Powering an eCommerce store has now become par for the course for any company that wants to ensure they are at the top of their game and stay competitive in their market. Not only having a regularly updated website but a reliable portal for your customers to buy goods and services online is expected. This means many potential customers will be motivated to seek other options if they discover that your store is slow, ungainly, or simply not available.
Setting up an eCommerce store solution or shopping now requires minimal investment of both time and funds, and the first question you to ask about your eCommerice option isn’t if you should have one, but how you should host it.
Hosting Your Store
When it comes to eCommerce hosting, you will be faced with three basic choices, each of which offers a different set of benefits. The cheapest option is what is known as shared hosting, where your cart or store resides on the same shared server as countless others. Shared web hosting is cost-effective, but there are no controls in place for memory usage or disk I/O management, which means the speed of response from your store is dependent on how many other people are using the server and how they are using it. In addition, you will not be able to customize your piece of the shared server. At the other end of the eCommerce hosting spectrum is dedicated hosting solution where your cart is the sole resident of a server. Not surprisingly, these servers are far more expensive, and while they do offer increased performance they are not quickly scalable if your needs change.
The third open choice available for eCommerce hosting is a virtual private server (VPS) option. The benefit of a VPS is that is balances price with performance, and also allows you to increase the amount of server space you are renting. In addition, you will typically be able to run under whatever OS you prefer and any apps or programs you install will have no effect on other users.
Getting Your Store Up to Speed
Once you’ve decided on an eCommerce VPS server or other hosting option, you’ll have to choose what kind of cart or shopping platform best suits your needs. There are a range of options available online; from open source eCommerce options like osCommerce, a free solution that has been providing online business support for 10 years; Zen Cart, which is also open source and is focused on giving users easy set-up and simple, intuitive functionality; and Magneto eCommerce, which is a for-pay solution that includes access to a wide variety of store extensions and add-ons as well as on-demand training.
You may also wish to consider leveraging the power of an eCommerce VPS server to run multiple stores by installing a control panel such as Plesk or cPanel. Both of these popular options are compatible with a large number of shopping cart and store solutions, and give you the power to multiple stores from a single interface and track details regarding the performance of each one.
The key to making the most of an eCommerce solution in today’s marketplace lies in ensuring that it is optimized to perform and can deliver a consistent experience for customers. By using a VPS hosting solution in combination with a simple-to-use piece of store or cart software, you can make sure that customers always find what they are looking for and can always make their purchase, without having to worry about lost orders or slow response times from your hosting provider.