After creating a great web site, handing it off to a web hosting company to place it on the internet for you, can be nerve wracking because you can never be sure how good a job they will do and how reliable they will be. Even with the best of web hosts, mistakes can happen and servers can crash.
If yours is an ecommerce web site, where payments will be received and made, you are going to be trusting your web hosting service even more. Besides confidential customer information (which your competition would be willing to pay for), credit card, bank account and Paypal transaction details will be stored on the server. Not only is this information completely confidential and valuable to you, if it should leak out and be misused, you could be held legally liable. Even if that does not happen, in the best case scenario, your reputation will be shot. Security of all your files and data is the first and most important criteria in choosing an ecommerce web hosting service.
Next, is the issue of uptime. Good ecommerce web hosting services will guarantee 99% uptime. Ecommerce is all about making money. If your website is not accessible, a potential customer will not wait around for you to get back online. He or she will keep looking for other supply options. That’s business lost.
The fact that financial transactions will be taking place on your web site, the technical issues of the web hosting service is important. For example, what server platform does the company run? The fact that it is Windows NT based or runs on UNIX / Linux may not mean much to you – you are just interested in how well it functions, not what it is. But, that would be a mistake – the operating system makes a great deal of difference to the level of ecommerce security you will have. Most experts agree that a UNIX operating system is the best in terms of the security it offers for ecommerce transactions. Windows NT is also good, but it requires large investments in both additional software and ancillary packages to create the right levels of security. This will needlessly boost the server company’s overheads which will be passed on to you, the client whose site is being hosted on the server.
The next important issue with regards to ecommerce web hosting is that of technical support available to you. When there are server problems that are affecting your transactions, every minute’s delay in rectification is costing you money.
The best ecommerce web hosting service, offer online support, round the clock. It is a good idea to call the helpline number at odd times and on holidays to see if the 24/7 support is really available or if it is just a recording asking you to call back the next day. As important as the availability of the support, is how quickly they respond. There’s no point being able to contact them at 2 AM if they will not fix the problem till 2 PM.
To get a better perspective on ecommerce web hosting services you are considering using, spend some time reading the online web hosting reviews and also visiting forums where users discuss their experiences. This will give you a true picture of what users have found, short of all the marketing hype the companies’ project.