Hosting the e-commerce site is a key element to businesses who want to involve in e-commerce. So that, choosing a service provider to host the e-commerce site is one of the most important decision. In this section, the writer will list the factors should be considered when choosing a host for e-commerce site.
- Technical Support
The web hosting company should offer support services by phone or e-mail for 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. They should have real live support technician to give the instant support. It is better to hire the live support service than e-mail support service due to the response time that the live support service can give compare to e-mail support service.
- The Company’s Background
The background of business for web hosting company should be checked. For example, the following questions should arise in the mind when checking the company’s background:
How long they have been in business?
Do they have business references of sites that they host?
Don’t simply believe the testimonials on their own sites. Specifically look for negative reviews to see what past complaints have been.
- Data Security
Web hosting company should have enough security measures in place to ensure the data is completely protected. The web developer should know the security protocol that the web hosting company’s use in order to protect the customers’ data from everyday denial of service attacks and the various hacks and cracks that will be attempted to the servers. The hosting company should upgrade and maintain these security measures.
A good web hosting company should provide at least 99.8% or better rate for their server’s uptime services every month. Besides, their downtime services also should be measured because it can give harmful effect to online business. Do not choose the web hosting company which offers the 100% uptime because it is impossible. Finally, check if there is an uptime guarantee offered. A truly service-oriented provider will also give a money-back guarantee, offering a discount or free service as compensation for downtime. Any company which avoids taking responsibility won't put much effort into the service.
The speed factors which the web hosting company should have are in term of Internet connection and server’s speed:
Internet connection here means how fast the hosting server can access to the Internet. It can be measured by determining the number of bit the server can transfer per second. The higher the number of bit transferred, the faster the server can access to the Internet
The server’s speed can slow down if it hosted too many sites in one time. A simple way to test the speed at which a server responds is called "pinging" a site. This will determine how quickly a server can receive and send back a small piece of data through the connection we have to it.
- Data Backup
The web hosting company should have data backup system which either operates at least once a day or more frequently based on the customer’s business requirements. It is also important to consider the following if something goes wrong:
How long it will take to restore a site from backup?
How much it will take to get the data back?
- Data Storage
When determining this factor, web developer should consider their web’s content. If their site has lots of graphics or multimedia files, they need more storage space. Many web hosting company offer 100MB or more of disk space at reasonable rate. Anyhow, the developer should find out whether e-mail, log files and other “overhead” files are counted against the space limit. Once they exceed the disk quota, the web hosting company will charge a penalty. One more things are the web developer should make sure that the web hosting company can offer the future expansion to them as their online business grows.
This factor related to what kind of operating system running by web hosting company. The scripting language used by web developer should compatible with the operating system used by web hosting company. For example, if web hosting company running Linux, it is suitable for web developer to script their site using PHP, MYSQL, Phyton and XML. If ASP or .NET scripts are used for server-side programming, they need Windows hosting. MS SQL or Microsoft Access databases also require Microsoft hosting plan.
- Shared Server or Dedicated Server
The web hosting company should offer the server’s options to web developer who running e-commerce. For the web developer who running the small e-commerce site, they will found that, it is economical to run their site in shared server. For the larger and busier e-commerce site, it is suitable for web developer to pay for dedicated server