An ecommerce business is a great line of work in today’s digital era. There are certain things that, if appropriately put in place, can generate handsome revenue and allow your online business to taste success without any trouble.
What does those things include?
Fresh entrepreneurs often confuse themselves with the nitty-gritty like the best platform to use or the best ecommerce hosting providers. So allow us to help you streamline your processes.
In this article, everything you need to know about the process of starting and scaling an ecommerce business. I will also tell you about some of the best hosting platforms for your ecommerce store.
Disclosure: This content has a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).
Table of Contents
How Do I Launch an Online Store?
The answer is:
- You need a winning product which you can confidently advertise, market and sell.
- A reliable web host for ecommerce so that your online store is available across the globe.
- Product Display Pages – They include everything about your product with HD images, detailed product descriptions, any ongoing offer, or similar products.
- An inventory management tool so that your customers are unable to place orders against products that are out of stock.
- A shopping cart tool so that your customers can add multiple products during their shopping spree.
- A smooth checkout process where your customers pay for your product without a hassle.
- Your very own ecommerce blog so that you can reach a wider audience organically.
- Customer service pages that allow your customers to state their concerns. Their feedback will allow you to rectify the mistakes you’re making and will help in designing marketing campaigns for various online selling seasons.
What Are Some of the Best Open-Source Ecommerce Hosting Platforms?
There are a number of open-source ecommerce business hosting platforms for you to choose from. The best part is the majority of them are inexpensive.
But, why do you need an open-source ecommerce hosting platform?
Open-source ecommerce platforms allow you to freely customize your website any way you desire.
These ecommerce business hosting platforms are developed and managed by a number of people around the world. You can easily find a collection of resources, documentation, and blog posts that can guide you along your entrepreneurial journey.
To give you a head start, following are some of the most popular open-source ecommerce business hosting platforms that you can use to scale your business with ease.
This complete open-source ecommerce hosting platform allows you to launch your online store, add or manage your inventory, let your customers use a shopping cart to buy products, and then process their orders with ease.
In a nutshell, OpenCart delivers all the standard ecommerce store functionalities you would need for your ecommerce business.
Being an open-source ecommerce business hosting platform, OpenCart scripts are available for free. It means you can conveniently modify this ecommerce platform however you see fit.
And the best part?
The best part about it is that you’ll get to enjoy free lifetime support and software updates as well.
If you want to try OpenCart, you must download it from its official website. You can then install it on a web server provided by your web host company.
However, in order to use OpenCart, the web server must meet certain requirements.
What are these requirements?
Your web server should:
- PHP (at least 5.2)
- Curl enabled
- Have a database (MySQL suggested)
Image via OpenCart
As an open-source ecommerce hosting platform, PrestaShop is totally free to use. However, that does not mean that PrestaShop is a zero expense ecommerce solution.
You obviously need to pay for a reliable web hosting provider. You might also have to purchase several, often expensive, modules to integrate different software programs with your online store.
If you lack technical knowledge, you might have to invest in an in-house web developer to assist you through the rough spots. Further on the downside, this ecommerce business hosting platform may be appealing at first with its affordable pricing plans.
However, if you aren’t careful, you can end up paying much more than fully-hosted options.
Image Via PrestaShop
Magento is an amazing open-source ecommerce hosting platform as Magento gears itself towards ecommerce. You do not need any exclusive add-ons in order to get the necessary ecommerce functionality on your web store.
What makes it a good choice?
Magento’s strength lies in its flexibility. You have complete control over the looks of your online store. You can come up with a design that is elegant and appealing at the same time.
Also, open-source ecommerce business hosting platforms like Magento allow you to respond to the varying trends swiftly and scale your ecommerce business every season.
And the best part?
This open-source ecommerce business hosting platform does not require entrepreneurs to create everything from ground level.
Image Via Magento
You will also have access to a number of extensions, themes, and other items to help you create the ecommerce website you’ve always wished for.
It is a massive open-source ecommerce business hosting platform with global developers actively contributing valuable insights and resources in order to continue improving its online community.
WooCommerce is used by entrepreneurs across the globe and its public reviews speak for itself.
Image Via WooCommerce
OsCommerce stands for Open-Source Commerce. This self-hosted ecommerce hosting platform helps you take care of your store’s front-end catalog, your products, as well as your backend management tasks such as adding products or managing sales.
How can you use OsCommerce?
You must first download it from the official website, and then upload it to your web server. The installation procedure is web-based and not that hard to get through.
OsCommerce allows you to modify things freely without worrying about violating any license agreements. There’s a lively community online that diligently helps you out with any issues you’re facing while using the platform.
OsCommerce is a great ecommerce business hosting platform with a number of add-ons available absolutely free. It offers a one-click installation facility along with many shared hosting packages, so setting up OsCommerce is fairly simple.
Image Via OsCommerce
Drupal is a great ecommerce hosting platform for online entrepreneurs. It can do almost everything you expect an ecommerce platform to do.
It's possible for you to seamlessly create and display a wide variety of products in your store. In addition, it provides inventory management capabilities.
It's possible to easily create sales funnels for your store that can help you simplify the checkout process.
And the best part?
The best part about this ecommerce business hosting platform is that it helps you with payment and shipping processes too. It's also got tools that can help you with invoices, receipts, customer orders, and more.
Image Via Drupal
NopCommerce offers loads of features that can help you sell through your website. It's possible to create projects and do several integrations with this ecommerce hosting platform.
Since it was established in 2008, over 50K stores have been opened using it. And it remains one of the most popular ecommerce business hosting platforms today.
What leads to NopCommerce’s popularity?
It's possible to run multiple stores on the platform and you can also use its multivendor. This ecommerce business hosting platform also allows you to use multiple languages and currencies. These features may be fairly difficult to understand and use in the beginning. But in the long run, they can help your business grow.
NopCommerce also offers over 2500 themes and plug-ins to simplify your website creation process. Additionally, it offers premium developer support at an additional fee. Alternatively, you can use their forum to ask questions and resolve them.
While this ecommerce business hosting platform offers some great features, it has a few drawbacks too.
What are they?
One of the biggest drawbacks being that you need some technical knowledge to launch your ecommerce store. However, after the initial setup, your won't require any technical know-how to run the store.
8. Spree Commerce
Spree Commerce is a relatively new ecommerce hosting platform and is based on Ruby on Rails. The best part of this platform is that it's fairly easy to configure and can be learned quickly. One of its biggest advantages is the fact that it can be configured easily.
This ecommerce hosting platform also supports many extensions, which makes it simpler to upgrade your website without any technical help.
However, the greatest advantage of Spree is its scalability and flexibility. Regardless of the size and nature of the store, you'll always be able to customize it to your needs.
It's this ease of use and scalability that has made it one of the fastest growing ecommerce hosting platforms.
Just like WooCommerce, Jigoshop is an ecommerce hosting platform for WordPress websites. It's a light platform that allows you to take advantage of loads of themes, plug-ins, and extensions. In addition to their own, you can use those of WordPress as well.
The ecommerce hosting platform is easy to use, just like WooCommerce.
But, there is a downside.
It can be time-consuming to post variations of each product, unlike WooCommerce. The latter allows you to link variations in the platform itself.
Jigoshop is a convenient ecommerce hosting platform for all those who want a basic store. You can, of course, scale it up at later stages by purchasing upgrades.
VirtueMart is the perfect ecommerce hosting platform for all those who are using Joomla as their CMS.
Why am I saying so?
Virtuemart makes it very simple for you to set up your ecommerce store. It also has a multilingual capability that can help you create your website in multiple languages.
This platform makes it very simple for you to setup your ecommerce store.
The ecommerce business hosting solution is SEO-friendly too and makes it easier for you to rank higher in the SERPs. The platform also gives you the capability to do invoicing and lets you manage your inventory with ease too.
While it may not be the best ecommerce hosting platform out there, it surely is the best for Joomla.
What Should You Look for in a Good Hosting Platform?
Ecommerce platforms are not an all-in-one solution. In order to succeed, you need a reliable web hosting provider for ecommerce businesses.
Once you know which ecommerce platform you will opt for, it is time for you to take on board one of the best hosting for ecommerce sites.
You can do so by prioritizing the three following aspects:
Running an ecommerce business means you would have to deal with sensitive customer information.
Hence, you must ensure your web host provides an immaculate ecommerce security service when it comes to handling your customers’ sensitive information like their names, contact numbers, email addresses, banking credentials, etc.
Why is this important?
Ensuring safe electronic transactions helps your customers purchase goods from your store through the internet. Having security protocols in place is also important if you want protection against online threats.
When it comes to ecommerce business, fraudulent identification and authentication are possible. Many entrepreneurs choose a reliable web host for ecommerce to ensure such ecommerce security protocols are in place.
Performance and Speed
Performance is king, and your customers are in no mood of waiting while your product page loads. If your page is too slow, your users will leave your website and search for similar products elsewhere.
You also need to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. According to InternetRetailer, more than 60% of consumers spend time shopping online on their mobile devices. In 2014, mobile commerce for the world’s 500 leading retailers surpassed $83 billion i.e. 80% more from $47 billion in 2013.
The performance and speed of your website are one of the core things that you need to have complete control over. They will actively influence your business goals. And the best way to ensure that is by onboarding the best web host for ecommerce business.
Uptime is an extension of performance. It is a metric that represents how fast your product page is loading.
An ideal ecommerce web hosting provider will offer an uptime as low as one second.
During the peak shopping seasons where you can expect a lot of traffic on your website, uptime becomes very essential. There is no worst time for your website to go down during an online shopping season like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
A reliable ecommerce hosting provider will not only provide a better uptime for your website but will also ensure that the downtime is avoided at all costs. It can cost you a lot more than money.
Business opportunities, team productivity, brand image, and organic ranking are just a few examples of the collateral damage your brand will have to suffer.
Your Ideal Ecommerce Hosting Solution
Cloudways is a developer-friendly managed cloud hosting provider and an excellent solution for your ecommerce hosting.
It creates a layer of abstraction and removes the pain of managing and scaling web servers so that you can spend your time more productively.
Let’s take a look at some of its important features that make it an ideal ecommerce hosting solution.
As its name suggests, Cloudways offers managed cloud hosting services from leading cloud infrastructure providers, including DigitalOcean, Vultr, AWS, Linode and Google Cloud Platform.
You can configure your cloud servers as per your business needs while Cloudways ensures the process remains quick and simple with its user-friendly interface.
Image Via Cloudways
Features & Services
Their console allows you to manage everything conveniently. Their One-Click features such as SSL certificate management and domain mapping will save you a lot of time.
Comparatively, such operations require a live support call which can go up to hours, but Cloudways lets you smoothly carry out the process yourself without investing a lot of time.
With Cloudways, you can set up your ecommerce business on cloud infrastructure within minutes. You get one free migration and alternatively, you can build your online store on popular CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento, WooCommerce, Joomla, etc.
The CloudwaysBot provides real-time notifications about your server status, backups, and upgrades alongside various tips and recommendations. It offers seamless integrations with your preferred channels including Slack, email, API, and HipChat.
That’s the only smart assistant you need to remain updated with the health insights of your cloud servers. Timely updates also allow you to enjoy complete control over their Pay-As-You-Go model.
Image Via Cloudways
You can pay for multiple servers and conveniently scale up to handle high-traffic seasons for as long as you need.
The pay-as-you-go model allows you to specify resources like RAM, processor, storage, and monthly bandwidth which means that you only pay for the services you consume.
From storage to memory, you have complete control over their pricing plans. Their managed services are available for as low as $10 per month which makes Cloudways an affordable, simple, and powerful web host for ecommerce.
Q1. What is ecommerce business hosting?
A. Ecommerce business hosting means making use of another company’s unused server space to host your ecommerce business. It provides your ecommerce site a server to reside on and services from the host company to optimize and secure the server.
Q2. What do I host on ecommerce websites?
A. In ecommerce hosting, the hosting platform provides a secure server and services pertaining to ecommerce, such as SSL, payment processing, shopping cart tracking software, etc.
Q3. Which type of hosting is best for ecommerce?
A. Traditionally, ecommerce hosting can be done in three ways:
- Shared: As the name suggests, shared hosting means you have to share server space with other websites, which can lead to slow loading and security issues.
- Virtual private server (VPS): With VPS hosting, you share server space with other websites, but enjoy dedicated resources. VPS hosting is costlier but more efficient than shared hosting.
- Dedicated: You enjoy a dedicated physical server and resources, which means robust security and high load speeds, but at a hefty cost.
Apart from the above, there is another hosting type that’s becoming popular these days – cloud hosting. It eliminates the need for physical servers since websites are hosted on off-premise virtual servers. Resources can be scaled as needed on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Q4. How many ecommerce hosting options are there?
A. Broadly speaking, ecommerce hosting options can be classified as:
- Self-hosting (on-premise)
- Software-as-a-service (SaaS)
- Infrastructure-as-a-service hosting (IaaS)
- Platform-as-a-service hosting (PaaS)
Q5. What is the best platform for ecommerce?
A. Some of the top ecommerce hosting platforms include:
- Spree Commerce
Q6. What features should an ecommerce host have?
A. While evaluating ecommerce hosts, compare them on the basis of these essential features:
- Uptime guarantee
- Reasonable bandwidth
- File storage space
- SSL and security options
- Auto-backing up
- Developer-friendly environment
- Proactive support
Q7. How do I launch an online store?
A. The roadmap to launching an online store should include the following steps:
- Research business models.
- Conduct niche research.
- Identify target market.
- Validate product idea.
- Register your business.
- Pick a robust hosting provider.
- Design your store.
- Launch your store and start attracting traffic.
Q8. Which ecommerce platform is best for small businesses?
A. For small businesses, an open-source hosting platform like OpenCart is the best bet. The platform allows you to launch online stores with ease and handles all your ecommerce-related processes efficiently. It can manage inventories, track shopping carts, and process orders while maintaining your store’s security and speed. Being open-source, it can be modified as needed to fit your business needs.
Q9. Is selling online worth it?
A. Online selling is a lucrative business, with most Amazon sellers making anything between $1K to $25K per month from the platform. Nearly 44% of Amazon sellers, called “super-sellers” earn upwards of $25K per month, which means $3 million annually.
Q10. What is the best open-source ecommerce platform?
A. OpenCart is one of the best open-source ecommerce platforms today. The platform allows you to launch online stores with ease and handles all your ecommerce-related processes efficiently. It can manage inventories, track shopping carts, and process orders while maintaining your store’s security and speed. Being open-source, it can be modified as needed to fit your business needs.
In a Nutshell
It is important to host your online store on a powerful and scalable ecommerce platform. With your business goals in front of you, it will become easier to identify which ecommerce platform can prove to be a success for your business.
Nonetheless, a reliable web host for ecommerce business is as important as the platform you choose. Both of them work together in order to help you scale your ecommerce business with ease.
In my opinion, there’s no better ecommerce hosting provider then Cloudways, who dedicatedly ensures seamless integration and making your ride worth the while.
Which ecommerce hosting platform are you using? Is it helping you achieve your business goals? Please share it with us in the comments below.
Disclosure: This content has a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).