Choosing a hosting plan for your eCommerce store isn’t easy – but it’s extremely important as it could attract sales and increase revenue.
But with the growing number of hosting providers and expert packages, I understand how hard it can be.
Luckily for you, my year’s experience in leading eCommerce platforms including Shopify, ServerMania, BigCommerce and more, has taught me all there is to know about finding the perfect hosting plan for an online store.
And hopefully, after reading my blog post – you will too.
1. Server Reliability (Uptime & Security)
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When unreliable, uptime and security have the power to push your website offline, which could hinder sales and potentially cost you money. As well as this, it could lower your rankings on search engines such as Google and Yahoo.
Ideally, you want to aim for above 99.5% uptime score. To give you an insight into how a bad uptime percentage can affect your website: over 30 days, 99% uptime translates to 8 hours of downtime. This might not seem like much, but it’s almost one day out of thirty that your website could be offline.
When choosing a hosting provider for your eCommerce store, always look for hosting plans with Security Socket Layer (SSL) too. This will protect any personal data while as it’s being transferred from computer to computer.
Besides hosting SSL, as an ecommerce owner, you can buy a paid SSL certificate from reputed brands like comodo SSL certificate, GlobalSign certificate, RapidSSL certificate, etc. A paid SSL comes with many useful features that makes your purchase worthful.
2. Customer Support
Something that’s often overlooked when choosing an eCommerce hosting plan is customer support. And while most of the big names including Shopify, ServerMania, BigCommerce, and Big Cartel provide 24/7 customer support – they’re not always responsive.
A smooth running eCommerce store is going to encourage sales and bring positive customer reviews. Over time, this may increase revenue and help to build a better brand image.
The perfect eCommerce provider should have 24/7 customer support. To help make sure that you don’t get shortchanged, ask the following questions before committing to a hosting provider.
- How are you able to reach them? (Live chat, phone, and Skype)
- How many levels of support do they offer, and what do they cost?
- If they offer email support, test its response time before signing up
And lastly, always test the hosting provider’s customer support features when available.
3. Third-party Integrations
Integrations and/or plugins can play a vital part in ensuring your eCommerce store is fully-featured and up to date. Platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce provide their customers with a library of plugins that can help boost the overall performance of your website.
Here are some of the most popular types of plugins to look out for:
- Accounting plugins to help sales, profits, and taxes.
- Email marketing tools will help you to keep in contact with your customers
- Shipping apps will ensure the shipping process runs smoothly
- Apps that allow you to reward customers for purchasing your products
To ensure you choose the most profitable apps for your eCommerce store, you should do an audit of your existing backend data and business processes before checking which integrations an eCommerce platform can offer.
Having a budget is imperative, as it dictates your store’s features and other important performance factors. And while there are numerous eCommerce providers out there to suit all business needs, they vary depending on price.
The most significant difference, and arguably the most important thing to think about is the type of eCommerce package you want.
Self-hosted – You pay the vendor for the service and they handle the infrastructure, hosting and support.
Open Source – Unlike self-hosted plans, the code is fully accessible meaning you can completely customize your website and integrate third-party integrations.
On top of the monthly or annual price tag attached to these hosting plans, you also need to think about payment fees for your service providers, internal and external developers, and marketing costs.
When choosing an eCommerce provider, it’s important that you look for features that will benefit your business. You want a provider that has the potential to grow with your business when your store becomes more popular.
Handling large amounts of sales and peak traffic are important for your business to grow successfully. And while it’s difficult to anticipate how many sales, a platform that offers real-time monitoring can help you prepare.
Starting a new business is tricky, especially online with the growing number of eCommerce websites taking off. Figuring out sort of eCommerce platform your business requires takes time, and a lot of hard work – but it’s worth it to ensure the success of your business.
When looking for a potential hosting provider for your business, it makes it a lot easier if you know what to look for. The things I’ve mentioned provide you with a good platform and underline the important things to look out for when choosing the perfect eCommerce hosting plan.
Do you agree with my choices, or have I missed out an important factor that you use when choosing a hosting provider?