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Ecommerce Web Hosting Guide

The first major task to complete before you can launch your ecommerce business is finding the right ecommerce hosting provider. In this Webopedia Ecommerce Web Hosting Guide we offer links and how-to articles to help any small business owner or entrepreneur get ready to launch their first electronic commerce website. Topics covered include essential ecommerce website services, ecommerce software and tips for finding an ecommerce web hosting provider.

What Is Ecommerce Hosting?

Ecommerce hosting (e-commerce hosting) is a standard phrase that describes a type of website hosting platform that is used to serve an electronic commerce website. Ecommerce hosting differs from standard Web hosting in that a number of features and functionalities are required to manage and run a commercial website. This includes SSL, database support, shopping cart software, payment processing services, and additional ecommerce software and security initiatives. Ecommerce hosting is designed to basically provide entrepreneurs and businesses with all the tools and services required for them to set-up, manage and conduct an ecommerce business.

Ecommerce hosting is an option offered by many Web hosting service providers. In addition to supplying ecommerce functionality, they will also provide Web space (Web server) to host your website, an email server or email support, technical support and other standard Web hosting features for businesses.

The Fundamental Building Blocks of an Ecommerce Website

Regardless of how big or how small a retail website is, all e-commerce sites have the same basic fundamental building blocks that enable them to work. From choosing a domain name to accepting and processing credit card payments online, Web retailers have a lot of work to do before they can hang their open-for-business sign.

Finding an Ecommerce Hosting Provider

For a small business owner, finding a website hosting provider that specializes in ecommerce software, support and systems is a big task. There is a lot more to shopping for a website hosting provider than just comparing prices and disk space. When looking for the right provider, you need to start with a good idea of types of services you’ll need for your own website. After that, you can work on finding the right hosting provider -- one that can meet your needs at a price you can afford.

When you start shopping for the right vendor to provide your Web hosting services, make sure the provider offers ecommerce web hosting packages for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). You want to invest in a professional plan with professional services for your business, not a company that only has experience with personal Web site hosting.

Shared vs. Dedicated Ecommerce Web Hosting

Unless your business runs a massive Web operation, the issue of shared vs. dedicated Web hosting will probably be a consideration as you plan your present and future Internet needs. There are pluses and minuses to each approach, and the differences between them can be dramatic. A shared Web server -- sometimes called virtual hosting -- basically means your Web site will share resources with other Web sites. In this scenario, multiple Web sites are running (hosted) on the same physical server. On a dedicated server, your Web site is the only one on the server.

Ecommerce Web Hosting: A Glossary of Terms

As you start your search for finding an ecommerce hosting provider, it probably won’t take you long to realize there is whole new world of standards, phrases and terms to learn. Before you begin your ecommerce hosting provider search, you should become familiar with the common lingo so you can understand what each web hosting service provider is offering.

Application Service Provider
commerce server

dedicated server
electronic commerce
secure server
service level agreement
shared server
shopping cart
virtual host
virtual server
Web host
Web server  

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