Which Web Hosting Service Should I Choose for My Online Shop?

Shopping for web hosting service

Starting an online business is becoming one of the most appealing proposals for those who want to sell a product or service on a large scale online. Several elements are required for a venture like this to grow, develop and provide the expected results of numerous sales. One of the most essential elements is to have a good web hosting service.

How do you know which hosting service best suits your online shop?

Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at some concepts to help you define your needs better.

What is web hosting?

Web hosting is a combination of several services that give you the ability to publish your website online. When you sign up for a web hosting service, you are basically renting a space to store vital information that will make your page perform properly.

Web hosting works in a simple way: a hosting company is made up of servers that host your website, meaning they store all of your files and data that you want to display on your page. When a visitor arrives on your site, they are actually connecting to those servers, which allows all that content to be displayed on the visitor’s device.

For those of you who are aiming to start a blog or online shop, support other ventures, or find a new provider to host your existing site, you need to check out what providers in this wide market have to offer. You will find free web hosting and others that are costly. Everything will depend on what you need for your project.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a new web hosting company:

What to look for when choosing a web hosting service

Although the main characteristics of most hosting services are pretty fundamental, it’s important to keep a few things in mind in order to help your website get more well known. Also, be sure to look at reviews of users who have already used a certain service. This is essential to finding out if it really meets the requirements you demand.

Here are some features that are essential for good performance (which will help your ranking):

Speed

speedometer

Source: shutterstock/Den Rozhnovksy

Speed is one aspect you should take very seriously because if you were to choose a host that makes your page load slowly, you run the risk that users will be annoyed and switch to another website.

This will lead to a lot of short clicks (when people quickly return to search results and choose a different result), which is definitely a bad sign for Google. Google has even announced that speed is a landing page factor for Google search.

You’ll have to find a balance between quality and price so that this won’t occur.

Location

You can either sign up for a local or an international hosting service. If you choose the second option you must know if the provider has their servers located somewhere close to your region or in the area where your visitors are located.

Types of hosting

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Source: shutterstock/BEST-BACKGROUNDS

What type of hosting service should I choose? The answer to that question will depend on your type of business and what the goals and projections for your website are. Some hosting types that you will come across are the following:

  • Shared hosting: When it comes to “shared hosting”, you will come across very appealing offers with affordable prices, which is why this type of web hosting service is one of the most common in the market.

    However, you should keep in mind that although the price may influence you, there will also be other websites receiving this service from the same server as you, so it may affect the load speed of your web page - remember what we said about speed!

  • Dedicated hosting: With a dedicated hosting package, you will have a hosting server that is exclusively for you and your company.Generally, you’ll have the possibility to contact the customer service 24/7 for any issues you might encounter.

    This kind of service is ideal for large ventures. The price is set higher to cover all the benefits that you get. With this hosting type, you will have a service that will be at your complete disposal and control.

  • Virtual Dedicated Server: If we look at a virtual dedicated server, it shares characteristics of the two aforementioned options.

    On the one hand, you have the possibility to control your page with some liberties, but you will also have to share some server services with other websites. The price may vary as there are different options to choose from with this type.

  • Cloud Hosting: With cloud hosting, you can count on the fact that if your main server fails, you have others backing up your website in “the cloud” because they are all linked to one another. Its price is not very cheap, but this will depend on some of your other requirements if you are to choose this category.

Other factors to consider

office meeting

Source: shutterstock/Visual Generation

Other factors that must also be taken into consideration when signing up for a service like this are:

  • Free or paid hosting: The most expensive service is not always the best service and vice versa. Compare various hosting services and select the one that suits your needs best. If you decide to go the paid route, check on the payment options because in some cases, credit cards are not so easy to use. Alternatively, other payment methods like PayPal or Skrill can be used.

  • Availability of your website: Most web hosting services will provide a number on their “uptime”. Uptime is an indication of how long a server is up and running. If a server is down, then your website will be unavailable to the public. This is normal referred to as a percentage (e.g. “99.9% uptime”). This is one of the most essential aspects that you must take into account when choosing a web hosting provider.

  • Customer support: The service must offer you support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have any doubts, you must be able to reach them by telephone.

The best hosting service for e-commerce

This is what you’re here for, isn’t it?

When it comes to choosing a good web hosting, it is likely to affect the rating that the customer gives your shop or service. If hosting service is slow or causes your site to have technical problems, users will want to get off of your site as quickly as possible.

For this very reason, you must ensure that your hosting service guarantees the best user experience when entering your page, which will reflect in your sales numbers. Page speed, for example, is one of the most important points that can have a direct impact on sales.

You will come across companies that offer you a hosting service with a personalised layout, which is ideal for those who have blogs on various platforms and for those running an e-commerce business. With this type of server, you will have specialised technical support at your disposal at any time, while its page loading time is also very fast.

video on screen

Source: shutterstock/Visual Generation

The websites that work with a speedy provider that has lots of storage space will have more freedom to provide better “service” to its users, causing traffic to increase. For online shops, this is incredibly important. Trust is lost when category or product pages take too long to load.

On the other hand, if you don't have many resources and you have to opt for less efficient servers in terms of speed, you’ll have to consider what is more important and if speed is incredibly important for the content you provide. For online shops, it most certainly is!

If you are just starting your online business, you can try a simple one that is cheaper and then upgrade your package as your shop grows.

Recommended reading:
What is the Best E-commerce Platform for Your Online Shop?

Keep in mind that the geographical location of your web hosting service is vital to making your business successful. If your target audience is, for example, in Latin America, you should choose a hosting service that targets these types of users. You should do the same if your products or services are aimed at the European market or any other market.

Another point to consider when selecting a web hosting service is whether it has a solid state drive (SSD), a type of non-volatile memory that makes your information more secure.

In addition, the hosting service should have a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which is a set of hosts that have duplicates of various materials such as data, videos, etc.

A good space to store all the information generated from and for your shop or company is vital. As your company grows, you will require more storage capacity.

Having the technical support that also includes physical support can be very useful.

Last but not least, make sure that the hosting service you choose offers a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification. This authenticates the security of a site, so that the user entering the site will feel safer completing a (monetary) transaction there.

The SSL guarantees that if a customer's data is supplied to the site, it cannot be used by others.

Recommended Reading:
Google & HTTPS: Is Your Shop at Risk?

Conclusion

Hopefully, with the information in this article, you can take your first steps towards opening (or expanding) your online shop.

mistakes in online shops whitepaper

This article was originally published and adapted from our Spanish language blog: ¿Qué hosting elijo para mi tienda online?

07/04/20

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