Typical Hosting Requirements of an Ecommerce Website

September 10, 2013 – 9:44 am

In the era dominated by gadget freaks, online buying and selling is a prospering trade form, where millions are daily traded via websites and applications. However, while the visible act appears pretty sorted, just a few clicks and the sale accomplished, the backend job isn’t really this simple. A well supported schema is needed in place, which ought to be extremely secure. Only those ecommerce websites, which are able to successfully clear this reliability and swiftness test, win customer confidence and at this point, the Ecommerce web host comes into picture.

The role of Ecommerce Web Host

Ecommerce web hosting service provider is the one who provides the needed tools and applications to the ecommerce business for setup and consequent business conduct in the online space. An ecommerce website requires shopping carts, merchant account, SSL certifications, extensive database backup, promotional packages, payment gateways, ecommerce web templates and perhaps mailing lists for newsletters and more. As apparent, the requirements of an ecommerce website are pretty more advanced than a usual website and thus the ecommerce web host is expected to play a far more critical role than in a normal hosting plan.

1. To begin with, the ecommerce web host in sync with the ecommerce website hosting requirements should be able to commit absolute security. Trading websites, for the purposes of sale and purchase, absorb massive customer data and protection of this information is web owner’s responsibility. Minor mistakes can lead to lawsuits and thus while evaluating the role of a web host in case of ecommerce website, security requirements assume top priority.

2. The ecommerce webhost should be able to serve as much traffic. In other words, the website should not crumble during an upsurge and this can only happen if the hosting contract includes ample web space and needed bandwidth. It is best to go with a dedicated hosting plan, however if an alternate arrangement is worked out with the web host, it must be ensured that maximum uptime guarantee is a definite agreement clause.

3. An ecommerce website can be a bit demanding when it comes to support and integration. Especially, for a new website, requirements unexpectedly crop up and only a professional web host, who is equipped to extend immediate assistance, can be trusted with the job. Thus, while ascertaining the role of ecommerce web host, pick somebody who has an established reputation. A newbie might present a larger picture, but in days of calamity, only an experienced vendor can prevent the image of your ecommerce website from getting maligned.

Web hosting prices slashed … is cheapest the solution?

September 10, 2013 – 8:53 am

Web hosting industry is a muddy territory where vendors are constantly in tiff. Web hosting package prices are being reduced to a level where the line between free and paid has begun to evaporate. What is behind this whole concept of such cheap packages? Saving money and grabbing an affordable deal is certainly wise, but can price be the only determinant? After all, a good deal has to encompass more than just the price. It ought to be an overall package where you get what you pay for. Paying a dollar a month is of no use if you cannot expect security and consistent service and a five times an amount is worth, if it ensures that your website is always up.

Webhosting Package Inclusions

Websites, especially business and trading websites carry with them a reputation. They reflect upon the owner’s sincerity. The website is a commitment to serve and if this channel is a regular victim of security pilferages, what message are you sending to the prospective customer base? The web host does more than just providing the web space. This vendor also sells security. If the web host is lenient on this pertinent slant, your websites stands naked. Intruders are literally welcomed to barge in and access whatever information they chose. Only a web host who is enlightened with the relevance of security elements takes the needed steps to safeguard. Now is it price of the web hosting package that shall govern your decision or a web host’s security setup that will define the flow.

Ease of scalability and portability are the next two important aspects that are mostly ignored. Limited requirements today, cheap membership works perfect. Requirements increase tomorrow, web host scales up, but the price increases dramatically. Talk about a proportionate increase and you are in for surprises. Neither will that happen and if you work towards a shift, you will realize you have fallen in a lock-in trap. The dear cheap web host will impose such conditions that a change of service provider will not be a case of minimal disruption. But who cares? As long as we get cheap services, it is party time … right?

Wake Up!

High time, playing naïve is no longer the winning strategy. Bargain with the web host and look for the most economical deal. But as you do so, don’t just get blindfolded by the price element, also keep a close eye on the package inclusions. If you are looking for an accommodation, you won’t share a flat with a con just because it is cheap.

How to Rank a Web Host?

August 31, 2013 – 2:53 am

Agencies publishing web host rankings or list of popular hosts are abundant. Merely typing the keywords ‘web host rankings’ or ‘ top 10 web hosts’, present quite a many posts and lists to scan through. However, how is one supposed to decide which list is most authentic or which is a credible source. In other words, generic web host rankings are plentiful, which is the most suited to a particular business or a website type?

The web-host for your website cannot just be determined by these rankings. The lists available can though be a starting ground for the search; however a lot more detailing is mandatory. After all, your website is your introduction to the world. For many, the website is the selling point and going ahead with a web hosting agency which might be good, but inappropriate in certain circumstances, could critically affect.

Thus, while finding a suitable web hosting agency or ranking web hosts it is pertinent to have a customized ranking criteria and that you will have to work out yourself. But how is one supposed to do that? Well, we have done some research here, questioned our clients, referred to a number of ranking agencies and have interviewed various web administrators and based on the responses collated, a help note is drafted that can assist you with the web host rankings.

Prepare a preliminary list – This list includes names of web hosts extending the needed web hosting services in your region. For this prelim list, check with friends, business colleagues and even refer to the online ranking list. A number of people around you would be using services of a web hosting company. Checking with them will help prepare a name chart. As you collate this information also seek their feedback. Those who plan to change or are dissatisfied shall help trim down the chart. Further, the web hosting companies specializing in hosting category (windows or Linux, shared or private or dedicated, cloud, etc.) required by you, move up the list.

Time for a dry run – All commit full assistance but only those who stand available during the needed times are reliable. The best way to ascertain availability is conducting a dry run. Click on the live chat icon on web host’s website and you’ll be surprised to find that only a few will actually respond. Chuck out the ones who fail to revert. Next, call up the customer care numbers and see if you get early response.

Security angle – Make sure that the web hosts you are considering are backed by the requisite infrastructure to securely handle your company’s and customer’s data. Infringement can not just lead to monetary losses and legal impediments, but can also critically malign reputation.

Price – The price vs. capability test is the final yardstick. Select the web hosting vendor, who meets all above listed requirements and yet is the cheapest. Please note that price is the last and not the first criterion to rank web hosting service providers.

Cloud can Intrude and Protect – Chose the Alternate that Suits!

August 31, 2013 – 2:50 am

Cloud computing is a powerful concept that offers clear benefits to organizations. However, as we had discussed in the previous post, privacy concerns are a top priority while making the cloud move. Especially for organizations, which are not just responsible for their company data but are also answerable for the voluminous customer data that they have access to, cloud appears to be a poisonous solution. For obvious reasons, the setups are unable to ignore cloud and if they embrace this technology, there is the risk of infringement. Given this scenario, is there a possible way to tame the cloud snake and make it dance to your tunes?

Well yes, with a little caution exercised during the cloud provider selection stages, it is possible to earn most out of cloud computing and yet maintain utmost privacy.

While a lot of factors like infrastructural capabilities, availability, performance and more help find the most suited cloud computing service provider, herein we are confining to the privacy aspect. Once you have narrowed down to a selected few capable cloud service providers, it is time for a security evaluation. Only a cloud service provider who can successfully clear this privacy evaluation is good enough to be your organization’s partner.

Selecting a secure cloud service provider

Data leaks or undesired data sharing or infringement possibilities can severely deter your organization’s reputation. Thus, begin by zeroing down on those cloud providers who are reasonably equipped to securely handle your data. Firewalls, virus detectors, encryption at facility and on the wire (i.e. when data is being transferred) and at the local storage are top of the list items to check. As you go about analyzing the cloud providers, ascertain if their security policy is in sync with your company’s IT security policy and if there are loopholes, a direct interaction with the shortlisted vendors can help upgrade.

In possibilities of breach, what is the provider’s stance is a pertinent question. You should be very clear about your provider’s reaction to such possible circumstances. Aspects like, how would you be notified and what will be provider’s legal involvement in such cases critically matter.

Option to conduct surprise audits is also a very useful tool. A service provider who is totally certain of his security control over the cloud services would encourage such audits. If there are loopholes in the security cover and thus if your privacy is at stake, the cloud computing provider will certainly not maintain as much transparency.

Go ahead with a cloud vendor who meets the listed criteria and of course conduct a final reputation check to stamp the selection.

The cloud worry tale… fact or fiction?!?!

August 29, 2013 – 3:51 am

In a very short span of time, cloud has dramatically evolved and the computing technology has literally encompassed the world. People are either loathing it or adoring it, but it both conditions, in different forms and to varying extents, knowingly or unknowingly using it. Cloud is the new IT addiction. It is like that drug which comes with a warning on the label and yet is such a big hit amongst all. Obsession is justified; after all, cloud makes life easy and light. Extraordinarily simple cloud offers total elimination of data handling qualms. Especially for a small / medium business enterprise, cloud is a desperate wish granted by Santa. Unlimited storage at an unbeatable price and alluring flexibility is the cloud deal. Recovery tools with cloud computing are in their full swing and software integration happens by default. In a nutshell, with cloud in action, IT is less demanding and more willing to provide.

Coming over to the obvious, if the colors of cloud are so vibrant and enthralling, why are then so many busy lobbying against this revolutionary computing technology? Cloud mandates a change and with a change one must be prepared to encounter the initial set of challenges.

For instance kids, when they are young they have this habit of holding on tightly to whatever belongs to them; be it an eraser or a ball. Gradually, parents instill the idea of sharing into the child’s brain and depending upon parent child relationship and kid’s analytical abilities, the child responds. Few share immediately thinking that their decisions will promote an equal and opposite reaction from others and thus they will attain likewise benefits. Another group contemplates longer and weighs what they have, check out the offer and eventually decide if they must jump into this sharing pool or should stay away. The rest simply loath the idea of parting with anything that belongs to them and are so protective that they are willing to forgo any benefits this sharing cycle could initiate.

Similar is the case with Cloud, just that we are dealing with children of a different age group.
Given the advantages, a group which is growing stronger by day, has welcomed cloud into their horizon. They have loosened control and have entered into this data centralization model for the sake of various benefits cloud offers.

The second group has analyzed cloud from different perspective and likes a certain set of features and is not really upbeat about the rest. Thus, this group has opted for certain cloud services like online productivity or customer / relationship management or email and more.

The remaining is not willing to let go. They have regressed to a state where anything as radical as cloud scares them. Problems do exist with the cloud model but they aren’t impenetrable. This group however has declined the whole idea and has created a cloud picture that represents total loss. But is this a sensible thing to do? Given the cloud advantages and the pace at which this computing technology is taking on, is it really possible to steer away from cloud? Well not really and thus a wiser move would be to take up the precautionary road and adopt cloud the safer way. How … the following post shall elaborate!

IT escalates to strategic levels – how must sellers prepare?

August 29, 2013 – 3:49 am

Technical guy selling to a technical guy, all good and a balance equation achieved. Technical guy selling to a finance manager or a marketing fellow – classic case of a complicated and confusing transaction amongst two parties who speak absolutely different foreign languages. Corporations worldwide are continually evolving and a major step that has formed a part of this transformation is the shift of critical IT related decisions from Chief IT heads to the Company Financial Officer or Marketing In charge.

This shift is in sync with the power technology is demanding. Inside a company, the impact of IT decisions is no longer constrained to a particular center. All nooks and corners of the setup are impacted by the changes in the information technology wing. The magnitude and proliferation of IT into all areas is robust enough to involve more parties into the decision making process.

Cloud computing is an interesting illustration to understand the case. Cloud mandates access to external parties. The vendor assumes greater control and thus management has more thinking to do here. When it comes to migration to cloud, besides the technicalities involved in the decision, management has pertinent company matters to take into consideration. Thus, the decision shifts from the IT department to other sections of the company. Likewise, the increasing technology costs and the implications of technology change on the sale and marketing strategy of the company, pose as invitations to chief financial and marketing heads.

With these many people occupying positions of relevance on the meeting table, what do sellers have to face?

The new members to the conference room are not certainly inclined to spend on the technology in discussion. Perhaps majority on the table is no longer looking at this proposition as an investment plan, rather they feel this is an expense and they thus must make all possible moves to cancel or at least delay the proceedings. For the seller, the challenge now is heightened. With the technical guy it was more of a pros and cons analysis where a product is needed and either of the various would be purchased. In this scenario however, more than the product analysis, it is about need. Why should this expense be incurred at all?

Thus, the seller needs to adopt a different approach. Rather than just talking about the product characteristics, needs to promote the idea. A business strategy, an investment plan now replaces the previous product sale mechanism. In fact, the seller who earlier knew only his product and was able to sell now is mandated to advance to a level where he knows the company and thus is able to draft a presentation that elaborates upon the product usability specifically from company perspective. A bit complicated, if this progression is enabled, vendors certainly can expect much better returns.