Many people who are new to ecommerce treat choosing a web hosting service like something unimportant. No wonder, since there are so many other things to take care of. When you’re caught up in designing a website, optimizing your sales funnel, and dealing with contractors and delivery companies, you may just pick a random hosting service and carry on with the important stuff.
However, choosing the right hosting may be crucial for your business. There’s no need to spend hours finding out all pitfalls in the world of web hosting, all you need to know is this ten-minute read.
Price is probably the first thing you judge a web hosting on. It’s true, you have to stay within budget because every dollar counts when you’re starting out. However, choosing a cheap or even free hosting may be the worst thing you can do.
Do your market research to see what do hosting companies offer for the price of a subscription. This is not to say you have to go with the most expensive option, you just have to choose what works for you.
2. Software integration
This is a major factor to consider when choosing a hosting. You may not have thought about it, but not all hostings are compatible with some software. If you choose a company blindly and pay for subscription only to find out it doesn’t support your software, that’s $20 wasted for you.
Make sure the hosting supports PHP and MySQL applications fully, or the software you use to calculate shopping cart abandonment rate or manage clients may not work. It will take you time and money to integrate it with your website, time and money you can save by researching before buying.
Many cheaper hosting options offer unlimited space, and that attracts online shop owners who want to get hosting on a budget. Most of these companies offer to store your data on HHD, however. You should always go for SSDs instead.
If you expect your website to be visited by thousands of people a day and it’s rather heavy, you need to consider bandwidth when choosing a hosting provider. Simply put, bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred in a given moment.
It’s not that crucial for websites with low traffic, but once a site starts growing, the sheer number of visitors will put a strain on the loading speed. Why does this matter? Because visitors are 123% more likely to leave if the website loads over 10 seconds. It affects your sales directly.
Look for a hosting that either has a good bandwidth value or gives you the ability to upgrade seamlessly, once you start attracting enough visitors.
5. Content Distribution Network
Are you selling products globally? You may need to get a hosting with a CDN. Domantas Gudeliauskas who runs Hosting Wiki explains: “You may think that data is transferred immediately, but it’s not the case. It still takes some time for a package of data to pass from a server to the end-user. If your server is in the US, and your visitor is in Japan, the loading speed suffers.”
Content distribution network solves that problem for you. It involves multiple servers placed around the world that make the loading time consistent for everyone.
6. Number of websites to host
Normally, it’s not that big of a problem, but you may be surprised to find out you can’t host more than three websites on the hosting you’ve bought. If your business relies on having multiple websites, make sure that’s possible under your plan.
7. Number of FTP users
This feature will be of little use to small business owners, but if you have dozens of employees, you have to place it on your checklist. The number of FTP users defines how many employees can make changes to the website. If you hire a lot of people who work on the website simultaneously, you need to find a hosting that allows that.
Hosting companies offer different numbers of FTP users, from 5 to 50 in a cheaper plan, so you may not need to buy pay more. You just have to check this.
8. Ease of access
Now, this feature is handy for small business owners. If you spend a lot of time on the go, you may need a mobile FTP client to make changes to the website without a laptop. Find a hosting that offers one, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time.
9. Easy transfer
Do you have a website already and want to move it? Then having an easy transfer is on your list of priorities. Most hosting companies offer to handle everything for you, this is the ideal variant. You won’t need to spend money on professional help, and you won’t mess things up yourself.
If you’re just building your website on Shopify or Wix, you may not need to worry about this. Both platforms have great web hosting of their own.
An ecommerce website is a top target for hackers. There’s so much sensitive information going in and out that many online criminals make it their job to exploit security loopholes and steal that information.
Make sure you’re not an easy target. Get yourself a hosting that has a secure connection and won’t compromise your data.
11. Automatic backups
It may seem like a no-brainer, but many hosting companies don’t include this feature on the cheaper plan. Having the automatic backup tool is crucial for your website’s security because you can roll back to the safe version any time.
It would be a huge loss for your business if it spends a day being down, and the support cannot help you immediately. Look for a hosting that handles problems 24/7 and provides quality support.
Choosing a good hosting sets your website to be a success. Choose the one that fits SDDs, CDN, software compatibility and other key features in an acceptable budget. Once that is covered, you can focus on other things that make your website great like advanced SEO methods or mobile adaptation.