Ecommerce is an umbrella term that can be applied to a wide variety of activities that take place on the internet. From simple online shops to complex online banking systems, ecommerce plays a part in your everyday life, whether you realize it or not. Ecommerce hosting services are designed to offer the highest level of uptime as they your ecommerce activities are going to be providing your business with income meaning that downtime will mean lost money; similarly, your customers and/or users are likely to be inconvenienced by any large period of downtime. Security will also be high on the agenda with most web hosting companies as the data that is held by ecommerce websites is usually of a sensitive nature and is likely to be targeted by hackers every once in a while; the level of security available with ecommerce hosting will be dependent on the form of web hosting that you choose to use as well as how well your own website has been developed. A viable ecommerce web hosting package is one that will offer you a relatively acceptable amount of disk space to store all of the multimedia items that are going to be empowering your website whilst offering a large assignment of bandwidth so that you can expect a good number of visitors to your website.
As a business, you are likely to want a guarantee over the level of reliability that you will be provided with because you are going to be relying on your ecommerce website as a source of income in one way or another meaning that downtime is going to cost you. Considering dedicated web hosting services is a good idea as the isolation that a dedicated web hosting environment can offer you will mean that you won’t have to worry about the actions of others or their website impacting your website or web hosting experience. Depending on how important your website is, choosing a web hosting provider that can offer you an SLA (Service Level Agreement) is recommended as this means you have a benchmark that once crossed will mean that you will receive compensation for any downtime caused; as SLAs usually guarantee high levels of uptime, it is a good practice to follow.
Ecommerce websites, whatever the type, are usually busy in terms of traffic. If you are running an online shop then the chances are that you will be receiving a large number of daily visitors who are then becoming customers through the purchase of your products. In order to cope with large volumes of traffic you will want to be considering a web hosting package that can provide you with a good assignment of bandwidth. The amount of bandwidth that you have available to you will dictate how many visitors you can have to your website, although the file size of your downloaded web pages will also count towards this. If you are the webmaster of a growing website then considering a web hosting service that can offer you more bandwidth than you actually require would be a good idea since this will provide you with extra room in case there are a couple of extra days in a month where you experience a spike in visitor numbers (usually the result of increased advertising).
Your customers will want security. Ecommerce activities normally include the handling of personal data to some extent meaning that is highly important for you to choose a web hosting service that will be able to guarantee the security of the data that you are going to be hosting. For the highest level of security it is recommended that you store certain data in a password protected database; furthermore you should encrypt this data as it will prevent it from being of any use to any hackers that may attempt to compromise your web hosting account and/or databases. If you are going to be accepting credit cards or banking information on your website then an even higher level of security is advised – for the confidence of your visitors you may wish to invest in a VPS server or dedicated server. In any case where personal data is being collected, it is of the utmost importance that basic security measures are followed such as the use of SSL certificates.
When considering the size of your website, a larger scale multi-server may be more appropriate if you are looking to achieve 100% uptime whilst maintaining a setup that will also be capable of coping with high load spikes. Specialist e-commerce web hosting companies will be able to tailor solutions specifically to your requirements which can be of benefit to you if you wish to focus on the running of your business; if you have your own IT staff then again this will be useful as it means that you have the man power in place to monitor your server and hosting setup without having to pay extra. Clustered server hosting may be the answer to your requirements if you are looking to achieve high uptime as the number of servers available to you will mean that even if one of them fails, there will be at least one other server available to take up the role of the server that is experiencing downtime. This load balanced idea is highly effective as it will allow you to focus on other activities without having to worry and will mean that your IT staff can repair the crashed server without affecting performance.
In conclusion, ecommerce web hosting service need to be considered carefully as usually it is not just yourself that you need to consider, but also your customers and visitors – especially if you are going to be handling and storing their personal information. Whether you choose to use a shared web hosting service or dedicated web hosting service for your ecommerce hosting needs, you should still consider the same aspects of security and uptime as well as value for money so that you can be sure that your requirements are being met and that you aren’t being ripped off.