Best e-commerce hosting providers in 2020

Best e-commerce hosting providers in 2020

2020-06-09 17:06:00
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Best e-commerce hosting in 2020

Got a great idea, service or product? Building a quality web store could help you sell it to the masses, and it’s easier than you think.

Even basic web hosting plans will often include core e-commerce functionality: templates for web stores, PayPal integration, easy installs for popular shopping carts.

Ramping up to specialist e-commerce plans will get you powerful product catalogues, stock inventory and other business management tools, and support for more payment methods.

While these products can be packed with features, even the high-end e-commerce plans are designed to be simple to use. Choose a layout, fill in forms to build your product catalogue and your store will start to take shape. There’s still work to do – opening an account to take credit card payments, perhaps – but even web store novices will be able to figure it out as they go along.

Prices are low, too, with one decent starter plan giving you three years hosting for £1.50 ($2.10) a month, or a total of £54 ($76) plus tax. If you’re wondering about e-commerce but not quite sure whether it’s right for you, this gives you a cheap and easy way to test your ideas.

Whether you’re a total e-commerce newbie or you’re already running a busy web store, we’ve found five excellent hosting plans that could take your selling to the next level.

1. Wix

Build a web store in minutes, no experience required

Easy-to-use 

Low prices

Digital products supported

If you’re new to web selling, building your first store can seem complex and intimidating, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.

Website builder Wix comes with some gorgeous store templates which can be freely customized via its excellent editor. Site design takes a far more visual approach than most of the competition, so for example you can see designs and layouts before you drag them onto the page. Choose your preferred option and it’s displayed with dummy product images, instantly giving you an idea of how the finished store will look.

There’s plenty of power here. Products can be physical or digital, they may be illustrated with images or videos, assigned custom options (colors, size), promoted with coupons, and you can set up your own shipping and tax rules to cope with tricky situations. Plus, with the introduction of Wix Turbo, your site will load much faster.

Wix supports a wide range of payment methods. Exactly what’s on offer depends on your location, but when we tested the service from the UK we were offered Square, Stripe, Moolah, Worldpay, Wirecard and PayPal.

Whatever your choice, you’ll pay the provider only: Wix doesn’t charge any transaction fees.

Your finished store still won’t have as many features as the top e-commerce providers, but Wix is easy-to-use, the $17 (£14) a month price is fair, and it’s a smart way for newbies to dip their toes in the web store waters.

2. iPage

A working web store for just over a pound a month?

Low starter price

Choice of shopping carts

Limited in some areas

Getting your first web store up and running is often an expensive business. Many providers offer little or no e-commerce functionality in their starter plans, and you’ll often have to fork out for a high-end specialist plan before you can do anything useful.

iPage is a rare exception where even the most basic hosting plan gives you more than enough to get started.

A template-based website builder and free web store make it easy to design your shop, for instance. There’s PayPal support for taking payments. You also get integration with your choice of shopping cart (AgoraCart, OpenCart, OSCommerce, PrestaShop, TomatoCart, Zen Cart), a free domain for the first year, and 24/7 phone (toll-free in the US and UK) and chat support to handle any urgent problems that might crop up.

There are limits, too. The website builder only supports a maximum of six pages, for instance, and many customers will expect to be able to pay by credit card as well as PayPal. (You can do that, but you’ll need to sort it out yourself.)

Still, the introductory price is very low at $1.99 (£1.50) a month for up to 36 months, $7.99 (£6) on renewal. It could be worth buying just as a learning environment to experiment with the technology and see what you can do. And if you do go online, you shouldn’t have to sell many products to make your hosting fees back.

3. SiteGround

Professional e-commerce features for a home user price

Simple website builder

Easily install top shopping carts

Free SSL

While many web hosts go to huge efforts to highlight e-commerce abilities, others barely mention them at all. SiteGround is a great example: there’s no big “build your web store here” headline, and yet when you look at the details, even its most basic shared hosting plan has a lot of e-commerce power.

A Weebly-based website builder is available to create your store, for instance. HTTP/2 enabled servers and Cloudflare CDN integration boost speeds, reducing the chance that customers will abandon the site. And when it’s time to buy, free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates will give your customers confidence that their payment details are secure.

SiteGround plans include the Softaculous installer, which enables speedy setup of big-name shopping cart and e-commerce tools including PrestaShop, WooCommerce and Magento.

At the time of writing, the company quotes 99.996% uptime for the last 12 months, good news when you’re running something as important as a web store. Although if you do hit trouble, 24/7 support and automatic daily backups should help you quickly recover the situation.

The baseline StartUp plan gives you all this for $3.95 (£2.95 for UK) a month for the initial term, rising to $11.95 (£8.95 for UK) on renewal. It has some limits – 10GB web space, a suggested maximum of 10,000 visits a month, support for hosting one website only – but these won’t be an issue for many smaller stores, and there are more powerful plans available if you need them.

4. 1&1 IONOS eCommerce Website Builder/Online Store

Connect your web store to eBay, Amazon Marketplace and more

Quality store templates

Impressive on the integration front

Above average prices

1&1 IONOS eCommerce Website Builder/Online Store is a powerful tool which combines simple template-based web store design with professional features and functionality.

High quality design templates help you get up to speed quickly. There aren’t many, but they look good, and can easily be customized to suit your needs.

1&1 IONOS’s baseline account is a little underpowered, considering its price – $20 (£20 for UK page) a month (the first three months are free though). You get support for up to 5000 items and there’s a free domain, an SSL certificate thrown in, and some basic SEO.

The range improves significantly with the next plan priced at $25 (£25 for UK) a month. This adds more product support (up to 10000), advanced SEO, improvement to shipping (scheduled pickup and real-time shipment tracking) and some additional extras like Instagram store.

The highest plan takes your store to the next level by increasing the product support up to 1 million and allows you to sell on eBay and Amazon Marketplace along with additional improvements. It’s an unusual and welcome extra, but the price is relatively high at $45 (£50 for UK page) a month.

5. Liquid Web

Run the busiest of web stores on this powerful platform


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