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e20 Authors: Elizabeth White, Lisa Calkins, Flint Brenton, Melanie Marten, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: eCommerce Journal, Cloud Hosting & Service Providers Journal, Enterprise 2.0

Blog Post

Selecting a Hosting Partner

Advice for Ecommerce Enterprise Owners

Selecting reliable hosting is important for any website, but for an ecommerce enterprise especially, it is imperative.

Even the best sites can suffer from the effects of poor quality web hosting. For the online retailer, any amount of down-time can cause significant loss in revenue, whilst slow operating speeds and pages that fail to load properly are primary offenders in turning away visitors. What's more, many search engine algorithms detect and punish slow-loading landing pages, so a sluggish site can negatively affect ranking too.

To find a web hosting package that fully accommodates your enterprise's needs just like the web hosting by Interoute, there are a number of key aspects to consider before making a commitment.

Guaranteed Up-Time
A guaranteed 98 per cent of ‘up-time' may seem like a great deal from the outset. However, if you look at it from the perspective that your website will be down for one week per annum, it suddenly seems less appealing. As a general rule, it's advisable to find a provider with guaranteed up-time of at least 99.9 per cent.

What If My Site Goes Down?
Unfortunately, server failure can happen. However, a reliable provider should have contingency in place in the form of second-site failover, an automatic function that switches data to a backup operational mode in the instance of failure.

How Do I Know My Data is Secure?
Your relationship with your customers is built on trust, so determining that data remains secure is vitally important.

Your hosting provider has control of the software and hardware your business relies upon, so make sure you understand:

  • Whether they host the software or outsource to a separate company, and how many parties are involved in delivering your service.
  • Whether there is some sort of reporting method in place to determine who has access to the data.
  • Whether the data centre is staffed 24 hours a day. If not, what is the protocol in the instance that technical difficulties arise?
  • How often data is backed-up, and where back-up data is stored.

What Are the Limits?
It's advisable to understand the confines of your hosting package and what the implications of exceeding this would be. Most web hosts will allow you to upgrade your package should it come to the point where it requires greater capacity. However, establish from the beginning what will be involved is expansion; what are the costs, and how will up-time be maintained during this time?

Poor hosting for an ecommerce enterprise can be extremely damaging. Your hosting provider essentially acts as a partner to your business, so determining that their working practice is compatible with your own is fundamental to building a model that works.

More Stories By Ali Raza

Ali is an SEO Analyst at Delineo and a very keen blogger who writes content to please the audience and to add value to their lives. In his free time, Ali likes to get things ticked off from his bucket list.