Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » Quick Reference »

Quick Reference: What You Need in a Hosting Plan

If you own a Web shop, it's especially important to find a company that offers a variety of cost-effective plans for e-commerce. We offer some tips on what to consider when shopping for a Web hosting provider.

Product Catalog And Shopping Cart Software

The product catalog is arguably the most important part of any e-commerce venture. Not only will site visitors need to intuitively access and navigate the catalog, but the site administrator also needs to quickly and efficiently maintain product listings, prices, promotions, shipping costs and much more. For a small e-commerce site with only a few items, this isn't as big a consideration as it is for a store offering hundreds or even thousands of products. Still, when looking for a host provider make sure that they offer appropriate applications.

Site Security

Many customers are unwilling to make any purchase from a site that does not offer the appropriate level of security. You can purchase SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates from certificate registrars, but some hosting plans, albeit a relatively select number, offer them as part of the package. The use of a secure server means exceptional security and this is depicted in users' browsers by a padlock symbol and through the addition of an s in the URL (https instead of http). This promotes a sense of trust and reliability that will offer shoppers peace of mind, which in turn, will boost the bottom line.
 

Payment Gateway Software And Merchant Accounts

In order to sell products online and accept credit card and debit card payments, you need a payment gateway and merchant account. Although some services effectively combine the two, the most popular service being PayPal, these can prove more costly in the long run. It's good business sense to offer customers flexibility when it comes to payment options to maximize your sales.
 

Disk Space and Bandwidth

In addition to these features, you should also consider the amount of disk space and bandwidth that your online store requires. Hosting accounts vary wildly in terms of the limits they set for both of these.
  • Disk space is the amount of space that a Web site is allowed on a server. Typically, e-commerce sites contain a large number of pages and generally also include images and occasionally videos. All of this adds up to a high disk space demand.
  • Literally speaking, bandwidth is the capacity that a network connection can carry at any time. In the case of hosting accounts, bandwidth is determined by the amount of data served to all visitors in the space of a month, and again, varies greatly from one hosting plan to the next.

Hosting and Your Budget

Finally, cost implications will obviously play a factor. No business, including an online store, can survive without maintaining a realistic budget. Budget e-commerce hosting accounts are out there if you know where to look. Just remember to consider all the features you need and to budget for the addition of these extra options.

The Bottom Line: E-commerce Hosting

E-commerce hosting does not need to be expensive but it does need to offer the appropriate features. OsCommerce is one of many open source shopping carts and can be installed on any compatible server. However, using an e-commerce hosting plan can mean that the software is installed for you at no extra cost. Some hosts even provide payment gateway software for no extra fee. Your exact requirements as well as those of your online store will determine the best choice for you.

This article originally appeared on E-Commerceguide.com

 







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
DID YOU KNOW?
Apple Pay Promises to Strengthen Payment Security

Experts believe that Apple Pay and other competitive payment systems will be far more secure than cards, even cards equipped with EMV chips. Read More »

Internet of Things Shaping IT's Future

To make the IoT both work and pay off, IT is juggling upgrading and building app-centric networks, mapping out new data center architectures and... Read More »

What You Don't Read Can Hurt You

Does this sound familiar? An online service promises to help your small business cut costs, increase productivity, make your coffee and walk your... Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
Webopedia Polls

The trend for the past two years has been for shoppers to spend more online during the holiday season. How do you typically shop for holiday... Read More »

How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Read More »

Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends

Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »