Managed hosting services
Online shopping is a staple in today’s marketplace. We can purchase everything from groceries and clothing to furniture and electronics with just the click of a mouse. Face to face transactions with cash in hand have been replaced by virtual shopping carts and electronic transfers.
Are you a seller in today’s e-marketplace? Are you ready to put up your own virtual storefront and hang out your sing, declaring yourself open for e-business? There are some things you need to keep in mind, and they have to do with your “e-landlord”. That is to say, your web host.
If you’re going to be conducting e-commerce, you have some very specific needs and requirements, and you want to be sure that your web hosting service provider can accommodate those needs.
To begin with, what type of web hosting is best for e-commerce? For websites that handle thousands of visitors and need a high level of security, there is no question – a dedicated hosting solution is best. But as these are quite pricey, there is another option which can handle your needs adequately: VPS, or Virtual Private Server, hosting. For a fraction of the price, you can get a very customizable and comprehensive hosting package.
Furthermore, you have to decide if you want a managed hosting option or a self managed or unmanaged. For most business owners, it is advisable to go with the managed option, since this allows you to focus on what you do best: meeting orders and serving your customers.
Now that you’ve decided what type of web hosting option you need, how do you choose a provider?
There are several factors you need to look closely at:
• Reliability! If you’ve ever shopped online, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered the frustration of carefully selecting a product, placed it in your virtual shopping cart, and proceeded to check out, only to find that you could not make your purchase because the server went down. Did you ever go back and make that interrupted purchase at a later time? I bet not.
• By the same token, bearing in mind that you’re in constant competition with other online vendors for customers, you want a web host that suffers from a minimal amount of downtime.
• Security! You’re going to be handling people’s personal and financial information. It is paramount that you take every step to ensure that this sensitive data is secure every step of the way. A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate is a hosting necessity, as it enables the encryption of data until it reaches its intended destination.
• Flexibility! In order to keep the customers coming, your website needs to be continuously updated with new products, product descriptions, special offers and other content. Be sure to choose a web host that offers easy and comprehensive methods for updating your website.
• Customer support! You may have the prettiest little e-storefront on the World Wide Web, with the best products, but if your customers encounter a problem, you want to make sure they have access to customer support. If your site is crucial, 24/7 customer support is an important consideration. But in any case, you want a host that has good customer support readily available during convenient hours.
• Cost! Choose the best hosting package you can afford right now, and then upgrade later as your needs increase, and you have the revenue to justify it.
By following these few simple guidelines, selecting a web host for your e-commerce endeavor should be no more complicated that a good old-fashioned face to face transaction. Shake on it?