Web hosting can be complex for some, especially those new to the concept. After all, one has to determine how much storage is needed as well as bandwidth and features they probably have no idea about. Add e-commerce into the equation in you have a recipe for sheer frustration. In this article we will discuss some of the common ailments of web hosting and try to simplify things. All the considerations that come along with finding general web hosting can be applied to e-commerce as well. However, there are a few additional aspects that deserve attention as well.
Storage space and bandwidth is essential to the core of any type of web hosting whether it's based on e-commerce or not. These elements are generally measured in monthly increments and play a critical role in determining what size hosting package you really need. In most cases, an e-commerce site will require more disk space and transfer than one without it. This is primarily due to features such as shopping carts, merchant accounts and certificates which compose the online storefront.
A shopping cart is a program installed into the server of your hosting account. They require space to enable their scripts to run which in turn requires additional transfer to allow your customers to browse, add items, checkout and make payments. So how much extra bandwidth is required for this? Well that all depends on how many customers are simultaneously using the shopping cart and the shopping cart itself. This is why it's a good idea to build your e-commerce site small in the beginning and leave room for major upgrades in the future.
Believe it or not, you actually have a choice in the shopping cart used to power your website. Different web hosts will offer different programs, most of which include unique features that set them apart along with all the basics. Some of the most popular programs are ZenCart and X-Cart as well as the shopping cart feature provided by PayPal. It is important to choose one that suites your individual needs so be sure to look into its capabilities before deciding on a particular host.
It is important to learn as much as you can about the shopping cart as possible. Make sure the program supports SSL encryption as this security protocol will help to protect your customer's personal information when making online transactions. It also needs to support a merchant account and your payment gateway. A good web hosting provider will usually bundle these services so compatibility is not an issue.
If your merchant account is maintained separately from the host, make sure they are compatible. You should find out if the shopping cart has a recommended and maximum product limit and do your best not to exceed it. This may negatively impact the performance of your store and turn away potential customers.
Last but not least, make sure you can easily control the shopping cart. A few merchants sell downloadable items and services that do not exactly conform to the traditional methods of ordering and shipping. This is critical as invoices need to be properly configured so that customers can be accurately billed. If a shopping cart does not support these features, look for a web host that supports add-ons to provide this level of functionality.
BlueHost offered web hosting packages that are e-commerce ready. Build your store with some of the best shopping carts available.