If you are starting a new business, and you are making your website, it is important to have e-commerce web hosting in mind. Your customers won’t see it, of course, but they will feel it. And, more importantly, they will feel the lack of it.
E-commerce can affect your chances when it comes to securing the sale, and it might also annoy your buyers if your page is too slow. The internet is a busy place, and you must provide speed, resourcefulness, and quality of service.
Best web hosting service providers:
First things first, however. In order to even start talking about e-commerce hosting properly, we first need to determine which are the best hosts for you to choose from.
|Web Host Provider||Pricing||Speeds||Special Mention||View Review||Visit Web Provider|
|$3.95 or $4.95 for Cloud||Very fast||Best Cloud Hosting||Review||Visit HostGator
|$3.92||Very fast||Best Shared Hosting / Cheapest||Review||Visit A2 Hosting
|$3.95||Fast||Best Beginner Web Hosting||Review||Visit Bluehost
|$3.95||Fast||Best WordPress Blog Hosting||Review||Visit Siteground
When it comes to HostGator, it is definitely the best option for Cloud hosting service. That doesn’t mean that its other plans are bad, but Cloud hosting is what really impressed us. Also, it offers great prices, that can go down even more if you decide to choose a 3-year plan. The longer your commitment to this host, the more the price will drop, which is something that you should have in mind. It is reliable and fast, just like its support service. You will easily find your way around, and you can ever migrate your domain from another host. It also offers a money back guarantee that lasts for 45 days. Here’s our HostGator Review.
#2 A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting is proud of its speeds and low prices. It is easy to use it, and it offers a very good WHM control panel. Depending on the plan you choose, you will get different features that will make your experience easier, and even fun. Its security is also as good as its speed, and the support will always be there to answer any questions that you might have. It is definitely a good choice for both new site owners, as well as for those with experience. Read our A2 Hosting Review.
Bluehost is one of the oldest and most popular hosting services around. It successfully withstood the test of time, and it demonstrated the ability to adapt to modern ways. Bluehost offers an optimized WordPress, and it is even recommended by WordPress.org. It also has a great non-stop support, and SSL certificates. Not to mention good server specs, and also a dedicated IP address. Also, its prices are amazingly cheap, and even more so now, since it offers a major discount to all of its plans. Here’s our comprehensive Bluehost Review.
Finally, there is SiteGround. Just as good as the other ones, but it is best known for being especially good with WordPress. Its customer support is among the best ones in the industry, and it is definitely this host’s priority to be there for its users. It provides you with an easy site installation, and its reputation is nothing less than flawless. You should definitely consider choosing this host if you are searching for a new one, or even for your first one. Read our SiteGround Review.
Hosting an e-commerce website
Now, with that out of the way, we can start talking about actual hosting of your e-commerce site. As we said, your visitors and potential customers won’t really pay much attention to it while it is good. If it is bad, they will get frustrated and annoyed with your service, which is something that you want to avoid.
A lot of factors will influence your site’s performance and determine how good it will get. That includes the size and type of the site, the volumes that you expect, as well as your budget. Because of that, you must choose carefully when the time for picking a plan comes.
Shared hosting e-commerce web hosting
This is the cheapest version of a hosting plan, and you can have it for about $5 per month. Of course, the exact price depends on your choice of a host. This is the basic level, and it is perfect for new users and web shops that are only getting started.
It has its pros and cons just like any other plan. The best thing about it includes the low cost because the prices are really cheap. Especially when you compare it to other plans, that tend to get much more expensive. Another thing is that you don’t have to worry about maintaining the server itself. Your host will do it for you, and your only job is to organize your site the way you like, within the limits of the plan.
However, there are also a few cons that you should know about. They are not exactly deal breakers, especially for a new online shop. But, because of them, you might find that this plan doesn’t suit you when your site starts growing.
The biggest issues that you might encounter are speed and limit on the resources. This is mostly related to how the shared hosting works. Basically, it is a server where your host will place you. However, it is called shared hosting for a reason. That reason is the fact that you will have to share the server with other users. A lot of other users.
In fact, it is quite possible that it will provide a home to over 1,000 users, and around 3,000 sites. You will all share server’s resources, and that includes space, RAM, speed, and everything else. If some of those sites become popular, their traffic will increase, and your speed will suffer. Once again, this probably won’t affect small sites much, but once your business kicks off, slow speeds might pose a problem, especially to your customers.
This is a plan that is best suited for small businesses, blogs, personal diaries, and alike. If you notice that your business is beginning to grow, you should start thinking about changing plans. If that happens, we recommend trying out VPS.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) e-commerce web hosting
Once your traffic picks up, and you start gaining some new visitors, you will have no choice but to upgrade your plan. Taking things to a next step will help your site, as well as your reputation. Shared hosting is great for a start, but it can only take you so far before it becomes insufficient.
VPS, however, is a much better alternative. Of course, this plan also has its pros and cons. When it comes to pros, you will almost instantly notice that you have much more resources than before. This will let you customize your site even more, which is now possible thanks to the fact that you finally have a private chunk of a server for yourself.
And, if you find that you need more than that, most hosts will let you buy extra storage, or whatever else you need. You still don’t have to worry about the server itself, and there is the matter of cost as well. VPS may be a bit more expensive than shared hosting, but it is way cheaper than a dedicated server. It will give you most of its benefits, but it will also take away the extra price, and the necessity to worry about the server yourself.
When it comes to cons, having to pay more than shared hosting is an obvious one. Still, you won’t have to pay too much, and you can probably settle at $20 per month. It is still not that bad, and you will get a lot more in return, including more stability, speed, resources, and ability to customize your site even more.
The resources will still have a limit, however, and it is possible for you to reach them, especially if your site continues its rapid growth. It is not a common issue, but you should keep it in mind, just in case it actually happens.
And finally, there is a matter of sharing the server with others. You still have to do it, even though you are now having your own part that you can organize any way you like. Despite that, the physical server is something that you will have to share, and if someone somehow causes it to go down, your site will have to suffer the same fate.
This is an option that is somewhere in between shared and dedicated plan, and it is perfect for those shops that are starting to see some serious action. You should consider updating to VPS as soon as your site starts gaining popularity, and stay ahead of possible issues. The issues concerning resources are possible, but you will generally find a much site-friendlier environment here.
Dedicated server e-commerce web hosting
Now we have come to the ‘big guns’. A dedicated server is probably the ultimate package, that will provide you with maximum control. If you choose this plan, you will get an entire server to yourself. It will carry all of its space, and nobody will take away your part of the server’s resources.
Depending on your preference, you might want to manage even the server yourself, or you can pay extra for your host to do it. Alternatively, you can even hire someone to do it for you. This is the choice for the serious online shops that are in need of a large storage, the fastest speed, and the most control and security.
Pros and cons are always following, and there are several of each even in this case. When it comes to pros, they are obvious. You will get an entire server to yourself, to use it as you see fit. All of its resources will belong only to you, and you will have ultimate control over everything that is on it. It is basically like a VPS, but with much more control and resources. And, there are no dangers that someone else’s site might have an impact on yours or its performance,
As for cons, there are some of them there as well. First and biggest one is definitely the cost. We have mentioned that dedicated server is kind of like VPS but better? Well, that doesn’t apply to its price. When you use VPS, you are only using a part of one server. However, in this case, the entire server belongs only to you. Thanks to that, it will cost you, and a lot. Most hosts will have a starting price of $100 per month, possibly more. Because of that, this is a plan that only the most developed shops will need, and actually be able to afford.
The second con is something that you can actually fix, but once again, it will cost you. It is the server management, which is entirely on you now. It requires quite a bit of technical knowledge, and you might have a problem if you can’t deliver. Once again, there are alternatives. You can either hire someone who would take care of this for you, or you can even make a deal with your host to keep doing it. Whatever you choose, it all comes down to two things – either you must know how to do this yourself (and find the time for it), or you will have to pay even more.
This is a special plan, that not everyone can deal with. New stores have neither the budget nor the need for this kind of service, and it is definitely an overkill. However, when your store picks up the pace, and you find yourself in need of more and more space, you will probably have enough funds to afford this plan as well.
It will give you complete control, lots of resources, and there will be quite a while before you find yourself lacking anything again.
Measuring loading time and the speed of page
The loading speed of your website is one of the most important parts of leading a successful business. The speed is basically the first thing that your visitors and customers will judge your site on, and you want to leave a good impression there. Otherwise, it might impact your business in a very bad way.
That is why you should test your speed. That way, you will know what your site is capable of, and when it is time to upgrade your plan.
You can check your site’s speed by using pingdom.com. This is a very good and useful service, and it will let you run a page speed test. It will also analyze your performance, and identify any places on your website that might cause issues with the data flow. Just run through your site’s pages, and you will see where the issues are, what needs improving and modifying, as well as the overall impression.
Another useful thing that this service will let you do is to compare your site’s speed to those of one of your competitors. That way, you will always know if you are in the lead, or should you work on modifying the users’ experience.
WordPress e-commerce hosting
You need a really good host if you wish to run your store over WordPress. You will need to provide a stable, but fast shopping experience to your visitors and customers. That is why you have to make sure that you don’t lose yourself in the near-infinite number of plugins that WordPress offers.
Plugins can bring tons of new features that you might find amazing. However, they will also slow you down, and WordPress itself is already made out of many of them. If you are not careful, your quick shop might lose its speed, which will reflect negatively on the further development of your business.
Google’s estimation claims that up to 20% of traffic is lost because of the pages that load too slowly, which is quite a lot when you think about it. So do not let your business fail because of something like this. Choose a good, fast hosting on which you will install your WordPress, so that the balance is possible, and that you can have everything that you need.
WP engine/ WooCommerce hosting
In case you are not familiar with the WP engine, it is the enterprise solution when it comes to hosting WordPress store. WP Engine is a hosting provider that many leading brands choose when it comes to finding a decent host for WordPress. In order to respond to your customers’ demands, you need to have a high-quality provider at your back.
Apart from that, WP Engine is also extremely useful when it comes to security. If you use it, your website will basically become hack-proof.
Stores that use WordPress often have many issues with hacking, especially with all the vulnerable plugins being a part of them. Due to threats like this, websites lose millions per year. That will become a thing of the past if you use WP Engine, which will prevent hacks completely.
WP Engine is a bit more expensive than what you might have been hoping for, but not that much that you can’t afford it. It will cost you around $29 per month, but it is definitely worth the money. Making your site fast, secure, and available at all times is the foundation of any successful business.
Magento web hosting
Now, if you have decided to run your e-commerce on Magento, then you will have to look into alternative hosting. It is designed in order to respond to Magento’s needs, and add extra resources while your site grows.
Just like WP Engine works with WordPress, the same way Magento works with other hosting solutions that you might use for running your online store. One of them is Rackspace, which offers 9 international data centers. Thanks to this, it provides fast speeds and great stability. Also, it offers a strong support framework, which is why it is the best choice for Magento.
How to increase website performance
So, we have determined that hosting is very important for the success of your store. You have to present your business as best as you can, and that means increasing your site’s performance to its maximum. Here is how you can do that:
- Image optimization – By changing the size of images and making them smaller, you will actually increase the website’s performance. Loading time will become much shorter, and customers will not lose their patience while waiting for pages to load.
- Avoid using HTML resizing – You should always resize your images yourself, or better yet, use the proper size in the first place. Whatever you do, just don’t leave it to HTML to do the job, since it will slow you down, and a lot.
- Keep your stylesheets in check – If you use too many different stylesheets, that will make the entire site more messy, and slow, since browsers will have to send requests for all of them. All in all, your loading speed will suffer, your site will suffer, and your business will suffer. Avoid that by using as few stylesheets as you can, preferably only one of them.
- Try switching your theme – if you notice that your site is way slower than it should be, it may be that the theme is slowing it down. Try changing it, and then test it for improvements. If the speed doesn’t pick up, make sure that everything is up to date, including your WordPress install.
CDNs (Content Delivery Networks)
If you are looking to optimize your site’s performance, you might want to also try out CDNs. You can use them for serving up your website’s content faster, which also includes images. This method will share your content across several data centers, which will increase the processing speed.
Basically, your customers will get to see your content in the fastest way possible, no matter where they are from. CDNs are a great way to improve your speeds and to give your customers no reason to become annoyed with your service.
Images can benefit your site a lot, and they are very important in the e-commerce process. However, you must manage them carefully and with great precision. If you do not, they can harm you as much as they are helping you, and that is not something that you need. We can recommend a couple of strategies for you to try out when it comes to optimizing your images:
Types of file
Your website might react differently depending on what type are the files that you upload. The same goes for images, and the type can affect the image’s size. If the size increases, your site will become slow.
Your best options are JPG and PNG image formats. JPG is for pictures that have high details, while PNG is the best for all the other cases. You should probably try to avoid other formats since they can impact your site’s performance.
Save your image file
There are many functions that can help you save space during saving image files. They will do so by optimizing their format and saving them so that they would fit better on the web. You can do this by finding your photo editor’s “Save as Web Format” option, or its equivalent.
If you already have images, and you wish to change their format as well, simply open them, and then do a re-save in the format optimized for the web. Their size will change, the load time will change, and your image’s quality will remain the same.
Using images for everything on your site is a bad idea since they will still affect the general performance, little by little. Use images where they are necessary, in a way that will actually matter. For all the rest, use CSS. It will load faster than images, and it can apply to backgrounds, buttons, and similar elements. Photographs are, obviously, not included.
Reuse the same images
It may benefit you to reuse images on your site since your visitors’ browsers have already loaded them once. They won’t have to bother with doing it again, which will increase their speed a lot.
Services for optimizing images
In this day and age, there are tons of services for pretty much anything that you need. Image optimization is no exception, and this can help you increase your site’s performance, as well as page load time. You can try using these ones:
- Online Image Optimizer
There is a lot of things that you should have in mind when starting your online store. From the host choice to the plan choice, and then even beyond that. We have covered a lot of it as a part of this guide. Hopefully, you understood how it all works, and what you must do to improve your business.
There are many details that you can fix and change that seem small and insignificant at first, but fixing them will improve your site little by little. From your speed and performance to your rank on search engines, the better you are, the more successful will your business become.
Ali is a freelance journalist with 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications like Best10VPN. With a master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.