What are the Criteria for Choosing a Host for your Commerce Business?
by Carolyn Lee Dec 6, 2021
Many businesses have upgraded their websites to e-commerce sites.
An e-commerce website can help broaden your reach; it’s scalable and allows you to personalise the experience for your customers. An e-commerce site can also support your physical location, among other benefits.
Many holiday shoppers are heading online to purchase goods and services. So, having an e-commerce website is an excellent way to tap into holiday sales.
Getting your commerce business online requires selecting a web host. A web host is a company that offers web hosting services like storage space and access for websites, among other offerings.
If you are thinking about selecting a web host for your commerce business, what should you consider?
Start with an assessment of what you need for your website.
An assessment will help you to understand what your website needs and what you want it to do. Some of the features you should include are payment methods, product pages, blog, testimonials, social buttons, add to cart button, and a guest check-out page. You may also want to add a “suggest similar products” option and a return policy page. If you have a physical storefront, your contact page should provide a map and various methods that customers can use to contact you. When choosing a web host, ensure that the package you select can facilitate these features.
The web host should have a strong reputation.
Many web hosting companies provide a range of services that can get your website online. However, you should consider a company with a strong reputation. Look at online reviews to find out what technology publications say about them. Have they been recognised or awarded by reputable organisations? What do their customers say about the products and services they offer? If you’ve found several web hosts that have great reviews, compare the packages offered.
Their uptime should be 99% or higher.
Keeping your commerce business online requires choosing a host with an uptime of 99% or more. One of the main responsibilities of a web hosting company is to keep your website online and accessible. If your e-commerce website is unavailable, your business will lose money.
In October 2021, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp experienced a mass outage that lasted over six hours. Forbes estimated that Facebook lost approximately 65 million dollars. Many businesses with social media advertising campaigns were affected, but those with e-commerce websites were online and could still connect with customers. Having a hosting company that can quickly handle issues that could take your website offline is crucial. So, when choosing a hosting company, select one that offers 99.9% uptime with a money-back guarantee.
They should have several types of hosting services available.
Most web hosts offer shared hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, and virtual private server (VPS). Shared hosting is most popular and involves sharing storage space with several other customers on one powerful server. Conversely, dedicated hosting allows you to have the server to yourself. Cloud hosting pulls its power from several resources, ensuring you never have any downtime. VPS is touted to have the best elements of shared hosting and dedicated hosting services. Before choosing a hosting package, think about the future of your website. Will you need to update to a different package after a few years? Your web host should provide the option for you to upgrade instead of migrating to another company. Each hosting package has advantages and benefits, so you can select the one that works best for your website.
The web host must provide 24-hour customer support services.
Technology is constantly evolving, and mistakes will happen. Some website-related problems occur during the night. So, it helps to have a web host that offers 24-7 customer support agents to assist you. Whenever there is an issue, you can log in, connect with a customer support agent via live chat and get assistance with resolving the problem quickly. Your website may be back online before customers notice that it went down.
They offer strong security capabilities.
Sensitive customer information is shared when someone subscribes to a website or makes a purchase. So, having a secure website is crucial to protecting your customers’ privacy and the integrity of your business. Get a plan that offers Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protection. SSL is a standard security protocol that ensures that the connection between a web server and a web browser is encrypted. HTTPS is secure and, with SSL, can protect information your customers share on your site. The web host should also provide backup and restore service, malware scanning, manual reboots, and Distributed Denial of Service and Content Distribution Network (DDoS Prevention and CDN) Support.
Their account interface is intuitive.
Venturing into the world of website management means that there are technical terms and processes to learn. Some web hosts make their interface easy to navigate so you can focus on important web management tasks. Some tasks include adding new applications or data to your website, setting up redirects, and upgrading or renewing your hosting plan. You will also manage backups and your SSL certificates, among other processes. Don’t be discouraged by the technical aspects of your website. Yello and Imagine Digital offer website development and web management packages that shift many of these tasks to talented and experienced website managers. So, you can focus on your business and accomplishing your goals!
Your e-commerce website will allow faster buying times, flexibility for your customers, and affordable advertising and marketing. Other benefits include offering different payment methods and lower costs. Having the right web host will ensure that your commerce business stays accessible online and have the support you need.
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