Hosting- everyone’s favorite topic to hate on. What’s a host?, why do I need it? How much is it?, Which providers are good and which aren’t?. Ask a 100 people these questions and you’ll get a 100 different responses.
If you’re launching a new eCommmerce store, you’ll need a website. To run that website, you need a host. Unfortunately, you need to sign up for hosting during the early stages of building an eCommerce business, a period of time where most people don’t have much knowledge or experience to really understand what to look for. So I’ve created this really simple guide for new eCommerce store owners who need advice on selecting the right hosting provider/package.
What is Hosting?
Think of hosting as a home base or a giant filing cabinet. When you create a website, you need to install software, setup email, create user accounts etc etc. All that stuff is done on a host. At the end of the day, a host is simply a computer where your files are stored. That computer is located in a data center and it running 24/7.
Do I absolutely need to get a host?
No. You only need a host if you want to build a website using a self-hosted software such as Woo-Commerce, WordPress, Prestashop, Opencart, Magento and others. If you’re building your eCommerce site using Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace or Volusion, you don’t need your own private host.
What kind of hosting package do I need?
Generally speaking, there are 3 types of hosting packages. Shared, VPS and Dedicated. Let me save you some time and tell you, if you’re a new eCommerce startup then all you need is a basic shared hosting plan. When your site begins to grow (10,000 + visitors/mo) then you can upgrade to a VPS or dedicated package.
How much should I pay for Hosting?
Shared hosting plans cost anywhere from $4-$8/mo.
Who is the best shared hosting provider?
When it comes to shared hosting providers, here’s what you need to know:
- EIG (Endurance-International-Group) is one of those massive corporations that owns all the popular hosting companies. Hostgator and Blue Host are just a couple of the hosting providers EIG owns. You can see a complete list here. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but generally speaking, people look unfavorably on EIG.
- Most of the reviews you read on host providers are either fake or paid for by the hosting companies.
- Many people recommend Hostgator and Blue Host, not because they’re the best, but because they pay the highest commissions.
- Generally speaking, all host providers promise the same thing. 99% uptime, 24/7 support, unlimited everything (even though there’s no such thing as unlimited everything).
- Don’t use GoDaddy Hosting, it’s a total rip-off.
All this to say, don’t worry too much about which provider to choose. They’re all the same. They’re all great until something goes wrong at which point they all suck.
You could have 364 days of problem free hosting, but you’ll only remember the day your site crashed and had to wait 40 minutes to speak to a service agent.
I’ve used Hostgator, BlueHost, Namecheap and have experienced similar results. They’ve all been great and they’ve all sucked. Just make sure you pick a hosting package that includes a control panel (aka cPanel). This will make it easier to manage your stuff like email, software and backups. Personally, I use Kickassd
What about a domain, do I need that also?
Yes. You need to register a domain. Most hosting packages offer free domain registration but I recommend keeping the two separate. This way if you ever change host providers you don’t need to worry about transferring your domain. I usually register my domain with GoDaddy or Namecheap.
So there you have it, hosting explained. Seriously, don’t sweat over picking a host. Just choose a provider that gives you unlimited domains, 24/7 support and cPanel , all for under $6/mo.