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A Visit to Where the Cloud Touches the Ground – WordPress.com News

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A Visit to Where the Cloud Touches the Ground – WordPress.com News

Hi there! I’m Zander Rose and I’ve recently started at Automattic to work on long-term data preservation and the evolution of our 100-Year Plan. Previously, I directed The Long Now Foundation and have worked on long-term archival projects like The Rosetta Project, as well as advised/partnered with organizations such as The Internet Archive, Archmission Foundation, GitHub Archive, Permanent, and Stanford Digital Repository. More broadly, I see the content of the Internet, and the open web in particular, as an irreplaceable cultural resource that should be able to last into the deep future—and my main task is to make sure that happens. 

I recently took a trip to one of Automattic’s data centers to get a peek at what “the cloud” really looks like. As I was telling my family about what I was doing, it was interesting to note their perception of “the cloud” as a completely ephemeral thing. In reality, the cloud has a massive physical and energy presence, even if most people don’t see it on a day-to-day basis. 

A trip to the cloud

Given the millions of sites hosted by Automattic, figuring out how all that data is currently served and stored was one of the first elements I wanted to understand. I believe that the preservation of as many of these websites as possible will someday be seen as a massive historic and cultural benefit. For this reason, I was thankful to be included on a recent meetup for WordPres.com’s Explorers engineering team, which included a tour of one of Automattic’s data centers. 

The tour began with a taco lunch where we met amazing Automatticians and data center hosts Barry and Eugene, from our world-class systems and operations team. These guys are data center ninjas and are deeply knowledgeable, humble, and clearly exactly who you would want caring about your data.

The data center we visited was built out in 2013 and was the first one in which Automattic owned and operated its servers and equipment, rather than farming it out. By building out our own infrastructure, it gives us full control over every bit of data that comes in and out, as well as reduces costs given the large amount of data stored and served. Automattic now has a worldwide network of 27 data centers that provide both proximity and redundancy of content to the users and the company itself. 

The physical building we visited is run by a contracted provider, and after passing through many layers of security both inside and outside, we began the tour with the facility manager showing us the physical infrastructure. This building has multiple customers paying for server space, with Automattic being just one of them. They keep technical staff on site that can help with maintenance or updates to the equipment, but, in general, the preference is for Automattic’s staff to be the only ones who touch the equipment, both for cost and security purposes.

The four primary things any data center provider needs to guarantee are uninterruptible power, cooling, data connectivity, and physical security/fire protection. The customer, such as Automattic, sets up racks of servers in the building and is responsible for that equipment, including how it ties into the power, cooling, and internet. This report is thus organized in that order.

Power

On our drive in, we saw the large power substation positioned right on campus (which includes many data center buildings, not just Automattic’s). Barry pointed out this not only means there is a massive amount of power available to the campus, but it also gets electrical feeds from both the east and west power grids, making for redundant power even at the utility level coming into the buildings.

The data center’s massive generators.

One of the more unique things about this facility is that instead of battery-based instant backup power, it uses flywheel storage by Active Power. This is basically a series of refrigerator-sized boxes with 600-pound flywheels spinning at 10,000 RPM in a vacuum chamber on precision ceramic bearings. The flywheel acts as a motor most of the time, getting fed power from the network to keep it spinning. Then if the power fails, it switches to generator mode, pulling energy out of the flywheel to keep the power on for the 5-30 seconds it takes for the giant diesel generators outside to kick in.

flywheel energy storage device
Flywheel energy storage diagram.

Those generators are the size of semi-truck trailers and supply four megawatts each, fueled by 4,500-gallon diesel tanks. That may sound like a lot, but that basically gives them 48 hours of run time before needing more fuel. In the midst of a large disaster, there could be issues with road access and fuel shortages limiting the ability to refuel the generators, but in cases like that, our network of multiple data centers with redundant capabilities will still keep the data flowing.

Cooling

Depending on outside ambient temperatures, cooling is typically around 30% of the power consumption of a data center. The air chilling is done through a series of cooling units supplied by a system of saline water tanks out by the generators. 

Barry and Eugene pointed out that without cooling, the equipment will very quickly (in less than an hour) try to lower their power consumption in response to the heat, causing a loss of performance. Barry also said that when they start dropping performance radically, it makes it more difficult to manage than if the equipment simply shut off. But if the cooling comes back soon enough, it allows for faster recovery than if hardware was fully shut off. 

Handling the cooling in a data center is a complicated task, but this is one of the core responsibilities of the facility, which they handle very well and with a fair amount of redundancy.

Data connectivity

Data centers can vary in terms of how they connect to the internet. This center allows for multiple providers to come into a main point of entry for the building.

Automattic brings in at least two providers to create redundancy, so every piece of equipment should be able to get power and internet from two or more sources at all times. This connectivity comes into Automattic’s equipment over fiber via overhead raceways that are separate from the power and cooling in the floor. From there it goes into two routers, each connected to all the cabinets in that row.

Server area

As mentioned earlier, this data center is shared among several tenants. This means that each one sets up their own last line of physical security. Some lease an entire data hall to themselves, or use a cage around their equipment; some take it even further by obscuring the equipment so you cannot see it, as well as extending the cage through the subfloor another three feet down so that no one could get in by crawling through that space.

server closet in a data center

Automattic’s machines took up the central portion of the data hall we were in, with some room to grow. We started this portion of the tour in the “office” that Automattic also rents to both store spare parts and equipment, as well as provide a quiet place to work. On this tour it became apparent that working in the actual server rooms is far from ideal. With all the fans and cooling, the rooms are both loud and cold, so in general you want to do as much work outside of there as possible.

What was also interesting about this space is that it showed all the generations of equipment and hard drives that have to be kept up simultaneously. It is not practical to assume that a given generation of hard drives or even connection cables will be available for more than a few years. In general, the plan is to keep all hardware using identical memory, drives, and cables, but that is not always possible. As we saw in the server racks, there is equipment still running from 2013, but these will likely have to be completely swapped in the near future.

Barry also pointed out that different drive tech is used for different types of data. Images are stored on spinning hard drives (which are the cheapest by size, but have moving parts so need more replacement), and the longer lasting solid state disk (SSD) and non-volatile memory (NVMe) technology are used for other roles like caching and databases, where speed and performance are most important.

Hardware closet for a data center.
Barry showing us all the bins of hardware they use to maintain the servers.

Barry explained that data at Automattic is stored in multiple places in the same data center, and redundantly again at several other data centers. Even with that much redundancy, a further copy is stored on an outside backup. Each one of the centers Automattic uses has a method of separation, so it is difficult for a single bug to propagate between different facilities. In the last decade, there’s only been one instance where the outside backup had to come into play, and it was for six images. Still, Barry noted that there can never be too many backups.

An infrastructure for the future 

And with that, we concluded the tour and I would soon head off to the airport to fly home. The last question Barry asked me was if I thought this would all be around in 100 years. My answer was that something like it most certainly will, but that it would look radically different, and may be situated in parts of the world with more sustainable cooling and energy, as more of the world gets large bandwidth connections.

As I thought about the project of getting all this data to last into the deep future, I was very impressed by what Automattic has built, and believe that as long as business continues as normal, the data is incredibly safe. However, on the chance that things do change, I think developing partnerships with organizations like The Internet Archive, Permanent.org, and perhaps national libraries or large universities will be critically important to help make sure the content of the open web survives well into the future. We could also look at some of the long-term storage systems that store data without the need for power, as well as systems that cannot be changed in the future (as we wonder if AI and censorship may alter what we know to be “facts”). For this, we could look at stable optical systems like Piql, Project Silica, and Stampertech. It breaks my heart to think the world would have created all this, only for it to be lost. I think we owe it to the future to make sure as much of it as possible has a path to survive.

Group of Automattic employees taking a group picture at a data center.
Our group of Automatticians enjoyed the tour—thank you Barry and Eugene!

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Customizable Footer Credits Are Here  – WordPress.com News

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Customizable Footer Credits Are Here  – WordPress.com News

Whether it’s “Made with love and WordPress” or “Bob Ross rocks,” you can now customize footer credits on your website.

From the earliest days of WordPress.com, the bottom of every site on our platform has featured a default phrase in the footer credit area. Today, we’re handing the reigns over to you: every website using a block theme, on every plan, can customize the footer credit to say anything at all. 

That footer space offers a small and potent opportunity to showcase your creativity and unique tastes. Whether you’re buttoned up or just plain silly or somewhere between, visitors will get a little hint as to the personality behind the brand. 

Examples: 

  • Made with love and WordPress
  • Brought to you by the best minds on the planet
  • Handmade with care since 2003  
  • Bob Ross rocks  

Okay, that last one was my six-year-old daughter’s idea. But you get the picture: you have total freedom to display anything you want in the footer credit—or nothing at all. Of course we’d be honored if you still include WordPress.com in your footer, but no harm, no foul if not. 

Not using a block theme? Make the switch 

This new customization is only available on sites using block themes. These are themes that use blocks for every part of the site, whereas “classic” themes are still utilizing CSS and other coded elements. 

You can find out which type of theme your site is using by hovering over “Appearance” in the left-side menu of your dashboard. If you see “Editor,” you’re using a block theme. If you don’t, you’re using a classic theme. 

We’re big advocates of using block themes, as these unlock the most powerful WordPress features available today. If you need help converting your theme, check out this handy guide

How to customize your site’s footer credit 

In about 30 seconds flat, you can have a custom footer credit: 

  1. Access your Site Editor from the “Edit Site” button in the top menu bar when on your website’s homepage. You can also find it from “Appearance” on the left-side menu of your main dashboard. (Click here if you need help finding it.
  2. Scroll down to the footer credit (i.e. “Designed with WordPress”) 
  3. Edit the text as you would in any other block on your site. 
  4. Save your changes and you’re all set. 

Keep in mind that you can edit and add nearly any block in the footer area—text, social links, images, buttons, etc. 

Just like that, you have more options at your fingertips. That’s what we’re always striving for at WordPress.com. If you’re not on a block theme yet, we strongly encourage you to make that switch. Choose one today: 

Let us know in the comments what you think of this new feature and always feel free to drop in ideas for other things you’d like to see. 


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How to Limit Purchase Quantity in WordPress (Step by Step)

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How to Limit Purchase Quantity in WordPress (Step by Step)

Imagine that you are running a WooCommerce store, and suddenly, one of your products goes viral. Orders start flooding in, and you are super happy! But then you realize some customers are buying up your entire stock in one go.

This might sound great at first, but there’s a problem. This leaves other customers empty-handed, creates stock shortages, and can even lead to unfair market practices like reselling and price-gouging.

In this article, we will show you how to limit purchase quantity in WordPress to help balance inventory levels.

limit-the-quantity-of-products-purchased-in-WordPress-OG

Why Limit Purchase Quantity in WordPress?

Stock management can make or break your store’s reputation. Limiting purchase quantities makes sure that all customers will receive their orders and you never sell a product that isn’t in stock.

You ensure a more even distribution of your products by setting a cap on how many units a customer can purchase at once. This way, more customers get a chance to buy what they want, you avoid going out of stock, and you maintain a fair shopping environment.

It’s all about balancing the scales to keep your store running smoothly and your customers happy.

Without this limit, you risk a few big buyers dominating your sales, which can lead to frustrated customers who miss out and might not return. It also helps you manage your inventory better and prevents anyone from not getting the products they want.

That said, let’s take a look at how to limit purchase quantity in WordPress. We’ll cover three ways to do it, and you can use the quick links below to jump to the method you want to use:

Method 1: Limiting Purchase Quantity in WordPress With WooCommerce

Chances are, if you are researching how to limit purchase quantity in WordPress, then you have an online store.

Most store owners who sell physical products need to restrict the quantity to avoid out-of-stock purchases, which would simply lead to refunds.

For WooCommerce store owners, you’re going to need to buy and download the Min/Max Quantities extension.

If you need help with this, then please see our ultimate WooCommerce tutorial.

Then, go to Products » All Products. From here, you need to click ‘Edit’ under the product to which you want to add restrictions.

edit productedit product

From here, scroll down to the Product Data section. In the General tab, you’ll see the option to enter the minimum and maximum quantities.

The ‘Group of’ field means that you can enter the quantity that the product must be purchased in multiples.

minimum maximum quantity woocommerceminimum maximum quantity woocommerce

From here, all you have to do is save the product, and the purchase limit will be in effect!

Method 2: Limiting Purchase Quantity in WordPress With WP Simple Pay

If you don’t have a complete eCommerce store, then WP Simple Pay is the best solution for selling products in WordPress.

WP Simple Pay is the best Stripe payments plugin that allows you to accept one-time and recurring payments without setting up a shopping cart.

For example, here’s a few use cases where WP Simple Pay could be helpful for limiting purchase quantity:

  • Event tickets: You can allow more people to attend by limiting ticket purchases from each individual.
  • Service bookings: You can use WP Simple Pay for appointment bookings like consultations or personal training sessions. Limiting the number of bookings per customer ensures fair access to your time and services.
  • Membership fees: When selling memberships, you can limit the number of purchases to prevent abuse or fraudulent signups for your membership site.

You will first need to install and activate the WP Simple Pay plugin. For more details, please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once activated, you’ll be taken to the setup wizard. This wizard guides you through the process of integrating Stripe, making it easy to connect your Stripe account with your site.

Click on ‘Let’s Get Started’ to begin.

The WP Simple Pay WordPress payment pluginThe WP Simple Pay WordPress payment plugin

Continue with the setup wizard to link your WordPress site to Stripe.

You then need to click ‘Connect with Stripe.’

connect-stripe-to-wpsimplepayconnect-stripe-to-wpsimplepay

Next, you’ll need to create a new Stripe account or connect an existing one to your site.

All you will have to do is type in your email and password for your Stripe account.

From here, you can select your account and hit ‘Connect.’

Connect Stripe to WP Simple PayConnect Stripe to WP Simple Pay

Once you’ve successfully connected Stripe to your site, it’s time to create an order form and set purchase quantity limits for your products.

You’ll go to WP Simple Pay » Add New. From there, you’ll see a variety of pre-built templates to choose from.

While this works for any form template, we will use the payment form template for this tutorial.

Hover over ‘Payment Form’ and click ‘Use Template.’

create payment formcreate payment form

After choosing your preferred form template, you will be directed to the General settings page, where you can tailor your payment form to your needs.

This is where you can adjust the title, description, and form type to meet your specific needs.

If you prefer to host the payment form on your own site, select ‘On-site payment form’ under Type. Alternatively, if you want to host the form on Stripe’s checkout page, then choose ‘Off-site Stripe checkout.’

Event tickets payment formEvent tickets payment form

Next, click on the ‘Payment’ tab, where you can configure Price Options. Here, you can offer multiple price options within a single form.

By default, you’ll see one price option set at $10.

For this tutorial, we’re adding two price options, which we will label as “Premium Access” and “Standard Access.”

standard access and premium accessstandard access and premium access

In this case, Premium Access is our top-tier product with very limited availability and a price of $100, while Standard Access is our most affordable option at $10.

Next, let’s set limits on the purchase quantities for the price options we have added.

To do this, click on ‘Purchase Restrictions’ on the left. Under ‘Inventory,’ you’ll be able to create the purchase limit.

WP Simple Pay offers two ways to restrict purchases. You can either set a default limit for all price options on your Stripe payment form or configure separate limits for each price option.

In this example, we’ve set a restriction of 10 for all ticket purchases.

restrict purchase limitrestrict purchase limit

You can also configure a specific limit for each price. Just select ‘Each price option has its own limit’ and set the purchase limit for each option.

So here, we’ve limited the Premium Access to 5 and the Standard Access to 10.

restrict purchase quantityrestrict purchase quantity

Once a product’s purchase limit has been reached, customers won’t be able to buy it.

Now, if your payment form is ready to go, you can hit the ‘Publish’ button on the right side of the screen.

publish payment formpublish payment form

All that is left to do is add your new payment form to your website. To embed the form, navigate to the post or page where you want to publish it.

Click on the + icon and then add the WP Simple Pay block.

WP simple pay blockWP simple pay block

Next, just select the payment form you’ve created. The form should appear in the block editor.

Finally, just click ‘Publish.’

publish event tickets formpublish event tickets form

Finally, you’ll want to preview the form to see how it looks on the front end.

You can even make a test payment to make sure the restriction works as intended.

preview event ticket formpreview event ticket form

Method 3: Limiting Purchase Quantity in WordPress With Easy Digital Downloads

Generally, digital products don’t require stock control. However, for situations like selling virtual tickets or other “digital” items with limited availability, the ability to limit the total number of purchases can be very useful.

Adding a limit can also add FOMO and create real scarcity without having to use a countdown timer.

If you sell digital products such as courses, ebooks, or templates, then you’ll want to use Easy Digital Downloads. The core Easy Digital Downloads plugin doesn’t include stock tracking by default, but you can easily add this functionality with a simple extension.

Note: You can purchase the Purchase Limit extension separately, or if you have the Professional Pass subscription plan, it’s free to download.

First, you’ll need the Purchase Limit extension.

After purchasing and installing it, navigate to the edit screen of the product you want to set a purchase limit on.

You can do this by going to the Downloads » Downloads page and then clicking ‘Edit’ on the digital product you’d like to make changes to.

edit digital downloadedit digital download

If you haven’t created a digital product yet, then just follow our beginner’s guide on how to sell digital downloads on WordPress.

Next, scroll down under Download Details. A new option titled ‘Purchase Limit’ should appear.

You can set the number to the quantity that can be purchased. If you leave the number at 0, customers can purchase an unlimited quantity. But if you set it at -1, the product will be marked as sold out.

purchase limit eddpurchase limit edd

You can also set the purchase limits if you have multiple pricing options. Simply click ‘Show advanced settings’ and then the ‘Purchase Limit Settings’ will appear.

Then, add the purchase limit you’d like for each pricing option.

variable pricing purchase limit eddvariable pricing purchase limit edd

Then, simply update your digital product page.

There you have it! You now have three methods for restricting the purchase quantity, and you can use the preferred solution based on your needs.

We hope this article helped you learn how to limit purchase quantity in WordPress. You may also want to see our expert pick of the best WooCommerce plugins for your store or our tutorial on how to increase WooCommerce sales.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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Best Web Hosting for E-Commerce in 2024

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Web hosting domains for web pages

What is the best web hosting for e-commerce right now?

The best web hosting for e-commerce right now is Hostinger. Hostinger offers both a website builder and WooCommerce hosting plans at affordable prices — starting at less than $5 a month.

Hostinger’s e-commerce plans include a free domain for one year, secure socket layer certification, firewall protection and email hosting for up to 100 email addresses. You’ll also get a good amount of storage — 500 products for the store builder and at least 200GB for the WooCommerce plans — and access to 24/7 customer service.

Hostinger logo

Sarah Tew/CNET

Hostinger is a rapidly growing web hosting company that offers two types of e-commerce hosting: an AI-powered e-commerce website builder and managed WooCommerce hosting. WooCommerce support is also included in Hostinger’s managed WordPress plans.

Both types of e-commerce hosting from Hostinger include a free domain for one year, SSL certification, firewall protection and email hosting for up to 100 email addresses.

Plans

Hostinger’s e-commerce website builder offers both an AI-powered site generation process — building a site for you based on simple information you enter about your business — and a self-created website option that is based on 150 templates.

The e-commerce site builder also features SEO tools, marketing integrations, inventory management tools for up to 500 products, appointment scheduling and 20-plus different payment methods.

For managed WooCommerce, Hostinger offers four plans with one-click WooCommerce setup, LiteSpeed caching, auto-updates and automated daily backups. More advanced plans include benefits like built-in WooCommerce integrations and AI content generation tools.

Pricing

Hostinger’s e-commerce store builder plan starts at $4 a month (plus three months free) and renews for $9 a month if you choose a four-year plan. The $4-a-month introductory rate applies to all plans of one year or more, but renewal costs vary based on contract length.

Hostinger’s managed WooCommerce hosting starts at $4 a month, with renewal pricing as low as $9 a month for the most affordable plan. The $4-a-month introductory rate applies to all plans of one year or more, but renewal costs vary based on contract length.

Ionos’s main e-commerce offerings are an online store builder and WooCommerce hosting. Both include a free domain for at least one year, an SSL certification, firewall protection and access to 24/7 customer service via live chat or phone. 

Plans

Ionos’s online store builder includes manual and AI-driven site-building tools, including a customizable checkout with options to add upsells to encourage people to upgrade their products and cross-sells to encourage people to buy related products. A variety of payment processors, shipping rate calculation tools and promo/coupon creators are also included.

All online store builder plans from Ionos include free email hosting for at least one email address and the ability to list at least 500 physical products in your store.

Ionos’s WooCommerce plan includes preinstalled WordPress and WooCommerce, plus an AI-powered setup wizard that builds a site for you based on basic information about your store. 

Ionos’s WooCommerce plan also includes a caching plugin, Jetpack backup, automated WordPress updates, unlimited product creation and email hosting for 10 accounts.

Ionos also offers managed hosting plans for Magento and PrestaShop, two moderately popular e-commerce platforms.

Pricing

Pricing for Ionos’s e-commerce site builder is complicated. The Plus plan starts at $1 a month for six months but rises to $30 a month after those months, and you must sign up for a year to get the discount — so you’ll pay $30 a month for the second half of your term. The Starter plan, on the other hand, starts at $6 a month for six months but only rises to $24 a month afterward.

As for WooCommerce hosting, there’s only one plan, and it costs $10 a month for the first year and $20 a month after.

Magento plans use cloud hosting and have hourly billing rates with monthly maximums, the lowest being $7 a month.

You can also save money by purchasing one of Ionos’s highly affordable shared hosting plans, with the lowest tier starting at $4 a month and rising to $6 a month on renewal. If you choose this option, you’ll have to configure and maintain your e-commerce store on your own. 

PrestaShop plans are similar to regular shared hosting plans, with the most affordable one starting at $4 a month and rising to $6 a month.

SiteGround is known for its excellent WordPress hosting and award-winning customer service. SiteGround offers a variety of WordPress plans, including three WooCommerce plans.

Plans

All of SiteGround’s WooCommerce plans include unmetered bandwidth, a free domain for the first year, permanent SSL certification, WordPress auto-updates and daily backups.

SiteGround also offers top-notch security features, including a constantly updated firewall, AI anti-bot tools and a custom security plugin. Combined with a content delivery network and highly optimized servers, these features ensure excellent site and server performance.

Pricing

SiteGround’s least expensive WooCommerce plan starts at $3 a month and rises to $18 a month on renewal. The most expensive WooCommerce plan starts at $8 a month and rises to $45 a month on renewal. You must sign up for one year to get the full introductory discount, and there is no option to keep the discount by signing up for a two or three-year term.

Buying regular shared hosting from SiteGround won’t save you money, either — the prices for both regular shared hosting and regular WordPress hosting are the same as SiteGround’s WooCommerce hosting prices. 

A2 Hosting is an independent web host with a 4.6/5 star rating on TrustPilot with over 2,500 reviews. A2 Hosting also performed well in our hands-on review, with excellent ease of use, a good variety of plans and great server performance — even on a basic plan without added caching tools. Customer support via phone and email was slow, suggesting that it may take a significant amount of time to address complex issues.

Plans

A2 Hosting offers several WordPress hosting plans and one WooCommerce plan. A2 Hosting WordPress plans include optimized WordPress installation with automatic setup for essential pages and plugins, plus server performance tools like LiteSpeed caching. These plans also include daily backups, SSL certification and an advanced firewall with distributed denial of service and brute force protection.

Pricing

The lowest-tier WordPress hosting plan from A2 Hosting starts at $10 a month and rises to $26 a month after renewal. The one plan with preinstalled WooCommerce starts at $40 a month, with a renewal cost of $62 a month. Discounts are only available with a three-year plan.

You can save money with a regular shared hosting plan — starting at $2 a month and rising to $13 a month for the lowest tier. These plans still include excellent security and WordPress features, but some of them don’t include daily backups or performance tools like LiteSpeed.

Nexcess offers top-tier WooCommerce hosting and fully managed Magento hosting. All of Nexcess’s plans feature SSL certification, firewall protection, automated daily backups and an above-average 99.99% uptime guarantee.

Plans

Nexcess’s managed WooCommerce hosting plans come bundled with plugins like Yoast SEO, Astra Pro and Beaver Builder Lite bundled directly into its hosting packages for improved performance.

Nexcess’s managed WooCommerce hosting plans also include automated updates for WordPress and all plugins, plus a plugin performance monitor to track the impact plugins and themes have on site performance. Object caching and image compression are also included to further improve performance.

Nexcess’s fully managed Magento hosting plans include robust developer tools and caching for accelerated site speed.

Pricing

Managed WooCommerce hosting through Nexcess starts at $8.40 a month, with the most expensive plan costing $438 a month. There is no introductory pricing.

Fully managed Magento hosting through Nexcess starts at $37.52 a month for the first three months and rises to $67 a month after those three months. The most expensive plan starts at $539.01 a month for the first three months and rises to $1,017 a month in following months.

Factors to consider when choosing a web host for e-commerce

Website builder vs. content management system

A website builder is a visual design tool for creating sites without using code, installing extensions or managing software updates. Most website builders are front-end editors, so you can see what your site edits will look like to the public in real time. Website builders also tend to be proprietary, making it difficult to switch hosts later on.

A content management system or CMS is a tool for creating, managing and organizing content like blog posts and landing pages without needing code. These tools are typically open-source, so you can use them with most hosting companies and plans. They also tend to have more customization options than website builders, but you may need to install extensions to access these options. WordPress is the most popular CMS, powering 43.4% of all websites.

If you want the simplest site building process possible, choose a website builder plan. If you want maximum flexibility and you’re capable of dealing with more complex software, choose a third-party hosting plan with a CMS like WordPress.

Shop management system

The shop management system is the tool you’ll use to create your online store, product pages and checkout experience. If you’re using a website builder, this will be built into the software. If you’re using WordPress, you’ll probably end up using the popular WooCommerce plugin.

Other shop management platforms include Magento — recently rebranded as Adobe Commerce — and PrestaShop. These are essentially content management systems built specifically for e-commerce. Some hosts, including Ionos and Nexcess, offer specialized hosting plans for these tools.

Hosting types

Most website builder hosting plans from traditional web hosts use shared hosting, which involves splitting a server’s resources between many sites. This lets hosts keep shared hosting prices low. Data storage, which includes how much space and bandwidth you have for things like images and blog posts and how much monthly traffic your site can accommodate, is limited on these plans.

If you choose a CMS, you’ll be able to pick between a few types of web hosting. Shared hosting is the most affordable, though basic shared hosting plans will require you to set up your e-commerce software yourself. Many web hosts also offer specialized shared hosting plans that are optimized for WordPress and/or the popular e-commerce plugin WooCommerce. These specialized plans are often more expensive than regular shared hosting.

As your site grows, you might want to switch to virtual private server hosting for dedicated bandwidth and storage. This lets your site accommodate more monthly visitors — often several hundred thousand — and store thousands of large files like images and videos. You’ll also get some server customization options, like the ability to choose your operating system.

Large e-commerce sites can also choose dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting gives you an entire physical server, often including enough bandwidth to handle millions of monthly visits and enough storage to upload hundreds of thousands of large files. Dedicated hosting also offers more server customization options.

Both VPS and dedicated hosting have managed and unmanaged hosting options. Managed hosting tends to be more expensive, but includes server software maintenance. Unmanaged plans are typically less expensive, but require you to maintain server software yourself (or hire someone to do it).

E-commerce tools

A website builder for e-commerce should include:

  • Store design tools, including product page and checkout customization
  • Payment processing capabilities
  • Search engine optimization — SEO — tools
  • Coupon creation

An e-commerce plan from a traditional web host should include:

  • A preinstalled CMS (typically WordPress)
  • Preinstalled plugins or extensions for online store creation, such as WooCommerce

Security

At minimum, your e-commerce site should have the following security measures in place:

  • SSL certification: This protocol encrypts data sent to and from your website, such as customers’ payment information.
  • Firewall: This software attempts to filter out malware attempting to infect your site.
  • DDoS protection: DDoS attacks flood a site with fake, malicious traffic to overwhelm the server. High-quality web servers are equipped with software to protect them from these attacks.

Some hosts may also provide things like two-factor authentication, malware scanning/repair and automated backups to further protect your site.

Performance

The best web hosting services for e-commerce provide at least 99.9% uptime, meaning your site won’t go down for more than 45 minutes a month due to server issues. This is important because every minute your site is down is a minute you could be losing traffic — and if you’re running an e-commerce store, losing traffic equals losing money.

Many web hosts also offer tools to improve site speed and other aspects of performance, such as caching tools that store your data in users’ browsers so they can access your site faster on repeat visits.

Customer service

Customer service should be available 24/7 via live chat, email and phone. You also want customer support to be fast to respond and knowledgeable enough to assist you with any problems you encounter.

Reading third-party reviews is important, as web hosting companies will always play up the quality of their customer support. Looking at reviews from real people helps you understand whether or not the host you’re considering follows through on the promises made on its website.

Pricing

Consider what hosting fits within your budget, as the company and plan you choose will majorly impact your operating budget. Web hosting — especially e-commerce hosting — pricing can be confusing.

Here are four things to look out for:

  • Annual/long-term payments: Most web hosting companies display monthly prices, but you can often only access the lowest price by paying for one to three years at once.
  • Renewal pricing: Many web hosts’ listed prices are introductory rates, meaning you’ll be charged more per month when your service renews.
  • Transaction fees: Some e-commerce-focused web hosting services charge transaction fees on some or all of their plans.
  • Additional fees: Many web hosts provide a domain for the first year but require you to pay for your domain separately in subsequent years.

How CNET tests web hosting

We extensively research every web host we include on lists like this one. We start by reading their websites to evaluate the quality of their plans and pricing. We also read reviews from third-party sites like Trustpilot and check the Better Business Bureau for complaints about the service.

We’re currently conducting full reviews of popular web hosting companies to provide our hands-on, expert assessments. These reviews use our framework for testing web hosting services, including:

  • Uptime monitoring for one week
  • Speed tests over the course of five days
  • Calls and emails to customer support to determine things like waiting time, professionalism and expertise of the customer support teams

Notes from these reviews are included in the listings for the relevant hosts. This page will be updated regularly with new notes as we publish more reviews. 

Other web hosting we’ve tested

HostGator

HostGator Web Hosting logo HostGator Web Hosting logo

Sarah Tew/CNET

HostGator is a popular web host that powers over 707,000 websites. HostGator’s two WordPress-based e-commerce plans include several preinstalled plugins for e-commerce and marketing, automated WordPress updates and automated daily backups.

HostGator delivers decent security features with all plans, including SSL certification and an advanced firewall with DDoS protection.

In my testing, I found HostGator’s site setup and management tools easy to work with. Benchmarking showed that HostGator’s servers offer decent performance. Customer support was inconsistent across channels, so you might want to avoid HostGator if your site is complex and/or you expect to need a lot of support.

Pricing: Online Store plan starts at $10 a month and rises to $25 a month on renewal; Online Store + Marketplace starts at $13 a month and rises to $40 a month on renewal. You can save money by purchasing a shared hosting plan ($3.75 a month to start, $10 a month on renewal). All of these prices are based on the purchase of a three-year term. 

Read our HostGator review.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy logo GoDaddy logo

Sarah Tew/CNET

GoDaddy is the biggest player in the web hosting space, powering a full 15.6% of all websites. You can get many types of web hosting from GoDaddy, including shared and WordPress hosting. The company also offers Managed WooCommerce Stores that include hosting, automated WordPress/WooCommerce updates and shipping discounts of up to 84%.

GoDaddy’s Managed WooCommerce Stores also come with SSL certification, an advanced firewall with DDoS protection and malware scanning. This is notable, as many of GoDaddy’s hosting plans don’t include these features.

During my hands-on assessment, I found GoDaddy frustrating to get started with, but this was balanced out by excellent server performance and customer service. There are a lot of open complaints on GoDaddy’s BBB page, so you might want to avoid GoDaddy if your site is complex or you expect to need high-level support.

Pricing: The most affordable WooCommerce Store plan starts at $25 a month, and rises to $30 a month on renewal. The most expensive WooCommerce Store plan starts at $130 a month and retains this price on renewal. All WooCommerce Store plans from GoDaddy come with 2.9% plus 30 cents card transaction fees in the US and 2.7% plus $0 card transaction fees in Canada.

You can save a lot of money by choosing a regular shared hosting plan — starting at $6 a month for the most affordable option, with a renewal price of $10 a month — but you’ll be sacrificing a lot, including basic security features like a firewall.

Read our GoDaddy review.

Which hosting service is best for an e-commerce website?

Hostinger is the best hosting service for an e-commerce website, with both website builder and WooCommerce plans available for affordable prices. Hostinger offers AI site and content creation tools, email hosting and 24/7 customer service.


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What is the No. 1 e-commerce platform?

Is GoDaddy good for e-commerce hosting?

GoDaddy is a reasonably good choice for e-commerce hosting, offering managed WooCommerce plans with heavy shipping discounts available for some regions and shipping methods. Starting prices for GoDaddy’s WooCommerce plans are high, and non-WooCommerce plans lack key security features.


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