Today’s article on How to Select A Web Hosting Provider to Survive Ecommerce Sales Season is brought to you by Saud Razzak – Community Manager at Cloudways.
Let’s welcome Saud Razzak in our blog, and learn from his invaluable experience!
When building an online e-commerce store or renovating it for the sales season, we always ask the question of the choice of web hosting. Indeed, there are many big players on the market and it is often difficult to find in the various offers and in the technical criteria displayed by the hosting providers.
Moreover, the choice of a hosting is far from innocuous because it will determine the efficiency criteria for your e-commerce store, including the speed of your pages which will play a role in the overall performance and SEO of your store. So do you think you have the right host for your e-commerce store? If you are not sure, we give you 10 tips to select the best host for your online store.
1. Choose Type of Hosting
The first thing to choose a web host is first to understand the types of hosting that exists for websites. Each type of hosting has its advantages and limitations. The goal is to find the right solution and the best value for your particular needs. There are 4 so far:
- Shared hosting: The base of this type of hosting is that you share a server with other websites. This reduces costs especially if your storage needs are not very important (if you have a corporate website, a blog, etc.).
- Dedicated hosting: As its name suggests, dedicated hosting allows you to take advantage of a specific server dedicated to your online store with a clean operating system, which can be particularly interesting in terms of security. It is a solution rather suitable for high traffic sites or ecommerce stores, for example. This is a more expensive solution, so the investment must be consistent with the need.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting: This type of hosting works in the same way as dedicated hosting except that you have a virtual machine installed on a dedicated server. The VPS allows more flexible possibilities than in the case of a more static dedicated hosting while saving on the total cost of hosting because the resources are pooled. This hosting is therefore particularly suitable for companies that rapidly progress with needs that are set to develop in the medium term.
- Cloud Hosting: Cloud hosting is very similar to shared hosting, with the difference that it does not depend on a single physical server but on multiple virtual servers. The main advantage is to be able to offer very flexible possibilities in terms of availability and flexibility as hosting adapts to your needs in real time by allocating you more or less bandwidth depending on your traffic, for example. To better understand the benefits of cloud hosting, visit Cloudways and explore the features and services and in detail.
2. Have a Long-Term Vision
The main objective for an online e-commerce store, apart from saving money on hosting, is to have a solution that can evolve over time with the development of the store. Take the example of a store that has few needs to date because the daily traffic remains limited but you have estimated a strong increase in the medium or long-term in the e-commerce sales season or through significant web marketing efforts. In this situation, it will be better to move towards a solution able to adapt to these future needs without technical difficulties.
In general, it is better to choose a limited and inexpensive basic offer when you start, even if you want to move to a better offer later. So be sure to check that your host offers several packages tailored to your current needs but also for the future.
3. Take Stock of Your Needs
When choosing your host for e-commerce store, you have to ask different questions, including questions to determine its technical needs in terms of hosting requirements:
- What kind of website do you want to put in place? Is this a showcase for a geographically limited catchment area or an online e-commerce store? Do you want to develop multiple WordPress websites or a single store?
- What is the daily traffic that you have estimated? Don’t forget to consider your future efforts in terms of marketing and SEO to anticipate future needs.
- What storage capacity will you need to host your store, products, and files? The more images your store has to host, the more important your needs will be.
- Are you going to use specific eCommerce software or applications? Are you going to use a turnkey solution like WooCommerce, for example?
- Do you plan to develop an e-commerce store more or less long-term? In this case, you will need to opt for a solution that will allow you to develop new features of this kind easily and without limitation.
- How many domain names do you want to buy? Do not forget to count all the interesting extensions for your activity.
- How many email addresses related to your e-commerce store will you need?
- At what level of security will you claim for your visitors and for the safety of your store? This is especially important if you manage an online store with credit card payments, for example.
This general reflection will allow you to have a more precise notion of the hosting adapted to your needs and to ensure that the chosen solution includes all the essential services for your online store. Moreover, it will also help you to establish a budget for your hosting that is consistent with your ambitions.
4. Possibility of Email Hosting
Most of the hosting solutions offer hosting of your dedicated email addresses. These addresses are usually in the following format email@example.com. Make sure that the chosen hosting solution understands this service in the cost of the chosen formula and that you will have a sufficient number of addresses to support your internal organization adequately.
5. Have Multiple Data Centers
Generally, businesses are advised to use a host with physical servers located in the target country of the hosted e-commerce store. And this is explained for one main reason: to allow your store to attain a position in the search results of your target users. The location of the servers is a proven SEO criterion, although of course, it is not the most important criterion for your SEO. But as part of a reflection on the best choice of web host, it is better still to put all the chances on your side.
6. Server Reliability and Speed
To choose between the many offers of web hosting market, you will have to compare some technical data. In addition to the criteria related to the proposed formulas (number of email addresses, storage, etc.), certain data, such as the availability of servers or connection speeds will allow you to determine the performance of your potential providers.
The availability of servers, which is directly related to the reliability of hosting, is usually expressed as a percentage and is very often displayed as between 99% and 100%. And while the difference may seem very small in theory, it is much less so in practice. 1% over a year is more than 3 days, which can be very problematic for an e-commerce store, which cannot afford to be unavailable for too long or face a drop in sales quickly.
The speed of the servers is also a very good data to compare for your hosting solutions. Indeed, it directly implies the speed of display of your pages, which will itself have an impact on the performance of your store, your traffic, and your SEO. Indeed, the speed of loading pages is a fundamental criterion of SEM for Google as for all other search engines.
7. Does Not Neglect Security
Security must also be a determining factor in your choice of solution. Thus, don’t hesitate to compare the tools and security measures proposed in each hosting provider solution, for example, the possibility of obtaining a free SSL certificate, but also the blocking of IP which can prove useful in the prevention of attacks by hackers. Don’t hesitate to ask the host for the regularity of automatic backups to ensure that your data will be protected in the event of an incident.
8. 24/7 Customer Service
In the same logic, it is better to opt for a host offering optimum customer service with access 24/24 and 7/7 by phone or live chat, especially in case of technical problems. A customer service offering an answer by email within 24 hours is also a very good point for the selected provider. Rather than relying on sales pitches, feel free to test customer service up front to test your responsiveness before making your final choice.
9. Positive Customer Reviews
Even with all these technical comparisons, it will sometimes be difficult to make a wise choice as there are many hosting providers on the market. For this reason, we strongly advise you to study beforehand the opinions and the testimonials of the customers before taking your decision and to complete your analysis. Online comparators are also a great source of information to quickly identify the differences between each offer.
It is a fact: each host has its advantages and disadvantages, but it is better to ensure that its disadvantages are not disabling your e-commerce store and your specific needs. While it is true that the offers of the hosts are often very close, or even substantially equivalent, especially when we just read the sales pitch on the sites of the providers, the genuine opinion of a customer will allow you to draw the true from the false and to go on a compromise adapted for your activity.
10. Cost-Efficient Pricing
Finally, who says hosting also says cost. And even if the web hosting offers are often very close to the tariff level, this is not necessarily the case when we add the options that would be added to the basic offer displayed. So be sure to consider any additional costs to effectively compare competing offers.
For example, you will be able to identify the costs associated with depositing additional domains to calculate a concrete total cost. Similarly, be sure to pay close attention to the cost of renewing your subscription because it is often displayed more discreetly than the call price of the initial registration.
With all this information, you will undoubtedly be able to choose the right web hosting provider for your online e-commerce store. The challenge of a good host is real for a business, so don’t hesitate to take the time to think about choosing the best solution for your store.
We feel honoured to have Saud’s insights featured in our blog, and we are incredibly thankful for the knowledge he has shared with us.
Author bio here:
Saud Razzak is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways – A Managed WooCommerce Hosting Platform. Saud is responsible for creating buzz, spread knowledge, and educate the people about WordPress in the Community around the globe. In his free time, he likes to play cricket and learn new things on the Internet. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.