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How To Create A WordPress Ecommerce Website

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How To Create A WordPress Ecommerce Website

WordPress is the most flexible platform for online sales available today.

The open-source nature of WordPress ensures that it is a reliable platform that is not going to disappear one day or go out of business.

Continue reading to learn how to create a WordPress ecommerce website and establish a successful online sales presence.

What Are Ecommerce Platforms?

An ecommerce platform is the content management system used to build and manage an online store.

There are generally two kinds of ecommerce platforms:

  • Proprietary SaaS (Software as a Service) Ecommerce Platforms.
  • Open-source Ecommerce Platforms (WordPress).

A proprietary SaaS platform handles all of the technology, hosting, and to varying levels, the SEO of the ecommerce store.

The benefit of a proprietary ecommerce platform is not having to think about the technology, which frees the merchant to focus on marketing and sales.

The downside of closed platforms is less control over the SEO and website. A merchant may be unable to add unavailable features on the closed platform.

The SEO capabilities of closed platforms vary, with some offering competent search performance options while others less so.

Rob Snell of GunDogSupply.com said WordPress wasn’t an option in 1997 when he and his brother opened their online store.

He shared that his experience with Yahoo! Stores (Turbify) has been exceedingly positive. Rob noted that paying extra not to have to deal with technology is money well spent for him.

He shared his experience with a SaaS platform:

“When you use a platform built for ecommerce, you get peace of mind, but that comes with a price.

I really don’t mind paying enterprise-level hosting rates to get that level of security, support, and uptime.

I sleep pretty well knowing that the engineers at Turbify (formerly Yahoo! Small Business) are on the job. At the end of the day, I’m a retailer, not a software engineer.”

What Is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an open-source plugin that adds ecommerce functionality to WordPress. It is developed by Automattic, the commercial side of WordPress.

There are different ways users can experience WooCommerce, starting with the completely free WordPress extension.

The free WooCommerce plugin enables everything a small business needs to create a successful ecommerce store.

Users can also install free and paid extensions developed by WooCommerce and the Woo community for logistical, technical, and marketing.

These extensions, vetted by WooCommerce, include payment gateways, configurable shipping options, and automatic sales tax calculations.

The modular nature of WooCommerce means that whatever function is needed can be seamlessly added to the WooCommerce store.

While it’s possible to create an ecommerce site without WooCommerce, it’s generally easier to create a store with WooCommerce than without it.

Katie Keith of Barn2 Plugins explains the benefits of using WooCommerce to create a WordPress ecommerce store:

“WooCommerce is the best path forward because of the size of the community, the number of extensions, and the considerable amount of resources.

WooCommerce is the easiest option because you can take advantage of the wide range of compatible themes and plugins, allowing most store owners to create an ecommerce store to exact requirements without needing to write any custom code.

If anything custom is needed, then it’s easy to find a developer to do it.

WooCommerce is easy to use, and many learning resources and tutorials are available to help you with it.

If you ever want to know how to do anything in WooCommerce, just Google it. You’ll almost certainly find a free tutorial or video to help you!”

Why Choose WooCommerce?

The primary benefits of WooCommerce are the nearly limitless possibilities of what can be created with WordPress, lower costs, and a huge community of developers to support the platform.

The ability to launch an ecommerce site with WordPress depends on the skill and knowledge of the person creating the website, which is why (depending on the scope of the online store) it may be helpful to engage a WordPress developer.

But it’s not always necessary to engage a developer because some web hosts offer a custom point-and-click WordPress feature that makes creating a store as easy as answering questions.

Once the store is up and running, the daily maintenance of the CMS (content management software) itself is relatively trivial.

At the same time, the costs of operating the site can be remarkably low compared to a proprietary ecommerce platform.

Plan For Site Speed Optimization

High Core Web Vitals speeds are within reach of WordPress ecommerce sites. But it’s something that has to be planned for.

Business owners can (and do) leverage the open-source freedom of WordPress to create speedy ecommerce stores.

Adam J. Humphreys of Makin 8 shared his insight:

“WooCommerce is for those with a solid SEO strategy that want to write solid content and bring people to their site with that.

Shopify’s platform for content is satisfactory but not at all designed for a high search performance approach, which is why most of my clients don’t opt for it.

If you don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount for an ecommerce platform then WordPress with Woocommerce is the best place to get started.

Most inexpensive WordPress hosts are enough to get started with a proper CDN like Cloudflare.”

WordPress Ecommerce Hosting

Site speed depends on many factors, but the foundation of a high-performance ecommerce store begins with web hosting.

Choosing the best web hosting for a WordPress ecommerce site is essential.

The following are top considerations for choosing the best hosting for a WordPress ecommerce site.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is basically thousands of websites hosted on a single server (computer), all sharing the resources of that one server.

The benefit of shared hosting is its incredibly low cost.

The downside is that inexpensive shared hosting is notoriously underpowered for intensive applications such as ecommerce. Consequently, low-cost shared hosting should generally be avoided.

Virtual Private Servers

Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a type of shared hosting but with very few sites sharing the resources. A VPS is a relatively affordable option for fast performance.

A major consideration for a VPS is that it requires familiarity with server control panels, which adds an additional layer of technology to deal with.

Managed Dedicated Servers

A managed dedicated server is a  server that is operated by a single customer.

Managed means that the web host takes care of the server hardware, updates the software, maintains backups, and in general, removes a layer of technical overhead.

An unmanaged server is one where the customer handles the software.

Both kinds of dedicated servers provide high-speed performance.

Managed WordPress Hosting

A popular option is to use a managed WordPress web hosting platform.

Managed WordPress hosting offers the convenience of not having to deal with the underlying technology.

A major benefit of managed WordPress hosting is that they provide a fast and secure WordPress environment that is optimized for site speed out of the box.

There can be limitations to what plugins can be used, such as caching plugins, because they tend to use too many resources. But the managed web hosts offer their own optimized replacements at the server level.

Many managed WordPress hosts offer built-in site performance benefits such as caching and Content Delivery Networks (CDN).

Thus, with a managed WordPress web host, one can achieve the speed and security benefits of a closed SaaS system but with the freedom and generally lower costs of an open-sourced system.

It’s a great choice because it solves the problem of site speed at the hosting level, is secure, and the hosts offer service specific to the needs of WordPress websites.

Popular Managed WordPress Hosts To Consider

The following are examples of popular managed WordPress web hosts.

Click And Build WordPress Hosting

Bluehost is an interesting choice because they offer a straightforward click-and-build approach to WordPress ecommerce websites that can rival any of the closed-source ecommerce platforms.

The Bluehost fill-in-the-blanks style approach to WordPress ecommerce handles payments, inventory management, and all other aspects of ecommerce.

Bluehost offers the freedom to easily build an online WordPress store with the flexibility to implement a solid SEO strategy.

It offers all of the conveniences of a proprietary SaaS ecommerce solution but with WordPress.

What Are WordPress Plugins And WooCommerce Extensions?

WordPress and WooCommerce can be upgraded with additional functionalities using plugins and extensions.

  • The WordPress core is extended with plugins. Changes made with WordPress plugins affect the entire website.
  • WooCommerce is upgraded with extensions as well as plugins. WooCommerce extensions only apply to the WooCommerce part of the website. But there are also plugins in the WordPress plugin repository that are specific to ecommerce (with or without WooCommerce) and plugins specifically for WooCommerce.

Adding a new feature related to ecommerce is done through WooCommerce extensions available on the WooCommerce website and through plugins available in the WordPress plugin repository.

WooCommerce extensions can generally be grouped into four essential functionalities:

  • Payments.
  • Shipping and tracking.
  • Inventory management.
  • Sales.

There are multiple ways to browse for WooCommerce extensions, such as by functionality and collections.

WooCommerce offers a collection of recommended extensions called WooCommerce Essentials.

WooCommerce Essentials are extensions chosen by WooCommerce to form the foundation for launching a successful ecommerce website.

Some of the essential functionalities are:

  • Payments.
  • Backup.
  • Product Display and Sales Add-ons.
  • Theme.
  • Coupons, Gift Cards.
  • Google Marketing Integrations.
  • Automations (like abandoned cart reminders).

How To Choose WordPress And WooCommerce Plugins And Extensions

WooCommerce developer James Kemp, the founder of IconicWP, shared his insights on extending WordPress ecommerce stores:

“Make sure every plugin and extension you choose serves a purpose.

Does it increase the average order value?

Does it ensure more customers complete their checkout?

Does it improve the user experience?”

Dorron Shapow of 100PercentOrganicSEO.com shares what store owners need to focus on when deciding what plugins they’ll need.

“In my experience, site owners seem to lose sight of the user experience.

How an ecommerce store is structured and what the user flow is like from different touch points of entry should be considered before a single pixel is on the screen.

So the most common mistake I see is not thinking like a site visitor.

For example, site visitors that are cash in hand and only want a few things may convert into a sale because of competitive pricing, fast or free shipping, and a quick and easy checkout.

For them, it’s important always to be three clicks away from a complete transaction.

Not everyone needs to be pushed or have to swat pop-ups and bells and whistles.

And that’s going to influence the choices of plugins needed.”

Examples Of Ecommerce Extensions And Plugins

Chuck Price of Measurable SEO shared a list of recommended ecommerce plugins and extensions:

  • WooCommerce.
  • Advanced Order Export For WooCommerce.
  • Booster for WooCommerce.
  • Braintree for WooCommerce Payment Gateway.
  • Contact Form 7.
  • Conversios.io – All-in-one Google Analytics, Pixels and Product Feed Manager for WooCommerce.
  • Multistep Product Configurator for WooCommerce.
  • PW WooCommerce Gift Cards Pro.
  • Woo Custom Related Products.
  • Woo Invoices.
  • WooCommerce Bulk Price Update.
  • WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration.
  • WooCommerce Side Cart.
  • WooCommerce Single Product Page Builder.
  • WooCommerce TM Extra Product Options.
  • WooCommerce Tree Table Rate Shipping.

Dorron Shapow recommends the following WordPress plugins:

  • WooCommerce.
  • An SEO plugin (I prefer Rank Math because it offers more free functionality and built-in schema).
  • Payment gateway integration.
  • Analytics Integration and dashboard.
  • A CRM for newsletters.
  • Website security plugin.
  • A page builder I prefer: Elementor.
  • Shipping integration and tracking.
  • Contact form plugin.
  • WooCommerce Email Customizer.
  • WP optmize cacheing plugin.
  • Optional chat functionality.
  • A backup plugin with daily backups.

James Kemp recommends:

  • Flux Checkout (ensures checkout process is optimized for conversions).
  • RankMath for SEO.

WordPress Ecommerce Website Mistakes To Avoid

Among the top mistakes an ecommerce site can make is to pile on so much functionality that conversions begin to suffer.

Plugins and Extensions work by downloading extra code and scripts to the shopper’s browser.

The more code and scripts downloaded, the longer it takes for a webpage to function, which slows down the shopping experience.

A smart developer can overcome these issues by doing things such as only downloading what each page needs.

For example, there is no reason to download scripts and fonts related to a contact form if there is no contact form on that webpage.

Unfortunately, an old coding practice of adding scripts to every page is still widespread in the software development world, so make sure that every extension or plugin is absolutely necessary.

Chuck Price notes that many mistakes common to any WordPress site are common for WooCommerce sites.

Chuck shared:

“Probably the same mistakes as any WordPress site can hinder a WooCommerce store:

Not keeping plugins up to date.

Forms don’t work

Vulnerable to security threats

Plugin incompatibilities.”

Dorron Shapow focuses on the user experience to avoid mistakes that hurt sales:

“A failure to find the right balance of design, user experience, and SEO.

What sometimes shocks clients is telling them that an ecommerce site should have little to do with the merchant and more to do with the customer.

The website is for them.”

Before Going Live With The Online Store

No matter how much thought is devoted to how a site should work, it’s almost inevitable that customers will encounter unforeseen problems.

That’s why I recommend making it easy for site visitors to contact you to provide feedback about the site. It can be through email, chat or text, or all three.

Customer feedback is super important to understand what works and what does not.

Another tactic for ironing out user experience bugs is a free user experience analytics offered by Microsoft called Clarity.

Clarity helps site publishers understand how far users are scrolling on a page, identifies what parts of a webpage are frustrating, which pages work best, and even offers machine learning AI to make improvement suggestions.

Some mistakenly compare Clarity to Google Analytics, but there is no comparison between them because they each do different things.

  • Clarity tracks the site visitor user experience on individual webpages, showing how users interact with a webpage.
  • Google Analytics is useful for tracking site visitors to gain insights into conversions relative to ads or individual webpages.

It may be useful to use Clarity to gain insights into site performance during at least the first three to six months after the website goes live.

What to do before and after the site is live?

James Kemp of IconicWP offers five considerations:

Is your store easy to navigate? Can customers easily find their way through your store right up to the purchase confirmation page?

Is your store optimized for search engines? Don’t go overboard with optimizations – ensure you’re using an SEO plugin like Toast or RankMath to help people find you in search results.

Have you tested your payment gateway and purchase flow?
There’s nothing worse than going live and finding out your influx of potential customers can’t checkout!

Have you optimized your checkout? Use a WooCommerce extension (like Iconic’s Flux Checkout) to ensure your checkout process is refined and optimized for conversions.

How will you promote your store? It’s unlikely you’ll be able to launch and expect traffic without further effort. You’ll want to consider paid advertising on Google, Facebook, and other social media platforms, ongoing content marketing on your website via a blog, and being active and valuable in relevant online communities.”

WordPress Is A Top Choice For Ecommerce

WordPress is a stable platform for creating an ecommerce store, offering virtually unlimited options for almost any need.

According to BuiltWith.com, WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce platform.

Katie Keith of Barn2Plugins shared why WordPress is so popular:

“The huge community around WooCommerce means that there are more extensions available to add extra features than any other platform.

There’s also a vast community of WooCommerce experts who you can hire to build and support your store.

You won’t find a wide range of professionals with any other platform.”

Those are great reasons to feel confident in investing in a WordPress ecommerce website for your business.

More resources:


Featured image: Shutterstock/Lysenko Andrii



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WORDPRESS

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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2 Reasons to Buy Shopify Stock Like There’s No Tomorrow

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2 Reasons to Buy Shopify Stock Like There's No Tomorrow

It’s not very often that you can buy a potential $1 trillion business at a 90% discount.

Shares of Shopify (SHOP -7.04%), the most popular e-commerce software platform in the U.S., have risen by more than 2,000% since going public in 2015. The S&P 500, for comparison, rose by just 195% over the same period.

The best news is that Shopify stock could rise another 2,000% in the years to come. If you’re looking for stocks with massive upside, this one’s for you.

Shopify has a massive lead on the competition and it’s not even close

There are two critical factors to pay attention to when it comes to Shopify. The first is the competitive landscape. In this regard, Shopify is undoubtedly king.

When most people think of e-commerce, they think of companies like Amazon, which sell products and services online. But there’s another type of e-commerce business, and that’s platforms that allow others to set up digital storefronts of their own. Shopify, for instance, doesn’t run any of its own stores. Instead, millions of merchants run their stores using Shopify’s platform. Small home businesses use Shopify-powered stores, but so do major brands, including Nike, Allbirds, and Red Bull.

Let’s say you want to start selling online. You could list your products on Amazon, but you’ll have to give the company anywhere from 8% to 45% of your sales. Shopify, meanwhile, takes only a small percentage of your sales as a fee, and in return gives you all the things you need to establish a successful e-commerce business. That includes web design templates, marketing and analytics tools, inventory management dashboards, payment processing, and more. You won’t have the immediate reach of a platform like Amazon, but you’ll have more tools, customization options, and functionality, plus you’ll retain a much greater portion of your sales.

According to data compiled by Statista, Shopify has a 28% market share for e-commerce platforms in the U.S. WooCommerce commands an 18% market share, while Wix comes in third with 17%. Total e-commerce spending, meanwhile, is on the rise. In 2019, e-commerce spending in the U.S. totaled $540 million. Last year, it surpassed $1 billion. By 2029, it’s expected to approach $1.9 billion. E-commerce platforms like Shopify, then, are swimming in a bigger and bigger pool of potential customers. As you’ll see, there’s a good chance Shopify will not only maintain its current industry lead but expand on it in the years to come.

Artificial intelligence could put this stock on steroids

The second reason to love Shopify stock right now is that it’s perfectly positioned to benefit from the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). E-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Wix all compete a bit on price. But what they compete on most is functionality and user experience. Whichever platform makes its platform more powerful and easier to use wins.

With the largest market share, Shopify has an early lead. AI should accelerate this lead even further in the years to come. That’s because Shopify has the resources to attract the most AI developers to its platform. Right now, any developer can add more functionality to Shopify’s platform, earning money whenever users decide to incorporate the new tool or service. Developers know that Shopify offers them the largest potential user base to monetize their creations. Already, the company has dozens of AI apps and features that users can implement in a few clicks — everything from chatbots to automated content creation. As AI takes off, expect Shopify to benefit, gaining more market share in an already large and growing market.

How big could Shopify get? After a recent pullback, the company is valued at just $75 billion. Amazon, for comparison, is worth around $1.9 trillion. Shopify would have more than 2,000% in upside if it reached Amazon’s size. To be clear, Amazon is a far more diverse and far larger business than Shopify. It will take years or even decades for Shopify to attain a $1 trillion market cap, let alone a $2 trillion market cap. But it is businesses like this that can sustain growth for long enough to reach this enormous size.

The global e-commerce market is clearly large enough to accommodate a Shopify 10 or 20 times its current size. Keep in mind, this underlying market is still growing by around 10% annually. Much of that growth will be directed to large, consolidated e-commerce sites like Amazon. But independent stores, such as those powered by Shopify, will also take an increasing amount of this new market growth. After a 25% decline in share price over the last 90 days — a drop fueled by short-term concerns over quarterly guidance — this is a great time to back up the truck for a high-quality business with a massive long-term growth runway.

John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Ryan Vanzo has positions in Shopify. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon, Nike, Shopify, and Wix.com. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2025 $47.50 calls on Nike. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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How to Connect to API of eCommerce Platform

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connect to api

Since the world has become more digital, it is crucial for eCommerce software vendors to guarantee that their solutions can interoperate with the different eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. These integrations help ensure the flow of continuity of the user experience, data exchange and synchronization, and good business management. The application programming interface (API) is very useful for achieving these integrations. The article is devoted to the specifics of how software vendors can connect to API of eCommerce platforms and marketplaces and how this process can be made easier.


Understanding APIs


APIs enable two or more software applications to exchange data and information. For eCommerce software vendors, APIs are the way to get and manage data from eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. The eCommerce API gives users access to various store information. It often enables GET, ADD, UPDATE, and DELETE data from stores, such as orders, products, customers, categories, etc.


eCommerce API integration refers to the process that enables an app or software to connect to API of an eCommerce platform. Therefore, software providers can provide various valuable features for online store owners. Some are order management, inventory synchronization, product management, and others.


api

API of eCommerce Platforms


Every eCommerce API is unique and has its own features and way of functioning. Here are some examples of popular eCommerce APIs:


Magento API


This API allows the developers to get and modify the store data on the Magento platform including customers, orders, products, etc. It supports both REST and SOAP communication protocols.


WooCommerce API


When software developers connect to API of WooCommerce, they can get, add, modify, and delete data in WooCommerce stores, such as products, prices, orders, customers, and shipping statuses.


Shopify API


This API allows you to retrieve, create, update, and delete object data in WooCommerce stores: products, prices, orders, customers, and shipping statuses. The API is XML and JSON compliant and uses HTTP requests, including GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.


BigCommerce API


BigCommerce RESTful API enables you to integrate your eCommerce applications with BigCommerce and use any code language of your choice. It allows the user to view and manipulate store data, which includes orders, products, customers, categories, shipments, etc. All CRUD operations are allowed via HTTP methods, such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.


Squarespace API


Squarespace API has different endpoints, such as the Inventory API, Orders API, Products API, Profiles API, Transactions API, and Webhook Subscriptions API. These allow developers to get stock data, order history, manage products, and much more.


1721219167 357 How to Connect to API of eCommerce Platform1721219167 357 How to Connect to API of eCommerce Platform

Key Considerations Before Connecting to an API

  1. API Documentation

  2. API documentation is the starting point for learning how to communicate with a specific platform’s API. It contains information on the endpoints, the formats of requests and responses, authentication, the rate at which requests are allowed, and how errors are handled. It is imperative to go through the documentation of the target eCommerce platform or marketplace carefully before moving on to the integration part.


  3. Authentication

  4. Various platforms employ different forms of authentication, including API keys, OAuth, and basic authentication. Make sure that you are familiar with the expected authentication method and have the credentials needed to make the API calls.


  5. Rate Limits

  6. APIs usually have rate limits to prevent overuse and misuse of the API. These are the limits that you should observe so that you don’t get throttled or blocked. This information is usually available in the API documentation.


  7. Error Handling

  8. Good error handling is vital for a successful integration since errors are bound to occur at some point. It is also important to know the various error codes and their meanings and how to manage them in your integration to address matters like rate limits, timeouts, and authentication.


documentationdocumentation

Methods to Connect to API of eCommerce Platform


There are two ways of connecting to eCommerce API: in-house integration development or via integration solution like API2Cart.


In-house integration development


in-house integrationin-house integration

Creating eCommerce API integrations from the ground up takes a lot of time and effort and includes stages such as planning, development, testing, and support. This can slow down the time it takes to market your solutions.


In-house development allows more control, but it requires a team of qualified developers, which may prove expensive. Moreover, the costs of maintenance and updates, which are continuous processes, are also included in the resource requirements.


All the eCommerce platforms are different in terms of API, documentation, and prerequisites that need to be met. Managing all these for several platforms can be rather cumbersome and also comes with some mistakes.


Integration with eCommerce platforms via API2Cart


api2cartapi2cart

API2Cart decreases integration development time. Data can be easily accessed, and developers can connect to eCommerce platform APIs with minimal effort.


The service helps to decrease the need for a large internal development team, which reduces costs. It also includes maintenance and updates, so you don’t need to waste your time and effort on them.


API2Cart has detailed documentation and code samples, which makes it more convenient to connect to the APIs. This support can help minimize the time taken in the integration process.


API2Cart can process large numbers of API calls, which is why it works for any business, regardless of its size. It’s flexible and can accommodate your business’s growth without compromising performance and reliability.


This API integration solution provides its clients with detailed technical support in case of any questions or problems connected with integration. This support can be very helpful when trying to figure out issues and/or fine-tune your integrations.

API2Cart helps you to integrate with the shopping platforms faster, save time on development, allowing you to concentrate more on other business operations.


Depending on various factors such as business requirements, time and money constraints, and other factors, it is possible to choose between the in-house integration development and the use of API2Cart. If you want to have full control and high flexibility and have the capabilities, developing your own may be more suitable. But if you are in search of a cheap, efficient and easily customizable approach, API2Cart is a viable competitor with its API-based integration.


How to Get Started to Connect to eCommerce APIs via API2Cart


API2Cart provides a simple way to connect to API of multiple eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. To start using the service, you need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign Up and Get the API Key

  2. The first one is to get an API2Cart account with the help of experts. Once you sign up, you will be given an API key that will be used for the authentication process.


  3. Connect a Store

  4. To add a store to your API2Cart account, you need to enter the basic details of the store such as the store URL, the platform, and the authentication details. API2Cart employs various forms of authentication with regard to the platform used.


  5. Explore API Methods

  6. API2Cart contains many API methods, including products, orders, customers, categories, etc. The documentation explains how to use them appropriately.


  7. Test and Optimize

Check that the integration is functioning correctly. Monitor the API calls and responses and modify your integration.


API-IntegrationAPI-Integration

Conclusion


Integrating with the API of eCommerce platforms and marketplaces is one of the most important tasks for eCommerce software vendors. By knowing the critical factors, adhering to the integration steps, and using tools like API2Cart, vendors can make the process easier, shorten the development time, and have reliable connections. API2Cart is a unified API approach that offers a reliable and flexible solution to help vendors concentrate on value-added services. With a single API software, vendors can integrate with over 40 eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. The list of supported integrations includes Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, Amazon, etc. You can get more information about API2Cart by scheduling a call with our manager.


Following the guidelines and best practices mentioned in this article, eCommerce software vendors can easily connect to the APIs, improve their products, and provide the best user experience.



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