Web Hosting Concerns For Ecommerce Businesses
Ecommerce businesses have needs that many websites do not. Whether the site is a content management system (CMS) that has thousands of pages with advertising on them, or a shopping cart, or a member only site, the site will one day reach a level of success that forces the company to reconsider their platform.
A platform is the system the ecommerce business is built on. it could be something simple like a MS FrontPage generated ‘static’ website. Or, It could be a Drupal content management system, with all the bells and whistles, including shopping cart, chat rooms, newsletters, and a podcast.
Many ecommerce businesses start with ‘wizard’ or template generated sites. This type of short sited thinking can be extremely costly in the long run.
Every business should assume they will need a bigger platform. A small business may not have the time to manage a Drupal site, or the resources to hire a programmer who is familiar with Drupal. They need to start with something smaller, and build a bigger platform later.
One of the biggest mistakes ecommerce businesses make is believing that all programmers who code in PHP and MySql can handle all CMS platforms. This is not true. Grace Publishing Media, a medium sized social networking business paid $8000 for a platform that never worked, they had to trash it. They hired programmers who were familiar with the software platform, and had a new site within two months, for less than $900.00.
Types of Web Hosting
There are four types of web hosting, community shared, shared, virtual, and dedicated.
Community hosting is free, and is on a site where everyone shares a similar domain name. This type of site is impossible to promote. It may be free, but it will never rank high enough on the search engine sites to generate enough sales to keep the business solvent.
Shared hosting is the most common. It costs about $5 – $25 a month. Each website has their own private space, and their own management panel. The most common admin panels are CPanel and Plesk. The bandwidth, CPU burden, and other web resources are shared.
The second type of hosting is good for a small start up business. The important thing to confirm is that they use up to date databases and they have excellent customer service. However, as the business grows it will cause more burden on the CPU as more people use the site at the same time. This can cause problems that will not only crash the ecommerce site’s website, but it may also cause problems with the adjoining sites.
The third and fourth types of hosting, virtual and dedicated, is more private. A virtual server is one that has been broken into sections. Each ecommerce business has their own section, databases, bandwidth, and admin centre, but the CPU is shared. The ‘burden’ on the system of each website is still controlled tightly. This can cost $25 – $100 a month.
The dedicated server is the same as owning your own server. Everything is private. The business is allowed to max out all their resources without worrying about being limited or suspended by the hosting company. This service regularly costs $50 – $250 a month.
The most important aspect of hosting for the ecommerce business is finding ‘managed’ hosting. Never opt for unmanaged. It can result in dramatic down times, corruptions, and even having a lost system.
No ecommerce business should sign for any hosting service that doesn’t offer backup. However, take a ‘lesson learned’ from companies who preceded yours – also learn how to back up the company on a hard drive in your computer, or a zip file.
Hosting companies, even the big ones, go out of business regularly, losing everything on their servers.