In 2017, e-commerce sales growth is expected to grow by 8 to 12%. Those are pretty big numbers for any sector, and it’s no wonder that more and more entrepreneurs are hopping on-board, launching their own businesses, and e-commerce websites to cash in on changing consumer behavior.
But just launching an e-commerce website won’t guarantee sales by itself. It takes work, often hard work, to grow an audience of clients and to convert traffic into sales. And just like sound construction is critical to building a home to sell, you’ll need one of the best hosting plans to ensure the foundation of your website is solid and reliable.
With that in mind, we’ve highlighted the 4 ways your hosting can make or break your e-commerce website. Better-armed with knowledge about the pitfalls of poor hosting, you can get your new business venture off on the right foot.
Is Your Hosting Secure?
It’s a question that most people don’t know the answer to. And if you’ve decided to gamble your hosting on the cheapest option available, the likely response is a resounding ‘no’. Most hackers prey on easy targets with easily-targeted vulnerabilities: by doing so, they can hack hundreds, sometimes thousands of websites at a time, maximizing the damage they do. So, if your hosting provider doesn’t work hard to secure their servers and offer the most updated software, they’re likely selling hosting plans that are vulnerable to attack right off the bat.
Does Your Hosting Plan Offer Easy Shopping Integrations?
How are you going to build your website? Do you already have a plan for a payment gateway? The best hosting providers will also make it easy to plug in a plethora of payment gateway and shopping cart options, like PrestaShop or OpenCart.
If you go with a budget hosting provider, you might be forced to narrow down your options or utilize a developer to help install a shopping cart or payment gateway for you. And unfortunately, that can run up the starting costs of your website. On top of that, slower payment gateways, or inflexible options which don’t allow you to upsell products or do single-click checkouts can cost you sales.
Does Your Host Server Have Long Downtimes?
Server downtimes, put simply, are periods when a server is offline, usually for maintenance, updates, or other reasons. A massive influx of traffic can also trigger server downtimes. And unfortunately, some hosting companies have much more server downtimes than others. What does that mean for your website?
When a server is down, it’s not displaying your website. Not only can your web store receive no sales during that period, but anyone who tries to go to your url will get an error message. Embarrassing, on top of frustrating, and some potential visitors will take that experience to heart and never return to your domain again. This can be disastrous if downtimes happen right after you announce a big sale.
For this reason, it’s extremely important to vet hosting companies by how often they experience downtimes. For a big enough company, downtimes should be no greater than measured in minutes a month, and are often coordinated to occur during low-traffic hours. The highest tier of performers in the hosting industry have 99.99% uptime: or, about 0.8 hours of downtime in a year. The worst performers have a day or more of downtime in a year.
What Is Your Host Server Speed?
Did you know that your hosting plan can influence how fast your website loads? Because it does! The best hosting providers strike the perfect balance between many factors such as server location and number of accounts per server, providing super-fast load times… which can even give you a boost to your SEO. Other hosting providers can average loading times of 5 to 10 seconds, at which point most visitors will have simply clicked away.
The Best Hosting Plans For Ecommerce Websites
The best hosting plans will have stellar answers to each of the metrics we covered here, offering stellar speed, strong security, plenty of shopping integrations, and minimal downtimes. Luckily, you can find plenty of hosting companies that tick all these boxes and still come in comparatively cheap!