Why Get a Dedicated Server for Your Online Shop in Australia?
Web hosting can make or break an online business as it is the literal backbone of a website. Most companies rightfully channel time and resources towards finding an excellent web hosting provider. The last thing you need is overcrowded and weak servers that cannot keep up with the traffic of your website.
There are primarily three web hosting packages. Shared hosting is the most economical of hosting plans where you can pay monthly rates starting at $3. Startups gravitate towards this package which proves to be insufficient as the site grows. Shared hosting generally means that you share servers with other sites. The risks included with this plan include slow load times and downtimes.
Dedicated hosting is an upgrade from shared hosting where you do not have to share web servers. This solution allows full control of the server software and hardware. Dedicated hosting accommodates growth which makes it ideal for growing businesses. The package requires more technical skills, and it is typically more costly than shared hosting. The reasons that make dedicated hosting ideal for online shops include:
1. Best Uptime
The importance of a strong uptime cannot be emphasized enough. It is not uncommon for online stores to crash in periods of high traffic. Click Frenzy knows this risk all to well as its website crashed in November 2018 amid a sale. Shoppers turned to social media to detail their disappointments. The site’s servers turned to be inadequate for the more-than-usual traffic.
In the digital realm, downtime can be compared to turning buyers away at a physical store. Downtime redirects your customers to other sites. Some online administrators are of the opinion that short downtime periods are not detrimental to sales, but they could not be more wrong. In 2018, Amazon lost between $72 to $99 million during its yearly Prime Day. Even if your store does not stand to lose as much money as Amazon, it just goes to illustrate the potential magnitude of downtime losses.
New customers gauge an online store on performance. Nothing frustrates a customer more than a company that falls short of expectations. Uptime directly correlates to reputation. The e-commerce industry is saturated, and new businesses are continually cropping up. A solid reputation is more important than ever. Search engines rank sites with high downtimes poorly which means that your competitors will be ranked more favorably and attract more customers.
In reality, there is nothing like 100% uptime. The combination of human skill, hardware, and software cannot be entirely foolproof. The objective is to minimize the possible glitches in these systems as much as possible. Hosted solutions have advanced in terms of storage, bandwidth, server capacity, and CPU allocation. An uptime of 99.99% is desirable and is often guaranteed in the contract with the hosting manager. You can use software applications to monitor the actual uptime and ensure the host is living up to its agreement.
2. Speed and Performance
Time is money, and this fact is especially true for e-commerce sites. The load times that customers expect in online stores keep decreasing. In 2006, for example, the average online consumer expected pages to load in around eight seconds while in 2010, it had decreased to two seconds or less. Key players like Google and Amazon have lots of reports to illustrate the importance of load times to customers. Studies further prove that increasing website speed just a bit can improve conversions significantly.
If your website is running on a shared server, resources are distributed between you and other websites. Whichever site gets the resources first gets to reap the fruits. On a dedicated hosting plan, however, you are allocated a certain amount of resources, and no one can access your share. Depending on your package, you will get allocations on Ram, bandwidth, storage, and security. You can opt for a higher plan as your website grows. Having your own resources also means that you can reconfigure the settings and integrate other applications to improve website speed.
Having dedicated resources reduces the downtime for your website. Fast load times have several advantages. 46% of shoppers for example who abandon shopping carts blame slow load speeds for this action. When buyers select “buy now” or “check-out” they expect the subsequent reaction to happen fast. A slow site does not encourage conversions, and it further discourages shoppers from browsing through your platform.
Search engines love fast websites and typically rank them higher on search pages. Google has been using speed in its ranking since 2010. An e-commerce site needs to leverage on SEO for visibility which is why load speeds are essential than ever. It is also an excellent strategy to have unlimited add-on email accounts, domains, database with your dedicated hosting plan in case you launch another project around your website.
Dedicated hosting is a more reliable package as it is less prone to crash or go down than a website on shared hosting.
3. Enhanced Security
Online selling offers tons of opportunities for entrepreneurs, but they are risks as well. The most known digital security threat is fraud. Most online shops have customer features to store information like delivery details and purchase history. Hackers can gain access to these accounts and use them to make unauthorized purchases. If you do not protect customer information adequately, you open it up to hacking and fraud. Credit card fraud is quite common, as unlike physical stores, you have no way of ascertaining the identity of the buyer.
DDOS attacks are another common security threat. Hackers typically hijack your hosting servers and compromise their functionality or use them to attack other servers. DDOS attacks are especially undesirable because they cause serious downtime and if they keep happening, may cost you sales and your reputation among customers. Most web hosts provide authentication systems to supplement standard solutions based on passwords.
When choosing a web host, opt for packages that include:
- SSL Certificates – Secure Sockets Layers are designed to encrypt information between a seller and buyer. E-commerce transactions involve the exchange of such sensitive information like credit card information, addresses, bank details, and purchase history.
- VPN – Public networks are accessible to many people which is why they are quite vulnerable to cybercriminals. A Virtual Private Network features offsite servers in addition to encrypting information. The most effective options are SSL-VPN and Open-VPN.
- Security auditing – Your web host should further monitor your site regularly. Audits detect security threats and deal with them accordingly.
- Protection against DDOS threats – DDOS attacks gives security teams headaches as they often change form to resist measures that are implemented against them. DNS facilities are commonly used to remove suspicious traffic.
The above features are available with most dedicated hosting packages and are essential to running your e-commerce site smoothly. Some plans offer dedicated firewalls for added protection. Firewalls are standard software in computers, and they restrict users from gaining access to particular content or websites. When using shared hosting, requests blocked from accessing another site could be blocked on your website as well. With dedicated hosting, there are specific rules governing the access of your platform which is ideal for sensitive information.
In addition to the security settings provided by your web host, you also get to implement several of your own including anti-virus software.
4. Full Control of Your Website
With dedicated hosting, the success of your e-commerce website will depend entirely on your efforts. You will need to ensure that the server is well-maintained and protected from threats. Shared hosting is not especially ideal for e-commerce sites as some websites may end up using large portions of resources such that yours performs poorly as a result. With dedicated hosting, a server with certain allocations is utilized for the optimal of your website.
Since dedicated hosting lets you configure your software and hardware needs, the first step is to secure your site properly. You have full control over your security and permission requirements so you can encrypt the information of customers. As your site grows, you will be able to add and get rid of any applications or software.
Another advantage with dedicated hosting is flexibility where you can use your server for any number of projects as long as it is within the given limits in terms of storage and bandwidth.
There are unlimited tools to help optimize the performance of an e-commerce site in the marketing, business, website, research, and analytics categories.
Dedicated hosting requires a lot of hands-on effort on the part of the client, and some web hosts provider managed dedicated hosting for an additional fee. Your provider will execute most of the setup for you. You can purchase this solution as a package or buy the services when you need a technician to assist you.
5. Dedicated Technical Support
An e-commerce site is particularly fragile because any glitches will directly affect sales. Most hosting customers, therefore, look for providers that offer 24/7 support on all the days of the year. This staff should not only be available but should be experts as well. Should you need to configure a complex software setting, the provider’s team should be knowledgeable enough to help you satisfactorily. A hosting provider should further offer several channels to access the support team. These channels can include live chat, email, ticketing, and telephone. Most dedicated hosting packages provide these guarantees which means that the assistance you may need is available round the clock. Dedicated hosting providers monitor websites regularly which is an added assurance that your site will be guarded against glitches and security risks.
Why I Recommend WP Hosting
One of the most notable dedicated hosting providers in Australia is WP Hosting. It was founded to deploy quality hosting services to Australian-based websites and blogs. With clients ranging from government, corporate, small companies, and individuals, WP Hosting has adequate infrastructure to fulfill all kinds of hosting needs. The basic plan is the Startup package ideal for personal blogs which do not utilize a huge amount of traffic bandwidth and storage. The Business package is upgraded to include phone support in addition to email package. If you have a complex website that receives traffic from numerous concurrent users daily, then the Corporate package is perfect for you.
WP Hosting is fashioned to work seamlessly with WordPress. When it comes to e-commerce, WooCommerce dominates 32% of the market. It is the e-commerce extension for the even more popular website platform WordPress. When it comes to SEO, WooCommerce + WordPress shines over all the other competitors. Using this combination boosts your visibility on search engines which is among the primary goals of an online store. Numerous add-ons have been developed to make WooCommerce even more powerful including email marketing tools and membership site functionality. The provider has integrated many tweaks in the service to tune it to WordPress.
WP Hosting provides for free inbound migration where your WordPress site will be moved to the new hosting platform with zero downtime. Australian web administrators will love the local staff on WP Hosting which means that nothing will get lost in translation when interacting with them. The 24/7 support center is a significant advantage, and you can contact them at any moment of the day or night. The provider’s multilayer security is supplemented by always-on DDOS protection. These security measures are practically foolproof when it comes to running an e-commerce store. WP Hosting has worked with multiple top brands like the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre.
An e-commerce store needs more resources than those required by a standard content site. You may be overwhelmed when building a functional e-commerce store. You have probably heard of platforms like Shopify and Magento which let you dive straight into uploading products. Even more popular is WordPress with its host of plugins that make an e-commerce site high-performing. The content management system you select is up to you, and it should meet your immediate and future concerns.
Most administrators try to save money by opting for shared hosting which soon becomes inefficient for a resource-hungry platform like an online store. Since you are sharing resources with other sites, your website may lose out on uptime at critical hours. Dedicated hosting may be the more expensive option, but your site will benefit from the upgraded uptime, more security options, full control, and a dedicated support team. In Australia, you can access a dedicated server from WP Hosting to take your e-commerce venture to the next level.