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If you want to survive and thrive in the world of e-commerce, you’ll need a good web page and a strong Internet connection.  The average consumer now uses the Internet as the primary tool for comparing products and services, so having access to a good e-commerce web host provider will put you at the top of their lists of search results.

An e-commerce web host provider is an essential service that allows you to publish web pages or web sites on the Internet.  Your first step in choosing an e-commerce web host provider is to evaluate your service needs.

Here are some few points to consider when shopping for an e-commerce web host provider:

*  Website Uptime

Your provider must offer no less than 99.5% uptime, and must have a guarantee to back it.  Your business is your livelihood, so your website must be active and accessible to potential customers, twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.

*  Connectivity Level

Another crucial factor to consider is the level of connectivity.  Search out fast servers that can provide server backup.  Your e-commerce web host provider must have a T3 connection to a major internet backbone.  Find out how often (i.e.: daily or weekly) the Internet provider backs up essential information, like the date.  Security is also a big issue for the safety of your website, and your customers’ personal information.  Look for a provider that uses a power backup system and backs up data to an external device to prevent data from being lost during failure.

*  Disk Space Requirements

If your web site provider can’t meet your disk space requirements, your business can’t run at full capacity.  The average e-commerce web host provider will offer 1GB to 3GB of disk space.  This should be ample disk space to get your website up and running, but check to be sure that you will have the opportunity to expand it in the future.

*  Bandwidth Capacity

In regards to bandwidth, try to get as much as possible as soon as you start.  Anticipate heavy traffic on your website, and be ready to handle the amount of data transfer.  Only choose a provider that offers enough bandwidth to handle the traffic flow today, and in the near future.

*  Self-Service Control Panel

A good web provider will offer a control panel, allowing website owners to access and manage their own web site features.  Through this control panel, you can access your e-mail, customer database, e-commerce elements and additional functions that are crucial to effectively manage your own website.  To maintain control of your online business, you’ll need an e-commerce web host provider that offers this service.

*  Essential Customer Service

The backbone of every successful company is not the sales, it’s the service.  Offering reliable customer service ensures repeat business and valuable word-of-mouth advertising.  Customers need to be able to reach you 24-7, and you need to be quick in replying to their questions and concerns.  However, if a problem arises with your website, your business could be on placed on hold until your provider fixes the issue.

Your promptness in providing customer service ultimately saves you time and money, and the web provider’s service has a direct effect on the degree of service you can offer to your customers.  Most providers have an FAQ page handy, but you also need to know how to contact an actual person in case of emergency.

In today’s world of business, all types of companies are using web pages and websites to offer enhanced customer service, open the lines of communication, and attract the global market.  With a good e-commerce web host provider, you can be part of this growing trend and be “open for business” at any time of day or night.

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