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8 Best eCommerce Hosting Solutions in 2024 and How to Choose Them

While small and mid-size business owners are probably experts in their market niche, they may be inexperienced when it comes to website hosting. An example is when a business promotes its services or products only through social networks up to a certain point (e.g., Instagram, Facebook/Meta, TikTok, etc.), and now it decides to start an online store for the first time.

In this post, we will provide an overview of 8 best solutions to host on relevant in 2024 like Bluehost, HostGator, 1&1 IONOS and more. Read on to find out which one fits you.

How Cloud eCommerce Hosting Works

While quite important technically, eCommerce hosting is just one part of the online store-building process. Let's define the term hosting, and discuss where to buy the hosting service.

What is hosted ecommerce

Simply put, hosting is a service provided by a hosting provider company in its data center. Within this service, the hosting provider installs the online store software on one of their servers and connects this server to the Internet to make the store available to customers globally.

Other hosting options include buying a subscription for a server in a data center and installing any required software by yourself. After the ecommerce software is deployed on the server in the data center, you can add goods and services to the catalog and start your online business.

What is cloud hosted ecommerce

Cloud hosting is the deployment of ecommerce software on the server installed in the data center. There are hundreds or even thousands of such servers in the data center, and you don't even know which one your store is running on. Therefore, all these servers are drawn as a cloud on the network diagram. This explains the origin of the term cloud in the context of hosting.

Is there non-cloud hosting anywhere today? Yes, if you have installed a server with web store software, which is physically located in your office or home, and connected to the Internet, then this installation is called an on-premises server. Now, this is practical only in the case of software testing because it is impossible to achieve such high reliability of the server and the internet connection on-premises as in a certified data center. This is ultimately not the best-hosted solution for ecommerce because you need the store to work 24/7.

There is also a so-called colocation hosting option that is not usually considered cloud hosting, although it uses the infrastructure of a data center. This is when you bring your own server to the data center and ask to install and supply it with electricity, cooling, and an internet connection. But today, it is rarely used for ecommerce because you need to maintain such a server yourself either remotely or by visiting the data center, which is not convenient.

Types of Hosting According to Server Performance

When you were just starting your ecommerce business, in most cases, you probably didn’t need a very powerful server for your online store. Also, while there is no order flow, you don’t want to pay much to the data center for this server. Later, however, as store traffic increases, you will need a more powerful server to serve hundreds, then thousands of visitors. Therefore, hosting providers offer different hosting performance options to suit the customer needs of any server performance level.

Types of Hosting According to Server Performance

In this diagram, we have two physical servers in the data center to illustrate how the hosting company uses its resources to provide you with different subscription plans. Let’s say the lower server works entirely for a large online store and is called a “dedicated server” in a subscription plan. Usually, a dedicated server is used if the number of visitors to a website is more than 10,000-50,000 per day.

The second (top) server uses virtualization software such as Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware ESX to create virtual machines (VM) or, in other words, virtual servers. With the help of virtualization, the resources of an actual physical server are divided into virtual servers (virtual private server or VPS or a virtual dedicated server or VDS). Virtual servers work independently, and a crash of one virtual server does not affect the work of others. VPS and VDS are the same kinds of virtual machines; only the terminology differs. For example, if you can run 10 VMs on one physical server, then each VM can be allocated to a medium-sized online store visited by several thousand people daily.

When a hosting provider wants to reduce the subscription cost further, they use one of the VDS/VPS servers to host several small e-shops from different clients. This type of subscription is called “shared hosting” and is used if the number of visitors is no more than several hundred per day.

Shared online store hosting

Shared ecommerce web hosting is the cheapest option. It means that your store is located on a virtual server (VM), where you share CPU power, memory, and data storage space with other websites and their software apps. The cost of the services provided with it is also shared, and this is the biggest advantage of shared hosting. Prices start at just $2 per month, but your website performance may suffer when you share the resources with a dozen other websites. The disadvantage of shared hosting is that, if one of the sites gets a lot of visitors, the others will run more slowly.

VPS/VDS hosting (virtual private server)

VPS or VDS hosting means you have a virtual server or VM in a shared physical hosting environment with resources that are almost yours. Virtual private servers share resources without bringing down their neighboring sites’ traffic. You still have to maintain your server, but the cost is lower than managing a dedicated physical server on your own. VPS/VDS hosting prices can start from $10-20 per month, depending on the memory and CPU performance provided

Dedicated ecommerce web hosting

With this option, you rent a physical server without sharing. This gives you complete control over your ecommerce host; however, the responsibilities of server installation, operation, system resources, security, backups, and other issues also fall on your shoulders. This hosting type usually implies hiring additional staff for server maintenance or paying the hosting provider for admin services. Dedicated ecommerce web hosting is a good choice for larger companies and is well-suited for stores with high traffic.

Colocation ecommerce website hosting

The colocation of your web hosting is when the host’s facilities house your physical server hardware. The hosting provider supplies internet connection, power, and cooling. You have full control over the server and the responsibility for its hardware and software maintenance. Colocation hosting is very similar to a dedicated one; the difference is in who owns the server – you or the data center.

Choosing the Right eCommerce Web Host

In many reviews, you can find a list of hosting functionality requirements, which you should know literally by heart before you start choosing the best ecommerce hosting provider for you.
For example, you will read that your site should be fast, have an encrypted connection to the internet using the HTTPS protocol, and not have long downtimes due to the hosting provider's fault.
The features listed above are indeed essential, but choosing a hosting provider based on these criteria has long been outdated. Copywriters, not data center technicians, usually write reviews, so they just copy the same things from each other.

Customers leave a slow site

You may read, “customers will leave a slow site,” and this is true, but in an overwhelming number of cases, a slow site is not the hosting provider's fault. The reason is more often the slow content management system of the ecommerce site or the slow internet connection of the online store visitor. A user's client device delay most often occurs with mobile devices.

By the 2020s, hosting providers across the USA, Canada, and European countries have provided essentially the same level of service for ecommerce hosting. Moreover, it is quite difficult to verify if the host is really to blame for the site's slow loading. Download speeds vary over the course of the day, by user location, and by a lot of other factors. Therefore, choosing a hosting provider based on the connection's speed does not make sense. Let's look at a few more common points that miss their mark.

Customers won't be able to access vulnerable sites

This is another outdated rule. Today you cannot find a hosting provider that would not offer to obtain a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate for your ecommerce site. SSL certificates validate encryption for data transmitted between your computer and a website server. If you have an SSL certificate, the connection will be encrypted with HTTPS protocol, and your site will be identified as “secure.”

In addition to your hosting provider, you can buy (or get for free) an SSL certificate from a global connection encryption service such as Cloudflare. In this case, all traffic to your site will be routed through this global service, and visitors to your online store will see that the site is secure

You can't afford downtime

It means your store should be available for visitors 24/7, but the hosting provider's fault is unlikely to happen here. A failure would likely occur in the ecommerce platform on which the store operates. Today, in the 2020s, data centers are certified in terms of reliability by the Uptime Institute. Most data centers are certified for the highest grade of reliability, as Redundant Capacity Tier III or Fault Tolerant Tier IV. This is why ecommerce platforms are better deployed in the cloud data center, rather than on-premises hosting, even for small businesses.

The Uptime Institute has created a tiered classification system to systematically evaluate various structures and equipment in a data center in terms of potential infrastructure performance or uptime. The system consists of four levels; each includes the requirements of the lower levels (tiers). Since its inception in the mid-1990s, the certification has evolved from a generic industry terminology to a global standard for data centers as critical IT infrastructures.

What Factors Affect eCommerce Store Speed Other Than Hosting?

We said the slow loading of an ecommerce site is most often not associated with poor hosting but with the long wait of web pages and the network speed between the hosting data center and the buyer's client device (PC, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch). Let's expand on this topic in more detail.

Page weight

The number of pictures, text, and videos on an online store website significantly impacts its performance. It also uses large JavaScript files, heavy CSS files, and other page formatting code that needs to be executed on the client device to make it look pretty. All this code slows down the loading of pages.

Additionally, for ecommerce, customers must wait for the current prices and availability of the product from the ERP system of the seller to load; these back-end operations significantly increase the loading time of the web page. Keeping code sizes small, and page loading fast has become more complex today as web technologies have empowered developers to add more functionality

Network speed

Even a superbly designed website on fast hosting may load slowly in browsers due to slow network performance on the way to the end user. Another reason for a delay is the considerable distance between the hosting data center and the user. An example is when a user in Chile is surfing for goods in an online store located in a data center in Canada. IP packets travel through many intermediate internet nodes and get a latency at each of them, and the accumulated latency leads to slow page loading on a user’s device.

CDN service

Hosting providers offer a CDN (Content Delivery Network) service to speed up content delivery to buyers in other countries. A CDN is a global network of servers that have the content of millions of websites downloaded and updated constantly. As a result, when the user connects, the content is delivered from the closest server, which speeds up the loading of web pages

How to measure an ecommerce website’s speed

There are many website speed tests on the Internet. One of the most well-known site load speed metrics is Google's PageSpeed Insights tool. You can enter a website address, and Google will show the loading score and provide general recommendations to improve the results.

The Google test provides a precise performance score on a dashboard and can identify individual elements of a webpage that are slowing the page down. It also provides separate scores for mobile and desktop client devices to help developers improve PageSpeed results for mobile devices.

According to network service provider Cloudflare, website loading speed is essential for conversion rates

Website Loading Speed vs. Conversionaw

Image source.
Figure 3. Website Loading Speed vs. Conversion

The following statistics describe the correlation between page loading speed and conversion rate.

  • 80% of buyers would prefer a temporarily down website to a slow one.
  • 53% of customers abandon the website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
  • 70% of customers would change their minds about buying from this vendor when the website works slowly.
  • 21% feel disappointed with the shopping if the load speed is low.
  • Almost 50% of users would leave if the page loads too slowly.
  • You can lose up to 88% of potential buyers due to the low speed.

The Key Features of eCommerce Hosting

When choosing a hosting provider, educate yourself about the features that should be provided for ecommerce sites. You may really like a hosting plan for its low price, but it's important to understand what is included. Often you have to pay extra for ecommerce options. In any case, many small business owners entrust this research to their technical people.

Security and encryption

Security should be one of your top priorities when comparing hosting providers. For example, in a hacker attack on a store, some hosts simply disconnect the store from the internet. This radically stops the attack, but it is better to have a hosting provider that can filter traffic so that real customers can still visit your store.

Many hosting providers offer plans with one or more options for security features, and the full set can always be purchased for an additional fee. Here are the most popular options to choose from:

· Firewalls
· Domain name privacy
· SSL certificates
· Spam filters
· DDoS protection
· Virus protection

Hacking isn't just big business that competitors can hire against you. Bookstores are full of books for aspiring hackers, such as The Web Application Hacker's Handbook or Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started. With this in mind, your online store should not be an easy target for students wishing to practice malicious skills.

PCI DSS Compliance

PCI DSS requirements apply to any merchants, banks, providers of all kinds of products and services, retail stores, and to other enterprises and organizations whose activities are related to the processing, transmission, and storage of data on cardholder payments.

PCI DSS compliance is a necessity for any ecommerce web hosting service. When you're dealing with a huge amount of personal data, including credit card numbers, hacking can result in lawsuits and the bankruptcy of your business. 

One option to completely avoid responsibility for the leakage of bank card data is to use the bank’s payment gateways. When making a payment, the buyer goes to a secure bank webpage and makes the payment for your products or services there.

Storage size and backups

A modern online store is a website with many images, animations, and videos. Different hosting plans provide file storage limits. No servers and even the best ecommerce platform for b2b are entirely reliable, and failure can occur suddenly. Failures during software updates are widespread. In such cases, a backup copy comes to the rescue, which will help return the site to its last working state.

Not all hosting plans have automatic backups – some provide this for an additional fee or even make it the client’s responsibility. Creating backups irregularly can result in a significant loss of data about customers, orders, and goods. Therefore, choose a hosting provider that includes backups in the plan; in other words, the provider supports the entire ecommerce platform, and you don't need to do it for your store

Domains, SSL certificates, and dedicated IP addresses

Any site needs a domain name, usually chosen following the company's name or the main product. In addition to the traditional domain zones, such as .com, you can purchase a domain in thematic zones that emphasize the scope of your business or the level of professionalism of the company. For example, it could be .pro, .guru, or .shop, .store, .photo, .art, etc.

Many hosting providers offer to register a domain name for free if you buy a hosting service plan. Often these bonuses include an SSL certificate for the first year of domain registration.

If you want to deploy VPN or corporate remote access systems apart from the web server, you will need a dedicated IP address that no one else can use. It is also an ideal solution for accessing private servers securely.

SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS and How They Relate to eCommerce Hosting

You've probably heard terms like SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS and would like to know how they relate to the cloud hosting of an online store. The differences between these terms are whether you will install the server OS and ecommerce software yourself or if the provider will do this job for you.

This diagram shows different options for which software is served by the provider and which are done in house. Let’s go over what SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS mean below.

Figure 4. eCommerce IT Infrastructure Models

This diagram shows different options for IT infrastructure models. Let’s go over what SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS mean below.

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) means that the data center provides you with server hardware, disk storage, and multigigabit network connectivity to the internet backbone. You install the operating system for the server and the store software yourself. Next, you follow the updates to be sure it all works as it should.
IaaS looks very complicated, but it’s not so bad. To ensure that customers have minimal problems, the hosting provider can help you and do this work for you for an additional fee. The provider’s staff can even maintain your server, and this is called a managed service. A managed service, usually paid per hour, is quite expensive.

The advantage of IaaS is that you can choose the server performance, the operating system, and the ecommerce software for the online store from the market – you can even reinstall it every day if you wish to try various ecommerce software solutions.

In the PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) model, you are provided with server hardware and preinstalled operating systems of your choice, with tools for creating, testing, and launching applications. PaaS is more suitable for companies that want to change the code of the ecommerce software – for example, add some new features not available “out of the box.” We should stress that PaaS is not for newbies; it is for companies with strong IT teams and experience in ecommerce software customization.

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is a cloud model in which the vendor takes over all the tasks of deploying and maintaining applications required for running an ecommerce platform. This includes cloud hosting of servers, operating system installation, virtualization, and backup tools, middleware, and the online store app. This is a huge convenience for small and medium-sized businesses that want to go to market faster with their products and services and can afford the ecommerce software from the vendor as-is.

Although SaaS is very popular, you sometimes have a conflict between the perfect usability and the inability to change the platform's code for more advanced functionality and customize it for your business processes

FaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS Cloud Models – Choose the Best One for Your Business

Which eCommerce Hosting Fits You Best?

When looking for the best solution for ecommerce hosting with optimal feature sets, one of the most important factors is the ecommerce platform. Reliable and powerful infrastructure must be the foundation of your online store.

Typically, a web hosting provider offers you a bundle of common features. An ecommerce solution, on the other hand, is designed for the needs of your business from its inception.

All ecommerce platforms fall under either the self-hosted (IaaS) or hosted (SaaS) category. A self-hosted version (for example, Magento) means you take care of your own hosting and use the provided ecommerce platform. Hosted platforms (for example, Shopify or Volution) have full support for your website.
Some ecommerce platforms (for example, Virto Commerce) can provide you with both hosted and self-hosted options, among other customization features.

Considering the variety of popular offerings available on the market, you should pay attention to such a critical factor as performance. The loading speed of your website impacts everything from search engine ranking to visitors’ loyalty and satisfaction.

As we already mentioned previously, you can check the ecommerce platform speed with the Google PageSpeed Insight tool. Keep in mind that when assessing the page load speed by PageSpeed Insight or any other tool, it is necessary to take measurements at different times of the day and through various internet providers to obtain an average result.

When choosing a platform, make sure it is scalable enough to account for your business’s growth. A quality shopping cart is also vital for your store. Multi-language support, automatically calculated currency and tax rates, integrated payment gateways, and convenient shopping cart design are very important to managing a professional online store. Doing business online shouldn't be complicated. Making the correct choice regarding your ecommerce hosting and platform lets you run your store easily.

Top 8 Best Hosting for eCommerce

Many ratings are touting which companies are the best at hosting globally. We at Virto Commerce like the techradar.com rating for an independent, professional look at this niche. We borrowed from the ranking of the first three hosting companies.

Bluehost

You can find Bluehost web hosting provider at the top of the techradar.com rating. Arguably one of the world's most extensive website hosting providers, Bluehost powers over two million websites globally. It offers a broad range of web hosting choices.

Bluehost features an easy, integrated UI and excellent uptime during testing. If your priority is to create rich, colorful, and attractive pages for your website while still being reliable and functional, then this hosting platform is the way to go. You get a good set of ecommerce features, including SSL Secure Server, Shopping Carts from OS Commerce, Agora, Cube Cart, Zen Cart, Password Protected Directories, and OpenPGP/GPG encryption.

  • Wide variety of templates
  • Personal domain
  • Great UX with an integrated website builder
bluehost hosting

Bluehost eCommerce site hosting provider

HostGator Web Hosting

Outstanding and reliable plans for every single customer have earned HostGator its place in the spotlight. It is valued for an easy, yet robust array of functions and add-ons and is considered to be the best choice for new players in web hosting. Its gold-standard customer service leaves you without any worries of doing something wrong. However, there are certain areas in which HostGator loses to its competitors, such as limited VPS and dedicated server configuration options.

  • Robust apps and functions
  • Great user experience
  • Reliable plans
  • Outstanding customer service
HostGator hosting

HostGator ecommerce hosting website

InMotion Web Hosting

InMotion Hosting is a popular web host that has been in business for over 15 years and has an impressive array of plans in the world of web hosting platforms. It is packed with many useful features, including shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and tremendous 24/7/365 customer support that is always eager to solve any of your problems. However, despite good uptime and easy-to-use website building software, it lacks plans with a monthly billing option.

  • Customer support priority
  • Shared hosting
  • VPS hosting
  • Great uptime
  • Easy-to-handle building software
InMotion Web Hosting

InMotion ecommerce hosting sites

1&1 IONOS Web Hosting

Now is the time to move from the U.S. to the European continent and name 1&1 IONOS the largest hosting provider in Europe. It offers an affordable solution to its clients while at the same time providing them with rich website-creation tools that leave you satisfied. You may use it on Windows or even Linux-based servers, incorporating their easy-to-use website creation tools and templates. No setup fee is required while choosing 1&1 hosting; however, be aware of the short-term money-back guarantee periods.

  • Top choice in value
  • Rock-solid uptime
  • Easy-to-use tools for website creation
1&1 IONOS Web Hosting

IONOS – one of the best-hosted ecommerce providers

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is a long-time solid player in the market of web hosting that is packed with multiple useful features, including Linux and Windows-based hosting, outstanding customer support, email integration, and secure WordPress import. This is a great option for those who want a reliable host with a good tool for website building. 

  • Excellent uptime
  • Customer support is second to none
  • Linux and Microsoft-based hosting servers
  • Microsoft app integration
  • Personal domain transfer
  • Quick installation
GoDaddy

Best hosting ecommerce provider GoDaddy

Hostinger

Hostinger is an affordable provider that can become a great help in starting your eCommerce business online. Having 15+ years of expertise, they packed their offer with VPS hosting, Shared Hosting, and WordPress plans. Security is Hostinger’s strong side, as the team really cares about data safety and server shielding. The intuitive multilanguage hPanel adds to the support team’s dedication making the working process easy and smooth. Remember that buying the cheapest plan for your eCommerce hosting sites requires buying your domain separately.

  • Fast and secure servers
  • Convenient hPanel included
  • Fast performance and quick response time
  • Daily backups
  • Regular upgrades
hostinger web hosting

Hostinger ecommerce site hosting

A2 Hosting

If VPS hosting sounds right for you, here is an A2 Hosting provider that can rocket up your eCommerce website. It’s faster in everything: from CPU performance to page loading. The company offers Full Root Access for the ones who want to control it all, providing all kinds of hosting services (from Shared to Dedicated) and a bit more. Be ready to dive deep into the topic, as A2 Hosting has many plans to choose from.

  • PCI-compliant
  • Regular backups
  • Easy control
  • Deep industrial expertise
a2 web hosting

A2 Hosting – the best ecommerce host

Liquid Web

Scalability is everything. Liquid Web was created 25+ years ago to provide fully managed hosting services enabling businesses to grow and is probably the best ecommerce hosting for those who aim to scale. Choose the eCommerce platform that fits you best – Liquid Web will most possibly support it. Go from plan to plan, safely and up to date, and grow your business easily. But think twice if you are not a fan of third-party apps.

  • Downtime close to zero
  • Multi-server architecture for a higher performance
  • Server clusters
Liquid Web

Free & Cheap eCommerce Hosting

At the very start of your eCommerce hosting journey, you probably don’t want to pay a lot or even want to try something free. These hosting providers definitely exist and can work well for those starting to sell online. Consider Wix ($16 to $45 for a VIP plan) or Square ($0 to $29 and a small commission). Bear in mind that these platforms are good for starters only, as using free or cheap hostings can even be dangerous for bigger businesses needing good performance and regular backups.

If you are still unsure you need a paid plan, you better choose something like WPX, offering one or two free months as a trial period and many free features included like speed improvement and more.

Hosted eCommerce Solutions

What recommendations can we give when it comes to choosing a host for your store? Check for the cheapest SaaS model subscription plans from ecommerce vendors. If you find there is one that suits your budget, go with them. If you want to build a store website on your own, based on WordPress, for example, then choose a hosting provider based on the IaaS model and rent shared hosting.

The range of eCommerce hosting platform

The range of eCommerce hosting platform
Source

Choosing the right platform may be a challenge. However, you can always try various options to find yours. Asking the right questions on this journey can help you a lot.

  • What is the most important feature I should look for?
    • Definitely the speed and performance. Even if you are making your first steps, the power of your website is the key to your future successful sales.
       
  • How do I know the eCommerce hosting provider is good?
    • Pay attention to Security and Uptime.
    • Ensure the provider offers reliable customer service.
    • Check if backups are done often enough.
    • Ask if the provider can add new domains and email options.
       
  • Is there something to be aware of?
    • At the very first moment of establishing your eCommerce website, pay more attention to security, as fraud is the most often issue that eCommerce sellers encounter.

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Mary Gabrielyan
Mary Gabrielyan
Mary is an B2B marketer and ecommerce enthusiast with more than a decade of experience in media and marketing. She loves covering B2B marketing, user journey , and B2B customer experience related topics.
Dec 29, 2023 • 12 min
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