Published on July 16th, 2020
You’ve built your website, your next step is getting it online, and you do that by publishing your site with a web host provider.
A web host works by storing your website’s files in its server, when someone types in your domain address, the search engine sends the request to your server, in turn, your server selects the required files and sends them back to the person searching.
How quickly your website loads and how often, depends upon your server’s capability and reliability. So, now you know how it works and why it’s so crucial to your e-commerce success, but for you to pick the right host, you need to know what to consider when choosing.
Area Of Focus / Specialties
Not all web hosts are equal; some offer affordable shared server plans, others a more expensive cloud-based option, and which one you choose depends upon your e-commerce business’s current and future needs.
Shared hosting is cheaper and suitable for most S2M businesses and blogs, but if you’re planning on expanding your business in the future, then it’s worth putting some thought into what different servers have to offer.
Check out the server company’s specialties or area of focus before you buy it. You can always find the information you need by contacting them directly by looking at reviews and asking questions in online web server forums.
Web Host Security
The web hosts security features are hugely important when making your decision on which server to use, especially for a website that will be processing customer payments or taking customer’s information/details. If your customers feel at all unsure, they are unlikely to proceed with a transaction.
Some ways you can ensure your server is safe is by looking at security features such as:
- Malware scanning
- Secure server capabilities
- Manual reboots
- Backup and restore
- DDoS prevention and CDN support
Web Host Speed
Your website’s loading speed is critical to your online success; Google expects your site to load in under three seconds, any longer than that, and your potential customers will leave before it loads. It will also affect your rankings because search engines favor sites with fast loading times.
As previously mentioned, the speed of the server you require depends upon your business needs. If you’re expecting a lot of future traffic, you might need a dedicated server to ensure your loading times aren’t affected by sharing the file space.
You can find out what type of server and the loading speed each web hosting business provides just like you did for (Area of Focus & Specialities).
If you know your visitor numbers are going to increase in the future, then there are very affordable dedicated server plans available. And by using one, you’ll be able to rest assured that your website is always performing at high speed.
Web Host Reliability
Another essential element of web hosting is reliability. Your web host must assure you that they can provide a minimum of 99.5% uptime (time online).
Any time your site goes offline, it could potentially cost your business profit from sales, so if the uptime isn’t guaranteed, find another web host provider.
You can find out about uptime by contacting the web host directly, Googling the name of the web host and adding “reliability and uptime.” Another way is to search online for unbiased reviews.
Features & Add-Ons
Free features and Add-ons can be the deciding factor when choosing your web host provider, especially if you want to keep costs low when starting.
Most providers offer a unique package, but it’s worth checking if they include extras such as:
- Free Content management system
- Free Customer relationship manager
- Credits for Google Ads
- Multiple data centres
- Regular backups
- Free domain privacy
It pays to put the research in and shop around; ideally, you want a server that provides all of the above with extras that can help your website go a step further in providing your customers any extra services they might require.
If your website goes down, you only have one place to turn for help, customer support. And for it to be of any use to you, it must be accessible and available.
Here`s what you should know before you put your e-commerce business in the hands of a web host:
Ensure that the web host server you’re using provides all of the following ways of communicating.
- Live Chat
- Online community forums
- Support videos
- Commonly asked Q&A’s
Your host should provide a 24/7 service, so they are available when you need them most, and the best web hosting providers do.
Before signing with a host, run a Google search with their name + customer support and check out all available independent online reviews.