The heart of every store operating on the internet market is the server. Although many beginners pay more attention to the design of the website, the template, and the products, it is equally crucial. What is better: to choose a medium packet of shared hosting or the cheapest VPS server?
It is a difficult question as all web host providers advertise themselves as the best, the most reliable, and the cheapest. VPS hosting is considered expensive hence shared hosting is more popular, but if we are talking about hosting for an online store – is a shared one a good direction?
The market is extensive and there are plenty of tempting options within it. It's hard to find the absolute best company - number one among all web hosts. Remember that an online store is a specific type of website; it needs different parameters and things than a normal website or blog.
What is hosting for an online store?
It is a type of web service performed by a hosting company providing space on a server, thanks to which clients can access the store accessed on the internet. Even though you can find many different packages with any service provider, there are three main types: shared hosting, VPS, and dedicated server.
Although the target customer does not pay attention to hosting (when the store is slow, the customer blames the store itself), it is the absolute basis for the operation of the online store. The client will not be able to distinguish what type you are using, but for you, the difference between shared hosting, low-cost VPS, and a powerful dedicated server will be essential.
A shared server is not a good choice for eCommerce
A shared server is one of the most popular solutions because it is the cheapest. VPS hosting, however, does not necessarily have to be much more expensive. What’s more, if you are serious about your business, don't follow the crowd.
For you as the owner of an online store, it may not be enough. As its name suggests, you share space on the server with other users. It means you share its disk, CPU, and RAM with other clients. You have no control over the server or performance because it is managed by the hosting company, while performance depends on other customers. If one website takes up too much RAM and CPU power, your website will load slower and run slower.
One of the benefits is no requirement for any special knowledge, but it is a bit tricky. The host itself takes care of its maintenance, as well as the efficiency of the entire service. You will get access to the administration panel, but as often as not it will be DirectAdmin; not the best panel. However, your administrative capacity will be small: you can add a domain, create a database and e-mail accounts, and upload files via an FTP account.
Choose Low-Cost VPS
A virtual Private Server is a part of the physical server dedicated to the client. It gives access to the operating system and resources: the client has RAM and processor cores for its use. It is a myth that VPS is expensive. The cheapest VPS comes at the price of an average shared hosting package (around $5 a month).
And even the cheapest VPS server allows you to become independent. Instead of limited DirectAdmin, you can have a VPS with Cyberpanel; a free and many times better panel to manage your server. Using VPS you don't have to worry about other websites on the server. Only you are using the resources allocated to you.
The disadvantage is that you have to deal with this server yourself, but this disadvantage also has advantages. VPS with Cyberpanel, cPanel, or Plesk offers considerable opportunities and is much more comfortable in the long term. You'll be able to manage many more things, and the SSH console will let you use commands that will enable you to do absolutely anything you want.
A dedicated server is too expensive
By choosing it, the provider rents you a real machine located directly in the server room, at your sole disposal. Due to its form, it is the most expensive option and exceeds the needs not only of a small but even almost every online store. Only the giants like eBay or Etsy need a powerful machine like that.
A dedicated server is not an ordinary personal computer. To build this machine, the technicians use multi-core processors and a monstrous amount of RAM. And we don’t speak about eight cores – it is the small one. We are talking about multiple of the most powerful processors with more than 64 GB RAM.
These machines require proper configuration and management. Massive computing power, vast disk space, powerful processors, and a large capacity of RAM allow you to handle any type of website. But the price is also amazingly high – the cheapest option costs $130 per month.
The most important parameters of good hosting for an online store
How much space you need depends on the quantity and quality of the photos, because they will weigh the most. However, I recommend that you focus on speed and use light photos. Thanks to this, the website will load faster. Consequently, you need to have access to 20 GB of disk space.
More important than space is the type of disk. You need an NVMe SSD disk that will allow you to load photos in the blink of an eye and there are no compromises in this matter. But don’t worry, you can find cheap VPS SSD NVMe without problems.
Unlimited transfer and mail accounts
Each page load generates a transfer. You can't afford to let your website go down for two weeks at some point. The transfer must be unlimited. The same with a number of e-mail accounts. When running your store, you will want to set up separate e-mail addresses for yourself, technical support, returns handling, and each employee. You can’t be limited in managing your space.
Both you and your clients need to feel safe. You can take care of many aspects of security yourself, but some are outside your control. The service provider must take care of particular things. He must keep the PHP version up-to-date, as this affects not only the operation of the store and access to new functions but also security.
Even if you choose the cheapest VPS servers, a free SSL certificate has to be included in the price. It is a must-have for an online store. No customer will provide his data if the connection is not encrypted, so your provider must equip you with a free SSL certificate.
The hosting provider has to create a backup copy regularly. It will allow you to restore your store in the case of a failure, attack, or virus infection. And, of course, you need protection against attacks, a very effective firewall, and protection against DDoS attacks.
Access to the efficient administration panel
The best will be cPanel, Plesk, or Cyberpanel. VPS Server requires a good and intuitive administration panel to help you manage your server properly. The mentioned panels are also well suited for eCommerce, providing many useful functions.
The panel selection is related to the CMS you want to use. If you bet on WordPress with WooCommerce, VPS with Cyberpanel will be the best, because it works based on Open Lite Speed, which works with WordPress much more effectively than Nginx or Apache.
Your website must be available without interruptions. It must be online all the time, at night, on weekends, and holidays. Always. The hosting provider should guarantee a low frequency of failures and be able to deal with them quickly.
Technical assistance and support.
Being a beginner, but also a more experienced seller, you do not need to know about purely hosting matters. But you need to have access to real specialists in the industry who will help you solve any problem related to your online store.
And it shouldn’t be relevant if you get the cheapest and fast VPS hosting or powerful dedicated server – you need to choose the provider that will guarantee the best technical assistance from an experienced support team.
Properly selected web hosting for an online store is its absolute foundation, influencing every aspect of its daily functioning. A well-chosen server will make the store load faster and more efficient, and at the same time, it will be available non-stop - without any interruptions in functioning.
This, in turn, will trigger a domino effect and make more of your visitors stay in the store, make purchases, and are much more likely to return to it to spend more money. The server will also influence the positioning process, making it more effective and faster.
Unfortunately, most novice store owners are still opting for shared hosting. We recommend that you do not compromise on this issue, opting for a professional solution that will last for many years. It is what VPS is. If you are concerned about whether you will be able to run and manage it, don't worry. With Plesk, cPanel, or Cyberpanel VPS will be as simple to manage as shared hosting.