e-Commerce is big business that’s only going to grow larger. Despite the astronomical growth, experts at the National Retail Federation (NRF) are still projecting that e-Commerce will grow 8-12% in 2017
This is great news for online retailers as well as web hosting companies that power e-Commerce sites. The best web hosting services give you security and reliability that is essential for running an e-Commerce site. Why does the quality of your web hosting company matter? Your web hosting can make or break your e-Commerce business in a number of ways.
Enhanced Security . . . or Weak Links Which can Lead to Problems
Security has to be the number one priority for e-Commerce site owners that are collecting customer payment information. Your web hosting service can either make security better with added layers of protection or make it worse by creating weak links.
Since most hackers repurpose old viruses and bugs for cyber attacks, your web hosting company should be making an effort to patch all existing vulnerabilities. They must also use the most advanced tools for admin panels, database management, and password storage.
Shopping Cart and Payment System Options . . . or Lack Thereof
Web hosting companies play a role in how your customers pay for items by supplying shopping cart software and features. Most of today’s top web hosting services come integrated with popular shopping cart tools like Open Cart and PrestaShop.
The best shopping carts allow for customization and ease of use. Both of these are extremely important for user experience. At this point in the sales cycle you don’t want a small hang up to cost you a conversion. Likewise, e-Commerce sites need to have a web hosting company that supports various payment options so it’s easier to make a sale.
Uptime and Downtime
Web hosting is what powers your e-Commerce site. That means the performance of your web hosting provider is going to determine how accessible your website is and its reliability. The Internet is a 24/7 marketplace. E-Commerce businesses that want to maximize sales and improve brand presence need to be continuously up and running.
Every second of downtime is business that’s lost. Uptime and downtime all depends on your web hosting company and their data centers. There are currently four tiers for web hosting data centers:
Tier 1 – 28.8 annual hours of downtime / 99.67% uptime
Tier 2 – 22 annual hours of downtime / 99.75% uptime
Tier 3 – 1.6 annual hours of downtime / 99.98% uptime
Tier 4 – .08 annual hours of downtime / 99.99% uptime
When you’re searching for a web hosting service strongly consider companies with Tier 4 data centers that guarantee 99.99% uptime.
Slow Page Load Times and General Speed
Selling products faster online is difficult to do if your web pages are slow to load. This is a huge issue for e-Commerce sites for two reasons:
Users are annoyed by slow websites – Today’s online consumers are on the move – literally and figuratively. Long gone are the days when users would put up with pages that take more than a few seconds to load. If there’s any type of delay they’ll quickly hit the back button and take their business elsewhere.
Page load time affects SEO rankings – Because page load time impacts user experience, Google and other search engines factor it into their SEO rankings. If your pages or website is slow to load it will be difficult to get top ranking.
According to Kissmetrics studies, a delay of just two seconds is enough to lose 40% of visiting customers. The two factors that affect speed the most are the web host’s RAM and bandwidth. Paying extra for a dedicated server can help eliminate load speed problems. You can also switch to a web hosting company that’s located closer to your customers.
Web hosting companies that leverage content delivery networks can also offer faster page loading time. A content delivery network (CDN) is a collection of servers around the globe that are connected together. Using a content delivery network can significantly improve the speed of an e-Commerce site. If your web hosting company doesn’t offer a CDN option, look for a provider that does.