What’s The Best Type of Web Hosting for Online Stores?
Choosing the right kind of hosting for your online store isn’t a decision you’ll want to rush into. In order to run a successful online store, you need to offer a streamlined and intuitive customer experience. By choosing the wrong kind of host you could end up slowing down your site’s performance to the point where people end up leaving your site.
Your job as a store owner is to make it as easy as possible for people to buy from you. Your choice of host will influence your site’s loading speeds, performance, and uptime – all of which contribute to a solid customer experience.
Below we look into how you can find the best type of web hosting for your new online store.
5 Online Store Hosting Factors to Consider
When choosing a host for your online store there are a lot of factors you’ll want to consider. Below we look at some of the main features you’ll want to look for in a potential host.
1. High Performance and Traffic
As your e-commerce site grows, you’ll need a host that can keep up. Chances are you’ll probably outgrow a shared host rather quickly. Look for a host that can support your existing traffic and resource needs, without experiencing a dip in performance.
Depending on the size of your store and how much traffic you receive you might have to opt for a VPS, dedicated, cloud, or managed server from the start.
2. Solid Uptime
When your store is offline it won’t be earning you any money. Even worse, is if your store experiences high uptime, then you’ll end up creating a poor customer experience.
Some hosts will offer uptime guarantees, which give you some form of money back for the time your site was offline. But, this amount will probably pale to what your site would be earning if it wasn’t offline at all.
So, instead of looking for cash-back uptime guarantees, make sure you find a host that has the highest uptime possible and can demonstrate a track record of those figures. Learn more about HostGator’s 99.9% uptime guarantee!
3. SSL Support and Security Features
Keeping your customer’s data secure should be at the top of your list in terms of priorities. Your customer’s data and sensitive information, like credit card details, should be encrypted every step of the way.
The most effective way to do this is to install an SSL certificate on your site. Depending on your host you may have a bundled SSL certificate with your hosting plan. But, at the very least the use of SSL certificates need to be supported by your host. For instance, HostGator offers free SSL certificates with all hosting plans, and has upgraded SSL certificates available at an affordable price.
Other nice features to have are additional layers of security via tools like SiteLock, along with regular server monitoring.
4. An Awesome Support Team
When you’re experiencing issues with your server you’ll want to get these resolved as soon as possible. After all, any dip in performance or uptime will lead to a poor user experience and potentially lost revenue.
Having a support team might not seem like a big deal until you’re experiencing a server issue right in the middle of a big sale. Support is something you’ll want, even though you hopefully won’t need their assistance very often. Read rave reviews from HostGator customers!
5. Regular Automated Backups
Can you imagine waking up one morning only to see all of your site’s product listings gone? You’d hate to think that issues like this occur, but they do. The last thing you want is to not be prepared if data loss or hacking occurs.
The best plan of protection is having regular, automated site backups. Depending on your host you may have regular backups as part of your hosting plan. However, it’s also a good idea to create your own backups as well, via a plugin or other software.
Finding the Best Hosting Option for Your Store
Now that you have a better idea of what features to look for in a host for your online store, it’s time to examine a few different hosting types, so you can find the best fit.
Most people come to shared hosting due to its price and easy setup for beginners. The downside, however, is that you’re sharing those server resources with hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of other sites. A shared host can work if you don’t receive much traffic, but as your e-commerce site starts to grow you may run into performance, uptime, and security issues.
If you plan to scale your site, then you’ll probably need to upgrade to a cloud or dedicated host.
Cloud hosting is similar to a VPS, but instead of having a single server environment it draws from multiple servers, which creates a huge network of resources you can draw upon. The nature of cloud hosting makes it incredibly easy to scale with your site.
With cloud hosting, you’ll get very high levels of performance, security, and you won’t have to worry about your site going offline due to a traffic surge. Cloud hosting also offers you a flexible pricing structure, where you only pay for the resources you use.
Using a dedicated server means that you won’t be sharing server resources with anyone. You have the entire server at your disposal. This means that your site won’t experience any issues with loading speeds, performance, or uptime, due to other sites on the server.
Dedicated hosting will be more expensive. However, it will offer your online store incredible performance, along with very high levels of security. For most dedicated servers you’ll also need some technical skills in order to manage your server effectively.
If you’re serious about your eCommerce site, then you’ll probably want to start with a cloud or dedicated host from the beginning, if your budget allows. However, you can also start on a shared host and upgrade plans if you choose a host that offers multiple styles of hosting.
Finally, you’ll want to be sure that your host actually supports the e-commerce platform you’d like to use. For example, some hosts offer WordPress tailored hosting or WooCommerce tailored hosting where the server environment is optimized for that platform. While others simply have multiple types of eCommerce software you can install like Magento, BigCommerce, PrestaShop, and OpenCart.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the features you should look for in an e-commerce host, as well as some of the hosting options you can explore. Get started with HostGator now!