Running an e-commerce business can be exciting and rewarding. When done well, an e-commerce website allows you to market your products or services to people worldwide rather than being stuck doing business only in your local area.
To be successful, you need a great-looking website that is up and running smoothly at all times. The most important tool you need to accomplish this is a good e-commerce web hosting service.
- What e-commerce hosting entails
- Different types of e-commerce hosting
- The costs and importance of e-commerce hosting
What Is E-commerce Hosting?
The concept of e-commerce hosting is a little confusing. Technically speaking, there is no unique type of web hosting solution only used for e-commerce. In addition, the traditional web hosting options commonly available are used to host an e-commerce site. When someone is talking about e-commerce hosting, they are usually referring to a service that offers web hosting configured to be used for e-commerce.
In addition to the web hosting servers, these companies offer the actual e-commerce platform (software) to run the website. This combination of services makes it easy for other businesses to build their e-commerce service quickly and reliably.
What Types of Hosting Work Best for E-commerce?
Even within the general e-commerce hosting category, there are several options to consider. Like normal web hosting, you choose from various hosting technologies to support your e-commerce site. The specific one you need depends on things like your budget, how many customers you expect to visit your site, how many products you will be selling, and much more.
The following is a quick introduction to each of the different hosting technologies used for e-commerce sites and a brief overview of when they might be best used.
Cloud-based e-commerce hosting
Cloud-based e-commerce hosting is one of the most popular options because web hosting using cloud technology is configured to meet the needs of any size site.
In addition, cloud hosting is the most stable option since even if there is a hardware failure in one physical server, it will not bring the site down. Most dedicated e-commerce hosting services use this technology.
Shared e-commerce hosting
Consider shared e-commerce hosting if you want to save money. This is where multiple customers put their e-commerce sites on a single web server.
The downside is that if one site gets a big spike in traffic, it causes all the other sites to slow down or experience problems. Fortunately, the best hosting providers do a great job of managing this risk.
VPS e-commerce hosting
Virtual private server (VPS) is a hosting technology in which one server is used to run multiple different websites. Unlike shared hosting, however, each customer on a given server is allocated exclusive use of set system resources.
This helps to ensure a spike in traffic or other problem with one site will not impact the others on the server. It is a higher level of hosting that is much more reliable than shared servers.
Dedicated servers for e-commerce hosting
Dedicated servers are individual physical servers used exclusively to run one website. This means your site gets full access to all of the system resources promised to your site.
It is often possible to run multiple servers focused on a single site if it is really busy. This allows it to function similarly to a cloud hosting solution. Dedicated servers for e-commerce hosting tend to be the most expensive and are only used for large sites.
How Much Does E-commerce Hosting Cost?
The costs for e-commerce hosting vary greatly depending on your specific needs. If you sign up for a traditional hosting package and install your own e-commerce platform, the costs are the same as hosting any other type of site, starting at about $20 and going up to $4,000 per month. But if you want hosting focused specifically on e-commerce, you will pay more. The exact price depends on what hosting features you need and what else is provided by the hosting company.
Many e-commerce hosting companies, for example, provide website templates, e-commerce software, portfolios, email marketing tools, SEO services, analytics, and even customer service. The more features you need, the higher the cost. Yet it is possible to find basic e-commerce hosting solutions for not much more than what you pay for normal hosting. Once you start adding on more services, the price rises dramatically.
Why Is E-commerce Focused Hosting So Important?
Because e-commerce hosting is pricier than traditional options, some people wonder if it is necessary to get this specialized service.
- Customers abandon slow sites – When a potential customer visits a site, they expect it to load quickly. If they have to wait more than a few seconds for your e-commerce site to load, you can be sure they will leave the page and find somewhere else to get your products.
- Easy site setup – Hosting services dedicated to e-commerce make it extremely easy to set up your site and customize your online store.
- Safe for payment processing – A good e-commerce hosting solution has payment processing options built into the platform. This makes it much easier to immediately accept online payments for your business.
- Downtime costs money – Every second an e-commerce site is offline is potentially costing a lot of lost sales. This is why e-commerce sites offer exceptional uptime guarantees.
- Key data backups – Frequent data backups are key for e-commerce sites since products, inventory, and other variables change regularly. For this reason, most types of hosting providers offer advanced backup and restoration services.
- Simple inventory management – The e-commerce platforms offered by these hosting companies are built specifically to make it fast and easy to manage your inventory, which is critical for any successful e-commerce business.
There are many other reasons to use a hosting provider specializing in e-commerce sites. In most cases, the slightly higher monthly bill is well worth it after factoring in the benefits you receive.
How Do You Choose the Right E-commerce Hosting?
Now that you understand what e-commerce hosting is and where to use it, you must decide if it is right for your website.
If you want to take your online business to the next level, this type of hosting solution makes sense. While it will be more costly upfront, the added services save you so much time and effort that it is always worth the investment.
Frequently Asked Questions About E-commerce Web Hosting
Can I host my own e-commerce website?
You can host your e-commerce site, but you need to have physical servers on location and some technical knowledge, as you are responsible for any issues.
How much does it cost to host an e-commerce website?
The cost of hosting an e-commerce site varies significantly. You could pay between $20 and $4,000 per month.
Do I have to pay to build an e-commerce website?
There are several costs besides hosting when you create an e-commerce site, including software, a domain name, a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, payment processing integrations, a store theme and designs, and other third-party tools you are using.