The choice of accommodation for its online store is eminently strategic. Whether you are on Prestashop, Magento, or WordPress and its WooCommerce module, the challenge of finding a good host is an essential step. It sounds obvious, but every time your web host experiences a jolt, your e-commerce site will suffer.
Perhaps you are even reading these lines have already suffered the consequences of a poor choice of web hosting, and you are thinking of changing your datacenter in Bangladesh. I will, therefore, try to give you the right advice so as not to be wrong or more.
The challenges of choosing a host
Poorly choosing your host and/or your web hosting offer exposes you to a triple penalty:
1. Availability of your shop
When your host is unavailable, your site is offline. Needless to say, at this point, your potential customers may abandon their basket and never return. There is, therefore, a dead loss of turnover which will be proportional to the period of unavailability of the host.
But it does not stop there. You will no doubt have undertaken marketing actions, such as online or social media advertisements. Campaigns that you usually pay for on display or per click and that turn out to be money thrown out the window at that point. Not only do you pay for a visitor who will not order anything from your store, but you also make them a disgruntled surfer who risks sharing their frustration on social networks. So your whole brand image takes a hit.
2. User experience
As an e-merchant, as you well know, the user experience is at the heart of all concerns. This notably goes through a fast site, fluid pages which must load instantly or almost. If the performance of your web hosting proves to be insufficient (lack of computing power, memory, overloaded database servers, etc.), even if you optimize your site, the user experience will remain disappointing. If the loading times are too long, it will even scare away your visitors.
In a famous article more than 10 years ago, Amazon said that when the display time of its pages increased by 100ms (0.1s), its turnover decreased by 1%. Recent studies show that this figure is now even underestimated as user expectations have become more demanding.
In 2018, Google published the following infographic about users who navigate from a mobile (now more than 50% of users):
This image illustrates how dramatic the increase in website loading time is. Thus, if the home page of your e-commerce site goes from 1 to 5 seconds, you increase by 90% the probability of losing the visitor.
You may know it, but the performance of your site has a direct impact on SEO in search engines. A slower than the average site will be penalized by Google. Also, if your site is often unavailable or regularly displays errors (error 500, error 403, etc.), the consequence will be a drop in the quality of indexing of your pages.
When you know the efforts to be made to reference your online store and the cost that results, it is extremely frustrating to see this work undermined because of a host that is not up to par.
What type of hosting for an e-commerce site
First of all, know that I devoted a full article to the different types of web hosting. Do not hesitate to browse it if you are not too comfortable with the notions of shared, shared hosting, cloud service provider in Bangladesh, dedicated server, VPS server, etc. to have complete information on the subject.
Shared (or shared) hosting: the default choice for small shops
It is the most widespread and simplest form of accommodation. As its name suggests, it shares resources between several sites hosted on the same server, or the same cluster of shared servers. It has the advantage of very economical cost (a few euros per month) and its simplicity. Its major drawback is the random nature of its performance, precisely because of the sharing of resources between websites.
Shared hosting is a relevant choice to start an e-commerce activity: as everything is managed by the host, you do not have to worry at all about the configuration or maintenance of the servers. You can devote yourself entirely to your shop and your activity, which requires an already significant personal investment when you start.
For the same reasons, the choice is also justified for small online stores that do not have the personnel necessary to manage the complexity of a dedicated server or a VPS.
However, if you opt for shared hosting, it is essential to choose your host carefully! Because if simplicity is good, the flip side is that you will have no control over the quality of web hosting provided to you. This will depend exclusively on the host's choices in terms of resource management policy, its ability to properly isolate websites, and the competence of its teams to react quickly in the event of a problem.
Dedicated server: suitable for medium-sized shops
Unlike shared hosting which shares the resources of a web server, the dedicated server is a computer that is completely assigned to you. In other words, you no longer have virtual resources, but physical resources: there is a CPU, RAM, a hard disk (preferably SSD) and even a network card, all this just for you!
What advantages will you tell me? Not necessarily. First of all, the cost: we are no longer talking about a few euros per month, but tens or even hundreds of euros monthly, depending on the power of the server. Then the administration of the server: it's up to you to manage. If you do not have the skills (and unless you are a computer engineer, you do not have them) you will, therefore, have to subcontract the outsourcing of the server either to your host if it offers this service, or to a third-party provider.
The dedicated server is suitable for medium-sized shops capable of mobilizing an annual budget of a few thousand euros. In return, you will place your site in the best conditions in terms of security, and especially performance.
Another considerable advantage of the dedicated server is its high degree of customization. If your site requires certain specific functionalities, a precise version of a programming language, a very precise database server, you are, as administrator (root) of the dedicated server, completely free to adapt the configuration.
VPS hosting: the perfect compromise?
This binary choice between shared and dedicated hosting occupied the conversations of webmasters, and then one day came the VPS: a virtual private server. It is a hybrid hosting which consists in having, virtually, your dedicated server. In reality, it's only a virtual machine, so a piece of a physical server, but the job of the virtualization layer is to make sure you don't notice it.