Online stores aka ecommerce sites have been a major part of internet site since the early days of internet. Ecommerce web hosting has requirements which are unique and often demanding. Any down time on ecommerce site could result in direct loss of revenue. Any security breach can cause stiff fines from credit card companies and worst loss of customer trust. When looking for hosting pay special attention to:
- Security: Ecommerce security requirements are very stiff. If you accept credit cards through your website these requirements are even higher. PCI security requirements have been put in place by the credit card companies to make sure any one accepting credit cards has security measures in place. These may include making sure ecommerce application is up to date; there is a firewall to protect your hosting. These requirements often require you to have regular security audits and checkups ensure you have no loopholes and weak passwords.
- Server availability: server up time is extremely important. Any server downtime could result is loss of revenue, marketing effort and could present a bad image of your company to the customers.
- Shopping Cart Software and Platform: Web stores take features from their shopping carts. Poor shopping cart software can restrict your design, it can also result in poor look and feel of merchandise or restrict ability to customize. It often requires a long and hard look at what your needs are. Do you need a wish list for your customers, do you want the ability to save order history, do you need the ability to zoom in and out on images. Choice of cart also dictates the under laying hosting stack. There are good shopping cart choices available for both Windows and Linux based hosting.
- Price: price is also important. Paying $100 month after month for a site that makes $50 a month is not a good idea. Initial months are often crucial when you are not making that much to cover expenses. It is a good idea to start with a hosting service that offers first 1 or 2 months free. Hostgator has several coupons that you can use to get free month or two.