E-Commerce Web Hosting: Some Basics
E-commerce has grown to unseen proportions over the past few years, as the amount of buying and selling of products and services over the internet and other computer networks has rapidly increased. E-commerce and ecommerce web hosting is starting to turn into a way of life, since more and more people are now starting to do their buying or selling online. If you are planning to jump on the e-commerce bandwagon, you need to have a reliable e-commerce web hosting service.
First things first. You obviously would not be thinking about putting up an online business if you have nothing to sell. Most people who think about going into e-commerce usually already have some selling experience off-line, and want to do the same thing with their products online. The amount of products that you expect to sell on a day-to-day basis will have some say on the type of ecommerce web hosting package that you should get.
If you are expecting to sell a maximum of 20 items per day online, you can do well with a small ecommerce web hosting account. If you are expecting to sell hundreds of items per day you will definitely need a larger account, with a larger disk space, bandwidth, and a secure connection for financial transactions.
E-commerce necessitates a website with a secure connection, so that you can send and receive important data like PIN numbers, account numbers, passwords, etc. across the internet without the fear that it can be intercepted and read by anyone on the net. A secure connection means that your website address has an https before it. If your website address does not have this, web-savvy potential customers will surely stay clear of you and your business, since they know that important information like credit card or bank account numbers won't be safe on your site.
To get a secure site, you need to get an SSL, or a Secure Sockets Layer certificate, which will be installed on your website for a small fee once you have complied with the requirements for the certificate.
If you find conducting and managing financial transactions on your website too much of a hassle, you can opt for third party gateways. They can manage your financial transactions for you and you can direct your customers to them for payments. A popular third party gateway like PayPal is free to set up although it takes a small fee from each sale that you make—a small price to pay if you want people to trust you and your business.
Ecommerce web hosting providers may offer shopping carts, which are another important feature that any e-commerce venture cannot do without. These are scripts which are installed in your e-commerce web hosting account that will basically provide a structure to your site and will allow your customers to navigate your site easily. Shopping carts organize your products into categories, which make it easier for the customer to find the product that he/she wants. Shopping carts also keep you posted on returning customers and the products that they have bought, allowing you to make suggestions about other items that they may need.
To ensure your ecommerce site remains live 24/7, above all, you must ensure you have a reliable e-commerce web hosting provider.