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article imageReview: Choosing a host for your e-commerce website? Here's the catch

By Jenna Cyprus     Feb 2, 2014 in Internet
Thought having a website was as simple as 1, 2, 3? There are many other aspects of having a website than just a domain name. Hosting is one of these.
E-commerce websites have gained enormous popularity with a growing number of users, who now shop online for everything from clothes to household goods and electronics. Convenience is key, as more and more shoppers are turning away from brick and mortar stores to online stores.
It was estimated that a record 66 million shoppers visited online stores on Black Friday, and a major chunk of that traffic came from mobile devices.
If you're a business owner who's looking to set up an e-commerce website, it's important to understand that they are quite different from the websites we've known over the past decade. The vast majority of sites on the Internet today consist of blogs, as well as business and personal websites.
These locations don't experience huge amounts of requests from users or the level of general traffic that an e-commerce website may. You have to invest your time and resources in finding the right web hosting company to develop a solid and robust e-commerce website that's capable of handling sudden spikes in traffic and user requests.
Selecting a web host with the right mix of infrastructure and security that's tailor-made to suit your plans can be a tricky task, especially when there are thousands of companies looking to host you. Having a website that performs to the best of its ability can make a huge difference in the profits of business owners, because a website that goes down means less or no sales.
Developing a medium-to-large-scale shopping website requires substantial investment, and there are some basic things you should keep in mind while selecting a web hosting company for an e-commerce venture. Here are three.
1. Secure hosting
It's a given that you'll want to integrate credit cards, PayPal, and other online payment solutions with an online store. Shoppers have to trust your website with their credit card information.
Security loopholes in your website are the last thing you want, because that could mean credit card information gets compromised. This can result in irreparable damage to your company's reputation.
That makes it all the more vital to select a hosting provider that has proper security measures in place. Secure digital certificates are necessary when you're accepting credit cards. Before moving ahead, make sure the hosting plan has the necessary SSL add-ons.
2. Downtime can be disastrous
A study conducted by Emerson Network Provider showed that a downtime of one minute can cost medium-to-large businesses an average $5,600 in lost revenue. Underestimating the importance of downtime can be a major flaw for your e-commerce website.
Always look for a web host that provides uptime guarantees or at least has a record of reliable uptime performance. You may be up against hundreds of websites selling the same type of products, and you'll lose out to your competition if your site goes down even for a few minutes, through no fault of yours.
3. Speed and traffic capacities
Speed is another essential requirement for the success of your e-commerce website. Although part of it depends on how you develop your site, the host also plays a crucial role.
You could put all your resources and capital into driving more traffic to your site, but it can all go down the drain if your website freezes -- or even worse, crashes -- due to sudden traffic spikes.
Make sure you perform a thorough search before you select a web hosting company for your e-commerce site. It's vital to keep the above factors in mind, since they have the potential to make or break your online business.
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