If you’ve gone with WooCommerce as the platform of choice for your online store – congratulations. Before you get in too deeply though, WooCommerce does have some requirements if you want it to perform well.
Working with the right web hosting partner can alleviate these issues, so let’s take a deeper dive into the matter.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that adds eCommerce features to your website. It isn’t a standalone application, so you must already be running WordPress in order to add WooCommerce on.
First developed by WooThemes, it was built to be another variant of Jigoshop, another WordPress eCommerce plugin. Unlike the now defunct JogoShop, WooCommerce thrived and today powers almost a third of all eCommerce platforms online.
WooCommerce is so popular that even as a plugin, developers have created extensions for it. These can be added on, further increasing the utility of what is already a very impressive and comprehensive application.
Challenges Faced by WooCommerce Store Owners
Online store owners typically have to contend with issues regular site owners often don’t – or at the very least, not to such an extent. Being a commercial-oriented platform, store owners need to offer services that are fast and reliable.
Unless you’re running an extremely niche store, chances are that you will be selling a lot of products. Imagine that each product has three to five SKUs and every single variant needs content and images to support it – that will eventually eat deeply into storage space.
Perhaps the biggest taboo for online stores is when it comes to slow performance. A mere single second delay in loading for eCommerce sites can have a massive impact on your conversion rate, potentially burning a deep hole in your pocket.
Since eCommerce platforms often have higher hosting requirements, along comes the headache of having to manage that ecosystem. Not all web hosts will offer you managed hosting environments, so you may need to struggle with server management on your own.
This is not only potentially challenging, but such activities will distract you from focusing on your core business – ensuring that your online store is bringing in the money. Time spent on server management could be better spent expanding your eCommerce business.
For those who see their business thriving, have you considered what comes next? Businesses often need a clear path to grow and if your hosting partner doesn’t have what you need next, you need to have a Plan B you can swiftly move towards.
Types of Website Hosting Solutions
Searching for the right WooCommerce hosting partner shouldn’t be a difficult task. As long as you follow a few simple guidelines. Before that though, you need to be aware of what the major hosting plan types are in the market.
Among all types of hosting available for WooCommerce sites, perhaps the poorest choice will be shared hosting. Irrespective of the volume of buyers you will get, your online store needs to be fast and reliable.
Shared hosting offers resource usage to a large number of customers per server, potentially arising in sites not having resources when needed. Apart from this, shared hosting plans are also generally more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks.
Virtual Private Server
The middle ground of shared hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) plans have a good mix of price and performance. Each account gets a dedicated amount of resources for use, enabling better speeds.
With better reliability, performance, and security, VPS hosting is a slight step up in pricing over shared hosting. Of course, this is scalable, so you still only pay for as much resources as you need.
Having a dedicated server might be fantastic but they come with the price tag to match. Unless you’re running a high visitor volume site, this is often the last resort for online stores. It’s often expensive and since you pay for the entire server to start off with – not great scalability-wise.
What is WooCommerce Hosting?
If this is something that you haven’t heard of before, it’s time to learn about it. Most web hosting plans are pretty generic since there are so many thighs you can actually do with it. Since you know you want to run a WooCommerce-based site, WooCommerce hosting is custom built for it.
Take for example ScalaHosting WooCommerce plans. These plans are specially tuned and optimized to offer WooCommerce-based sites the ultimate in speed, reliability, and security. Even if you already have hosting, they’ll migrate your site to one of these plans for free.
Aside from the plugin itself, ScalaHosting WooCommerce plans are also designed for best WordPress performance, so you can be assured of the right fit for your site.
Why is Other Hosting Not An Option?
Having to fine tune your hosting environment for optimal performance is a tireless and complex job. In addition, not every aspect of the hosting environment can be customized for your WooCommerce site on your own.
ScalaHosting not only builds their plans with customer needs in mind, but they also have the expertise and attitude to do it right. If you face any challenges with your site, getting in touch with customer support will often yield pleasantly surprising results.
Criteria to Choose WooCommerce Hosting
As a relatively niche platform in a very general field, WooCommerce does come with some basic quirks. Part of this is due to the nature of eCommerce itself.
Here are some of the things you want to keep an eye out for:
Major Security Issues
Offering a safe environment for your visitors to shop in is a vital part of any eCommerce business. Choose the right plan and make sure your host takes a serious view towards security.
ScalaHosting guards its customer WooCommerce deployments with SShield, an advanced, real-time cybersecurity protection service. This can help significantly reduce dangers to your business and let you build with confidence.
Since WooCommerce runs on WordPress, many of the requirements are actually similar to those for WordPress hosting. You need to be able to run at optimal performance in order to get the best bang for your buck and serve customers quickly and efficiently.
Working with the wrong hosting partner can lead to intermittent service outages. The result – angry, irritated, or worried customers. Choosing a reliable partner like ScalaHosting can alleviate this concern, especially backed by a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Unmanaged Vs Managed WooCommerce Hosting
Having your hosting plan managed by the service provider can make a major difference. Alternatively, if you opt for an unmanaged plan, ensure you have the time and expertise to get it done correctly. Testing with your own WooCommerce site can result in disaster, so be clear on your requirements before choosing a plan.
Product Types and SKUs
As an online store owner, being aware of how many products you plan to field can play a part in choosing your hosting plan and type. The more products and SKUs you have, the more likely it is that you will want more capable web hosting.
What’s the Traffic Behavior Like?
Knowing how your site visitors interact with your store can be helpful as well. For example, being aware of what times visitors come and other metrics can help you plan for better resource balancing.
Where’s Your Traffic Mainly From?
For those running WooCommerce sites that focus on selling to specific areas, choosing a web hosting server location is important. A web server located closer to your intended market can load pages more quickly, since data needs more time to travel over longer distances.
WooCommerce Hosting Requirements
Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, the requirements are closely tied to the base application – WordPress. In general, WordPress can be hosted on almost any kind of plan, but there are some cautious to this.
Being web applications, both WooCommerce and WordPress can require better hosting resources to run optimally.At the same time, running the latest versions of both together will often present the best feature set and security for you and your customers.
Secure Sockets Layer
Online stores almost always have to process customer and payment data. This means there will be a need for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification. While eCommerce sites should go for commercial ones, you can still use free SSL to start off with. ScalaHosting offers a choice of either commercial SSL or free SSL certificates to all customers.
Tips to Get a Good WooCommerce Hosting Provider
- Reliability is a must – Always host with a reputable WooCommerce hosting partner. Sites that go down not only frustrate visitors, but can cause serious loss of confidence in your business.
- Shortlist – With so many choices to go through, take a note of the highlights of each and make up a shortlist. When you’re ready, come back to the list and eliminate them based on your specific needs.
- Look out for support – Getting help when you really need it is vitally important since you’re running a business. Look for a hosting partner that can be there for you in times of crisis.
- Balance value versus price – Although managing cost is important, don’t automatically go for the lowest bidder. Technology services come at a cost and if you buy in at the lowest price, it’s likely that something was cut somewhere.
Choosing the right WooCommerce hosting solution can be a little more complex. Because you’re serving paying customers, you need to do so in as seamless a manner as possible. After all, your profits depend on this, so don’t cut too many corners when choosing your hosting partner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is WooCommerce free to use?
A: Both WooCommerce and the platform it runs on – WordPress – are free to use. However, you will need to pay for web hosting and a domain name in order to run a WooCommerce-based website.
Q: Which is better, Shopify or WooCommerce?
A: WooCommerce is by far the more popular eCommerce platform. However, being based on WordPress means it’s not for everyone. Shopify is better for users who have no knowledge of how to deploy web-based applications since it comes ready to use.
Q: Is WooCommerce safe?
A: While WooCommerce itself has no known major vulnerabilities, you will need to take the usual precautions for building an online store with it. This includes measures such as a secure host, SSL certification, and proper controls.
Q: Is Magento better than WooCommerce?
A: Magento is more of a niche eCommerce solution that’s tailored for a specific market. WooCommerce is better for most users and is much more widely supported by the community.
Q: What is WooCommerce used for?
A: WooCommerce is used as an add-on to the WordPress content management system. It adds on eCommerce features, allowing users to turn WordPress sites into online stores.
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