Choosing a hosting provider for your new eCommerce store is a decision that you should not take lightly. And it appears that you feel the same way, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. There are many solutions for eCommerce website hosting, but the truth is that there are many BAD choices within those. In this guide we are going to be breaking down some factors to consider when choosing a host, as well as providing you with some of our own recommendations.
Factors to Consider
This is the most important aspect to take into account when choosing your hosting provider. Most eCommerce stores get built out to be large sites very quickly. The larger your site becomes, the more heavily ingrained you will be to the provider. It will become increasingly harder to switch to a different hosting company when your entire site is intricately tied in. Because of all these reasons, you want to make sure that your hosting provider can grow with you.
It’s our assumption that you are going to be starting your eCommerce website on a shared hosting plan. We recommend this because it will save you money while you grow the site (most shared hosting plans cost around $5/month). It’s definitely important to know the next move when you out-grow the shared plan. The next step is to upgrade to a dedicated server. With a dedicated server, your site wont have to fight for resources that other sites are using as well. Instead you will have a specified storage space and bandwidth usage that is all yours.
But I am sure you are wondering: “Dedicated hosting sounds so nice! Why not start with it?”. For the lowest plan, dedicated hosting is going to start out around $100/month. So it’s a smart idea to start making money with your eCommerce store on the shared plan, then seamlessly transfer to the dedicated plan when your traffic is exceeding the limits of the shared plan.
So let’s break all those words down into one sentence:
Choose a hosting provider that offers both shared and dedicated plans, so that you can upgrade without the hassle of moving your entire site to a different provider. (trust me… it’s a pain!)
An eCommerce site is actually very easy to set up. There are many open platforms that you can install onto your new hosting plan and have a site before the day is gone. If you’re not planning on coding your own eCommerce site from the ground up, choose a hosting plan that gives you one-click installs of popular platforms like Magento, PrestaShop, and CubeCart. These are the most commonly used eCommerce platforms and normally take a developer a few hours to successfully install manually. It will take you about 30 seconds. One-click installs is a really cool tool that is starting to be incorporated into all of the major hosting plans. All three of our recommendations below give you this for free.
This one is definitely not a major factor, but if you are just starting your eCommerce store, you could very easily drive some fast money into your pocket by running pay per click ads. Many hosting providers will give you $50-100 on Google, Yahoo, and Bing ads completely free. You could very quickly make back your initial hosting investment with this alone. Like I said previously, not a major factor – but something to think about.
Stick to one of the big names in the hosting field. I know there will be temptation to go towards eCommerce specialized hosting providers, but the truth is that they are not offering you anything extra. It simply is branding. You can install any of the major eCommerce platforms on any of the major hosting companies. Just keep your mind on the long-term success of your site and you will choose the right one. I have 3 recommendations for you below. All will suit your needs fine, but we have found the best success with HostGator when it comes to speed and longevity. I wish you all the best!