If you ask Google what the best eCommerce web hosting companies are, you’ll be given a list of budget hosts like the ones below:
These are fine for small-scale ecommerce shops, but potentially crippling the big ones with a high transaction volume.
What does “mission critical” mean and what does it have to do with E-commerce Hosting?
“Mission critical” is a phrase that we use in the tech world to refer to a system that’s absolutely essential for the survival of a business or organization. When a mission critical system fails, everything fails. In the case of an eCommerce store, if the website goes down then the only revenue stream is cut off and customers are turned away at the doors.
This is the usual cascading “fails” with budget hosting:
- First, your server is overloaded.
- Then your website slows down and then stops altogether.
- Then you have to get in touch with your budget host, who’s slow to respond because they invest no money in customer service.
- Meanwhile, your website’s offline, which means you can’t charge credit cards, you can’t offer support, you can’t sell your product and you can’t promote your content.
Your only option is to use social networking sites to apologize for the inconvenience which is very awkward.
How managed hosting can help
1. Reduces the financial risk of IT mistakes
Nobody likes it when their website goes down. Outages affect businesses in every industry, but eCommerce sites are particularly at risk because any outage takes the entire business offline. Other companies can keep on trading with or without their websites, but that’s not the case if you work in eCommerce.
2. Helps you to go pro
If you’re reading this, we’re willing to bet that you don’t run a hobby site.
If you are a ecommerce business owner then you have literally hundreds of other things to worry about, from dealing with inventory and securing finance to setting up pay-per-click campaigns and A/B testing.
The last thing you want is to have to worry about hosting.
3. Improves your RPO and RTO
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) are two of the most important metrics that your CEO has never heard of.
Your RPO is the maximum amount of data that you can afford to lose without your business being compromised, while your RTO is the maximum length of time you can survive an outage.
These values should be as low as possible whilst still being realistic, and managed hosts are in a much better place to reduce those times than other web hosting providers.
4. Avoids incompetence
The harsh truth is that there are too many webhosts out there who aren’t really fit for purpose, especially for a successful eCommerce site.
If you’re relying on a standard hosting package, you run the risk of lackluster customer service, slow response times and a whole heap of wasted time as you struggle to get them to fix something.
Reputable managed hosts, though, put customer service first, and the best ones will offer true 24/7/365 support to help you to keep on top of things.
5. Adaptable to suit you
There’s no such thing as a one size fits all approach to web hosting.
Fortunately, managed hosts base their business on adapting their offerings to suit their clients, while other hosts often force their clients to adapt to suit their offering.
You’ll want to pick a server setup that suits your business, with common options including:
- Cloud Servers (VPS): eCommerce hosting for solo entrepreneurs
- Dedicated Servers: eCommerce hosting for small businesses
- Private Cloud-Based Virtual Clusters: eCommerce hosting for enterprises
6. Easy to use
Managed hosts have a leg up on their unmanaged competitors because they take the time to fine-tune their servers on their customers’ behalf.
That means that you don’t have to worry about carrying out complicated maintenance and security tasks, and their high standards of support ensure that if you ever get stuck – or if you have a question – you’ll be able to find someone to help you out with it.
7. Few restrictions
If you’re relying on a generic software-as-a-service (SaaS) eCommerce solution, you’re only able to work within the constraints that they set.
With managed hosting, you have much more freedom to code your site in the way that you want, and you don’t have to worry about being told, “I’m sorry, we can’t help you with that.”
You also don’t have to worry about being locked into working with a single vendor.
8. Higher scalability
Managed hosts are able to scale both horizontally and vertically, and you can work with your host to make sure that you’re using the setup that’s most suitable for you.
You only need to pay for what you’re using, and if you need to change your resource level then you won’t have to wait forever for your updated system to go live.
9. PCI compliance
PCI compliance refers to the process of working within the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), which are designed to provide security for all companies that accept, process, store or transmit financial information and other data.
Complying with these standards is particularly important for eCommerce sites because they handle sensitive information by their very nature.
It’s possible to achieve PCI compliance without managed hosting, but a managed host is much more likely to help you to do it.
10. High availability
Having engineers available around the clock – 24/7/365 – gives managed hosts the ability to cover all bases.
They can implement disaster recovery services (such as database replication) and set up content delivery networks (CDNs).
They’re also able to invest huge amounts of time and resources into securing their servers, making sure that critical systems aren’t hooked up to the internet.
And they have high availability when it comes to both hardware and virtual machines – meaning they have the staff, the know-how and the hardware to back you up.
The hosting market moves so quickly that it’s difficult to keep up with it, and no one can ever truly tell what’s going to happen next.There will always be a market for online shopping, no matter how much our devices might change.
But we’ll be honest – managed hosting isn’t for everyone.
For smaller stores, the ones that are run as a hobby, there’s less of a need for proper hosting.
- If a week of downtime costs $20, managed hosting isn’t for you.
- If a second of downtime costs $20, it’s a different story altogether.
If you’re happy to cut corners by working with a budget host… well, we think you’re wrong, but good luck with that.
But if you want to work with a managed hosting provider which puts quality above quantity – we’d be happy to help!