To be able to explain what Ecommerce hosting is, we need to explain what Ecommerce is first. Ecommerce is short for electronic commerce, meaning selling or purchasing product or service online. Examples of site doing Ecommerce are Amazon.com and eBay.com.
Ecommerce hostingEcommerce hosting usually means a standard web hosting service enhanced with capabilities to create your own online store and start selling goods and services over Internet. There are several hosting features needed in order to do Ecommerce and we will discuss the main three of them in details.
What do you need to start an Ecommerce website?
Accept Online PaymentsFirst and the most obvious one is to be able to accept online payments. There is no way for your online visitors to pay by cash for your products or services thatís why the most common form of payment online is by credit card. How do you accept credit card payments? You have two choices to accept credit cards. The first one is to sign for a service like PayPal or PaySystems, which generally accept the credit card payments on your behalf and then send you the money withholding a small percentage for the provided service. Your second option, which is more professional, is to obtain your own merchant account. A merchant account is a bank account used to accept credit card payments. The money is transferred into your standard business account on a regular basis. Itís always better to go with your own merchant account money-wise.
Shopping Cart SoftwareShopping cart is software that is running on the server, which purpose is to keep track of the goods and/or services the customer wants to purchase. The shopping cart allows the users to add/remove items from their order list during the shopping process. After the customer has selected all the products and/or services they want to purchase then they navigate to the checkout page. The checkout web page is the page where the customer will see the summary of all products and/or services they have selected. The customer has to enter his personal and payment information on the same checkout page. The shopping cart software usually comes with online administration interface, from where the online store owner can easily edit existing catalog products, add new catalog products, and delete existing catalog products.
SSL certificateSSL stands for "Secure Socket Layer" and is a web security protocol used to secure the communication between web browser and a web server. You need SSL because it protects the data being exchanged between the customerís computer and your web server. If you donít use SSL connection on your payment page, then personal and financial information could be exposed. You can obtain your own SSL certificate from SSL vendors like Thawte.com, GeoTrust.com, and InstantSSL.com.
ConclusionCreating an Ecommerce online store has never been easier with the advanced Ecommerce shopping solutions available on the market today. You donít need any web programming or web design knowledge to start your own Ecommerce online store. All you need to do is to find a web hosting company, offering Ecommerce features and buy a hosting plan from it. If you donít have a web development and programming knowledge, but you still need a customization of the existing Ecommerce solution you are buying, youíll need to hire a web developer to do it for you.
© Peter Todorov 2004
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