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Evaluating Ecommerce Hosting Plans


Options of Web Hosting Services

Operating Systems and Web Servers There're many Web servers you can choose from to serve the Web pages. Apache, Internet Information Service (IIS) and Netscape Enterprise Web server are among the popular Web servers. Most of Web servers support multiple platforms - Windows, Unix or Linux.
Programming Language Support You need a hosting environment that supports your favorite programming languages - ASP, PHP, Perl or JSP.
Database Support Ecommerce applications demand database backend support whether it's a MySQL, MS SQL Server or Oracle.
Disk Space and Bandwidth It's common for hosting plans to offer over 200MB disk space and over 40GB bandwidth a month. Don't worry about disk space and bandwidth unless you plan to distribute large software or images on the net.
Other Features Other must-have hosting features include control panel, email, FTP, backup and site traffic analysis.

Ecommerce Web Hosting

When choosing an ecommerce hosting plan for your company, you need find a shopping cart that supports online catalog and online payment processing. The following comparison serves as a start point in choosing the best ecommerce hosting for your online business.

E-Commerce Shopping Cart eBay Stores Yahoo! Store Microsoft bCentral
Monthly Subscription Fee $9.95-$499.95 $100-$300 $29.95 or $259/year
Setup Fee $9.95 Waived $35
Insertion Fee per Item $0.05-$0.2 $0.1 N/A
Merchant Account Monthly Fee No $22.95 $19.95
Transaction Fee 2.9% + $0.3 2.58 - 2.69% + $0.2 2.35% + $0.3
Accept Online Check Yes No No
Products and Categories Limit Unlimited 50 items or more 40 MB Space
Customer Order Notification Yes No Yes

How to choose a Web Hosting Company

Selecting a hosting company is a time-consuming and intimidating process since there're so many hosting plans and vendors to choose from. You can, however, find your ideal hosting company in 2-4 hours by following our 4-step process.

1: Look for Hosting Features The first step is to look at hosting plans from 3-5 hosting companies that meet your business and technical needs.
2: Research on Quality and Reputation The number of customers is one of the best measures of service quality. You should also look at the trend of customer acquisition, years in business and customer feedback.
3: Test Availability and Performance Hosting companies usually guarantee 99.99% availability of your Web sites. You can find out connection speed they offer on hosting vendors' web sites. You should test 2-3 sites hosted by the hosting company or look at Alexa's site information on evaluation of the connection speed for a particular site.
4: Check the Pricing The pricing is the last thing to worry about. The stiff competition, maturity of hosting business model and advance in technology have turned Web hosting into a commodity.

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