Besides the requirements of standard web hosting plans, Web hosting for e-commerce operation needs a shopping cart that supports online catalog and online payment processing.
Standard Web Hosting Plans
Standard hosting plans varies in terms of programming languages, operating systems and server performance. The commonly used web development languages include PHP, ASP, JSP and PERL. The hosting plans that support those programming languages are referred as PHP Web hosting, ASP Web hosting, JSP Web hosting or PERL Web hosting. Once you've picked up the programming
language(s) for your Web development, you still have freedom to choose the operating system that hosts your Websites. Besides ASP which works only on Microsoft Windows, PHP, JSP and PERL work on Windows, Unix and Linux. Hosting plans that support particular operating systems are referred as Window Hosting, Unix Hosting or Linux hosting. When webmasters are talking about Web servers, they're most interested in the server performance - Managed Web Hosting, Shared Hosting, Dedicated Servers, or Virtual Private Servers (VPS). Shared hosting is the cheapest plan, and you can host as many sites as you like with a Reseller Hosting option. VPS costs around $50 a month, and Dedicated Server plan will cost from $50
- $100 or more a month dependent on storage space and bandwidth of the hosting plan.
E-commerce Web Hosting Plans
Evaluation of e-commerce web hosting plans involves investigation of needed functionality and price comparison of each plan. The comparison of functionality is straight forward, but the comparison of cost for different e-commerce hosting solutions is little bit tricky.
Different hosting plans may have different free structures. The cost of each hosting plan often varies on transaction volume. EBay Stores, Yahoo! Store and Microsoft bCentral are the most popular turn-key commerce solutions for small businesses that want to setup online stores easily and fast.
When comparing functionality, there're many questions to ask: 1) whether a shopping cart accepts online check or eCheck beside support on online credit card and paypal for payment options; 2) whether there's a limit on the number of products and categories that you can setup; 3) whether it automatically sends out an email notification once an order is placed successfully.
When looking at the cost of commerce operation, you'll need to ask questions about 1) what's the basic monthly subscription fee; 2) whether there's a setup fee for a new online store; 3) whether you have to pay for the addition of new items to the product catalog; 4) how much it charges for each transaction. High volume sites may prefer the plans that charge a higher monthly-fee but a lower fee on each transaction, while low volume sites work better with hosting plans that charge zero or low monthly fee and initial setup fees but a slightly higher fee on each transaction.
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