A domain name and a web hosting service both play a different, yet crucial role in the success of any e-commerce website. Before we talk about how you should go about building and setting up your e-commerce website, it’s important to learn more about domain names and web hosting themselves.
Defining the Terms
Let’s begin by discussing the three important parts that make up a website: domain names, hosting servers, and website files:
1. Domain Names
Computers use IP addresses to communicate with each other, just like you use phone numbers to call and talk to other people. On the Internet, domain names are quite like the entries in a phone directory. Just like the entries in a phone book can be used to call relevant people, domain names tell computers where a certain domain is hosted.
Without a domain name, you would need to tell people (and computers) that your website is located at a temporary address such as 126.96.36.199/~yourbusinesssite instead of a permanent domain name that is much easier, such as yoursite.com. This would make your website appear extremely unprofessional and would be impractical.
2. Hosting Servers
Web hosting services or a Linux virtual server is a space where you can park your domain. This is the place where all your website’s files will go and when people access your website domain, they will be taken to your website that is being hosted on a particular server.
Without any hosting services, you would have no place to put your website files and your domain would be like an out-of-order phone entry in a phone directory.
Having a reliable hosting service is extremely important to ensure that your website ranks well in search engines. If your pages load slowly despite being optimized, you should probably change your web host as changing the web hosting location directly affects site performance.
3. Website Files
The files of your website are the things that your visitors and prospective customers see when they are going through your website. These files consist of all types of documents and media files, including photographs, audio files, HTML files, and more.
The Linux virtual server knows how the files need to be read, and it determines which file it is supposed to send for viewing by the visitor – be it a blog or a post on a discussion forum.
Building an E-Commerce Website
Before you begin working on the design of your website, you will need to reserve a domain name and choose a web hosting service that will enable your visitors to see it.
Web hosts normally take care of all the technical responsibilities involved in running websites, allowing businesses to focus on doing what they do best: sell products online.
Register a Domain Name
There are many reasons why you should register a domain name. It is a practice among web developers that they register a domain name for their company’s website well before they even start designing the website. This is because it can be a challenge to get a good website domain, particularly if you are looking for a .com TLD. It may be that your preferred name is already taken by the time you finish developing your website.
Some of the reasons why you should have a domain name are as follows:
- If you change a web host later on, your domain name would remain the same and you can take it with you to your next web hosting service provider. The domain name becomes your identity.
- For e-commerce websites, a domain name would give the business credibility. People would be less willing to buy something from you if you do not have a domain name.
- Getting a domain name that contains the name of, or describes your company, serves to be a part of your branding efforts. People would be able to remember it easily.
- If you wish to get sponsors (advertisers), a good domain name would attract more of them.You will need to register a domain with a domain registrar of annual charges.
There are two distinct types of hosting services available, shared web hosting and dedicated web hosting. The former involves many websites being hosted on a single physical server. Each website is allocated a certain bandwidth and storage space completely separate from others.
Dedicated web hosting, on the other hand, is when an entire physical server is dedicated to only one website. While this may seem more viable because all resources are available for a single website, it’s not always so in terms of the costs.
Costs of Web Hosting
The cost of web hosting is dependent on various factors, including the number of sites a company wants hosted, the required storage space, the number of tools for building websites, and required email accounts.
The cost of Linux VPS hosting is lower than that of dedicated servers for obvious reasons. This, however, doesn’t make VPS hosting any less reliable – only more affordable. As a matter of fact, VPS hosting has made it possible for small businesses to establish their presence online.
What To Look for In a Web Hosting Service Provider
It happens very often that businesses look for the cheapest host out there, regarding their actual needs in an attempt to save a few bucks. You need to make sure you carefully consider all your needs, including the storage space and the amount of bandwidth you will need (depending on how much traffic you expect), and analyze your e-commerce site payment gateway server security to protect your customers’ payment details.
You should plan with some leeway to allow for expansion and choose a web host that can grow with you. Don’t forget the impact of e-commerce hosting on online sales – reliable hosts with high uptime and fast servers will help your website rank higher in search engines, resulting in greater traffic to your site, and eventually, greater conversions.