Steps in Choosing your E-Commerce Hosting site

Wednesday 18 February 2009

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Here are the CWCS recommended steps in choosing your E-Commerce hosting site.

1. Choose a domain name

Arguably one of the most important parts of setting up a web shop is choosing the name for it. Ensure that the domain name matches your company name and is easy to type in and remember. Make sure it fits in with your marketing material and is not already taken or easily confused with another company or website.

Most companies on the web these days however already have a domain name, in which case you can simply use www.mydomain.com/shop or shop.mydomain.com or whichever you feel best suits your needs.

2. Choose the software you want to use

There are a huge number of shopping cart solutions out there. Some are free and others not. It is important when choosing your software to make sure it has all the functionality you need including things like:

User interface
Easy to update product information
User statistics
Encrypted storage of sensitive information

3. Once you have chosen your software, you need to make sure you choose the right hosting package to match it. All software providers will give you a list of server requirements. These will normally be based around 1 of 3 hosting technologies. ASP, PHP or CGI (perl).

If you are using an ASP or ASP.NET based solution, you will almost definitely want a windows hosting environment. Linux hosting environments tend to offer less functionality for the ASP technology then windows.

If you are using PHP or CGI, you can usually use either windows or linux, however as a rule these are usually designed to work with linux servers and MySQL databases. Linux also tends to be a slightly cheaper option as it has no license fees.

4. Lastly you need to select the right package for your needs. This depends on many factors. Usually you want to take into account the amount of customers you expect to have, how many products you have and if you need an SSL encryption on your site. If you use a 3rd party provider to take payments (like paypal for example) then you do not usually need SSL encryption. If you are taking payment details on your site however you should use either a full or shared SSL certificate provided by your host.

Depending on the income you expect to receive from the shop, you should spend on your hosting and software accordingly. Cheap packages will all the features you want will not always offer the same speed and uptime as a more dedicated solution. We usually recommend investing between 1 and 5 % of your expected revenue into your hosting solution. This should ensure you get value for money for the smaller shop and the full redundancy and backup solutions for the more business critical web merchant.

CWCS data centres are both ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accredited, these combined create an integrated management system to help us deliver the very best security and quality in everything we do.

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