So you have decided to start an eCommerce store or decided to renovate the existing one you had? There are a few questions you ask yourself when dealing with an eCommerce website and one of them is,” How do I choose a web host for my eCommerce store”?
This guide is made for people who are about to launch their first eCommerce website as well as those with existing websites but want to either change their web host or assess whether they made the right choice when they chose their web host.
When building an eCommerce store or renovating an existing one for whatever reason it may be, the one difficult question that is asked more often than not is how to choose a web host.
It is understandable because there are many big players in the web hosting space who have different offers with different features displayed by individual hosts. Choosing the best web hosting company for your eCommerce website becomes vital for many reasons.
Running an eCommerce website requires you to ensure that the customer’s journey is made easier when navigating through your store. The choice of your web hosting provider will influence your customer’s experience because it determines uptime, website loading speed, SEO, and overall website performance.
A good web hosting provider will make your customer’s journey easier and to a larger extent determine whether they come back or not.
So how do I choose a Web Host for my eCommerce Website?
As I said earlier, there is a huge pool of notable web hosts out there and the majority of them seem pretty much the same which makes it harder for you to choose.
Here’s a list of what you need to take into consideration:
- Server Uptime
- Database Speed and efficiency
- Security and Backups
- Storage – Unlimited
- Support – Should be 24/7
Your choice of a web host for your eCommerce website should be influenced by the list of factors above which I will explain in detail below.
1. Server Uptime
The reason for running an eCommerce website is to sell online. This means you will not make any money if your website is down offline and this affects your customer experience overall. I will not come back to a website that I have found offline.
Many of these notable web hosting providers offer up to 99.9% uptime with some guaranteeing 100% uptime. Some of these web hosts have taken the liberty of paying you in the event that your eCommerce store suddenly goes offline – It’s attractive but what you are paid might not be equal to or more than what you could have earned if that eCommerce website was running normally.
Instead of opting for a web host that gives you those money-back guarantees, rather opt for a web host that offers 99.9% uptime with a proven track record.
2. Database Speed and efficiency
According to statistics from LoadStorm, Econsultancy, 1 in 4 visitors will abandon a website that takes 4 seconds or more to load while 46% don’t revisit poorly performing websites. Now the most important part that affects your eCommerce website – 64% of shoppers who are not satisfied with their site visit will shop somewhere else next time.
Your eCommerce website will heavily rely on database speed which has a direct relationship with efficiency. According to the statistics above, customers have a negative attitude towards slow websites to an extent that they can even give negative online reviews for your business.
It’s best to ask your web hosting provider to demonstrate their database speed and have your developers focus on optimizing the website for a better customer experience. Why?
It’s ideal to have your eCommerce website load within 2 seconds. 40% of customers are likely to leave the website after 3 seconds of loading.
3. Security and Backups
The top priority for any eCommerce website owner should be security for customers’ data. Customers’ sensitive information such as Credit cards or banking details should be encrypted. This is where SSL certificates come into play.
The majority of web hosts offer free SSL certificates bundled with their hosting plans. You should choose a web host that supports free SSL certificate installation without any additional charge.
Depending on your hosting package from whichever web host you choose, you may or may not get back up for free. A hosting package that has free automated backups means more reliability due to its features.
Why is Automated Backup important though?
Imagine a situation where you wake up one day and find out your website is gone and all your product listings have disappeared. A web hosting company with automated backups means there is always a daily backup file somewhere to make sure this does not happen.
It is always a good idea to be prepared for data loss that may happen through hacking or files becoming corrupt.
Most of these web hosts attract customers by pointing out that they offer unlimited storage but is it really unlimited?
The bottom line is there is never anything called Unlimited, there is always a catch at the end of the day. That catch is most likely going to affect your eCommerce website one way or the other.
This means that if your eCommerce website exceeds its set resources, it might be taken offline. It’s just business and nothing personal.
Tech support is always an essential feature when choosing a web hosting company for your online store. Support comes into play especially when your website goes down and a real person is needed to help you out figuring how to fix a problem.
Most web hosting services pride themselves on 24/7 support but most of them provide very much limited support which usually does not include phone or live support. This would become a problem when you need urgent help.
Tech support is what separates excellent hosting companies from mediocre ones. Do not take it lightly.
Pricing is usually where most first-time eCommerce website owners make a mistake. Everybody wants lower-priced hosting but like my mother always said, everything cheap is expensive.
Take, for example, Shared Hosting which is usually sold for $2.99/month by many hosting providers is very attractive because of its price. This package is certainly a big mistake for an eCommerce website.
There are add-ons that are usually offered for free with each hosting plan like SSL certificates, automated backups, priority support, and a lot more. Realistically, you can never get these on a $2.99 bill and it becomes even more expensive to buy individually.
The best advice I can give you is instead of deciding to use price as a base, it’s best to compare packages using features that are important to your business. In this case, an eCommerce website needs everything explained in this guide.
From a pool of web hosting providers across the web, there are many features that distinguish one host from the other. It’s wiser to find a host that has features needed by your online store. One that has the necessary features to enhance your users’ experience.
Always remember that the web host you choose will determine your overall website speed. A slower site means a higher bounce rate and this hinders your performance.