If you desire to open a storefront online, take note that there are several methods that can be used to power your e-commerce site, including an in-house solution, colocation, shared hosting, dedicated and managed hosting. The method you choose will depend on various factors, but mainly your budget, level of technical expertise and the requirements of your business.
Hosting your e-commerce site in-house involves setting up a server room, purchasing the necessary hardware and software components, leasing a reliable high-speed connection and employing an IT team. Experienced IT personnel are required to handle day to day technical aspects such as performing backups, monitoring security and basically doing whatever it takes to keep the server up and running. The costs and complexities that come along with an in-house operation are considerable and often too much for startups and small businesses to handle.
Colocation refers to an alternative solution that allows businesses to store their server hardware and network equipment in a facility maintained by a hosting company. The firm provides you with physical storage space, internet bandwidth and electricity to power the hardware. There are many advantages to this type of arrangement, including a lower cost for bandwidth and the enhanced reliability you get from the data center. The disadvantages are that you must purchase your own hardware and actually find a provider that offers a colocation service in your area.
One of the most common ways to run an e-commerce website is through a service arrangement known as shared hosting. In this environment, the websites of multiple companies are stored on a single server, which share an internet connection and various other resources between them. While suitable for the needs of many, this type of service is best for companies that anticipate a small to moderate amount of traffic and have a limited budget. This is mainly because there are strict limitations in regard to disk space, bandwidth and control. With that said, a reputable firm should be able to provide you with a stable platform that can support the needs of both startups and small companies.
Dedicated and Managed Hosting
Dedicated hosting is a method that calls for you to a lease an entire server from a hosting company. The provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware and network connectivity while the bulk of server administration falls on your shoulders. This could be a downside because of all the technical challenges that go into maintaining a server, but there are number of benefits as well. For example, you have extensive control and flexibility that permits you to run your own operating system, database servers, web applications and services. For those who lack the experience or time needed to handle these tasks, managed hosting exists, a solution that eases the burden of server administration. Though notably more expensive, managed hosting will allow you to focus more on promoting your e-commerce site and servicing customers rather than dealing with the all the complexities as these processes are handled by the provider.
The fact that there are so many options for hosting an e-commerce site works to your advantage. What you need to do is a carefully assess your situation and determine which service is best for your business. After settling on a reliable solution, the fate of your online business is in your hands.