Let’s start by having a quick definition of e-commerce business. Any commercial activity involving sales and delivery, when carried out through electronic devices over a network is called an e-commerce business.
The very decision of a businessman to take his business online is a big step for him, especially if he owns a small to medium scale business. Hence it becomes vitally important to scrutinize every detail related to choosing a web hosting service for your e-commerce business. Following are some points that you must pay attention to, if you are taking your physical business to online retail:
1. Hosting Service Uptime
In layman terms, hosting service uptime refers to the actual time per day or per week that your service provider’s server will host your website making it accessible to the World Wide Web. For fresh starters it may sound weird but it’s true that some service providers have limited server uptime. Some of them mention it in their agreement or contract while others go offline due to some technical glitches. What’s worse is that these glitches take up a lot of time to get resolved because of lack of technical expertise at the service provider’s end. Note that for every second that their server is offline, your e-commerce site will be unavailable to your customers. Such unavailability can hamper your business on a permanent basis giving your organization a bad name. You must make sure that your service provider’s servers are monitored by expert engineers all the time, web hosting servers that are located in major data centers are monitored in this way.
2. Securities and Data Encryption
The whole motive of an e-commerce website is to make financial transactions over a network compromised of different types of electronic devices. For successful businesses these transactions can be as much as millions of dollars. With such an amount at stake you will want a secure connection with the most advanced encryption techniques. Internet as we know today is not a safe place; there are a lot of people who are waiting for you to make one mistake so that they can capitalize on it. An unsecured web server is not only dangerous for you, but it can be equally damaging for your customers as their systems are at risk too. Whichever service providers you choose, make sure that they provide reasonable security so that your transactions are not vulnerable to hacking.
3. Programming Language and Database Support
Many of you who are not familiar with technical aspects of web hosting might not know but there are several technologies and programming languages used for implementing web hosting. Service providers often choose a platform or technology that suits them the best. From their side it is assumed that client knows everything and he will choose them after carefully considering his requirements. If you sell only one type of product then you can get away with most of the platforms but if your company provides a slew of products and services with different features and characteristics, then you will require the support of a database, preferably MySQL and language support of PHP to add interactive facility for your customers. You may consult an e-commerce expert before exercising your choice of web hosting service providers.
Premium web hosting services, especially from e-commerce’s point of view, can be extremely expensive. You should review your sales, earnings, and budget and investment options. Match your requirements against your planned investment, research your targeted market and ask yourself if you are ready to go global. Opting for services that you don’t require can be heavy on your pocket. For example if you don’t provide shipping services then it’s pointless to pay for a shipping company’s interface on your e-commerce site. You must also scrutinize your contract for any hidden costs or auto renewal of your agreement. Many service providers will automatically renew your contract after it has expired, if you have plans to change the service provider then it will be a wasted expenditure.
I hope that after reading the above mentioned points, you will be able to make a wise decision in choosing the best web hosting service provider.