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Hosting For Ecommerce Websites

The unique needs of ecommerce can only be met by web hosting companies that offer plans designed for online businesses. People creating ecommerce web sites require more than what s provided by standard hosting packages. For instance, if you want to set up an online store, you may need a software license for a storefront building program, a secure platform you and your customers can trust, and a high level of support services to handle the issues that inevitably arise when running a business.

For the online business owner, finding commerce-friendly website hosting is the most important way to ensure your Internet venture will be a success, especially for first timers who are more likely than not to need a web host that can handle most of the site s technical requirements. A reliable and trustworthy hosting company will give you the time and freedom you need to work on growing your business from the ground up.

In addition to dependable software and services, selecting a host that specializes in ecommerce is vital for other reasons, as well. Excellent website hosting will provide your business with the ability to accept online transactions that are safe and secure, and won t let you down when demand is high. Some companies even offer merchant accounts as part of the package.

And most ecommerce web hosts have the necessary experience to answer any questions you may have as you set up the site and begin running it. With the right support from a good web host, your business will be more likely to succeed.

Decisions, decisions

You know that choosing website hosting for ecommerce is key to running a successful online business, but for many people, sifting through the various companies and packages is a confusing and frustrating process. Thousands of companies are out there vying for your business, touting features and incentives that you may not have even heard of before. What are the important criteria for selecting a decent host? Do you need a dedicated server, a managed server, or a shared server? Depending on your site and the product you re selling, you may require different things from a web hosting package, so in the end, the important question to ask yourself is: What do I need in a hosting company?

The website you plan on building should inform your search for an appropriate web host. As web hosting packages are quite varied, and sell for a wide range of prices, this is really the best way to begin, otherwise, you ll probably end up paying for a bunch of services and features that you don t even need.

The easiest way to determine your website requirements is to ask yourself the following questions:

1. What functionality do you expect you ll need? Do you need a Database? What about a secure server for credit card processing?

2. How much traffic do you predict your site will experience? Will traffic be small, moderate, or significant?

3. Are load times something that s important to you? For instance, if you expect to have a large contingent of global visitors, consider a web host that operates overseas and in North America. Another consideration: dedicated or shared server? If you plan on dealing with a lot of customers, a dedicated server may end up better in the long run.

Keep in mind that all of these items contribute to the price you end up paying each month. When it comes to business hosting, prices can range anywhere from $40-$50 up to thousands of dollars per month. Dedicated servers and bandwidth capacity in particular usually cause the price to skyrocket.

Important questions

It s also crucial to ask potential hosts some questions before you narrow down your selection. If your web host lets you down at some point in time, your business will suffer. You can t afford to deal with an unpredictable company that will disappoint you time and time again. Before signing up with a hosting company, be sure to ask the following questions:

1. Is a money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee part of the deal?

2. If an outage occurs, is it the company s policy to offer compensation? (This is often called an uptime guarantee).

3. Are backups offered (i.e. tape backups, CD ROM storage).

4. Is the company s connection to the Internet reliant on more than one provider (redundant backbone connections) and are they major backbone providers?

5. Is adequate technical support provided (preferably 24/7) via email and phone?

6. How long have they been in business? It s also sensible to ask for references to other major sites that they provide hosting services for.

7. Is an annual contract required or is it possible to pay month-to-month?

8. How easy is it to upgrade or downgrade services within the current contract if your situation changes along the way?

In the end, the online business owner depends on reliable and consistent website hosting in order to stay alive. As long as you do the appropriate research and ask the right questions before committing to a package, you will be able to find the perfect host for your ecommerce enterprise.


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