Depending on the size and needs of your e-commerce website, you may have the option of being your own host. By Lawrence Reaves
Photo by The Planet
Just a few years ago, many large and small businesses could operate successfully without maintaining a strong presence on the web. Today that is not necessarily the case. Major retailers and start-up companies alike can benefit tremendously from sustaining an e-commerce identity, as it offers the potential to promote your brand to a seemingly limitless customer base. And while the process of building an online platform has largely been democratized by tools like user-friendly website and fee transaction programs, the quality of your web hosting service can make the difference between having an e-commerce website and using it to its fullest potential. If you’re interested in delving into the e-commerce market with a website of your own, take these considerations into account when choosing the web hosting option that best suits your needs.
Depending on the size and needs of your e-commerce website, you may have the option of being your own host. Acting as a web host involves providing a secure and continuously reliable connection for the website in question. The web host is responsible for ensuring that a website is up and running for its online customers to access and use correctly. In addition to providing the necessary hardware like networking gear and other system programs, the web host provides technical support and feedback.
When considering doubling as your website’s lead operator and host, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, think of the size and scope of your website. Are you a company of one or do you have numerous employees working within different areas of the site at any given time? If your website currently functions at a relatively low capacity, only receiving minimum traffic, then the most economical and practical option may be to host it yourself. Similarly, it’s important to take into account how familiar you are with technical details like system hardware and support. Perhaps you are already quite comfortable troubleshooting issues like database crashes and low connection signals, and are suited to address all of your own web-hosting needs.
If you decide that your e-commerce website could benefit from having the support of a web host service, you have a few different types to choose from. Again, it’s helpful to have a clear understanding of how your website functions so that you can better gauge the level of performance you may require from any particular web host. There are four main web hosting categories: shared servers, virtual private servers, managed servers, and dedicated servers. Listed from most basic to most advanced, these host types are capable of catering to all types of e-commerce websites and their needs.
A shared server web host might be a great option for a start-up or relatively small e-commerce business. This type of server works well for websites that are fairly set in design and do not require continuous alterations. The level of flexibility offered by a shared server may be limited compared to other server options, but using a shared server can be a convenient and economical route to go.
Virtual private servers (VPS) are the next step up in terms of price and performance. Using a VPS places your website on a secure server, where you have more freedom to expand and conduct complex operations like money transactions. And since you are not sharing the server with other sites, you can expect the performance of the VPS to be higher and more consistent.
A managed private server (MPS) incorporates the necessary software, hardware, and technical support into one web hosting package. MPS services are geared for high-functioning, high-traffic websites that require more memory and customization. Operating a website with a MPS system gives you the opportunity to include multiple programs into the mix, but might be more expensive and complex to work with.
The most advanced type of web host service is the dedicated server. Just as the name suggests, a dedicated server is fully committed to hosting one website. This level of exclusivity translates into a server that can accommodate multimedia formats and high levels of traffic on your e-commerce site. And since a dedicated server can perform at higher levels than the other options, it does require more technical skills to operate.
Whether you single-handedly host your e-commerce website or enlist the tailored skills of a web-host server to do your bidding, it’s important to give your online business the support and resources it needs to function and thrive.