Ecommerce Hosting Considerations

Recommended Ecommerce Web Hosting StartLogic and LunarPages
 

Introduction
The hunt for a host can be a perplexing one at the best of times. Even simple one page websites generally need to be able to guarantee a degree of accessibility and security whereas ecommerce sites that generally include a large number of pages and dynamic functions need to find a host that offers a lot more. The exact extent of what an ecommerce host needs to supply will depend on the functions that the site will offer and the software and applications the Webmaster already has in place. Finding an ecommerce specialist package is usually the best approach because everything is geared directly at online stores.

Ensuring You Have A Dedicated CGI Directory
The most important aspect of ecommerce hosting is likely to be CGI access. CGI, short for Common Gateway Interface, allows communication from standard HTML pages to other applications. With an ecommerce store many of the page functions that are included will require a dedicated CGI directory. If you are using shared hosting, which most ecommerce webmasters do, then you must ensure that you have access to your own CGI directory. A shared directory is not only unsafe but is also unlikely to offer the kind of functionality you will require.

Shopping Carts And Shopping Baskets

The software that will run on your website is important. A shopping cart is an absolute must for your ecommerce store. These are available in various different varieties ranging from very simple baskets to more complex and feature rich applications. Some hosting providers do offer free shopping cart software as part of their hosting packages and in most cases this free software will be one of the more popular packages. It is not uncommon to be provided with Agora or OS Commerce shopping baskets. If you do not have your own shopping cart software then look for accounts that offer them for free.

Email Accounts And Email Features

Ecommerce webmasters know the important of good communication. When you offer a website with a unique domain most customers also expect you to offer email contact with a domain based email address. Ensure that the hosts you are considering offer the right amount of email addresses that you will require. If you want to use a desktop based email client then make sure that as well as web based email you also receive POP3 email accounts. Other useful features include catchall accounts, email forwarding, and autoresponders. Most hosts provide a set amount of disk space per email account so ensure that you get enough space to reasonable account for regular email contact.

Security And SSL Certificates

Online shopping needs security. More and more people are becoming reliant on the Internet to conduct their shopping but they will only do so if they know they are using a safe and secure website. SSL certification offers your customers a guarantee that when they provide credit or bank card details over your website those details will not fall into anybody else’s hands. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and is offered by a majority of hosts that concentrate their accounts on ecommerce stores.

Website FTP Access

Ecommerce websites are generally page heavy. As new stock arrives and old stock becomes unavailable it will be necessary to change the pages of your site accordingly. In some cases this can mean changing numerous pages for a change to just one item. FTP access to the pages of your site will be critical in these cases because without it you will need to amend each page individually using the page editor or, worse still, by updating the HTML manually and then updating your website. FTP access allows you to change all your pages directly on the server as well as upload and download pages and files quickly and easily. It’s not only a time saver it could save some awkward moments in the future.

Memory And Traffic Requirements

Disk space and bandwidth should always be important factors when looking for hosting. The disk space you are entitled to determines the allowed size of all the pages of your website. If you have yet to complete the building of your site make sure that you find a package that at least allows for expansion in the future. Bandwidth governs the amount of data that can be downloaded by your visitors. The higher the bandwidth the more pages can be opened, files download, and images viewed, and by a greater number of visitors. Just because your site is new and has relatively few customers to begin with does not mean this will always be the case. Plan for the future.

Ecommerce Hosting Conclusion

Online shopping is becoming more and more popular with consumers. It is fast and convenient allowing for anyone to shop from virtually any store around the world. In order to take advantage of this fact webmasters will need to set up a dedicated online ecommerce store. Generally speaking, ecommerce websites are large and need to contain a lot of data. As well as pages and descriptions for items, it is good practice to include at least one mage per item. The end result is a highly data intensive website that needs a hosting plan to match.

Look for as many features as you can with an ecommerce package. If you already have shopping cart software then obviously you can ignore that section but otherwise it is a valuable addition to any ecommerce hosting package. While basic packages are available that cost very little, it will pay in the long run to take advantage of as many features as you will require for the successful running of your online store.