What you need to know about the pitfalls of hosting an ecommerce website

The pains of hosting an ecommerce store are not as straightforward as we’d like them to be, and sometimes the solution is not quite what you’d expect. In this article we explore these challenges.

So you’ve got a brand new online store, or you could have been doing it when Facebook and Twitter were just a twinkle in their creator’s eyes.

Whatever the case, when hosting an ecommerce site, we believe there are some key considerations you should make and be aware of, to ensure you get the most out of it.

Speed of loading

Probably one of the most common perceived site issues out there, the speed of loading of your site will have a direct impact on your sales. Often, an assessment of your hosting setup by a professional can ascertain what the problem is and a suitable adjustment can be made to your hosting or may lead to a change in hosting provider.

Site speed loading issues can be caused by a number of factors, which are not always immediately obvious. We’ve rounded up some of the main culprits in our experience, and they are as follows:

  • Quality of provider – overloading of services is a prime example that can slow down a website. Poor server or operational management and control can result in an continual let down for you and your website.
  • Location of server versus location of customers – if your web hosting server is in the US and your clients are in Australia, then it will load faster in the US and often much slower for your customers – perhaps even half the speed. There are lots of points in between you and sites hosted overseas, making it a bit like a virtual obstacle course for the data to flow properly.
  • How the site was coded – with the advent of technological improvements it’s easier for anyone to create a website. But the code, or part of it, might be created in such a way that it loads the site at 20% of the speed it should be. A good web developer can identify the slow downs and enhance or rewrite the code so it’s not an issue.If you have installed poorly coded add ons to your website, this can cause not only slow downs but increase the risk of hacking as poor code can open up a virtual hole in your website for hackers to get in.
  • Malware infection – your site could be infected with malware and you may not know. These can cause all sorts of issues like slowing down your site, stealing client credit card data, redirecting customers to other websites, or infecting your customers computers with viruses or malware.

Reliability and service

How reliable is your web host? Were you waiting half an hour to speak to someone about your problem?

It’s not simply how good the hosting is, but how fast a response you’ll get when something goes wrong.

While the reasons why a site go down can range from server troubles to web developer issues, to malware and hacking, how reliable your provider is plays a big part in your peace of mind.

We always find with our service providers, having a problem is not so nearly as great an issue as not being able to establish contact with said provider to get a solution!


Pricing of your service often has quite a direct relationship to the quality. If you are paying $9.99 a month to host your ecommerce site, you shouldn’t expect much.

You should consider the pricing versus convenience. If you’re paying $35 a month for hosting your online store, it’s running slowly and your provider recommends an upgrade to their $70 a month plan, you’ve doubled your hosting costs but what is the effect on your business if your site is loading quickly and reliably for every customer who visits?

Successful and established online store owners can easily be paying hundreds of dollars a month for their hosting. But they also recognise the value that brings.

Consider your pricing and plan and whether that is limiting your site’s success.

Web developer feedback

Ask your web developer. Often your web developer may have their own hosting, other times they may be able to recommend someone suitable. If your web developer has experience in web hosting, it may also be, overall, more cost effective for you for you to use their service.

Web hosting services are not all the same, and there are often vast differences between providers which can make the job of a developer very simple, or, can add additional hours of time dealing to inefficient or unfamiliar systems.

Protection from the elements

Another factor to consider is exposure to the elements.

While not particularly on the top of clients’ minds when hosting their ecommerce website, the level of exposure your website has to the big wide world can result in wild and undesirable fluctuations in site performance, based on an influx caused by a hacking attack or a larger promotion you’re running this weekend.

It may be worth looking at a Content Delivery Network service, or CDN. In many respects, having a CDN is like putting a glass window in your living room rather than being exposed to the elements. It provides a mostly transparent buffer between your site and the outside world.

A CDN takes the brunt of the force when sites are attacked, and can better serve up content when there is higher demand.

Often a CDN will serve up commonly requested images and pages, without bothering the server your website is hosted on.

Like a glass window blocks the rain and wind from bothering you on a stormy day, a CDN does the same for a website.

Many large global businesses use a CDN for their websites, as it also loads up content globally much faster than a website with a single physical location. There are however many other benefits and we’d certainly recommend considering it.

Next steps

There are many factors to consider when choosing your ecommerce web host. While there are often a complex set of factors that can influence the success of a website, if you have a strong foundation you can focus less on the technology and more on running your business.

Like anything, having specialist advice can make a major difference. And make your life a lot easier in the process.

If you have a challenge with your ecommerce hosting you’d like some help with? You’re welcome to contact us with any questions and we’ll gladly give our feedback.