No matter what kind of business you’re running, it’s important to structure your ecommerce business to be scalable. Even if you don’t have a high volume of traffic or a large inventory right now, you should choose your hosting provider with the mindset that your business will grow.
If you choose a low-quality hosting provider, when your site finally expands and does have more products and more visitors, your performance will dwindle fast. And changing hosting providers can be a big headache.
Building a scalable business is essential for growth. The first and most important step is choosing the right hosting provider.
The most common type of hosting, shared hosting is often the most inexpensive – and also the least secure. Like the name suggests, with this type of hosting you’ll be sharing your server with dozens, perhaps even hundreds of other sites. This means your resources, such as processing power, memory, and disk space.
Shared hosting is fine if you’re operating a blog or a small site, but not for your growing ecommerce site. Instead, opt for any of the following hosting services below.
For managed hosting, most of the grunt work is done for you. Your hosting provider is responsible for automatic backups, security configurations, automatic updates, and also typically provides a caching service and server configurations, among other things. Nexcess, a hosting provider specializing in WooCommerce, offers a variety of managed hosting packages that are easy to upgrade.
When you have a Virtual Private Server, or a VPS, it means you have a designated section of a shared server, sort of like shared hosting. But unlike shared hosting, a VPS gives you a private and dedicated space on the server, so the other sites on the server won’t affect your site performance or resources.
Dedicated hosting for WooCommerce is when you have an entire server dedicated to just your site, and your site alone. There are no other sites on your server that share your disk space or processing power – it’s all yours. This type of hosting guarantees the best performance and security. However, dedicated hosting is typically very costly.
Cloud hosting uses a number of connected virtual servers instead of a single dedicated server. Cloud hosting offers greater flexibility, as your allocated resources can be upgraded on the fly, and they also offer better performance because if one server is down, it can simply pull resources from another connected server.
Choose a hosting provider that offers top-level security. Security is an essential for any site hosting, but it’s especially necessary when you’re operating an ecommerce store and your visitors could be sending sensitive information to your server, such as credit card information. On top of that, you need to make sure your site is protected from attacks to keep your data secure and your site fully operational.
HTTPS creates a secure and encrypted connection between your site visitors and your website to protect their data, such as credit card numbers and other sensitive information. In fact, Google Chrome won’t trust any site that doesn’t have an SSL certificate.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements that all payment processors and providers must abide by to ensure their data is secure. This is a necessity if you’re selling online.
Firewalls & Antivirus Protection
A firewall is a security network that monitors the external incoming traffic on your server for signs of suspicious activity. Likewise, an antivirus is a software that is designed to protect your site from internal attacks from viruses by scanning for and deleting any distrustful files or software from your site.
Distributed denial-of-service attacks consist of a massive number of requests being sent to a website all at once, with the intent to overload the server and shut down the site. With DDoS protection, your hosting provider can monitor the incoming requests to prevent this type of attack.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) copies your website to different servers around the world, and in turn serves cached versions of your site to international visitors. This is a key feature if you have an international market.
Other security features to look for:
When looking for the right hosting provider for WooCommerce, you want to find a hosting provider that specializes in WordPress or WooCommerce. Providers that are designed for WooCommerce will be more likely to perform the best, because it will be designed to work for all the ins and outs of WooCommerce. Other hosting options that host a multitude of ecommerce platforms won’t be as effective.
Here are the hosting solutions endorsed by WooCommerce.
If you’re running a growing ecommerce store, a staging environment will be a lifesaver. Software updates, new plugins, and redesigning can sometimes cause unforeseen problems on your site. If you’re working on your live site and experiencing high volumes of traffic, your site could crash or go offline.
With a staging environment, you can do all of these changes on a duplicate of your site to see how the changes will affect your site before pushing it live.
Look for a WooCommerce hosting provider that offers 24/7 support, either by email, chat, or phone. When you’re running an ecommerce store with high volumes of traffic, you need to make sure your hosting provider will be there for you no matter what. You never know when disaster might strike, and you don’t want to miss any sales if your site goes down.