Just as they do with a physical storefront, first impressions matter when it comes to online stores. It’s vital to purchase the best for your ecommerce website to ensure that your customers get the best service and you benefit from the most sales for your business. A good quality web host ensures that your website loads speedily and safely while giving you plenty of tools to make your site look great.
Web hosting for ecommerce is a little different from regular web hosting, in that there are more things to consider and more features you’ll want. It tends to include features like an SSL certificate and other security features so that you’re able to sell directly through your website. A good ecommerce host appreciates those challenges and makes such features simple for you to implement while also offering easy-to-use web builder tools.
Read on as we check out the best providers for ecommerce hosting and explain precisely what to look for when finding the best ecommerce platform your business needs – no matter how big or small your firm may be.
What features should a hosting provider have for ecommerce?
No one hosting provider is quite the same as another. That’s because they all provide different features. Broadly, they can also be divided up into four main categories of hosting — shared hosting, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting. Shared hosting is the cheapest option out there because your website is hosted alongside other websites, meaning it’ll run slower than on a dedicated server, and you typically won’t have as many advanced features available to you.
VPS and cloud hosting is an in-between option. You’re provided with a virtual private server which gives you more options, albeit at a price. There’s also web hosting such as Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace, which aims to provide an ecommerce platform in a simplified way that still proves fairly powerful.
Generally, shared hosting will be fine for an ecommerce website for smaller businesses, with Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify also great options for the less tech-savvy.
Whichever you choose, it’s essential to look for key features such as an SSL certificate for security, along with easy-to-use interfaces for adding shopping cart functionality and other ways to help customers easily shop in your store. If you have limited experience with web design, a user-friendly web builder tool is immensely useful too, so you can focus on listing your products rather than trying to design a site from scratch. Pretty much all web hosting offers these tools now, but their quality definitely varies.
Are there web hosting providers just for ecommerce?
Only Shopify exclusively offers ecommerce web hosting. All the other web hosts listed here also provide conventional web hosting alongside their ecommerce features. Shopify focuses on making it simple to set up an online shop, but its fee system can work out to be quite expensive for the privilege.
What should I expect to spend on web hosting for ecommerce?
It’s possible to spend relatively little on web hosting for your ecommerce business. It’s also possible to spend a lot, depending on what you need from it.
If you own a small business with only a handful of customers, then you can spend less than a thriving online business that has many more customers each day. That’s because, generally, the more visitors you have or expect to have, the more bandwidth you’ll need, and the more you’ll pay to give your customers a speedy and effective experience. Page load time is very important for ecommerce websites. (Think of the last time you wanted to visit an online store, but the site wouldn’t load. That retailer probably lost a sale! Speed is also important for SEO.)
Spending more can also make more features available to you, with some web hosting companies adding additional tools such as an online booking system, tax management, or simply 24/7 online support. You might not need all of these features, though, so it’s worthwhile thinking about what you’ll need before hitting the buy button.
How does the size of my store affect what web hosting I should buy?
As mentioned, it’s crucial to buy according to the size of your business. If you only stock a few artisan items online, then a small ecommerce package will be sufficient. However, if you plan on selling many dozens of items and have hundreds of customers, you’ll need to purchase a package that reflects that.
The key things to check when making a purchase is in terms of the bandwidth made available to you each month, as well as if there are any visitor limits tied to your web hosting. It’s wise to buy accordingly. A heavy-duty package is excellent for a busy company, but it’s not a great idea for a firm that needs to count pennies and focus on a small user base.
All web hosting companies allow you to increase the package you’re on and grow with you, so if your business suddenly expands, you can always switch up to the next package available to you. Don’t be afraid to play it safe financially when starting out.
What is the easiest ecommerce website builder?
Companies like Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify are most designed with novices in mind. Typically, they offer the most uncomplicated website building experience, allowing anyone to drag and drop on a computer to design a website that can be easily accessible on both computer and mobile. Besides offering some great-looking templates, they often allow you to manipulate every element of the site in a straightforward way which means you never have to deal with the code behind the design.
However, these services also tend to cost more than other web hosting firms so you may need to factor that into your budget.
Pretty much all web hosting companies now offer some form of website builder, whether it’s a little rudimentary or involves picking from a series of templates. There are also many tutorials online for those that want to get more hands-on.
Without further ado, here are the best web hosts for ecommerce in 2021:
Has everything a business could need for ecommerce • Simple to use • Completed sites look great
Expensive • Difficult to move away from
If you’re a novice with web design and hosting, Wix simplifies everything while still providing you with all the ecommerce features you could need.
WixWix isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s easily the simplest with comprehensive ecommerce features ensuring this is a perfect port of call for most businesses.
$23 per month
$27 per month
$49 per month
Wix is the perfect web host for those businesses that aren’t hugely tech-savvy but know what they want. Simple to set up, you can use Wix to create your online store, choosing from over 500 different templates or opting to customize each element yourself. Alongside that are branding tools like a logo maker and even a business name generator. It’s easy to set up a payment system and manage your inventory online with a powerful dashboard helping serve up orders, so you know exactly what to ship and when. The only real downside to Wix is that it’s expensive compared to its rivals, albeit for a good reason.
Extensive personalization features • Simple to set up • Separate commerce app available
Difficult to transfer away from • Not the cheapest
Like Wix, Squarespace prides itself on simplicity, making it a breeze to set up a delightful storefront with extensive options for templates and more.
SquarespaceWith some gorgeous website templates to choose from, Squarespace feels like more of an individual service than its easy-to-use interface suggests.
$18 per month
$26 per month
$40 per month
With plenty of truly gorgeous templates to choose from, Squarespace feels like a personal service for businesses with a more welcoming price tag than hiring a web designer. It’s simple to sell products through your Squarespace store, but things go one step further with the ability to schedule appointments via an online booking system or build up mailing lists to advertise your wares. A separate Squarespace commerce app makes it easy to control while on the move too. The only issue here is that — like Wix — it’s tricky to move away from the platform if you choose to go with more conventional web hosting further down the line.
Well priced three year deals • Easy to set up • WordPress based
Expensive short term plans • Requires some creativity
If you’re planning on setting up an online shop for a while and don’t mind getting your hands (virtually) dirty, Bluehost is an excellent option for less.
BluehostA web host with an eye on flexibility, Bluehost is the best of both worlds for the growing small business.
From $13 per month
$25 per month
Bluehost offers the best of both worlds in some way when it comes to ecommerce. By using WooCommerce — a WordPress plugin — users can benefit from a reasonably simple to set up an online store without being tied into a specific ecommerce platform. That means this is an ideal solution if you plan on switching web hosts, although Bluehost discourages that by offering keenly priced 36-month plans that are a far better value than committing to smaller time scales. For the price, you can easily set up a store with the Premium package offering a booking system along with subscriptions and tax management. Just expect to need to get a little creative to get the most from your template choices here. WordPress experience could be valuable.
Well-priced • Plenty of features • Testing facilities available
Some knowledge of website maintenance is useful • Can be confusing for novices
SiteGround is ideal for users who have some experience with WordPress and website development but could do with a helping hand when it comes to ecommerce.
SiteGroundLow in price and offering the basic functionality you need for ecommerce, SiteGround is a convenient option for businesses that know what they’re doing.
$6.99 per month
$9.99 per month
$14.99 per month
SiteGround is aimed primarily at those users who know how to set up a website. Its ecommerce packages are based around WooCommerce and WordPress, so it’s a middle ground between traditional web hosting and Shopify. That means it’s helpful to know WordPress beforehand, especially if you want to make the site more personal for your business needs. Still, SiteGround offers extensive features such as daily backups, unmetered traffic, and even staging areas on its two premium packages. If you’re willing to get more involved than merely tapping a few buttons, this is excellent value.
Exclusively designed with ecommerce in mind • Extensive ecommerce features • POS services
Very expensive • Overkill for some businesses
The king of ecommerce, Shopify offers a vast wealth of features for your growing business, but it comes at a fairly substantial price.
ShopifyExpensive it may be but there’s a reason why nearly everyone has heard of Shopify — it’s a fantastic ecommerce package that simply just works.
$29 per month
$79 per month
$299 per month
In terms of features, you can’t really beat Shopify. Besides extensive online store options, the ability to set up multiple staff accounts, and plenty of social media options, it goes even further than that. For a price, you can accept in-person payments via Shopify POS Lite which is sure to be helpful, plus you can quickly sell via one of 133 different currencies. Simply put, Shopify is fantastic for larger businesses but it comes at a price with even the cheapest of packages starting at $29 per month. For such professional quality, though, it could be worth it.
Staging available on all plans • Fast hosting • Expands with business needs
WordPress knowledge is valuable to have • Not quite as simple as specialist services
Dreamhost is a familiar name in web hosting and it’s consistently speedy and reliable for most purposes including ecommerce.
DreamhostA popular choice for any kind of web hosting, Dreamhost remains a speedy option for those looking for a great online store.
$16.95 per month
$24.95 per month
$71.95 per month
Dreamhost is frequently mentioned in best-of roundups for a good reason. It’s well-priced, offers fast and reliable service, and is generally quite simple to get started with. All those factors apply here with its WooCommerce hosting package. Each package provides WooCommerce pre-installed and a storefront theme to get started, but they also come with a 1-click staging area to test how things look. That attention to detail remains throughout each package, although you’ll undoubtedly be at an advantage if you already know how to use and manipulate WordPress. That means it’s not as simple as a specialist ecommerce service, but there’s a lot to like here with a bit of practice.
Over 100 templates to choose from • Integration with other marketplaces • Nothing to pay till you start selling
Only one plan that’s suitable for sellers • Not the speediest
GoDaddy has the benefit of only charging you once you start selling products which is great if you want to spend some time honing your site’s look.
GoDaddyAnother familiar name in web hosting, GoDaddy is an excellent solution if you might want to switch up your business needs over time.
$24.99 per month
GoDaddy offers plenty of different web hosting packages, albeit only one that’s truly for ecommerce. It circumvents this issue by allowing you to set up your store for free and only charging you once you’re ready to start fulfilling orders. That’s immensely useful if you need some time to prepare when choosing from the 100+ templates available. There’s no limit on how much you can sell and you can track sales and inventory across multiple sales channels including the likes of Etsy and eBay. GoDaddy isn’t the fastest of web hosting but it’s undoubtedly pretty convenient and you can always switch between packages if you decide ecommerce isn’t for your business.
Cheaper than the competition • Ideal for startup businesses • Drag and drop editor
Limited options for cheapest package • Not quite as many features as its competitors
If you’re just starting, Hostinger is a great option thanks to inexpensive packages, even if they can be quite limited.
HostingerCheap to get started, albeit with some limitations, Hostinger is an appealing option if you’re dipping your toe into ecommerce.
$8.99 per month
$13.99 per month
Every penny counts for many small businesses which makes Hostinger’s ecommerce packages an attractive proposition. For a low price, you can get started with an online storefront that accepts online payments commission-free. There are even templates to choose from if you’re not particularly creatively minded. The cheapest package only allows you to sell up to 100 different products but it’s a solid start for newbie firms. Inventory management is a convenient extra along with plenty of ways to apply discounts for customers. We just wish Hostinger offered booking services on its premium package to sweeten the deal a little more. For the smallest of firms though, this is a solid opening choice.
— to mashable.com