Why invest time in choosing web hosting?
Hosting is the server where you host your website, where all the information and files of a website are stored. There are free and paid accommodations. The former is attractive at first glance, but resource limitations and security threats make you think twice before choosing one of them. Especially if we run an online business.
When considering the creation of an e-commerce you must be aware of the importance of choosing a good hosting. It is the same that would happen with a physical store, you would take the necessary time to choose the location. Why should it be different in this case?
And it is that, the service where you decide to host your store will impact its performance . If the hosting does not guarantee a good loading speed, the user experience will not be good and they will leave the site. Consequently you lose sales and also positioning in search engines. This just to name an example.
Evaluate your options
In the market there are many companies that offer this service, which makes it more difficult to make the right decision. There is a price battle that often ends up being a hoax. You must be clear that the cheapest can be very expensive in the end. But the most expensive service may not be the most convenient either, even if they try to convince you of it.
Only by evaluating the benefits offered by each service you use will you determine which is the best hosting for an online store . As you make your selection, ask for references from current users. They will give you an idea of how the service works.
Look for the company that offers you the best cost/performance ratio. You need a service that is stable, fast, secure and with immediate attention. A fault that is not addressed at the right time will make you lose money and authority. You don’t want that to happen to you in your business.
In this post we will talk about these and other factors that you should take into account when choosing hosting for your e-commerce.
Common types of hosting
On other occasions we have talked about the existing types of hosting. In our post on web hosting we touch on the subject in more depth. However, here we will summarize the most common ones in order to continue with the central theme.
- Shared Hosting . It is the simplest and cheapest service. Server resources are shared between multiple sites. So what affects one will affect all. It is an option for stores developed with WordPress or Prestashop and that do not have much traffic.
- VPS servers . It is a Virtual Private Server in which the web is hosted on an exclusive virtual server. Although the physical location is shared. It is more expensive than shared. Consider this alternative if your e-commerce will have a very extensive catalog. With more than 10 thousand products, for example. Also for stores created in Magento.
- Dedicated Hosting . In this case, the server is exclusive and all its resources are available to the web. It is the most expensive option and you will have to hire someone to handle it if you don’t know how to do it yourself. If your virtual store is developed in Magento or in a custom application, it may be the most convenient.
- Cloud-hosting . It is a cloud hosting service. Use the resources you need according to the growth of the web. Consequently, the expense is not fixed, it will vary according to consumption. It is also suitable for businesses with a large catalog and that need very fast load times.
How to choose the hosting for your e-commerce?
As we mentioned, there are many factors that we must consider to make the choice of the best web hosting.
You may have noticed in the previous section that one of these elements is the software you use to set up the store. Depending on the application you use you will need certain technologies. Most of those used today require PHP technology . This is the case of WordPress, Prestashop, Joomla, among others.
Sites based on this programming language require more resources than those made up of HTML files . They also require a MySQL database. These are the most common, but there are more applications that might need MongoDB databases.
In the market you will find companies that offer you specialized hosting services . The advantage of these is that they know well how applications work. In case of any problem they will know how to solve it and they will be able to advise you on handling them.
Another factor to consider is the strategy on which your online store is based. If the priority is the price or you sell few (or a single product), a shared server will be enough. On the other hand, if you have a wide catalog, as we saw above, a cloud hosting or a VPS server is more convenient for you.
But if your strategy is based on offering a unique experience to customers, opt for a dedicated one. This way you will have at your disposal all the resources you require.
Your store must be where the customer is
Where are your potential customers located? If they are in Spain, the most logical thing is to host the online store there. This way you will avoid legal setbacks -such as compliance with personal data protection laws- and you will favor loading times.
It is clear that e-commerce will be hosted in the cloud and anyone will be able to access it. But having an IP address corresponding to the country where you are going to sell your web positioning will be favored. It is one of the factors that Google takes into account for this. The faster loading speed will also help you in SEO.
Axarnet’s servers are in Spain and the IP address that you will have with our hosting will be Spanish. Therefore, the sites hosted on our servers would have that advantage in terms of positioning in the country.
Stick to the budget
It is evident, you cannot invest more than what you have available when choosing the hosting. Evaluate in detail what are the requirements you need. Based on that information, make your choice.
If your store is small, it will require a simple server, therefore, a shared one will be sufficient. At this point, the scalability of the service plays an important role .
You may be wondering what scalability is. It is about the possibility of “scaling resources”. In other words, as your e-commerce grows, you should have the option of contracting a more specialized service.
At first you may not have a lot of traffic, but when you start to attract more clients, a shared server becomes insufficient. The hosting provider must allow you to change plans easily and quickly, adjusting it to the new needs.
Another of the essential characteristics of the hosting provider is the support and technical service. It has to be available 24 hours, because you don’t know when your online store will fail.
Do not think that you can solve everything on your own. If you have considered a hosting that does not give you the attention you need, you will regret it at any time.
The best companies have different contact alternatives. By phone, email, via chat and tickets are the most frequent. It is highly recommended to find out through specialized forums or the channels that you have available what the company’s customer service is like.
Response time must be fast . If any part of your store fails, you don’t want to send an email that goes unanswered or does so after several days. Your website would be greatly affected as a result of this.
It is also recommended that you choose a company in your language, Spanish in this case. This makes it easier to explain the technical details of the fault. Try to do it in a language you don’t speak. It can be a disaster!
Technical characteristics of the hosting
In addition to everything we have seen so far, what else can you ask your hosting provider? We anticipate much more. Let’s see some of the technical characteristics that you should assess when hiring a web hosting company:
This point should be made clear. The faster the website loads, the better. Ask the company for details on this aspect. If it is too slow, the user experience will not be good and the potential customer will go with the competition.
In addition, as we said, there is the issue of web positioning. If you want Google to favor you, you must take care of the loading speed.
Hosting is not the only thing that affects load times. Having a good design is also important, so invest in the development of your website, so that it is optimized.
This is the amount of information that is transferred between the server and the users during a given time. Needs vary from site to site. Having a 1 gigabyte should be enough for your store.
Beware of companies that offer unlimited transfer, since it is difficult to be true. Also of those that penalize if you exceed the limit.
For your potential customers to look favorably on your online store and trust it, it must be a secure site. The hosting service must also offer you an SSL certificate . What this does is encrypt the information that the user signs on the web so that no one else can use it.
It must also guarantee the protection of the site as such. Keep it free from viruses and threats. In the same way, you need them to make a backup of the site to recover the information in case you have a problem.
One of the main differences between a regular website or blog and an online store is the information they contain. In the case of the personal blog, most of it is text, so it does not take up much space.
On the other hand, in an online store, you have to publish the images of the products and these do consume more disk space . 1GB of space should be enough, although if you have a lot of high resolution images you might need up to 4GB.
The hosting provider must offer you other services such as managing email accounts. As well as the installation of modules and applications that allow you to add shopping carts, guest books, manage statistics, chat, among other functions.
Look for a company where you can register the domain and provide you with the hosting service at the same time. It is not a priority, but it will save you from having to hire two different companies.