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The 3 Best E-Commerce Hosting Solutions Compared

Finding a decent web host is hard enough if you’re running a regular website – never mind if you’re looking for one that can power an online store. To make your life simpler, we took it upon ourselves to look for the some of the best e-commerce hosting solutions out there. (Hard data inside.)

Not all hosting solutions are made equal, however. If you’re in the field of e-commerce, you need something more robust and safe than regular hosting plans can give you. That way, you can provide a top-notch experience for your customers.

In this article, we’ll compare three of our favorite e-commerce hosting solutions. We’ll cover the features they offer for online stores, the state of their support and security systems, and their performance. We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s jump right in!

 

The key features of an e-commerce hosting solution

When choosing a web host for your e-commerce site, you need to be a bit pickier than usual. We’re not talking strictly about performance either – some hosts simply offer more features specific to e-commerce needs.

Let’s not forget, it’s your business that we’re talking about here … having the site down for even a relatively short period of time can be brutal on your wallet.

For instance, it’s estimated that Amazon loses $2 million for every minute of downtime!

Granted, the situation is probably not as brutal for you, but still any dollar lost due to website problems is something you shouldn’t have to deal with.

As far as we’re concerned, these are the key features you should keep an eye out for when looking for the right host:

  • PCI compliance. If your online store will accept credit card payments, it’s crucial that your host is fully compliant with PCI standards. This is a requirement. Don’t dismiss this as something you “don’t need yet.” Here’s the crucial part: “PCI applies to ALL organizations or merchants, regardless of size or number of transactions, that accepts, transmits or stores any cardholder data.”
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. SSL certificates enable you to encrypt your customer’s data for added protection, and they’re quickly becoming the standard even beyond e-commerce. Ideally, you should look for a host that facilitates the setup process for you. And if the host works with Let’s Encrypt – which is free – then even better.
  • Dedicated IP addresses: Dedicated IP addresses are reserved for non-shared hosting plans. These may be a bit more expensive, but a professional e-commerce site usually warrants the cost. Furthermore, having your own IP address ensures that you can access your site even if your domain is down, and lets you opt for a private SSL certificate.
  • Backup functionality. There are plenty of ways to set up scheduled backups for any platform, but it’s always nice when a web host takes care of that aspect for you. A comprehensive hosting plan will include regular backups and provide you with simple restore options.
  • Firewall solution. This is hardly a groundbreaking feature, but it’s still nice to know that your host has its own firewall solution set up. That way, it can protect you in case your website gets attacked by some bot network or another kind of automated DoS attempt – meant to prevent genuine users (in this case, your customers) from accessing your online store.
  • Around-the-clock support. Downtime is the stuff of nightmares for any online store. Not only do you lose out on potential sales each time your store is unavailable, your customers may get the impression your operation isn’t professional. That’s why a good e-commerce host will take all necessary measures to minimize downtime.

Throughout this article, we’ll let you know what web hosts offer each of these features, which should help you make an informed decision. If you don’t see a particular feature listed under the host’s e-commerce specific features section, then that host doesn’t offer it. We’ll also let you know when a key feature is only available on certain plans.

That said, we recommend you don’t make your choice based solely on a list of features. After all, each web host has unique strengths that you’ll want to take into consideration, which we will discuss below.

 

The three best e-commerce hosting solutions compared (in a nutshell)

If you don’t have time to read an in-depth comparison right now, check out this summary of our results (and come back later for the full story!):

Best E-Commerce Hosting Solutions Compared
InMotion SiteGround A2 Hosting
E-commerce plans start at ($ per month) $5.99 $3.95 $3.92
Support knowledgeability and response times 3/5 5/5 5/5
Security features 4/5 5/5 3/5
Minimum page load time (in seconds) 0.27 0.73 0.21
Maximum page load times (in seconds) 0.37 0.89 0.45
Performance (taking into consideration the scores above) 5/5 4/5 5/5
Overall score 4/5 4.6/5 4/5

The best e-commerce hosting solutions compared (in full)

If you’re involved in the field of e-commerce, then you know how important picking the right host can be. It’s a choice that can have a severe impact on the success of your online store. With that in mind, we’ve selected three hosts that stood out in the results of our own hosting survey.
To get a more complete picture, we set up a simple WooCommerce store with a handful of products using each host. We used the same setup for all three e-commerce hosting solutions – including the store itself and all the other plugins we used – and tested them using Pingdom and Load Impact.

Here’s what we discovered about each host, in no particular order:


InMotion Hosting is renowned for its low prices and comprehensive feature set, and its e-commerce hosting solutions are no exception.

E-commerce specific features

  • Dedicated IP addresses for some of their plans (those that don’t fall under the shared hosting umbrella)
  • Various SSL options
  • Supports multiple e-commerce platforms including PrestaShop, OpenCart, Magento, and WooCommerce
  • PCI compliant
  • Around-the-clock support
  • Automatic backups

Support and security

InMotion Hosting’s E-Commerce Hosting plans offer a stable hosting solution on a budget. You get access to a decent set of security features and regular support options, although the host doesn’t excel in either area. However, for this price point you’ll be hard pressed to find a better alternative.

Page speed tests with Pingdom

To gauge each host’s performance, we ran the same two tests. The first measured regular loading times, and we checked them using three different servers:

Basic load testing with Load Impact

For our second test, we checked how our online store fared under a bit of stress – namely, a simulation of up to 25 concurrent users:
  • Load Generator: Ashburn, US
  • Test Server: Ashburn, US
  • Minimum Response Time: 0.27 seconds
  • Maximum Response Time: 0.37 seconds

Final thoughts on InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting’s E-Commerce Hosting plans are a decent pick for small stores and those new to the field of e-commerce. You get a good set of scalability options and blazing performance at a low price. At the end of the day, however, you’ll probably want to upgrade to their more expensive VPS plans once your store starts growing.

Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all e-commerce plan, SiteGround offers tailored hosting for several major e-commerce platforms. These include WooCommerce (as seen above), PrestaShop, and Magento.

E-commerce specific features

  • Web Application Firewall (WAF)
  • Free Let’s Encrypt certificates
  • Custom hosting plans for several major e-commerce platforms
  • 24/7 support
  • Fully PCI compliant (albeit only for their more expensive tier of plans)
  • Daily backup service

Support and security

During our tests, we found that SiteGround’s support team was highly knowledgeable and quick to answer any questions we had via live chat. Furthermore, they offer a nice set of security features that go well beyond what you’d expect based on their low prices.

Page speed tests with Pingdom

Basic load testing with Load Impact

  • Load Generator: Ashburn, US
  • Test Server: Ashburn, US
  • Minimum Response Time: 0.73 seconds
  • Maximum Response Time: 0.89 seconds

Final thoughts on SiteGround

Much like our first pick, SiteGround offers a great e-commerce hosting experience at very reasonable prices. Their support team is fantastic, and their security features are a boon for both growing e-commerce enterprises and those just starting off. That said, their e-commerce performance is pretty good, but they offer little in terms of scalability (due to a limited selection of plans).

Rounding off our list, we have A2 Hosting. This relatively unknown web host offers e-commerce hosting solutions that support most popular platforms, such as PrestaShop, OpenCart, Magento, and WooCommerce.

E-commerce specific features

  • Dual firewall system
  • One-click setups for most major e-commerce platforms
  • Automatic backups and server rewind functionality available for some of their plans (beyond the lowest tiers)
  • Dedicated IP addresses available for a small fee (approximately $2 per month)
  • Free SSL certificates

Support and security

When it comes to support response times, A2 Hosting outshone both our other picks. In most cases, we were able to get in touch with a support specialist in under a minute.

Security-wise, they offer a decent set of features for their price range. Their firewalls are par for the course, but their server rewind feature does come in handy since it functions like an advanced backup. Best of all, this feature is accessible right from your cPanel, which means you can use it to regain control over your site in the event you can’t access it directly.

Page speed tests with Pingdom

Basic load testing with Load Impact

  • Load Generator: Ashburn, US
  • Test Server: Ashburn, US
  • Minimum Response Time: 0.21 seconds
  • Maximum Response Time: 0.45 seconds

Final thoughts on A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting offers excellent performance (especially within the US) and reliable support at low prices. It’s a great all-around pick, with a decent set of security features. They don’t have a lot of variation in terms of plans, but their offerings are sturdy enough for small to medium-sized online stores.

 

Conclusion

Your choice of e-commerce web host will have strong repercussions throughout your store’s lifetime. Your host can impact your website’s performance, its security, and the quality of support you have access to. It’s not a decision to be made lightly, but if you follow our advice you should end up on the right path.

If you’re having a hard time making up your mind and picking from these e-commerce hosting solutions, here’s a direct comparison of our performance experiments:

 

(Charts by Visualizer Lite.)

 
As you can see, A2 Hosting stays consistently below (read: they’re faster than) all the other players, with the exception of SiteGround for Stockholm (which makes SiteGround possibly a better choice for an EU-based online store).

Before we wrap things up, let’s take one final look at the three e-commerce hosting solutions we’ve covered:

  1. InMotion Hosting: A great budget option for small online stores that offers good performance.
  2. SiteGround: A solid option for modestly-sized and security-conscious stores.
  3. A2 Hosting: A great all-around option, with an excellent support system and decent scalability.

Here are all the basic details of each platform again:

 
InMotion SiteGround A2 Hosting
E-commerce plans start at ($ per month) $5.99 $3.95 $3.92
Support knowledgeability and response times 3/5 5/5 5/5
Security features 4/5 5/5 3/5
Minimum page load time (in seconds) 0.27 0.73 0.21
Maximum page load times (in seconds) 0.37 0.89 0.45
Performance (taking into consideration the scores above) 5/5 4/5 5/5
Overall score 4/5 4.6/5 4/5
 
What do you look for when considering e-commerce hosting solutions? Share your criteria with us in the comments section below!

Original text by John Hughes. Layout and presentation by Karol K.

 
CodeinWP Editorial: CodeinWP Editorial is a team of writers and WordPress experts led by Ionut Neagu. All content edited by Karol K.
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