Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Choosing a Host for an E-Commerce Site

Appropriate disk space and traffic Limits are just the start. Here's what else to look for in your Web hosting package.

IF YOU PLAN to sell products and/or services choosing a host for your e-commerce site is an extremely important decision.

What factor should you consider? Cost, capacity and bandwidth of course — but those numbers don't tell the whole story. When one of my clients noticed that his Web site was going down two or three evenings a week, I discovered that the server hosting it was stored in the closet of a local IT services firm, If a glitch developed during the evening or on the week-end, no one could resolve it until the next business day.

To avoid such problems, look for a Web hosting service that offers 24/7 monitoring by on-site technicians in a major datacenter "Uptime" usually defined as the percentage of time during a given period that a site is accessible on the Internet—is crucial A good hosting service should deliver an uptime of 99.8 percent or better, that's less than 90 minutes of down-time (including Fretwork outages and scheduled maintenance) per month.

A good Web host should be willing to provide recent uptime statistics. Also, you should independently monitor your Website's uptime. Basic State (www. offers a free service that checks the availability of your Web site every 15 minutes and alerts you when it's down.

If you sell more than a couple of products and services, you’ll want a site with a database, like MySOL, where you can store the details. Your host should support a programming language (such as PHP) to run shopping-cart software too.

An administrative control panel will help you track site visitors and manage your domain's email accounts. Many control panels also help you obtain and install open-source Web apps—say, a forum or chat room—but I prefer to get apps from their source Web sites. That way I know I'm working with the most recent version of the app, and I have access to all available support resources.

SSL and IP Address

To reassure customers about the safety of their data, consider obtaining a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to support data encryption and to authenticate your business identity. You may purchase an SSL certificate from your host or from VeriSign. One caveat! You can get an SSL certificate only for a site that has a dedicated IP address, and most consumers IP assign addresses dynamitically – that one reason not to run a Web-based business from your home. Expect to pay extra for a fixed IP address.

If you need a larger site, Virtual Private Servers (VPSs) dedicate a range of memory, storage capacity, and data transmission for it. Typically a VPS server contains far fewer sites than a shared host. If your site keeps growing, you may want to host it on a dedicated server, either managed (your host handles software installations and updates, monitors performance, and the like) or unmanaged (you handle those services, and probably pay a biz Less).

Beware of services that charge unusually tow fees: They may be hosting too many sites or skimping on support.

Monthly fees for a good shared-hosting service should start at about $10. Man-aged dedicated servers start at several hundred dollars; and a VPS account should cost somewhere in between.

*.* Source of Information : April 2008 PC World

No comments: