Cheap eCommerce hosting is great news for those of us with dreams of becoming the next big name in online shopping. But choosing a from a list of the best eCommerce hosting providers can be a tough task.
We’ve taken a look at all the offers out there, and narrowed down the field to five companies who have the reliability and know-how to help you get to the top of your game.
Best eCommerce Hosting Providers 2017
These companies provide what we think is the very best in versatile, powerful, cheap and fast eCommerce hosting.
#1 – SiteGround –
SiteGround may be your perfect match if you are looking for a DIY solution to eCommerce. They do have easier options than going it alone, but if you’d like to build your own online presence, this hosting company has got you covered.
With support for open source cart software like Magento and Prestashop, you could have your online store open for a very low cost. There’s no need to compromise on speeds either; SiteGround uses Cloudflare CDN and SuperCacher technology for faster page loading. Read the full review here.
#2 – A2 Hosting – Runner up, amazing host –
This hosting company has a growing reputation for excellent support services. Staff are knowledgable and friendly and will go out of their way to help you with whatever issues you have, whether it’s a crashing site or a walk-through of how to set up an app.
There are three plans, all cheaply priced, and offering free SSD and SSL certificates. Functionality is important to this provider, too; there are a massive range of apps to choose from, and with the Turbo plan, A2 promise you’ll have 20x faster loading speeds than sites using Apache. Read the full review.
#3 – Bluehost –
Over 20% of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress, and Bluehost hosts over 2 million of those. It’s no surprise, then, that this provider has teamed up with Woocommerce and WordPress for its eCommerce packages.
There are three levels of plan available and they all support the most popular shopping carts; OS Commerce, Agora, Cube Cart and Zen Cart. You’ll get a dedicated IP address with SSL certificate included in the price, and money towards marketing services to get your business off to a great start. Read the full review.
#4 – Hostgator –
ECommerce versatility is built into Hostgator’s standard Business plan. Although all of their standard hosting plans support shopping cart apps and payment gateways, the Baby plan doesn’t allow for SSL, making the cheapest option a last resort for eCommerce.
With the Business plan you get 1-click installation of popular eCommerce apps like Magento, and free dedicated IP address and SSL. You’ll also get access to a special free-phone support service, so any problems you encounter can be dealt with as quickly as possible. Read the full review.
#5 – Shopify – Top rated managed eCom host
One of Shopify’s strengths is the fully customisable themes it provides. With these, you can be up and running very quickly with a professional-looking online presence. Shopify uses its own platform for customising web pages (so it’s not self hosted), which works well but may take some getting used to if you’ve used other providers.
All plans allow an unlimited number of products and a free SSL certificate, and there are plenty of payment gateway options (Shopify’s own is free to use). If you pay up front there are significant discounts, and best of all there’s a free 14 day trial, which you can access without even entering a credit card number.
Why Are These The Best eCommerce Hosts?
The criteria for judging an eCommerce host is a little different than we would use to judge ‘ordinary’ hosting. While reliability, price and speed still matter (a lot!) there are some specialist areas to consider too.
Any provider offering the best hosting for eCommerce must have excellent uptime statistics. But what else have we looked at when choosing our favourites?
A spare five minutes has cropped up, so you decide to grab your phone and order something online while you remember.
But you are so frustrated with the microscopic order form that you give up before you get to the payment page. We’ve all been there, and you don’t want your site to be one of the offenders.
eCommerce requires better security than the average website. All our chosen providers offer support for SSL, SSH, firewalls, and spam protection.
Tools/Ease of Use
This is where eCommerce hosts can really shine. The tools they make available to you can give your online store a professional look, a slick user experience, a shopping cart that works like a dream and versatility that lets your business grow. Or they can be slow, clunky and downright difficult to use.
We’ve got rid of any hosting provider that doesn’t offer the very best in usable and powerful features, so you can be sure that you’ll be in good hands with any of our top five.
If customers don’t see their preferred payment methods at the checkout, they’ll look elsewhere. Our chosen hosts offer the payment gateways that you and your customers want to use.
What Is eCommerce Hosting and How Does It Work?
eCommerce Hosting is web hosting that has been optimised for people who want to sell online.
This is more than just a place to park your website; this is a specialised product that can help make your online store a real success.
The top eCommerce hosting providers offer advanced security tools, gadgets to improve SEO and easy to use store features.
- Payment methods your customers love – Look out for hosts that support the popular payment gateways like Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.Net and Google Wallet.
- SSL included – Some providers charge extra, but SSL is essential for an eCommerce site, so make sure it’s supported.
- Free Trials – Some of our top providers offer a free trial. This is a great way to try out their user interface and tools before taking the plunge.
- Platform Transaction Fees – Some providers charge fees (usually 2% or less) based on the amount your customer spends through certain payment gateways. These fees can also differ across the same company’s pricing plans. Make sure you are aware of this when comparing pricing.
- It’s complicated to switch – Unlike a blog or simple website, an online store can be very complex. You’ll have built up inventories, product descriptions, shopping cart software and loads more over time. Moving all this to another provider won’t be easy, so think about how you expect your business to grow before choosing a host.
Who Should Use eCommerce Hosting?
eCommerce hosting will cost more than simple shared hosting, so how do you know that it’s right for your business? While it may be obvious that you need the tools this type of provider can offer, in some cases, things aren’t so clear cut. eCommerce is great for;
- Online Stores – You want to sell multiple products and need to have a store-front, product descriptions, a shopping cart, inventories and features such as choice of sizes and colours.
- Some Online Courses – If you plan on selling a simple course, you may not need eCommerce hosting. You might be able to use a membership plug-in instead. But if you plan on letting customers download various course elements, or buy any physical products, you will need the delivery applications eCommerce hosts provide.
Top eCommerce Hosting vs Shared Hosting
It’s not the best idea to use your current shared hosting for your new online store.
On a shared server, security can be compromised by ‘bad neighbours’; problems here can lead to downtime. Ideally an online store will have its own IP address with a dedicated SSL certificate.
Shared hosting is often too slow to run a competitive eCommerce business. Even if you have enough storage for all the images and files your store might need, you probably won’t have the bandwidth to deliver these to your customers FAST.
Gone are the days when people would wait seconds for a page to load. These days milliseconds matter.
eCommerce Hosting for Small Businesses FAQ’s
We’ve done our best to answer the most frequently asked questions about eCom hosting. If you can’t see your question below, get in touch and we will get back to you with an answer.
Does My Choice of eCommerce Host Affect My Customers?
The quick answer is YES. And, in turn, this will affect your business.
Everything hinges on how easily your customers can navigate your online store. More importantly, how easily they can BUY from you.
Does your chosen host accept the most popular payment methods? How slick is the checkout process?
One of the biggest reasons people abandon online purchases is problems at the checkout stage. An average of 67.91% of shoppers add things to their online basket and don’t complete the purchase. Choosing one of the top eCommerce hosts will ultimately boost your sales.
Do I Need an SSL Certificate?
If you intend to take credit card details or sensitive customer data (such as email addresses, names, or passwords) then you will need an SSL certificate. Some providers offer them for free and others charge extra. All the best eCommerce hosts support SSL.
The SSL certificate is what gives a webpage the green padlock symbol, so visitors know they are safe to enter credit card numbers, etc. The certificate ensures that all data sent by the website displaying the security symbol is encrypted.
You don’t always need an SSL certificate for all pages of your site; pages that don’t handle important data (such as a blog) won’t need to be as secure.
What is a Payment Gateway?
It’s important to choose a host that supports the payment gateway (or gateways) you’d like to use. Some cheap eCommerce hosting providers charge a fee for payments through certain gateways.
Best eCommerce Hosting: The Bottom Line
We’ve listed the five best eCommerce hosting companies (our top rated is SiteGround) who we think have the power, versatility and usability to make great hosts for your online store. Take your time to check out each one and make the final choice based on your unique needs.
With such great features available at really low prices, the barriers for entry into the world of online business have never been lower. Choosing your host is an exciting first step along the road to success. Don’t let anything stop you; start your online business right NOW!