If you are thinking of starting an ecommerce web site, stepping through this Web Host Guide is critical. If you have read through this guide, start to finish, and follow the advice we have offered, you will be well on your way to choosing a quality host. Ecommerce is a much different business then the world has ever known. It is fast paced and those who cannot keep up are left behind. There are many reasons ecommerce sites fail, but hopefully the information here will help you avoid those issues that are under your control.
Free Hosting? Never!
If you are running a web site on a free host you had better rethink your business plan. If you do not have the 10 or so dollars a month to pay for a reliable web host, then it would be much better to wait and save up the money. Launching your business on such an unreliable service as "free hosting" would discredit your business and irritate your visitors. Some pitfalls of freehosting:
- Pop ups - Many "free" hosts will contain pop up advertisements for their own site every time someone visits your site. Instead of people focusing on your product, they are immediatly distracted by this ad!
- Unreliable - Free hosting subscribers are at the bottom of the pecking order when it comes to customer support, bandwidth, and server resources.
- Cancelled - You may discover one morning that your web site is not loading, only to find out later that your hosting service has been discontinued. Free hosts reserve the right to remove you at any time.
- No Domain - Many free hosting services do not give you a unique domain. Visitors will have no domain name to associate with your site and will instead have to remember an unreasonably long url, such as: http://www.example.com/freeService/YourSite/index.html, which is simply horrendous.
Shopping carts, as seen on Amazon.com and numerous other ecommerce web sites, are the key way to allow visitors to purchase items. Usually these programs are written in PHP, ASP, or CGI, which are all server side scripting languages. Installing these programs onto your web space is often as simple as a couple of clicks. Many hosts offer pre-configured shopping carts that can be installed through the control panel.
If you do not know much about installing scripts, be sure you choose a host that offers a quality shopping cart installation. On the other hand, if you are not afraid to configure your own shopping cart.