Are you looking for the best hosting options for your eCommerce online store? If yes, then you have come to the right place. Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a Digital Marketing Agency. My company specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Remarketing. Over the years, I have worked with quite a number of eCommerce businesses. One thing that I have noticed is that most take a rather laid-back approach to web hosting. However, that is not the best approach! If you do that, you could end up harming your chances of surviving in today’s competitive business environment. In this article, I show you some of the best eCommerce hosting options that can be found out there. This article is divided into the following sections;
What is eCommerce hosting?
Ecommerce hosting is easy enough to define. It’s web hosting that’s specifically designed for the unique needs of an eCommerce store. Let me be frank with you here; any web host that’s out there can play host to your online store. I have previously written an article on the best hosting options for small to medium sized businesses.
All of the companies mentioned in that article are capable of hosting online stores. However, not all of them are going to be able to give you the kind of features and performance that you need to get your eCommerce venture to grow.
So, there are normal web hosts. These are good enough to a limited degree. Then there are eCommerce web hosts. These are web hosts that are specifically optimized for eCommerce stores. That’s what you should be looking for if you hope to take your venture to the next level.
How to choose an eCommerce host
Now that we have defined eCommerce hosting as hosting specifically geared towards online stores, it’s time for us to come up with a few benchmarks that should help you choose the best option for your business. The following are some of the things that you need to be on the lookout for when choosing an eCommerce host for your online store;
Security is one of the most important aspects of choosing a host for your eCommerce store. The internet is overflowing with stories of woe by people who lost their hard earned money to sleek thieves. Everything that has been happening over the past few years has conspired to make the average consumer rather wary when transacting online.
So, when choosing a hosting for your eCommerce store, you need to go for one that offers the maximum in terms of security. You do that to protect mostly your clients. You will be handling their important personal data on your store and you don’t want to have that end up in the wrong hands.
Secondly, security is important from your own perspective as a business. Any breaches that occur have the potential to leave indelible marks on your company’s reputation. The eCommerce world is driven by trust, and you don’t want to risk losing your credibility by having your store hosted by a company that does not prioritize security.
Elements of Security for eCommerce websites
The following are some of the elements of security with regard to hosting for eCommerce stores;
- SSL certificates: Almost all websites that are out there now come with SSL encryption. You know that one has that because its URL will have https:// at the start. Unsecured sites actually get flagged by browsers, so you don’t want that for your eCommerce store. Would anyone want to buy from you after they have been told that your site is not secure? Probably not. So, the host that you choose needs to provide SSL encryption. Most now do so for free.
- Firewalls: These are another important element for securing your online store. The host that you choose needs to be able to place your site behind a firewall that protects it from hackers. Again, the point is to make sure that you are protecting your clients.
- Protection from malware: Malware is short for malicious software. There are always some floating around out there. And if your site gets attacked, it will get a warning from search engines telling people to stay away. Again, you don’t want to have this happen to you. So, you need to be careful when choosing a host for your online store. The one that you go for should have layers of protection from malware.
This is related to offering security to your shoppers. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It’s a standard for businesses that handled credit card data.
The host that you choose for your Ecommerce store needs to be absolutely PCI compliant. That way, you can be sure that you will be providing your customers the best possible setup in terms of security while handling their credit cards.
Speed is important, not only for eCommerce websites, but for every other website that’s out there. Simply put, search engines will penalize websites that are slow. Therefore, speed is a ranking factor for Google, Yahoo, Bing and others.
Now, if you have ever done SEO, you will understand how difficult it can be to get to the desired results. Yes, you get free traffic from Google and other search engines, but it can take you years to get there. You don’t want to squander all that effort by running a rather slow website. So, the web host that you choose needs to be able to deliver your web pages as fast as is possible.
People will leave if a site is too slow
Frankly, people out there are rather spoiled for choice. They don’t have to wait around if you have a slow loading website. In fact, they will simply leave. And just to put things into perspective, 90% of consumers say they will leave a site if it’s too slow.
So, let me emphasize this; you need a fast web host. It’s one of the most important elements when choosing the best hosting options for your eCommerce online store. Don’t skimp out here. You will regret paying less for a host that’s slow. It’s one good way of burning hard to come by leads.
Remember that eCommerce conversion rates hover around a dismal 2%. You don’t want to take yours even lower by annoying people even before they have landed on your site.
Pricing tends to be a major factor when choose a web host, particularly for small to medium sized businesses. However, let me tell you something; you may have to pay a little bit more for the kind of performance that we are looking for here. That’s the only way through which you can give your business a real chance of making it out there.
But all is not lost! Pricing is usually tied to performance. Not always, but usually. And performance has a bearing on profitability. We have already noted that people leave sites that are slow. On the flip side, people will stay and buy if your site performs well. So, at the end of the day, you should be able to more than pay for the higher hosting costs.
Web hosting companies host websites on servers, and severs can sometimes have minds of their own! We all wish for the best in terms of performance, but it’s inevitable that you are going to encounter issues at some point in time.
The true mark of a good host for your online store is one that is able to deliver on needed customer support. Sadly, most of these companies have outsourced support to India, Bangladesh and elsewhere. That can make getting the support that you are looking for difficult.
Anyway, when choosing a web hosting for your eCommerce store, you need to go for one that offers the best in terms of support. That way, you are reassured that somebody has your back at that inevitable time when something goes wrong with your site.
We all want to have things run smoothly forever, but that doesn’t always happen. So what happens in the event that some of those malicious people who are always on the hunt for prey around the internet have somehow managed to hack into your site?
In that case, you may have to resort to backups of your site to get things back to normal. As such, it’s important to go for a host that periodically backs up your site. It’s preferable to go for backups every day. That’s particularly the case if you have a large number of customers.
You don’t want to end up losing their details during an attack. And make sure that the host that you go for stores the backups for your site separately. That way, you will always have redundancy. You will know that there is a fallback plan in the event of a calamity.
Hosted vs Self Hosted Platforms
One thing that you need to understand here is that you have a couple of options when it comes to eCommerce hosting.
First, you may choose to go with hosted eCommerce. What that simply means is that you will be getting your eCommerce software along with hosting. A number of eCommerce software offer this feature. The following are examples;
Why go the hosted route?
There are certain advantages to choosing a hosted eCommerce plan. For one thing, these platforms; Shopify, BigCommerce etc are specifically designed for eCommerce. It means everything on their servers is designed to boost the performance of your eCommerce store.
Setting up is also easier than with the self hosted option. Again, the infrastructure on there is geared towards building eCommerce stores. So, you won’t have trouble getting started. And you won’t need to struggle with integration. Everything comes already integrated.
Self hosted eCommerce
With self hosted eCommerce platforms, you get web hosting from any provider out there the normal way. That’s separate from the eCommerce platform. You then install your preferred eCommerce software. Below are some of the best known self hosted eCommerce platforms.
Advantages of self hosted eCommerce
Self hosted eCommerce is just ordinary hosting that used for eCommerce. You can set up your store with any web host around the world. The major advantage of this is cost; you can buy a web hosting plan for $2 per month, install your eCommerce software and you should be good to go.
Another advantage is flexibility. You are free to take your store in any direction. This relates to design and performance. Some people feel that the hosted option needlessly puts them into a straitjacket. It means you will have to set up your store in a way that’s provided by the hosted provider. You don’t have much of a leeway to do what you really want to do.
Best eCommerce Web Hosts
It’s now time for use to take a look at some of the best hosting options for eCommerce. This article, as noted earlier, is based on the research that we carried out over a long period of time. The benchmarks for determining the best eCommerce host are given above. The following hosting are the best hosting options for eCommerce stores;
1. Shopify eCommerce hosting
First, you should consider going the hosted way when setting up your eCommerce store. I have already noted that some of the options here include Shopify, Bigcommerce, Volution and 3dcart. Of these, Shopify eCommerce hosting is probably the best. Their stellar performance is reflected in their popularity; in the United States, Shopify commands a market share of 31%. That’s huge!
Shopify offers the following features;
- An environment that’s designed specifically for eCommerce
- Unlimited web hosting
- A Content Delivery Network (CDN) for enhanced speeds
- Level 1 PCI compliance
- Quick and easy setup
The Planet Marketing website is hosted by Kinsta, so I am a bit partial towards this particular host. And for good reason. There was a really noticeable boost in performance when I migrated my site from Bluehost to Kinsta. But then this is not about me! It’s about your eCommerce store and how Kinsta is one of the best hosts that can be found out there.
- Dedicated WooCommerce hosting
- Fast speeds
- Powered by Google Cloud Platform, making performance top of the range
- Server-level caching
- Fully secure. You get free SSL, SSH, HTTP/2 and much more
- Automatic backups
Kinsta is a bit expensive as far as web hosting plans are concerned. The cheapest starts at $30 per month. For that you get 10GB of space and up to 25 thousand visitors per month. However, I do have to say Kinsta’s performance largely justifies the extra cost.
Besides, if you are a serious eCommerce business, you probably have no business signing up for the $2 per month plans! Those are for small time bloggers!
3. Bluehost for WooCommerce
I was with Bluehost for many years before moving to Kinsta. Generally speaking, Bluehost is a good host. That’s particularly the case if you are a small business.
However, as your business grows, you may have to look for better options. Anyway, for most people, Bluehost will work just fine. It’s major draw is price; you get some of the most affordable web hosting plans on the market.
Like Kinsta, Bluehost offers self hosted eCommerce hosting using WooCommerce. In terms of features, you get the following;
- Unlimited products
- WooCommerce comes preinstalled
- Product Reviews
- Traffic Analytics
- 24/7 support
- Payment processing
- Manual order creation
- Discount codes
Are these features important?
All these features are designed to take your eCommerce store to the next level. Product reviews, as an example, are a really impressive tool for giving people the confidence that they are looking for in order to buy from your store. With discount codes, you give current and prospective customers the motivation to keep buying from your store.
The Standard Bluehost for WooCommerce plan starts at $19.95 when you pay for an entire year. The premium plan costs 32.95 per month.
DreamHost is another of the great options that you can use if you have decided to go down the self hosted eCommerce way. If you are interested, you can sign up for WooCommerce hosting by DreamHost.
My site was once hosted by DreamHost (I know, I have moved around a bit) and I can say that they are good. Like Bluehost, they are mainly for small players running small eCommerce websites. DreamHost offers the following features;
- Guaranteed uptime
- On demand daily backups
- 24/7 WooCommerce support
- SSL preinstalled
Dreamhost’s plans start at $16.95 per month. For that, you get a lot of features, including WooCommerce and Storefront Theme pre-installed.
5. WP Engine
WP Engine is unique is that it exclusively offers WordPress hosting. If your eCommerce store runs on WordPress, and if you are looking for total peace of mind, then this is the option that you should go for.
Being so focused comes with a lot of advantages; WP Engine is probably one of the best WordPress hosts that you will be able to find anywhere out there. For eCommerce businesses, WP Engine provides hosting for WooCommerce sites.
- Managed security
- Scaling as your business grows
- SSL encryption
- 99.95% uptime
- Malware removal
- Global CDN
- Automated daily backups. The backups are stored offsite.
- Dev, Stage, Prod Environments
- 24/7 support
WP Engine’s pricing starts at $25 per month. For that you get 10GB storage and 25 thousand visitors per month.
Those are some of the best hosting option for your eCommerce online store. Hopefully, I have helped clarify issues on your behalf. Choosing a web host is never easy. A lot of the difficulties stem from the fact that the choices that you make can have a huge impact on the success or failure of your venture.
In this article, I noted that you can choose to go the hosted way for your eCommerce store. You do that via platforms such as Shopify. You can also choose the self hosted option, which provides you with a lot more flexibility. Anyway, we love hearing from you! Feel free to leave a comment in the section below if you have something to say.