Opening an ecommerce store can be an exciting venture. However, if you don’t have the right hosting in place, you may be setting yourself up for failure. After all, an unreliable server can leave customers frustrated enough to leave without making a purchase.
Thankfully, there are some tell-tale signs that indicate whether your chosen host is of good quality. By ensuring that your hosting plan provides top-notch security, support, and performance, you’ll be able to start your ecommerce site on the right foot.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can pick the best host for your ecommerce store. Let’s get started!
Why your ecommerce store’s hosting provider matters
Hosting providers are what enable users to visit websites online. A web host will store your site’s data on its servers, making it available to the public.
You may be tempted to use a free host, particularly if you’re just starting out, but that’s not always such a good idea – especially for an ecommerce website. Free hosts often have poor security, can place ads anywhere on your website, and offer few features.
Your choice of web host will affect your site in many ways. The right one can:
- Improve security
- Offer reliable performance and uptime
- Provide needed support
- Make it easier for your site to rank highly in search engines
- Include quality-of-life features (such as one-click installations, free domain names, access to a Content Delivery Network (CDN), etc.)
- Support your chosen ecommerce platform (if you’re using WooCommerce, for example, you may want to look into WordPress hosting options)
If you want your ecommerce website to succeed, it’s important to do your research and find a provider that offers all of the above (and more). With that in mind, let’s look at some of the key aspects of a quality host.
How to choose the right hosting provider for your international ecommerce store (5 tips)
Not every host will have the same features, so it’s important to know what to look for before you purchase a plan. Speed, encryption and security, domain availability, and more will be vital to getting your store up and running. Here are five tips for making an informed choice.
1. Consider server location and speed
Even though the internet is available worldwide, server location influences website loading times. A user’s proximity to the server where your site is located increases its speed, and the reverse is also true. The further the physical distance is, the slower your site is likely to perform.
Unfortunately, even a one-second delay on an ecommerce site can lead to a 7 percent loss in conversions. If your website takes more than three seconds to load, there is a 53 percent chance that visitors will bounce (leave immediately) if they’re on mobile devices, and a 40 percent chance on desktop computers.
This means you’ll want to look for a hosting provider that offers servers in multiple locations around the globe, particularly in places where your target audience resides. A2 Hosting, for example, provides server locations on three continents in multiple countries:
You’ll want to ensure that any option you choose has comparable location selections, so you get access to servers where you need them most. Of course, server speed is as important as location, so it’s also smart to check for performance-enhancing features and options.
2. Look for reliable encryption and security
Encryption is the process of scrambling a data transmission. For example, when a buyer submits their credit card information to your website in order to make a purchase, the transmission needs to be encrypted. This protects third parties from being able to steal their information.
One of the most common ways of providing secure encryption is through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. These handle the encryption process for you, so you can rest assured that your users and data will be protected. Just as important, when a customer sees your certificate, they’re likely to feel safer when using your site.
Some hosts will offer a free version of SSL included in their plans. However, a top-notch host should have a selection of certificates you can choose from. That way, you can decide the exact level of coverage you need.
3. Check out the quality of the host’s support options
Every ecommerce site should offer support to its customers, whether that’s through a live chat helper or a ticket submission page. A quality host will do the same for your business, and enable you to easily get in touch when you have questions or problems.
Of course, that means support should be both reliable and timely. If possible, consider a host that has dedicated support teams for various services, such as billing, SSL certification, and domain configuration. That can ensure you won’t have to wait for your query to be filed to the right place. You can contact the right people immediately, and get the help you require.
Another excellent sign is multiple contact channels:
The best hosts will have a call center, live chat, email, and ticket submission options. That way, you’ll be able to select the option that works best for you.
4. See if there’s a money-back guarantee
One way to know that you’re dealing with a reputable host is if customer satisfaction is a priority. You can be sure that the host takes this seriously if they offer a money-back guarantee:
Naturally, it’s important that you feel certain you’ve made the right hosting choice. Sometimes a provider will look good on paper, but for whatever reason may not work out. With a money-back guarantee, you can be confident in your decision to give a new provider a try.
Of course, a quality host will go above and beyond the basics in this area. A money-back guarantee is a great start, but you may also want to consider whether there’s a prorated refund for any unused service after the 30-day trial period.
5. Take a look at the domain name availabilities
Finally, before you can start up your ecommerce site, you’ll need a domain name. At the least, a strong name is easy to spell and remember, and has positive connotations that make visitors feel comfortable with your products or services.A quality hosting provider should offer a domain checker tool, so you can see what options are available and brainstorm alternatives if needed:
This kind of solution can help you find the perfect domain with your host. You’ll also want to find out what Top-Level Domain (TLD) options it offers, and what the pricing structure is like. Although you don’t have to purchase your domain name through your web host, doing so will simplify the process of maintaining your site over time.
As you can see, the host you choose for your ecommerce website will be vital to its success. A poor host can lead to loss of revenue, increased downtime for your site, and the threat of losing sensitive information due to a lack of security features.
However, if you keep the following tips in mind, you’ll stand a good chance of picking an excellent host:
- Choose a host with excellent server speed and multiple location options.
- Ensure that you’ll have the encryption and security you need.
- Research the quality of the provider’s support options.
- Pick a host that offers a money-back guarantee.
- Look for a provider that makes it easy to purchase a domain name.