Web Hosting And eCommerce

One of the most thriving sectors of the Internet is eCommerce. People are getting more and more used to buying from Internet shops and every year the volume and value of sales increases a lot. If you are interested in opening your own eCommerce web site here are a few essentials you should know before you start.

The first thing you will need, is, of course, a product or service that you can sell. If you do already have a shop, you can open a website that will sell the same products to a wider audience. The number of products you sell will be a big factor in the type of hosting package you require. For example, if you have less than 20 items, you could set the website up on a very small hosting account. If however you choose to list hundreds of products, you will probably need more disk space, more bandwidth, and more options like databases and a secure connection for accepting payments.

Since the crucial part of eCommerce is getting paid, let’s take a look at the many payment options offered. In fact, there are two basic options – gathering payment information directly or hiring a third-party service to process credit cards.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

If you plan to get or already do have a merchant account which allows you to process credit cards you will need to have a web site with a secure connection. The secure connection provides a method to encrypt sensitive information so that it cannot be intercepted and read as it travels across the Internet. If you don’t have a secure connection (indicated by https at the start of the URL) customers won’t feel safe and this will reduce their chances of buying from you.

In order to get a secure connection, you will need to apply for an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. These certificates are issued by companies such as Thawte which will ask you for some information which can be verified concerning your identity and location. Once you obtain the certificate it must be installed on your web site. For this you will need a unique IP address – available at an extra cost from most web hosts. You might have to pay an extra fee to get the certificate installed.

Third Party Gateways

If this option sounds too complicated, you can alternatively go with a third party service that will handle all the financial transactions for you. When they complete a sale, your customers will be redirected to the web site of the payment service where they can provide their credit card details. Some of these services might ask you for setup fees and charge you a commission for each sale, and some others (such as PayPal) charge nothing for the set up and simply ask for a percentage of each sale.

Shopping Carts

A shopping cart is a script which you can install in your hosting account. They can make the whole eCommerce experience more automatic by organizing your products into categories, creating pages that will describe the categories as well as individual items, allowing you to keep track of returning clients, and suggesting other items for the customer to buy before they check out. You can also make your customers rate the products they have just purchased from your shop.

Whilst providing a structure for your online business, shopping carts can provide a more satisfying shopping experience. Many hosting packages include free shopping cart scripts like Miva, Agora, osCommerce, and Zen. When you choose an eCommerce package, make sure it will support your chosen method of payment gateway. For instance, if you already have a merchant account with your local bank, use that as your basis for choosing a shopping cart which can support that particular method of payment.


Martin Redford is contributing editor at WebDesignArticles.net. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.

Web Hosting For Multiple Domains

Thanks to how low domain names cost as well as hosting fees, these days you can own several websites without breaking the bank. Domain names can be managed in several different so it is important to know what your options are and the advantages and disadvantages of every method.

When administering multiple domains, the basic choice is whether or not to do so with the same host. The majority of hosts offer packages which can be set up to allow several sites on one account, or to allow individual sites to be activated under split accounts.

You might have an existing website and are satisfied with the services your host provides you with. If you choose to start a new website by using the same host, you will feel assured that you are dealing with a company you can trust and are familiar with. You might also get a reduction for each additional account you open with the same host. Alternatively, making use of a new host for a second (or third or fourth) website can enable you to between the various qualities of hosting offered by different companies. Additionally, separate hosts will provide each of your web sites with a different IP address.

Having dissimilar IP addresses can be an important element if you plan to link the sites together to help with the search engine optimization. Incoming links are an important indicator of the significance of a website, so it is possible for a site with a lot of incoming links to get a higher position in search engines like Google. If all the links are coming from the exact same IP address, however, their value may be reduced. Hosting your many sites with different hosting companies will ensure that every site will have a different IP address. Individual IP addresses, nevertheless, are available as an additional tool from most web hosts. For a yearly fee each website is able to have its own unique IP address. This can help with search engine ranking and will also be required if you want to have a secure connection (https) on your site.

If you decide to get all your sites hosted with the same company, there are three basic methods you can employ. Each site can have its own account; you could sign up for a re-seller account; or you can get a dedicated server account.

As a re-seller you will be acting as an agent for the hosting company. You will be given a certain quantity of disk space and bandwidth and you will be free to make use of them as you like. There could be a limit to the amount of websites you can host with your re-seller account, but if there is some space left over after using this account for your own sites you could put some extra money in your pocket by selling your accounts to other people. The benefit of a re-seller account is that all the technical details will be taken care of by the hosting company. Some will even provide gateways for helping you to better bill your customers.

A dedicated server account will help you better control all the resources of an entire server. You will be free to setup as many websites as you would like to and allocate disk space and bandwidth as you see right. The disadvantage to this kind of account is that you will be responsible for the server’s upkeep. This might mean that you will need a significant level of technical experience. Therefore, if you don’t have that knowledge or if you don’t feel like learning about it, dedicated servers aren’t for you. Obviously, it will always be possible for you to go with a managed dedicated server. The disadvantage of this is the higher cost that will be involved.

Having all your sites hosted with only one host can offer lots of advantages but there is one major disadvantage which is that if your server goes down, all your sites will go down. If you depend on your sites for income this can be a potentially fatal situation for your business. Due to this fact, it is a good idea for you to have at least one of your sites with a different host. If your sites are important for your livelihood and you cannot afford any down time whatsoever, it would be better advice for you to host everything with two hosts minimum.


Nora Roberts is contributing editor at WebDesignArticles.net. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.