If you are hosting a web store (ecommerce website), it is very important to choose a correct hosting plan from your hosting provider as it will directly affect your business. A few important points to consider are outlined below:
1) Hosting Company
You will definitely need to consider a web host which has years of experience hosting ecommerce websites and can help you in getting your store up and running 24/7. It is absolutely necessary to avoid a newbie host (less than 2 years in business) as you may end up with issues that are not sure of resolving quickly. Furthermore, you should also ensure that your prospective host has fully enterprise class server hosting infrastructure / data center to ensure that your website performs at the best of its ability at all times. A fully managed server is highly recommended since it will ensure that you have backups, security, monitoring & 24/7 support taken care of by the experts.
Security is the key for all web stores as they are publicly available (including to hackers). You will need to ensure that your customers’ data along with credit card data are securely stored (with encryption & hashing). Also, database should not be publicly accessible with the appropriate firewall solution in place to keep it safe & secure at all times. The operating system & applications should be kept up to date with latest security updates / patches installed regularly. It is also highly recommended that you have DDoS protection included with your hosting plan since it will help to protect your server from widespread online attacks and ensure that your website stays online even in case of ongoing attacks.
3) Hosting Environment / Plan
For an ecommerce website / web store, it is recommended that you host it in a dedicated environment (VPS or Dedicated Hosting) so that your server node or operating system is not shared with other customers. Keeping an isolated environment helps in safeguarding your website against “bad neighbors” which may exist in a shared hosting environment. With VPS hosting or a dedicated server plan, you will be having total control over your server environment to be able to secure & configure it as per your requirements.
In ecommerce business, you never know when your business will pick up and you may start receiving high amount of traffic which can typically happen during festival season or when you are running an advertising campaign or simply when your web store becomes very popular. During such a period, you might require more server resources to handle the traffic without affecting your website going down or becoming inaccessible for your end users. Scalable cloud, VPS hosting or dedicated servers can be an ideal choice in such case. You will be able to expand your server resources on the fly.
5) 24/7 Server Support & Monitoring
It is highly important that you have access to technical support from your hosting company on 24/7 basis through email / ticket or live chat based system along with emergency phone support. Things can break at times and it is best to notice & fix them ASAP without impacting your business. A robust monitoring solution from your web host should help in detecting faults or issues with your server and fix them proactively. Also, access to efficient team of system administrators will ensure that you have qualified techs who can fix server issues immediately at any time of a day.