other hand, an all-in-one eCommerce hosting provider, such as Shopify or Wix, offers end-to-end eCommerce solutions. Meaning, the company will take care of all processes like security and malware scans, SEO optimization, inventory systems, content updates, and system and software updates.
Your eCommerce Store Top 7 Hosting Options
Squarespace is an eCommerce online store builder that's ideal for newbies and for small businesses. Building a store here means that you don't have to possess any knowledge of coding. Putting together a visually appealing website is possible in a few hours.
Squarespace offers unlimited web hosting, and your bandwidth will seamlessly scale with your traffic as it grows. Moreover, all Squarespace websites come with free SSL certificates and a free custom domain for the first year.
Despite Squarespace not being a pure eCommerce website builder like Shopify, it provides plenty of powerful eCommerce features. Some of its most notable eCommerce tools include inventory management, payment and checkout options, and abandoned cart recovery. You can also sell an unlimited number of products, customize your online store, and upload product videos.
Wix provides secure and free web hosting, leaving you room to focus on building a high-performing website. The company promises that all data on your site will be secure and compliant with the highest international standards.
When you build a store, Wix gives you 500MB of cloud storage and 500MB bandwidth. By subscribing to their Premium Plan, you can get up to 50GB of cloud storage and unlimited bandwidth for your site.
Other eCommerce online store features include:
- customizable site
- adding new features as you grow your store
- a mobile-optimized version of your store
- a personalized SEO plan
Weebly is another popular eCommerce builder that's on par with Squarespace and Wix. Just like with Squarespace, you don't have to possess any coding skills. It's ideal for smaller online businesses, and you'll have access to all the features you'll need to manage a successful online store.
The company's cloud-based hosting infrastructure ensures your online store stays high-performant, and your customers get an amazing online experience. Your site will load fast and remain live under any conditions.
BigCommerce is one of the main players in the eCommerce world. It's a powerful, easy to use builder that gives you all the tools you need to create a one-of-a-kind online store and grow your business. It's a great alternative to Wix, especially if you have a larger online store.
Using the power of the Google Cloud Platform, BigCommerce offers uncompromising security, unlimited bandwidth, and blazing-fast speed.
Other amazing features you'll find with BigCommerce hosting include:
- SSL certificate
- DDOS protection
- fast content delivery network
- buy new domain names
- use an existing domain name
The highlight of BigCommerce is that it has more built-in sales tools than any other all-in-one eCommerce hosting provider. People who're using BigCommerce rarely add third-party apps to get more functionalities.
This list wouldn't be complete without Shopify. It's a great, easy to use option if you're looking for a website builder that lets you create scalable online stores. It offers plenty of features and a wide range of apps. To build an online store, you don't have to possess any coding skills.
Shopify offers secure web hosting that comes included with every plan. You will get features like the option to create and register a domain name for your online store, unlimited bandwidth, Level 1 PCI compliance, and 99.98% uptime.
Jimdo website builder is created with the beginner in mind. You can easily and quickly build a site that will attract visitors and generate revenue.
By creating an online store with Jimdo, you'll get free web hosting services. Other features include secure data, your own domain name, super fast and friendly support, no advertisements, unlimited store items, and much more.
Their web hosting is also scalable, meaning that you can always choose the subscription level that meets your business needs.
To set up your online store, you have to subscribe to their Business Plan or higher. Once subscribed, you'll get access to custom domains, eCommerce templates, secure checkouts, mobile optimization, and more.
After reading this post, we can safely conclude that finding and working with a reliable hosting eCommerce provider is the first critical step of building a high-performing online store. Luckily, there are many hosting providers on the market which are suitable for different budgets and needs. Don't forget to read the online reviews and see what customers are saying about each hosting provider you're planning to trust to take care of your online store.
To sum up:
- The top three benefits of working with a reliable hosting provider are a high-performing eCommerce store, customers who trust your brand, and no downtime.
- The most critical things to consider when choosing a hosting provider include your monthly traffic volume, security, compliance, website transfer option, pricing, mobile capability, and customer support.
- The main difference between working with a hosting provider and an all-in-one provider is that an all-in-one provider will take care of every aspect of ensuring you have a healthy and high-performing eCommerce site.
The best hosting providers on the market include SquareSpace, Wix, Weebly, BigCommerce, Shopify, Jimdo.