Hosting is always an issue for website owners, perhaps even more so for those website owners looking to sell products or services over the internet.  Here then, is a basic guide to the sorts of things you should consider when looking for a host for your e-commerce site.

The quality of ecommerce hosting

The first consideration, of course, is quality of service.  Your e-commerce site is your business, so you can’t afford to have a host that keeps crashing or that has disastrously slow connection speeds.  These things will cost you money, as customers will go elsewhere, so look for reliability first of all.  You also need to consider the amount of data storage and data transfer that your e-commerce site will require, and ensure that your host can accommodate it.  If customers can’t get into your site because your bandwidth limit has been exceeded, they’ll go to your competitors.

Secondly, you need to ensure that the host will actually support e-commerce software – shopping carts, SSL certificates, advertising packages, and all the other things you need to promote and handle online transactions and sales.  Some hosts provide these as part of the hosting plan, others allow you to upload your own.

Security in e-commerce business

Security is a major issue for e-commerce businesses.  Customers will be putting their most sensitive and private information into your site, so they need to know, and you need to know, that it will be safe.  Your host will need to offer SSL, which is a form of online encryption for sales transactions, and digital signatures, which are a way of guaranteeing that the site is a legitimate online business.  Nobody is going to put their credit card details into a website without being reassured that these features are present.

Remember as well that data needs to be reliably backed up.  It would be disastrous for your customers, and disastrous for your business, if all your data was lost just because of a power or server failure.

The good news is that many web hosts offer all these services as part of a package.  They’ll give you all the tools you need to set up secure credit card transactions and online shopping systems.  Do your research, and make sure your host has a good reputation before you decide to do business with them.

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