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7 Best eCommerce hosting providers to trust your business with

In this article, I have rounded up 7 of the best eCommerce hosting service providers. I will guide you through the features you should be looking for and show you how these eCommerce web hosts perform in these areas.

I did not just compile these details from the host’s websites as other reviewers do. My team and I have had first-hand experience using these hosts. We bought the most popular plans from each of the providers on our list and put them to the test. Rest assured that the information I share here is authentic. 

With eCommerce sales growing each year, it’s an interesting and difficult topic to cover – after all, monetary success is at stake.

Now that I mentioned stakes, why is a web hosting provider important when it comes to eCommerce?

  • If your provider is slow, so is your website. That translates to a bad user experience. Bad user experience translates to… Clients leaving without purchasing your products.
  • If your provider is down, so is your website. If your website is not accessible, not only you cannot sell online, but your reputation suffers too. 

Think of Amazon. This eCommerce giant grew so big that it needs an entire network of data centers to function. Snap, they now have their own hosting business (the biggest in the market) to reliably host their own products and sell server space to others.

So these are just a couple of reasons why picking a good provider is important. But you might have guessed that I’ll be focusing on the performance a lot today. Well, among other things like price and ease of use. 

So, what are the top options to trust your online store with?

Best eCommerce web hosting: ranked

  1. SiteGround – best eCommerce hosting overall
  2. Hostinger – cheapest eCommerce hosting
  3. Liquid Web – mission-critical hosting for eCommerce
  4. A2 Hosting – speed-focused web store hosting
  5. DreamHost – reliable online store hosting
  6. Bluehost – best beginner-friendly host for WordPress stores
  7. InterServer – best affordable online store hosting

Not sure which one is best for you? I have a list of things to consider when picking the right eCommerce hosting option for you.

1. SiteGround

FeaturesFree SSL, staging, backups, caching
Best forPremium-class online store hosting

SiteGround ticks all the boxes when it comes to online store hosting. Fast – check, powerful – check, reliable – check. Easy to use, functional, scalable – check, check, check. Focused on WordPress hosting, SiteGround is not the cheapest on the list, but you do get the best service possible.

All sounds nice, but what are exactly the features that put SiteGround on this list?

  • The entire platform is focused on speed and security. For starters, SiteGround develops its own tools for making WordPress sites the fastest possible. That’s custom PHP setup, 3-level caching, Nginx web server, and on-site optimizations. Security does not let down either – constant monitoring, Web-Application firewalls (WAF), daily backups, SSL certificates are there for 360° security.
  • The functionality of the control panel is outstanding. Most importantly, you get an easy-to-use staging area for testing out and developing in private. You can also add multiple members of your team to collaborate, set up security, speed, and other configurations all in one place.
  • Business essentials are covered. Email accounts are there for marketing, and you also have SSL enabled automatically for protecting sensitive data that’s being exchanged. 

To put it briefly, SiteGround covers the essentials and includes some extra bling that will make your online store faster and more secure. Not to mention the functionalities for easy management.

SiteGround pricing

SiteGround prices start at $6.99/mo and go all the way up to $14.99/mo for shared hosting. Alternatively, very large online stores can choose Cloud hosting starting at $80/mo. 

SiteGround shared hosting prices and plans

No matter what you pick, all plans include: free SSL, daily backups, custom caching, and strong security. But not all plans are cut the same.

  • StartUp at $6.99/mo comes with 10GB storage for 10 000 monthly visits. It also lacks site staging and Ultrafast PHP setup. For me personally, that’s not an option for an online store.
  • GrowBig starts at $9.99/mo with 20GB storage for 25 000 monthly visits. You can create multiple sites, use staging, Ultrafast PHP, and collaborators features. That’s the best plan for starting an eCommerce business. 
  • GoGeek for $14.99/mo includes 40GB storage for around 100 000 monthly visits with all the perks. Additionally, you get a white-label panel option if you are hosting sites for others. That’s an option for established online stores or big up-and-coming projects.
  • Cloud hosting is pricey, starting at $80/mo. But it’s the overall best option for the biggest of eCommerce projects. Starting with 40GB storage and 5TB bandwidth on 4 CPUs and 8GB RAM server, you can host stores with 10s of thousands of products that get huge levels of traffic daily. 
Best Value

Apart from the StartUp, all plans offer great value for different eCommerce sites. GrowBig is great if you’re just getting started, while GoGeek will affordably fit in bigger stores. Meanwhile, Cloud hosting is the option for the biggest of projects. By the way, there might be a discount going on, so hurry to get even better prices.

Check SiteGround Pricing Now

SiteGround performance

All SiteGround performance metrics are top of the class – it is reliable, stable, and able to load websites very fast.

2 months and counting, SiteGround remained up 99.99% of the time. That’s just 7 minutes of downtime in total.

SiteGround uptime and response time monitoring

Response time fluctuated between 267ms and 175ms, ultimately averaging at 217ms. That’s a very stable result.

But that’s just the server itself. For online stores, the second most important metric after uptime is how fast pages are loaded.

SiteGround loads a fully built website with WooCommerce set up in 1.1 seconds.

SiteGround page loading speed

Considering that 3 seconds is the maximum you should aim to not reach, that’s an excellent result. And that's without all the possible speed optimizations on.

Meanwhile, Largest Contentful Paint is 872ms. It’s one of the metrics that search engines use for ranking purposes. Keeping it under 2.5 seconds is a strong recommendation.

Nevertheless, SiteGround fits into all of the benchmarks with very reliable and speedy performance.

By the way, speed depends a lot on where your site is hosted. The closer it is to the visitor, the more optimal the performance will be. SiteGround lets you choose from the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia datacenter locations.

Altogether, there are really few options for eCommerce sites that can compete with the well-rounded service of SiteGround. It’s one of the fastest and most functional providers available in the market right now.

2. Hostinger

FeaturesFree SSL, fast LiteSpeed servers, backups
Best forCheapest eCommerce hosting services

Hostinger is the most budget-friendly option that’s suited for eCommerce. Cheap price or not, you won’t need to sacrifice the quality. While the platform is simplistic in functionality, you can expect some of the fastest page load times, as well as the highest reliability. 

Hostinger might be simplistic on the features, but it sure is strong when it comes to technology and business essentials:

  • Performance is the primary focus of the provider. All websites are hosted on servers that are equipped with LiteSpeed web servers. During the tests, this setup proved to be the fastest you can get. Plus, it comes with its own caching that’s easy to configure.
  • Hostinger has 7 data centers worldwide – the US, UK, Netherlands, Lithuania, Indonesia, Brazil, and Singapore. You can get your website hosted close to the target audience. If your website is close to the visitors, it can reach optimal speed – thanks for not needing to travel huge distances.
  • You get SSL and weekly backups together with firewalls and server monitoring. That’s to ensure the best security for your online business. 
  • Hostinger has 1-click installations for a variety of content management systems. While WordPress with WooCommerce remains the most popular choice for online stores, you can also choose Magento, PrestaShop, or Joomla.

Altogether, Hostinger is the best eCommerce hosting provider if your budget is tight, but performance is among the top priorities.

Hostinger pricing

Hostinger’s pricing starts at $1.39/mo for shared plans. Meanwhile, Cloud hosting that starts at $9.99/mo is excellent for bigger online stores.

Hostinger shared hosting prices

All Hostinger packages come with weekly or daily backups, SSL certificates, email accounts, and a server location choice.

At the same time, I cannot recommend all plans for eCommerce sites as equals:

  • Single ($1.39/mo) that comes with 30GB storage and bandwidth for around 10 000 monthly visits can be okay for a blog that has a couple of merch items. Although fully functional online stores might find it too restrictive.
  • Premium ($2.59/mo) comes with 100GB storage and can support up to 25 000 monthly visitors. It also adds a free domain for a year. This plan is great if you have lots of products, but the traffic is still very moderate. Best plan to start selling online, in my opinion.
  • Business ($3.99/mo) with 200GB storage and 100 000 visits/mo support also adds a free domain, CDN, and daily backups. Great plan for a popular niche online store.
  • Cloud hosting starts at $9.99/mo and includes daily backups, CDN, and best of all – dedicated resources. This means better performance and security. Starting at 200GB storage on 3GB RAM and 2CPUs server, it’s a great option for big and popular online stores.
Best Value

Hostinger is the cheapest eCommerce hosting provider, yet still, be mindful about the plan that you choose. Shared hosting will be best for smaller sites, while Cloud plans are excellent powerhouses for the big and popular.

Check Hostinger Pricing Now

Hostinger performance

I tested Hostinger performance on shared hosting plans, and it did impress. Very much flawless uptime and fast page loading are what I got.

Over 2 months, Hostinger’s server was up and online 100% of the time. Sure, not the lengthiest monitoring period so far, but a very good first impression nonetheless.

Hostinger uptime and response time

Response time averaged at 511ms, which is better than the industry average of 600ms. Although nothing too groundbreaking.

What was groundbreaking is the speed at which Hostinger loaded a fully built website with eCommerce functionality. 

That was 936ms. Let me clarify that – less than a second.

Hostinger page loading speed copy

Largest Contentful Paint is even less – 849ms. This means, Hostinger fits into all of the benchmarks and is overall one of the speediest providers.

So both speed and reliability considered, Hostinger has little to no competition.

In short, if you’re looking to start an eCommerce business, Hostinger is the best option on a budget. At the same time, it delivers A+ performance and a good user experience.

3. Liquid Web

Liquid Web
FeaturesManaged VPS, professional control panel, server-level firewall
Best foreCommerce stores that need mission-critical reliability

If every second of your eCommerce business means $$$, Liquid Web is the one for you. It’s a powerful managed VPS option with a 100% uptime agreement backed by SLA (service level agreement). That’s a guarantee of reliability and speed.

For mission-critical businesses, this is what Liquid web has in its pockets:

  • You get managed VPS hosting that’s launched for you with the chosen software configurations. This means that the otherwise complex VPS technicalities are dealt with without you needing to do anything yourself.
  • You get a professional control panel for both essential and advanced configurations. From domain names and file manager to custom firewall options – all are available.
  • Servers are fully secured by the provider, and you do get SSL certificates to protect your website. Other features include custom firewalls, off-site backups, and 24/7 server monitoring.
  • Liquid Web also commits to answering all live chat messages in 59 seconds. 

So really, the service is designed for the biggest and the most important eCommerce projects with full support ready 24/7.

Liquid Web pricing

Surprisingly, Liquid Web is not a bank-account-ripping provider, thanks to a huge introductory discount. The cheapest plan costs just $15/mo with a 2-year subscription. 

Liquid Web managed VPS pricing

All plans come with 10 TB bandwidth, InterWorx control panel, SSL certificates, and backups. The main difference between the plans is the size of the SSD disk space, RAM, and number of CPUs.

  • The cheapest plan for $15/mo includes 2GB RAM, 2CPUs, and 40GB SSD.
  • The most expensive option can be scaled to 16GB RAM, 8CPUs, and 200GB SSD for $95/mo.
Best Value

Note that Liquid Web offers a big introductory discount, so it pays off to get the longest billing period possible. After that, the price will increase.

Check Liquid Web Pricing Now

Liquid Web pricing

Just as expected, Liquid Web does deliver on its guarantees – it’s fast and reliable.

We monitored Liquid Web for around 17 days, during which it had 0 outages. That’s a 100% uptime result.

Liquid Web uptime and response time

Response time averaged at 521ms, which is a good result. However, keep in mind that what you get is basically a bare server, and further optimizations can be implemented by you.

But even a bare server is fast. Liquid Web loads a WordPress site with eCommerce functionality in 1.2 seconds.

Liquid Web page load speed

Furthermore, the Largest Contentful Paint is 1 second. This leaves more than enough room till the max recommended 2.5 seconds.

If you’d like to improve this speed, even more, it’s very much possible. All you might need to do is implement caching, for example.

Altogether, Liquid Web is fast and reliable by default, which makes a good foundation for any eCommerce site.

To conclude this all, if you have (or plan on having) a big and popular eCommerce store, Liquid Web is among the best options for it. The reliability and security are guaranteed.

4. A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting
FeaturesFree SSL, cPanel, software optimization
Best forSpeed-focused hosting for online stores

A2 Hosting has both affordable and more premium options that are all generously packed with features. At the same time, its Turbo-labeled plans are essentially designed for eCommerce projects thanks to the top-tier hardware and software combo implemented on them.

Let’s just throw out the cheaper options altogether. If you need the best web hosting for eCommerce, Turbo is the way to go. And this is what you get with them:

  • Top-of-the-class hardware. All the websites are hosted on AMD Epyc servers with NVMe disks. That’s one of the fastest and most reliable combos available on shared hosting right now.
  • Software configurations that are speed-oriented. You get fast LiteSpeed web servers with 3-level caching for both static and dynamic elements of your site. Besides being among the fastest web server technologies, LiteSpeed takes it even further by adding its own caching engine.
  • A2 Optimized for automatically reducing image size as well as optimizing the code. With such an option, the technicalities of manually going through resource-hogging files are eliminated.
  • You can choose a server location too. Available options are Michigan, Arizona, Amsterdam, and Singapore.

If speed is your biggest aim for your eCommerce business, A2 Hosting really has it nailed down to a tee.

A2 Hosting pricing

The prices for A2 Hosting start quite affordably at $2.99/mo, but the true value is with the Turbo plans, that start at $9.99/mo. 

A2 Hosting shared hosting prices

All of the plans will get you free SSLs, email accounts, and strong server security. Also, all plans include unlimited storage except for Starter that has a 100GB limit.

While storage is generous, I’d skip on the 2 cheapest plans, Starter ($2.99/mo) and Drive ($4.99/mo). They don’t have all the perks that make A2 Hosting worth it. 


Turbo Boost ($9.99/mo) and Turbo Max ($14.99/mo) both come with the same features: the LiteSpeed webserver, unlimited bandwidth, storage, domains, automatic backups, and SSLs.

Turbo Max is more expensive as it will be hosted on a server that has fewer users on it. So while you still have to share the resources with others, you’ll get more of them.

Best Value

Overall, I’d say Turbo plans are what make A2 Hosting one of the best eCommerce hosting options. Choose Tubro Boost to start with and scale as needed. Also, check if there’s a discount available – we are always trying to get the best deals for our readers.

Check A2 Hosting Pricing Now

A2 Hosting performance

A2 Hosting delivers reliable but quite average-speed server results yet compensates with very fast page load times.

In over 2 months, A2 Hosting was down for 7 minutes in total. That’s a very good 99.99% uptime.

A2 Hosting uptime

Meanwhile, the response times were quite bumpy and settled at 597ms. That’s a very average result in the market.

All that is compensated by fast page loading times. A2 fully loaded a WordPress website in 1.4 seconds. Very speedy if we are targeting 3 seconds max.

A2 Hosting speed test

Largest Contentful Paint was a bit lower, 1.3 seconds. This leaves a lot of wiggle room for occasional slowdowns that are known with shared hosting.

Hyped a lot, A2 Hosting delivers a worthy performance. At the same time, it’s not miles ahead of the competition.

To put it briefly, A2 Hosting is a reliable, fast, and well-equipped provider that focuses on speed and security. It’s a classic option for good eCommerce hosting.

5. DreamHost

FeaturesFree SSL, domain, domain privacy, BoldGrid builder, backups
Best forCheap and reliable hosting for starting an eCommerce business

DreamHost is a leading eCommerce hosting provider with a focus on WordPress sites, strong security, and ease of use. It comes with generous resources, and you’ll have your store running in the shortest amount of time possible, thanks to a well-designed user interface.

So, what exactly makes DreamHost fit for such an important task?

  • Security and privacy are top-notch. You get SSLs, automatic backups, domain privacy, and a web application firewall to protect your site on all fronts.
  • User interface and tools are designed with beginners in mind. WordPress installation is literally one click, while there’s also a premium website builder for WordPress that you can use to kickstart the development process.

DreamHost is among my favorite providers. While not as popular as others, it delivers constantly reliable service that’s as smooth to use as it gets.

DreamHost pricing

For shared hosting, DreamHost has 2 affordable plans starting at $2.59/mo. Alternatively, you can pick DreamPress managed packages that start at $12/mo for bigger sites.

DreamHost shared hosting pricing and plans

No matter what you pick, bandwidth is unlimited, and you get all those strong security and privacy measures – automatic backups, firewall, domain privacy, and so on. Free domain is included too. 

  • Starter ($2.59/mo) comes with 50GB storage and 1 website limit. It also doesn’t include email accounts. This makes the plan not exactly perfect for online stores, but if you have just a couple of products to sell “on the side”, it’s a cheap option to make it work.
  • Unlimited ($3.95/mo) is perfect for small-to-medium eCommerce sites. Unlimited websites, storage, and emails combined with the security features are just excellent.
  • DreamPress plans that start at $12/mo additionally have 1-click staging and are based on a more powerful Cloud infrastructure. For bigger projects, it’s definitely an option worth considering.
Best Value

DreamHost is affordable in itself, but it also is one of the cheapest options if you’re looking for a yearly or monthly subscription. This makes it a good option to try out without committing for long.

Check DreamHost Pricing Now

DreamHost performance

Adding to the affordable prices and nice features, DreamHost's performance is also good. Server performance is almost flawless, while page load times are speedy.

In around 2 months, DreamHost had just a 1-minute outage. That’s >99.99% uptime and the second-best result on this list.

DreamHost uptime and response time

Response time was also very speedy, averaging at 231ms. Slightly bumpy, but a very good result nonetheless.

Page load times were good, but nothing too remarkable if we compare it to other providers here. It fully loaded a WordPress site in 1.6 seconds.

DreamHost website loading speed

Largest Contentful Paint was 1.4 seconds. This fully fits into all of the benchmarks. At the same time, there are faster providers on the list.

So when it comes to performance, DreamHost has very powerful servers, yet page speed is just good. 

There's one limitation of DreamHost though – it's only fit for those eCommerce stores that have their main audience in the US. That's where all of provider's servers are located.

DreamHost still remains one of the best hosting providers for eCommerce, thanks to its straightforward approach, excellent features, and steady performance.

6. Bluehost

FeaturesFree SSL, domain, staging, cPanel
Best forBeginner-friendly hosting

Bluehost is one of the most popular shared hosting providers, focusing mainly on WordPress. It has a solid reputation, and WordPress recommends it for its significant contribution to the CMS. The main attraction, however, is how easy to use and functional Bluehost is.

What exactly makes Bluehost special?

  • If you’d like, the WordPress website can be set up automatically upon your first login to the account.
  • You get a stunning dashboard that has the most important features. You can use it to manage domain names, emails, and WordPress, security, and performance.
  • Bluehost gives you a customized cPanel too. That’s great for free email accounts and more advanced management tasks. 
  • WordPress installation comes with staging functionality. This allows you to create a copy of your eCommerce site and test out changes privately.

To put it shortly, Bluehost really has all the resources you need to build an eCommerce store easily. 

Bluehost pricing

Bluehost prices are in the mid-range of shared hosting, starting at $3.95/mo. You can also pick Managed WordPress that starts at $9.95/mo for bigger stores.

Bluehost shared hosting prices

All plans have the essentials to start a website – free domain for a year, SSL certificate, and email accounts.

  • Basic ($3.95/mo) has 1 website and a 50GB storage limit. Enough for a small online store.
  • Plus ($5.95/mo) removes the website and storage limits. That’s the best plan for stores with many products yet average levels of traffic.
  • Choice Plus ($6.95/mo) additionally includes domain privacy and automatic backups for a year that are good security measures.
  • Pro ($13.95/mo) comes with dedicated IP, domain privacy, and automatic backups for the whole term.
  • Managed WordPress starts at $9.95/mo with all the additional security features.
Best Value

Overall, smaller stores might not need anything above Plus. However, Managed WordPress also looks really good for bigger projects that need added security.

Check Bluehost Pricing Now

Bluehost performance

Bluehost services are focused on user experience rather than speed. That means it delivers steady performance results but does not compete with other hosts here.

Over 2 months, Bluehost had 6 outages that put uptime at 99.99%. A very good result, if that even needs commenting.

Bluehost uptime and response time

Response time was also speedy, averaging at 361ms. There was a big bump, after which performance improved significantly.

Now, the page loading speed wasn’t as impressive. Bluehost loaded a WordPress site in 1.8 seconds.

Bluehost page load speed

The Largest Contentful Paint was also 1.8 seconds. This means Bluehost fits into all of the benchmarks. Nonetheless, that’s one of the slower results on the list, if you can even call it like that.

So performance considered, Bluehost delivers pretty strong and steady results. Especially considering the reliability. At the same time, it comes with a limitation – servers are only in the US. Good news if you're targeting North American audiences, and a no-no if you have your visitors elsewhere.

All in all, if Bluehost is the best option for beginners. It’s an all-inclusive option that helps you out every step of the way towards creating and managing a website.

7. InterServer

FeaturesFree SSL, unlimited websites, backups, disaster recovery
Best forAffordable no-fuss hosting

InterServer is an affordable, fully configurable option for your eCommerce hosting needs. It has enough resources to have a small eCommerce site running efficiently. Plus, the billing is very attractive for low budgets.

So, what are the main features that make InterServer worthy of this list?

  • You get a standard and easy-to-use interface for hosting management. InterServer is among the providers that still use cPanel.
  • Unlike other shared hosting platforms, InterServer limits the number of users. It uses only 50% of its server capacity. This ensures that there are enough resources to support a small business eCommerce store without experiencing any issues.  
  • Security is very strong. InterServer takes care of all essentials such as SSL, backups, firewalls, malware scanning, and even disaster recovery.

To put it briefly, it’s a no-fuss option that takes care of everything for smooth eCommerce hosting.

InterServer pricing

With a discount, you can get InterServer for as low as $2.5/mo with monthly, 6-month, and yearly plans. Other than that, it has 3 shared hosting options as well as VPS to scale.

InterServer pricing for shared hosting

InterServer’s shared hosting is very straightforward. Each plan includes the same features, yet the server resources with each are bigger. With all plans, you get: free SSL, automatic backups, security features, unlimited websites, storage, and emails.

  • Standard ($2.50/mo) is the most universal option for small to medium online stores.
  • Boost 2 ($9.95/mo) allocates more server RAM and CPU to handle more traffic.
  • Boost 4 ($19.95/mo) gives out even more server resources. At the same time, it’s too pricey, in my opinion. You better off with VPS if you consider this plan.
Best Value

It’s best to grab the Standard plan and scale as needed. With the discount, you get 1-year worth of hosting for just $30. Keep in mind that renewal is $7, but you can pay monthly.

Check InterServer Pricing Now

InterServer performance

InterServer delivers steady performance results, although it is not the most powerful provider out there.

In 3 months, InterServer was down for a total of 10 minutes. That’s an almost flawless 99.99% uptime.

InterServer uptime and response time historical data

The response time was 662ms which is above the market’s average. It was also quite bumpy, peaking up to 961ms.

That’s among the reasons while page load times are nothing to shout from the roof about. InterServer loaded WordPress website in 2.3 seconds.

InterServer page load time with a built website

Largest Contentful paint was also 2.3 seconds. Both measures fit into the benchmarks, yet there’s not much wiggle room left.

So while InterServer is very reliable, speed is nothing impressive.

Altogether, InterServer is a no-fuss option when you need simple and reliable hosting. It’s great for businesses that consider selling online as a side-project.

Best eCommerce hosting: final recommendations

Plenty of web hosting providers claim to offer the best eCommerce hosting. Few of them are actually capable of delivering hosting that’s good enough to trust your business with. My team picked and tested the top options. 

Here’s a recap of the strengths of each:

  1. SiteGround is a premium web hosting option oriented towards WordPress sites. It’s a powerful platform with many tools fit to help eCommerce sites.
  2. Hostinger is a cheap option yet delivers some of the best performance you can get. It’s also suited if you have a specific audience to target thanks to broad server location choice,
  3. Liquid Web is a managed VPS platform with a 100% uptime guarantee for mission-critical sites. The hosting might be powerful and advanced, but it’s easy enough to manage.
  4. A2 Hosting is a performance-focused host with cPanel management interface. It’s a classic option for those that need steady performance and no-fuss management.
  5. DreamHost offers flexible and affordable billing as well as strong security features. Combine it with a simple control panel, focus on WordPress, and a premium website builder plugin for the best beginner option. 
  6. Bluehost is an all-inclusive and user-oriented platform. It doesn’t focus on speed but compensates with generous management features and other tools for WordPress sites.
  7. InterServer offers cheap no-fuss plans that you can pay for monthly. It’s a good option for tighter budgets as well as users that need some extra security.

How to choose the best eCommerce hosting?

Without a hosting provider, your website won’t be online. Without a good hosting provider, it won’t do your business any justice. Hosting lays the foundation for a fast, reliable, and smooth user experience – some of the cornerstones of eCommerce success. 

There are a couple of things you can consider that will make choosing a good hosting for your online store easy. 

Step 1: Choose a method

There are many eCommerce hosting sites, platforms, and systems. You can use content management systems (CMS), website builders, or eCommerce platforms to build your site. They vary on the tech knowledge needed, the options provided, such as adding a blog, and overall cost. 

Content Management System (CMS)

Content management systems offer the cheapest option. WordPress, for instance, is a free and open-source CMS. All you need to do is install the latest version (which is always included with your hosting package). The only expense that is a must is hosting itself. 

A CMS provides the most control over your website. You can design it beautifully, optimize it for search engines, and tweak it periodically to keep your marketing fresh. It will require some technical knowledge, but it’s the best option for your site. Although I might be a bit biased as it’s the main thing I always use.

Website builder

Website builders are an all-in-one thing. You get hosting, design, and the tools to launch and manage websites. This comes at an extra cost and sacrifice of some independence as you can rarely switch platforms easily.

A website builder does not require much technical expertise. For example, Wix uses what it calls ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). Here, you just sign up and make a few on-screen selections on how you want your site to look. Wix ADI then gets your site ready in seconds.

Website builders are costlier because they provide everything you need to have a fully functional site in no time at all. Go for it if you do not have the time to use a CMS. 

eCommerce platforms

eCommerce platforms essentially are website builders with tools for eCommerce sites specifically. That’s the most expensive option on the list as they usually have advanced and custom-made billing, marketing, and shipping features.

An eCommerce platform comes with the same ease of use as a website builder. For example, Shopify, the most popular platform, provides both design, its editing interface, and all the eCommerce features built into one dashboard. Easy to use, but more expensive and less flexible than CMS.

Step 2: Estimate website size

To know which plan is the best for your site, you need to know a couple of numbers:

  1. The number of products – the more you have, the more pressure you’ll put on the server.
  2. How many visuals will you have – if each product comes with 10s of high-quality photos, the server needs to have a big storage limit as well as more powerful CPUs.
  3. Traffic – is it a popular store with 1000s of daily visitors, or is it a niche boutique that serves a very specific audience? The more popular you are, the more pressure on the server, the bigger it needs to be in terms of resources.

Considering that each product requires its own page and its own visuals, online stores are some of the biggest websites. So what options can you consider?

Shared hosting can only support small stores, such as a business selling just up to several hundred products. For example, entry plans will fit blogs that have a couple of merch items, while high-end plans are okay for bigger sites.

If you are thinking bigger, managed WordPress, cloud, or VPS are fantastic options to get started. They offer more flexibility or even dedicated server resources to cope with high levels of traffic and high resource usage.

A dedicated server or even a server network will be needed if you scale globally. For example, such giants as Amazon have dozens of data centers worldwide by now.

Step 3: Put security first

Your customers will be sharing personal financial details on your site, such as credit card numbers. Among them are sensitive personal details. Assure clients that you have a reliable security system to protect their data. Important security features include:

  1. Sticking to PCI rules
  2. Installing an SSL certificate
  3. Preventing distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks 
  4. Avoiding spam and malware
  5. Backing up your website  

Whether you are selling one or hundreds of products, PCI (payment card industry) compliance is a must. It has established rules on accepting, processing, storing, and transmitting any payment card information known as DSS (data security standards). After all, no customer would want to risk exposing their financial details to cybercriminals. 

Step 4: Don't forget the speed

Speed is vital for an eCommerce site. Customers expect your website to load in less than 3 seconds. If you’re slow, it’s easier to simply switch shops. After all, they don’t need to walk big distances around the mall to do that. 

Here are a couple of benchmarks to live by:

  • Server response time – markets average is 600ms. If you’re under, that’s good.
  • Fully loaded time – keeping it up to 3 seconds reduces bounce chances.
  • Largest Conteful Paint – it should stay under 2.5 seconds as this measure is benchmarked by Google.

Speed is important both for customers and for search engines if you're planning to get visitors by ranking high on search queries. Overall, it's one of the most important metrics to consider.

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