Best osCommerce Hosting Company
What is osCommerce? How to choose an osCommerce host and start a shop?
Introduction to osCommerce
If you are looking to start your online store, osCommerce is probably the right solution for you. This eCommerce platform is known to be beginner-friendly because it’s free, simple to use and easy to modify.
osCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform. This means that it is completely free, and it runs under GNU General Public License. It is one of the biggest eCommerce platforms worldwide, and it currently has more than 250,000 online stores operating on it.
In this short guide we will present you with some clear advantages osCommerce has. We will also highlight some drawback, since nothing is flawless. You will have a clearer picture about what osCommerce really is, and is it the right choice for you, after reading the next section.
We will then move on to explaining what type of hosting for osCommerce you should choose. And finally, we will offer you three great solutions, known to work well with the osCommerce platform.
By the end of this guide, you will have a much better understanding about osCommerce, and will know what the right solution is when it comes to hosting an osCommerce website.
Read on to find out more!
Advantages and disadvantages of osCommerce
Good things first:
- Ease of use- osCommerce platform is really easy to install, and use. All you need to do is download if from the official website. After that, simply upload it to your server. The whole installation process is web-based and straightforward.
- Everything is free- as noted, osCommerce is open source. This means it is not only free to use, but also free to modify. Tweaking around it is fairly simple, and if you know what you want, you will modify osCommerce to work your way in no time at all. And as with every open source software, osCommerce has a lively community, willing to offer help.
- Easy to modify- since it is open source, tweaking osCommerce is completely legal, and you will be able to customize it however you want. This allows you to make a unique store, and present your product in your own way. Many community created plugins and add-ons will help you to do this.
- Excellent features- it offers some premium features for free, such as order history, shopping carts, search, unlimited products and categories, many contact forms, multiple currencies, creating invoices, etc. Many other platforms charge for that type of advanced functionality.
- Great community- free and open source means that a lot of people use it, and tweak it. Updates are constant, and you can find help on osCommerce forums easily (tutorials, how to videos, or ask for advice, people are friendly and will offer quick help).
But, not everything is perfect:
- Errors- As your webstore grows, osCommerce will start to fall behind. This is especially true if you tweaked it yourself. Bugs and breakdowns are not good for store reputation, so if your store overgrows osCommerce, think about switching to something bigger (that you will have to pay for) in order keep customers satisfied.
- Requires more work than some other eCommerce platforms- this is the price you pay for not paying the price. osCommerce is great, if you have time to dedicate to its maintenance. There is always something to do with osCommerce, and this is not ideal who people who are short on time.
But as a completely free solution osCommerce is ideal for people who are just starting out with their webstore. Install osCommerce, and see how things go. Use if for a while, and then decide what to do; you will probably need something bigger and more advanced in the future.
If you want to find out what is the right type of hosting for osCommerce, stay with us.
How to Choose Web Hosting for osCommerce?
There are three main types of web hosting – shared hosting, VPS and dedicated servers. But, since osCommerce is the right option for beginners (as it tends to get buggy when your store starts growing) the right hosting options for it is also the one intended for beginners- shared hosting.
Shared hosting is ideal for smaller websites. Its main advantage is the price- it is by far the cheapest type of hosting, you can find shared hosting that will cost you less than $5 per month. People who are just starting with their business need to save money, and reinvest it elsewhere, so it is pretty wise to save on hosting when you are a beginner. Choose shared hosting.
But, choosing shared hosting because it is cheap, does not mean you should automatically choose THE cheapest among shared hosting providers and plans. Saving $1 will not be crucial, but the differences between shared hosting providers can be. Be smart, and choose the right shared hosting plan that will suit your store’s needs. Few things to look for:
- Uptime: 99.9% or better is a must. You want a hosting provider known for its stability, and there is no better parameter for it than uptime. Customers must be able to reach your website at any time, and you have to make sure that is possible.
- Security: you’re running a store, and that involves vulnerable data, such as personal information, credit card numbers etc. if your potential customers don’t feel secure, they will shop elsewhere. Get a hosting plan with advanced security features, such as SSL, SSH, anti-malware/spam/DDoS, etc.
- eCommerce options: this is self-explanatory; you are running a store, so get a plan that has eCommerce features.
- Support: you never know what can go wrong, so sign with a hosting provider that has an awesome support team. You want them to solve your problems fast, at any time of the day. Having a great website with a good FAQ section also helps, if you want to solve your own problems.
In the next section we will present you with three options that are known to be compatible with osCommerce. All three are reliable, safe, have great eCommerce features and highly trained support teams.
Read on to find out more about which three web hosting providers are the best for osCommerce.
Best shared hosting providers for osCommerce
BlueHost is a well-known company, which has been around for a long time. It has great recommendations too, and they don’t hide them- BlueHost is the number one hosting provider recommended by WordPress. When a giant like WP is behind you, there is no doubt that you are doing your job well.
As we have already explained, security is extremely important for online stores. That is the number one reason why BlueHost is a great option for any eCommerce. This host has superb security features. Their servers are fast and reliable, built using only cutting-edge components. Also, everything is backed up by UPS and diesel generators, BlueHost servers stay up all the time, and their 99.9% guaranteed uptime proves this. When it comes to software security, you will be safe from spam, malware and hackers if you host your osCommerce store on BlueHost servers.
BlueHost is known for providing great customer care. Their support team can be reached in different ways (email, phone, chat, knowledge base), and at any time, 24/7/365. Staff is skilled, and will solve your problems fast. You can also look for help online, BlueHost has an excellent website, and user community.
BlueHost has three shared plans:
- Basic- $3.95/mo- it can host 1 website with 50 GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, 1 domain, 5 parked domains and 25 subdomains. You can create up to 5 email accounts, 100 MB storage per account.
- Plus- $5.95/mo- you can host unlimited number of websites on it, with unmetered bandwidth, parked domains and subdomains, on 1 domain. It will also give you more than $24/year of extras, including 1 Spam Experts and $200 worth of marketing credits.
- Prime- $5.95/mo- 1 domain, everything else is unlimited: subdomains, parked domains, websites, website space, bandwidth, email addresses and storage. For the price you will also get $200 marketing credit, SiteBackupPro, 1 Domain Privacy, 1 SpamExperts. This is the best valued plan, ideal for osCommerce store.
Overall, BlueHost provides great value. It has affordable pricing, and advanced features, making it ideal for running an osCommerce store. Try BlueHost, it has a 30 day money-back guarantee.
Nothing builds more trust than a lengthy money-back guarantee. This shows how much confidence a company has in the service they provide. InMotion has one of the biggest money-back guarantees in the whole web hosting industry: 90 days! This is enough to convince you to consider trying InMotion, since no risk is involved. But, if you want more information about this great company, read on!
The main reason why InMotion is this confident is their state-of-the-art technology. They take no compromises- only the latest and best components can be parts of their servers. We are talking about huge and regular updates; InMotion invests millions of dollars every year to keep their servers running ultra-fast. And it shows too, InMotion has above average uptime, and tremendous speed advantage over competition- websites running on their servers are more than 60% faster than other. This makes InMotion ideal for running an osCommerce store. Customers love fast websites, and will gladly revisit your store.
All InMotion shared hosting plans have this in common: free SSD (the main reason for ultra-fast speeds of InMotion), free domain, free backups (other providers charge this), SSH access, 1-click installations, free website transfer. Here are the plans:
- Launch- $5.99/mo- this plan we will not consider, since it is not e-commerce ready
- Power- $5.99/mo- the most popular plan. Ecommerce ready, and including 50 databases, unlimited disk space, bandwidth, transfers, email accounts and storage. It supports 6 websites, $250 advertising credit, free SSL, 25 parked domains and 100 subdomains.
- Pro- $8.99/mo- their best shared plan. It offers unlimited websites, domains, parked domains, subdomains, databases, disk space, bandwidth, email accounts and storage. $250 advertising credit, free SSL are also included. Pro plan is also eCommerce ready and it includes Pro level support.
Talking about support- InMotion is the industry leader in this area. They are easy to reach, and won’t keep you waiting for long. You can reach them around the clock, every day of the year. Also, the excellent website is there for you, if you like searching for answers yourself.
InMotion is truly a great choice.
When a company is in the business for more than 20 years, you know that it must provide quality service. HostMonster was founded way back in 1996. Meanwhile, many other hosting providers appeared, promising too much and then even more quickly disappeared from the market. But not HostMonster, it is still going strong, even after two decades.
HostMonster is an O.G. but that doesn’t mean it isn’t improving, staying fresh. They offer some cool features, such as fast, one-click setups for popular services. Instant provisioning means everything will be up and running in seconds. They also have free website builders (Weebly), which are fairly easy to use, even for the novices. Your osCommerce store will be safe with HostMonster; they offer SSH access, SSL support, SpamAssassin and hotlink protection. Uptime is guaranteed, 99.9% or better.
HostMonster is also known for providing great customer care. Their agents are fast working, easy to reach, reliable and very knowledgeable. If your web store is already hosted on another provider, HostMonster staff will migrate it for free. They will offer advice, and solve your problems promptly. Reach them by phone, live chat or online tickets. They are also very active on Twitter, which is really nice.
HostMonster has 3 shared plans:
- Basic- $4.95/mo- you can create 1 website, with 50 GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, 5 parked domains, 25 sub domains, 5 email accounts with 100 MB per account.
- Plus- $6.95/mo- 10 websites, 150 GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, 20 parked domains, 50 sub domains, 100 email accounts with 500 MB per account. Also $150 worth marketing offers, $24/year of extras and 1 SpamExperts included.
- Prime- $6.95/mo- unlimited websites, website space, bandwidth, subdomains, parked domains, email accounts and storage. $200 worth of marketing offers plus over $80/year in extras with 1 SpamExperts, 1 Domain privacy and 1 SiteBackupPro. This is the best valued plan.
You should definitely try HostMonster yourself, it has everything a good osCommerce store can ask for. And plus, a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Using osCommerce to start your online store is a good idea. After all, it is free, and you will see how things go from there. If you find it lacking, switch to something more powerful. But it is a popular platform for a good reason- for smaller stores it works really well, it is easy to tweak, and has a large community. It is not perfect, but it is a good place to start.
You will need your osCommerce store hosted, and that is the reason why we have created this article. We showed you three great hosting providers, and their shared plans. BlueHost, InMotion, HostMonster – choose any of those three, and you will give your online store a strong foundation.