6 Best Web Hosting Providers for eCommerce Sites
Have you been dreaming of launching your own eCommerce business? It may seem like a far-off reality that requires countless steps – many of them confusing. One of the first of these head-scratching hurdles is choosing the right web hosting provider.
Fortunately, finding the best web hosting for eCommerce doesn’t need to be stressful. There are lots of secure, user-friendly solutions out there. You just need to know what features they offer, so you can select the perfect fit for your online store.
In this post, we’ll cover why choosing the right eCommerce web hosting solution is an important business decision. Then we’ll go over the key features to look for when making this choice. Finally, we’ll offer a list of some of the best web hosting providers for eCommerce businesses and how to pick one. Let’s get started!
Why Your Choice of eCommerce Hosting Provider Matters
When you’re creating any WordPress site, it’s important to set strong foundations and focus on best practices. Your site needs to be stable and run smoothly. Good web hosting can provide the infrastructure you need.
However, the wrong web hosting choice can do exactly the opposite and have negative effects on your eCommerce store. Without sufficient attention and resources, your site may not be able to handle traffic, lack appropriate features, or present security risks to your customers. Therefore, this is a decision to make carefully.
What to Look For When Choosing a Web Hosting Service
Above all, you’ll need a dependable eCommerce hosting provider that is suitable for your unique needs. However, before you can identify what that is, you’ll want to make sure you understand the basics of web hosting.
In a nutshell, web hosting services enable you to make your website live on the internet. You rent space on one or more servers, giving you a place to store your site’s files so that people can access them through web browsers.
Some ‘website builder’ platforms come with hosting included. Other platforms, such as WordPress, are ‘self-hosted’. This means you’ll have to find and purchase a hosting plan on your own. We’ll delve more into both of these options shortly.
Key Features of Web Hosting Platforms
It’s important to know what features to look for in an eCommerce hosting provider. That way, you can figure out what is essential, and what exactly you’ll need for your site:
Here are some of the key features you should consider when choosing a web hosting provider for your eCommerce store:
- Bandwidth. This limit is measured in gigabytes (GB). It gauges the flow of data between your website and visitors. The more traffic you expect, the more GB you’ll need to accommodate it.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) availability. If you expect global visitors or sizable traffic, you may want to consider a CDN. This will help ensure that your site is fast and runs smoothly, no matter where your customers are.
- Security. This is especially important for a site that handles payments, which is the case for any eCommerce business. At a minimum, you’ll want SSL certificates, automatic backups, and regular PHP updates. You may also want to research additional safety tools like reCAPTCHA to deter spam bots.
- Site performance monitoring. From page speed to data analytics, staying vigilant of your site’s performance will ensure a quality user experience for your customers.
- eCommerce capabilities. Many web hosting providers offer specialized plans for eCommerce stores. They may come with useful bonus capabilities that help visitors find items in your store, or practical themes geared towards eCommerce needs.
You may have other unique needs, depending on the type of store you’re running and your niche. We’d suggest taking the time to compile a list of your requirements before searching for a hosting provider, so you know exactly what to look for.
Paid vs. Free Web Hosting Platforms
Most web hosting will cost you something. Typically you’ll pay a monthly fee, which could be anywhere from $5 to hundreds of dollars depending on the type of plan you sign up for.
There are also a handful of free hosting providers and plans out there. Although these may be a good option for a hobby blog or a temporary site, free web hosting doesn’t typically offer the level of power and functionality you’ll need for an eCommerce store.
With free hosting, you almost always face limitations. Whether it’s few website themes, a lack of reliable customer service, restricted resources, or slow servers, you’re bound to run into issues that could negatively affect your eCommerce business. Therefore, we’d highly recommend opting for a premium hosting plan.
6 Best Web Hosting Providers for eCommerce Sites
While every online store has unique needs, there are some trusted (and popular) choices for web hosting that you’re bound to encounter. What follows are six of the top web hosting providers, along with a summary of their key features, strengths, and weaknesses. This list includes both self-hosted platform options and website builder solutions.
At WP Engine, we offer WordPress eCommerce hosting plans that are specifically designed for WooCommerce stores. In addition to the essential features needed for security, backups, and performance, you’ll benefit from extensive eCommerce functionalities and integrations.
Some of the features you’ll get include:
- One-click store creation
- Instant store search
- Automated plugin updates
- Optimized store themes
- One-click staging site
- 24/7 support
WooCommerce hosting is an excellent, customizable option with extensive functionalities. However, one possible downside is that it only works with WordPress. If you are familiar with other Content Management Systems (CMSs), you may want to stick with what you know.
Pricing: We offer eCommerce hosting plans that start at $30 per month (if you pay annually).
Chances are you’ve heard of this one. Shopify is well known in the eCommerce world. In fact, it’s a major competitor of WooCommerce:
It’s important to note that Shopify is actually a website builder, with hosting built into its plans. Here are some of its most notable features:
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 70+ professional themes
- Mobile commerce ready
- 100 payment gateways
- Automatic taxes
Shopify is a powerful platform that can serve as a great all-in-one solution for your eCommerce business. However, if you plan to take advantage of its many payment gateway options, be careful of transaction fees, which range from 0.5 to 2 percent.
Pricing: Shopify offers plans starting at $29 per month.
BigCommerce is another website builder that comes with hosting bundled in. In addition, it provides a sophisticated framework and robust social media integrations for your eCommerce business:
Here are some of its standout features:
- Theme customization
- Headless WordPress integration
- Global CDN
- Social commerce
- Easy B2B payments
BigCommerce definitely lives up to its name. However, while it’s an elegant and expansive solution, it may be too complex for more modest eCommerce stores. It’s most ideal as an option for more experienced WordPress developers.
Pricing: BigCommerce offers plans starting at $29.95 per month.
This is yet another all-in-one store builder that includes web hosting in all of its plans. Volusion offers impressive eCommerce software, and boasts nearly 200,000 users worldwide:
Volusion users can create, manage, and expand their online stores, all from one intuitive dashboard. This provider also offers 24/7 support from Austin-based eCommerce experts.
Some of Volusion’s key features include:
- Responsive themes
- Secure checkout
- Firewall settings
- Barcode generator
- Powerful SEO
Volusion offers a quality, user-friendly solution for eCommerce businesses. One downside, however, is that each plan has a specific sales limit.
Pricing: Volusion offers plans starting at $26.10 per month (billed annually).
Ecwid is an award-winning service that offers customizable plans. You can add the Ecwid shopping cart to a variety of CMSs, including WordPress, Squarespace, and Joomla.
Ecwid also integrates with other useful eCommerce platforms like Square, Stripe, and Amazon. Plus, it enables you to easily sell on pretty much any social media platform you can think of:
Here are some of Ecwid’s standout features:
- Quality customer care
- Complete security
- ‘Buy Now’ buttons
- Global language detection
- Discounted shipping with USPS
Ecwid is one of two web hosting services on our list that offer a free plan. It’s a solid solution for small eCommerce businesses, but with its sales limits, it may not be a good fit for larger online stores.
6. Big Cartel
Pricing: Ecwid offers plans starting at $15 per month.
Big Cartel is a popular option for ‘artists and makers’. It’s more of a boutique choice for web hosting, which may be well suited to smaller-scale creators:
Big Cartel also offers a limited free plan that enables you to sell up to five products. If you want to sell more than that, you’ll need to choose a paid plan.
Here are some of Big Cartel’s key features:
- Customizable themes
- Real-time stats
- Google Analytics integration
- Shipment tracking
- Sales tax autopilot
This is an affordable option for creative entrepreneurs who may have a small number of products to sell. However, its offerings are not as robust as some other plans.
Pricing: Big Cartel offers plans starting at $9.99 per month.
How to Choose the Right Web Hosting for Your eCommerce Site
When it comes down to it, every web hosting provider has its pros and cons. A website builder may be a great option for smaller eCommerce businesses, or if you’re starting from the beginning and you want to streamline your process.
Using a combined option like WooCommerce and WP Engine may be a better choice if you already have an established WordPress website and you are monetizing it. It may also be ideal if you want to create a large store with lots of products and establish a clear brand.
We know that getting your online store off the ground can be stressful. With so many eCommerce hosting providers available, how are you supposed to know where to begin? The key is to first consider what features you need, and carefully compare each of your options.
Let’s review a few of the top eCommerce hosting solutions out there:
- WooCommerce Hosting: Combines WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin with WP Engine, to offer a robust eCommerce solution for ambitious brands.
- Shopify: Offers hosting in an all-in-one website building solution.
- BigCommerce: Provides a sophisticated framework for more advanced WordPress developers.
- Volusion: Comes with quality customer support and a user-friendly dashboard.
- Ecwid: Has a free plan and strong social media integrations.
- Big Cartel: Offers affordable plans that are great for artists, makers, and creators.
Do you still have questions about the best web hosting for your eCommerce business? Let us know in the comments section below!