In today’s world of always-connected broadband, Internet-ready smartphones and tablets, increasing numbers of people are turning to the web in their droves to buy everything from gadgets to groceries, real estate to relaxing weekend breaks.
In fact, the way we pay for goods and services has evolved so much that even the UK government are moving to a model where 90% of all their transactions with the public will take place online.
So it’s no wonder that you’re now looking to get in the game and launch an eCommerce website of your own. You’ve got your product, you’ve got beautifully designed, highly-functional site ready to roll, and all you need now is a server to put it on.
Naturally, you’re looking for a low cost service that offers outstanding value for money, with all the features you’ll need to make your new venture a success. Struggling to decide on an online home for your business? Here’s a few things you’ll want to consider when choosing the best web hosting for your online store.
Understandably, cost matters, but it shouldn’t be the most important factor. Most of the leading companies are quick to lure us in with tempting offers on cheap hosting so it’s also important to find the best web hosting deals, but be mindful that cheap doesn’t always mean better.
Ideally, you’ll need a hosting solution that combines affordable monthly rates with great quality service, support, and of course, all the technical features needed to host your site effectively.
Running an online store means your site needs to be online and operational when your customers want it, any time, from any place. It also means you’ll want to ensure that your web host can handle a potential huge influx of traffic once customers start flocking to your site to take advantage of that new special offer you’re promoting.
To ensure your site not only loads fast, but loads consistently, right around the clock, you should look for a hosting company that guarantees at least 99.8% uptime.
Uptime, in case you were wondering, is exactly what it sounds like: The amount of time your servers are working perfectly and your site is up online.
Ideally, your hosting provider should have somebody always on call to fix any issues of downtime quickly.
Adequate support for PHP and MySQL
At the heart of most online stores, you’ll find a MySQL database, and a programming language known as PHP, driving the whole thing and delivering your content to your customers.
Most of the best web hosting companies around will provide adequate support for both of these, along with shopping cart integration and other features necessary to make processing transactions simple and secure.
That said, it’s worth checking that the web package you’re paying for includes all these features.
Easy to update
As your online business grows, you’ll want to start adding new products, promoting special offers and perhaps even amending your product descriptions. When that happens, you’ll need a site that makes updating and maintaining your site quick and simple.
If you’re building and managing offline, make sure you’ve got easy way to set up an FTP account. If you’re using your hosting accounts inbuilt site builder, how easy is that to use?
Access to good customer support is crucial for hosting any website, not just an online store. There may be times when things go wrong, or when you want to take advantage of the features you’ve paid for, but aren’t quite sure where to start. To make the most of your account, it’s helpful to be able to contact the support team at any time, and recieve the help you’re looking for.
When you’ve got a website that is well supported, always online and easy to update, you’ll soon be on your way to enjoying all new levels of success with your online store.