Tired of your eCommerce website’s slow loading times and subpar performance?
It may be time to consider upgrading your hosting provider.
That’s easier said than done, though. With so many options out there, you’ve got to consider pricing, performance, security, scalability, storage, software, design, maintenance, support, and so much more!
In this post, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to eCommerce hosting, including the various types of hosting providers, the essential features you need for an eCommerce site, and how to choose the best option for your business.
Armed with this knowledge, you can make an informed decision when choosing an eCommerce hosting provider that will meet your business’s unique needs. Besides, if you’re considering managed WooCommerce services, you’ll learn how Saucal can take your eCommerce site to the next level.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in and find the best eCommerce web hosting solution for your business!
Types of eCommerce Hosting
Each type of eCommerce hosting has different features and capabilities to suit various needs.
For small websites, personal WordPress portfolios, wedding websites, and blogs, shared hosting is typically sufficient. For eCommerce websites, a more specialized type of hosting is required.
Choosing your enterprise hosting solution is like deciding how you want to eat a sandwich. You have three options: you can make it on your own, go to a sandwich shop, or eat at a restaurant.
Self-hosting (Or the Make-It-Yourself Sandwich)
Think of how you would make the sandwich at home. You would have to get the bread, butter, veggies, meat, sauce, and garnishings by yourself. While this gives you complete freedom to choose whatever type of bread or sauce, or protein you want, it also requires a lot of work, like researching the taste, freshness, and quality of all the ingredients.
Self-hosting is similar. Here, a business owns physical servers on its premises and requires expert IT teams to maintain the servers and infrastructure. Unlike making a sandwich at home, this is a rather expensive option, which makes it unsuitable for most online retailers.
SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Hosting (or the Subway Sandwich)
For people who are unsure of their compétences en sandwich, sandwich places like Subway are a better option. You have relatively limited choices of ingredients but the flexibility of putting them together in a way you like.
In the SaaS type of cloud-based hosting, your platform is managed by a third-party service provider. This removes the infrastructural burden of self-hosting and provides all necessary services and infrastructure through an internet connection. It even includes maintenance and security management, requiring minimal input from the business.
Cloud Hosting (or the Ready-to-Eat Sandwich)
The third way to eat a sandwich is to order one at a restaurant. Here, you have little to no control over the customization of the dish. You’ll know roughly what ingredients the chef is likely to use, or what it may look like, but that’s all.
Cloud hosting is similar but comes with a few options, like IaaS and PaaS.
IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) allows users to scale up as their business grows and only pay for what they use. IaaS provides servers, virtualization, and networking, while businesses manage data, middleware, operating systems, and runtime.
PaaS (platform-as-a-service) is an option that allows developers to log in to a platform and control panel to build applications. However, this option is not an out-of-the-box service and is typically best suited for businesses with in-house development teams.
In addition, there is a fourth alternative – managed hosting.
Managed hosting offers a more personalized approach with a complete setup, including configuration, support, maintenance, updates, and security. This requires less work on the part of the business and provides a tailored service to meet specific needs.
Why Do You Need to Choose the Right eCommerce Host?
Without the right hosting provider, your eCommerce website can lack speed or encounter DNS problems like DNS misconfiguration, server overload, or server failure, which can render users unable to access the eCommerce site and hence lead to loss of customers. Not all companies understand what is required to help eCommerce websites operate and scale efficiently.
Based on our years of working in WooCommerce, we have observed that three factors matter the most when choosing an eCommerce hosting provider.
The number of online stores jostling for attention on the internet is increasing at an immense rate. However, the attention spans of people are decreasing. WooCommerce stores need to be responsive. Lightweight. Speedy.
Page speed is critical for online businesses, with nearly 70% of consumers stating that page load speed affects their willingness to buy online. A slow store can cost you both rankings and revenue.
Consider this. According to a study by Akamai, a 100-millisecond delay in page load time can reduce conversion rates by 7%. That means if your store generates $10,000 a day, a one-second delay could cost you $700 a day, $21,000 a month, or $252,000 a year!
In such a fast-paced world, knowing how to get high-speed eCommerce can make a huge difference in your bottom line.
Customers these days are extremely conscious about the security of the websites where they shop. No buyer is going to add their payment details on a site that looks even a tiny bit unsafe. Even browsers like Google Chrome now issue a warning when users navigate to an unsecured site.
Your hosting provider plays a significant role in ensuring the safety of your website and customers. For all eCommerce websites, having an SSL certificate is critical for securing data for transactions. This can not only protect your customers’ data but also boost their trust in your business.
Website downtime is when the site is completely inaccessible or unable to perform the most basic functions and is a critical factor that can impact your business’s revenue.
For eCommerce businesses, especially where you may need to collect confidential financial information or ask for details like contact numbers and addresses, website downtime can be disastrous.
Choose a provider that offers a complete uptime guarantee and ensures that your site is available and accessible to potential customers at all times.
This brings us to the criteria for choosing a hosting service provider for your eCommerce platform.
Criteria for a Hosting Service for Your eCommerce Platform
When it comes to choosing a web hosting service for your eCommerce platform, there are several factors to consider that are unique to the needs of online stores.
As Matias, the CTO of Saucal puts it:
You need to choose the right ecommerce host, so that there’s nothing on your hosting provider that limits your way to success.Matias Saggiorato, CTO of Saucal
It doesn’t need to be more expensive than what you actually need, but it needs to handle the traffic you’re getting, and a bit more, to allow room for growth.
Failing to choose the right hosting provider will have you worrying about hosting and where to go next, instead of focusing on your business.
So, what are these factors? Let’s take a look.
While price should not be the only factor you consider, it’s important to choose a hosting package that fits within your budget. Keep in mind that bad web hosting services can impact future revenue, so it’s worth investing in a reliable service that can handle your traffic.
Speed and Performance
Online shoppers have high expectations for website speed, and slow loading times can lead to lost sales. Shared hosting can be slow and have frequent downtime, so it’s important to choose a hosting service that offers fast load times and minimal downtime. Look for a provider that offers dedicated resources, such as a virtual private server (VPS) hosting or dedicated server.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN can improve website speed and performance by caching content close to where each user is accessing the website from. This is particularly important for global eCommerce sites that have visitors from around the world. Make sure your hosting provider offers a CDN or allows you to integrate with one.
Auto-scaling is a great feature for eCommerce sites that experience occasional bursts of traffic. Take a look at your current website traffic numbers and identify if there are frequent spikes to know when your website will not be able to handle the traffic.
It’s important to choose a hosting service that can auto-scale for you if you do go over your monthly maximum visitors.
This ensures that the site can handle the increased traffic without affecting the customer experience or billing. There might be some additional charges involved, of course, but it will at least prevent the site from breaking down under heavy traffic. Auto-scaling is especially important during high-traffic periods such as holiday seasons, product launches, or flash sales.
As an eCommerce site, you’re responsible for protecting sensitive customer data like credit card numbers, account details, and more. Make sure your hosting provider offers robust security features such as firewalls, SSL certificates, spam filters, virus protection, and DDoS protection.
Firewalls: A firewall is a barrier that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic. It is designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls are commonly used to protect against malicious internet traffic and cyber-attacks.
SSL certificates: An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts data sent to the server using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. It establishes a secure connection between a web server and a user’s web browser, ensuring that all data transmitted between them remains private and protected from unauthorized access.
Spam filters: Spam filters are software programs that detect and block unsolicited or unwanted email messages. These filters use various criteria to identify spam, including sender reputation, message content, and email header information.
Virus protection: Virus protection helps to prevent, detect, and remove computer viruses and other malicious software from a computer or network. It uses signature-based detection, behavior-based detection, and other methods to identify and eliminate viruses and other malware.
DDoS protection: DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) protection is a security service designed to protect against attempts to disrupt or disable an online service by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.
In addition, regular backups are also important in case of a security breach or data loss. eCommerce websites may also need a PCI compliance certificate from their payment gateway solution.
eCommerce sites typically require a lot of file space for product images, which are essential for sales. Make sure your hosting provider offers unlimited bandwidth to handle the file sizes you’ll have and ensure there won’t be any limits on data transfer.
A staging server is a clone of your live website where you can test new features, plugins, and updates without affecting the live website. This is an essential feature for website developers, as it allows them to test changes in a safe environment before pushing them to the live site.
Automated backups are important for any website, but especially for eCommerce sites that handle sensitive customer information.
Regular backups help ensure that the site can be restored to a previous state in case of any issues, such as a hack or data loss. Automated backups are preferred as they require less manual intervention, which saves developers time and effort.
Secure Shell (SSH) access is a must-have for developers working on an eCommerce site. It provides a secure connection to the server and allows developers to access and manage the site’s files and database directly from the command line.
WP CLI, which is a command-line interface for WordPress, is also a great alternative to SSH.
Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) access is a nice-to-have feature for eCommerce website owners, as it allows for quick debugging of the website. SFTP allows developers to edit files directly on the server without downloading them first, which can save time.
However, SFTP should not be used as the main deployment method, as it can cause issues with version control. Instead, it should be paired with a GIT-based deployment method so that the site can be easily rolled back to a previous state.
Bloatware refers to unnecessary software or applications that slow down the site and take up valuable resources. For eCommerce websites, it is better to have a hosting service that does not include bloatware or has the option to disable it. Disabling bloatware can help improve the site’s performance and speed, which is a critical advantage for WooCommerce businesses.
Choosing the right hosting service is essential for the success of your eCommerce business. Take the time to research and compare hosting providers based on the above criteria to find the best fit for your needs. Remember that while the price is important, reliability, security, and performance are equally important factors to consider when making your decision.
Apart from the core deciding factors mentioned above, there are a few additional good-to-have factors that can impact your choice of hosting provider. Let’s take a look at those.
Additional Factors to Consider for Your eCommerce Website
The success of an online business depends as much on consumer experience as it does on the website’s structural integrity. Here, we discuss some user-related factors that depend on the quality of your web hosting and can affect conversion rates.
Shopping Cart Software
Shopping cart software allows businesses to showcase their products, offer a seamless checkout process, and accept payments from customers. One of the most popular shopping cart software options for WordPress-based eCommerce sites is WooCommerce – the most widely used eCommerce platform on the web, powering over 30% of all online stores.
Some of the main advantages of WooCommerce include:
- A vast ecosystem of extensions and plugins that add additional functionality to your store.
- The ability to sell practically any physical and digital product and service, including memberships and subscriptions
- An intuitive and straightforward dashboard that makes it easy for even non-technical users to set up and manage their online store
- Extensive documentation and community support
- Regular updates that address security vulnerabilities and include robust measures to prevent fraud and protect customer data
- Seamless integration with popular payment gateways and shipping providers
Powerful and flexible, WooCommerce is the best shopping cart software for websites that are looking for the freedom and flexibility to scale fast. Other options include Magento (now Adobe Commerce), Shopify, and Drupal Commerce.
Studies show that 13% of buyers abandoned their shopping carts if the website crashed or had errors during shopping. Without good support from your hosting providers, your eCommerce website may find itself struggling to stay above water in the competitive online marketplace.
A hosting provider should have an exceptional support team for fast troubleshooting and preventing extended downtime. Look for a service with 24/7 customer support that is responsive and knowledgeable.
All-round Hosting Solution
Many a time, as your eStore starts scaling, it becomes essential to shift the focus of your efforts. This is where managed WooCommerce hosting solutions can help.
Managed WooCommerce hosting takes care of all the technical aspects of hosting your website, allowing you to focus on optimizing your business and customer experience. This includes offering additional features like automated updates, performance optimization, and security monitoring.
With managed hosting, you get:
- Hosting on dedicated servers optimized for WooCommerce to help your site load faster
- Better user experience for customers
- Robust security measures that protect your website from potential threats
- Consistent updates of all software, including WordPress, WooCommerce, and plugins, saving you the time and effort of manual updates or maintenance
- Flexibility to adjust your resources, ensuring your site is always running at optimal levels
- Dedicated support from experts who are well-versed in the WooCommerce platform
- Regular malware scans, real-time threat detection, and automatic backups to ensure that your data is safe and secure
By considering these factors when selecting an eCommerce hosting provider, you can ensure that your site is stable, secure, and performing at its best.
Which brings us to the question, which is the best web hosting provider to choose?
Best eCommerce Hosting Providers
When it comes to eCommerce hosting plans for WooCommerce, there are several options available, each with its own set of features, functionalities, and shortcomings. Here, we compare five of the best-managed WooComerce hosting options in detail to determine which is the best for you.
Saucal offers enterprise-level WooCommerce services, which include the mission-critical aspect of WordPress hosting and the added perk of working with certified experts.
From faster website speed to expert support, uptime and security monitoring, scalability, and customizable plans, Saucal can be an excellent choice for business owners looking for an eCommerce hosting solution that understands the unique requirements of WooCommerce websites.
Let’s take a look at some of its pros and cons.
|Highly performant hosting platform that is specifically optimized for WooCommerce|
Server stack built to handle high-traffic volumes
Guaranteed 99.99% uptime and proactive monitoring of the website
Robust security measures, including DDoS protection, malware scanning, and regular backups
24/7 expert support from a team of experienced WooCommerce developers
Customizable and scalable plans that grow as the website does
|The advanced features it offers may make it slightly expensive for a small business|
Overall, Saucal is an excellent option for large-scale eCommerce stores that require high performance, uptime, SEO, and security. Considering the level of support and customization of its managed hosting solution, Saucal is a strong contender for businesses looking for top-tier dedicated hosting services.
Convesio is a managed hosting service that specializes in WordPress websites. Here are some of the pros and cons of using Convesio as a hosting provider:
|Unique container-based infrastructure that helps to achieve high website speed and performance|
Daily backups and monitoring, free SSL certificates, and firewalls to ensure security
Multi-channel support system
|Pricing can be relatively high|
Limited server locations in North America and Europe, which can be a disadvantage for websites with a global audience
Slightly difficult to integrate Github and CI/CD workflows
Convesio provides a reliable and fast-managed hosting service for WordPress websites with high security and expert support. However, limited integrations and server locations can be a disadvantage for some websites.
Kinsta is a well-known hosting service provider that offers a range of features for WordPress sites, including eCommerce sites. Here are some pros and cons of using Kinsta as a hosting service provider for your eCommerce site.
|Provides a fast and reliable hosting environment, with features like caching and a content delivery network (CDN) to improve website load times|
Has robust security features, such as daily backups, two-factor authentication, and DDoS protectionHas a team of security experts who monitor your site 24/7 and fix any vulnerabilities
Scalable hosting plans that you can easily upgrade or downgrade depending on your site’s needs
|Hosting plans can be expensive|
Their entry-level plan starts at $30/month, which may not be affordable for smaller businesses
Plans have limited storage, which can be a problem if you have a lot of images or videos on your eCommerce site
Limited ability to customize the server environment or install custom software
Overall, Kinsta is a good hosting service provider that offers strong performance, security, and user-friendly features. However, its pricing and limited storage may be a concern for some eCommerce sites, and the limited customization may be a drawback for those with specific needs.
Cloudflare is not technically a hosting service provider but rather a content delivery network (CDN) that provides a range of services to improve website performance, security, and reliability. Here are some pros and cons of using Cloudflare for your eCommerce website.
|Has a global network of data centers that can cache your website’s content and deliver it from a server that is closest to the user, resulting in faster load times|
Offers a range of security features, including web application firewall (WAF), DDoS protection, SSL/TLS encryption, and bot management
Is easy to set up and can be activated in a matter of minutes by changing your website’s DNS records to point to Cloudflare’s server
|No ability to optimize the server-side performance of your website, which affects the ability to generate dynamic content such as product listings and shopping carts|
Depth of configuration options can be overwhelming for beginners. Some settings, such as SSL/TLS encryption and caching, can also affect website functionality if not set up correctly
WAF and bot management can sometimes block legitimate traffic, which can affect the functionality of the eCommerce website and result in lost sales
Bluehost is one of the oldest and most established web hosting companies in the market, and it offers a range of hosting solutions. While Bluehost is popular among smaller WordPress users, it may not always be the right solution for large-scale eCommerce websites. Let’s take a look at its pros and cons.
|Relatively low and cost-effective pricing|
Several WordPress integration options, including one-click installation
Wide range of security features, including SSL certificates, site backup, and site restore, to help protect eCommerce websites from cyber-attacks and data loss
Good customer support
|User-reported performance issues with Bluehost, particularly with shared hosting plans, which can lead to slow loading times|
Hosting plans have limitations on resources, which can make it difficult to scale up as eCommerce websites grow
User interface can be confusing and difficult to navigate
Additional fees for add-ons and upgrades, which can add up over time
Bluehost can be a good option for large-scale eCommerce websites that are on a budget, but it does have some limitations in terms of performance and scalability.
While all of these hosting solutions offer the essential features required for running a WooCommerce store, Saucal stands out as the best choice due to its optimized infrastructure, auto-scaling, and developer-friendly features like Github and CI/CD integration.
Saucal‘s exceptional customer support and expert WooCommerce team also make it the top choice for managing an online store.
Get the Best eCommerce Hosting With Saucal
By selecting a hosting service that meets the necessary criteria, you can ensure that your website runs smoothly and provides a positive user experience for your customers.
After comparing some of the best hosting solutions for eCommerce, we can confidently say that Saucal stands out as the best option for WooCommerce websites. Saucal offers enterprise hosting, partnered with Convesio, specifically optimized for WooCommerce speed.
With Saucal, eCommerce businesses can also benefit from bespoke monthly plans that maintain sites and implement uptime monitoring, security monitoring, and expert support.
In today’s competitive eCommerce landscape, choosing a hosting service that prioritizes website speed, security, and support can give your business a competitive edge.
Start with Saucal to offer a seamless shopping experience to your customers while maintaining a secure online presence!