Second only to finding the right product or service to sell is finding a reliable host for your eCommerce website. You want to make sure that they have the technological capability to handle your traffic, that they’re reliable, and that they offer a high level of customer support. Cost is not as big a consideration as it once was, because this field has become so competitive and wide-reaching that it’s really a buyer’s market. The main consideration is what are you getting for your money?
Breaking it Down
There are three types of eCommerce web hosting services:
- Dedicated hosting
- Shared hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting.
Which of these options you choose depends on the size of your website, your traffic volume and the level of security you need.
This is the best option if you’re just starting out and your have a small budget, low traffic and a small-to-medium size business. It’s the lowest price option, but the drawback is that you have to share the available space with other businesses. This can cause issues if one of you has a sudden surge in traffic. That translates into slower page loads and other issues that could drive your customers away.
This is a solution if you need all of the available resources reserved for your business; the host is dedicated to you. This is the most expensive options, and the average eComerce site doesn’t need this much space or security. It’s the solution of choice for large industries and government organizations. Since it’s a private server, you’re responsible for maintaining it, and you’ll need your own IT team to manage it if the hosting service doesn’t offer managed hosting as an option.
This is the best of both worlds. You get the amount of resources you need, like with a dedicated server, so other websites on the network won’t affect your performance. However, you also have more control over managing your resources and tweaking your websites’ performance. This is the most common choice among the three, and it works for businesses of any size.
Other than server type, you should also find out from your potential host:
- Network speed – how fast the data transfers from host to recipient.
- RAM limits – the amount of data that’ accessed and used temporarily.
- Storage allotment – the amount of permanent data you can store on your server.
- File access speed – how fast your system processes data, from an I/O standpoint.
- CPU speed – how fast your system processes overall. This is especially important when sharing a server with other systems.
These considerations are interrelated in many ways. For example, if there isn’t enough RAM, even the fastest CPU will run slower. Slow page loads and processing time means a loss of business for you. Armed with a little information, you can now shop for the perfect host with confidence instead of confusion.