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Web Hosting for E-Commerce Sites

If you're going to pursue an e-commerce site, hosting is going to be an issue. Here's a primer on web hosting for your site.

E-commerce web hosting is the technology of storing, servicing and maintaining files for one or more web sites selling products or services online. Web site owners who pay for a web host (generally on a monthly basis) upload their web pages to a shared or dedicated web server through an ISP (internet service provider). The web host should ensure a fast and consistent connection. Experienced web entrepreneurs desire flexibility, security and high performance from an e-commerce host. An e-commerce web server also stores information, images, videos and just about any other content that can be retrieved from a web site. Security is a priority for e-commerce web servers.

E-commerce web hosting can be divided into two major components, the site and the host (where the site is stored for access on the web). Web hosts are computers that offer storage space and Internet connectivity. Web hosts make your web site work with and connect to the Internet. E-commerce, or web commerce, allows people to buy goods and services online. On the Internet, one can buy almost anything, at any time.

E-commerce web hosting must support e-commerce software. Often a web host will provide the tools that handle online transactions and sales. In other cases, the web business owner is on their own to ascertain e-commerce software. Common tools that are provided with e-commerce web hosting are shopping carts, business account services, SSLs (secure socket layers), secure transactions, web promotion applications and advertisement packages.

While choosing a web hosting company for your E-commerce business, it is helpful to decide how much data storage is required and the data transfer rates you require for your site. A web host is the physical location of a web site, so you must be confident in the connection and security of the hosting company. Doing some research to make sure that data reaches the end-user quickly and efficiently can payoff in a big way. Backup systems should be in place so that data is routed even if there is a router failure. Web hosts should be able to accommodate a client's web traffic (measured in volume of data transfer) in peak hours as well.

Security is a major issue for E-commerce transactions. Private information needs to be kept safe from unauthorized parties. SSL, from Netscape, helps a lot with secure transactions. SSL is an encryption technology that encodes a message that a receiver decrypts by using RSA security. For integrity and authentication of messages, digital signatures, or certificates, are required. Digital signatures ensure that sensitive information is not picked up by any other party, by posing as a legitimate e-business or in any other way. A digital certificate is a document, issued by a certificate authority, which recognizes a legitimate online business. To ensure security, many web companies store confidential information on offline disks or on a separate PC. E-commerce web hosts should also maintain multiple backups of vital information. SSL uses PKI (public key infrastructure) and digital certificates to ensue privacy and authentication. Bear in mind that security can be an expensive and complex business.

In short, when selecting an e-commerce web host it is often best to look for a pre-packaged solution that allows you to create a shopping cart, an online catalog and a secure credit card transaction and storage system. Selecting an e-commerce web host with a broad range of tools and a solid reputation is an important step for just about any e-business.

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