Building a quality web store using the best ecommerce hosting providers could help you sell a great idea, service, or product to the masses, and it's easier than you think.
Ramping up to specialist ecommerce plans will get you powerful product catalogues, stock inventory and other business management tools, and support for more payment methods.
While these products can be packed with features, even the high-end ecommerce plans are designed to be simple to use. Choose a layout, fill in forms to build your product catalogue and your store will start to take shape. There's still work to do – opening an account to take credit card payments, perhaps – but even web store novices will be able to figure it out as they go along.
Prices are low, too, with one decent starter plan giving you three years hosting for $2.10 a month, or a total of $76 plus tax. If you're wondering about ecommerce but not quite sure whether it's right for you, this gives you a cheap and easy way to test your ideas.
Whether you're a total ecommerce newbie or you're already running a busy web store, we've found five excellent hosting plans that could take the selling of your products and services online to the next level.
We've compared these ecommerce hosting providers on many factors, like the ease of setup, security, user interface, pricing, customer support, and migration options. We also looked at their uptime guarantee, daily backups, and storage, among other things.
The best ecommerce hosting providers of 2022 in full(opens in new tab)
Taking top honors in our best web hosting charts, Bluehost (opens in new tab) is a company based in Utah which is owned by web giant Endurance International Group (EIG). It offers basic shared hosting from $2.75 monthly (on a three-year contract), with WordPress Pro plans starting at $9.95 per month (although that’s also a discounted introductory rate).
We tested Bluehost's Standard WooCommerce plan and recieved email marketing tools, unlimited products, WooCommerce installation, website traffic analysis tools and more. There’s also a cPanel-based area to allow expert users to tweak things.
Furthermore, Bluehost has its own WordPress website builder that lets you create unlimited websites.
We received good customer support while running our tests, and the end result of us using Bluehost's ecommerce hosting service is a mix of user-friendly aspects alongside a good amount of power, and potential tweaking for more advanced users.
- Read our Bluehost review
Cheapest Bluehost Shared Plan (opens in new tab) |
$7.99 $2.75 p/m | 65% off
A fantastic bargain for TechRadar readers, Bluehost has cut the price of its Shared Plan (regularly $7.99 p/m) down to a mere $2.75 per month for the first term only. You get $175 in offers, 24/7 support, plus a free domain and site builder and 30-day money-back guarantee. Not bad, considering Bluehost is #1!
Getting your first web store up and running is often an expensive business. Many providers offer little or no ecommerce functionality in their starter plans, and you'll often have to fork out for a high-end specialist plan before you can do anything useful.
iPage (opens in new tab) is a rare exception where even the most basic hosting plan gives you more than enough to get started.
A template-based website builder and free web store make it easy to design your shop, for instance. There's PayPal support for taking payments. You also get integration with your choice of shopping cart (AgoraCart, OpenCart, OSCommerce, PrestaShop, TomatoCart, Zen Cart), a free domain for the first year, and 24/7 phone (toll-free in the US and UK) and chat support to handle any urgent problems that might crop up.
There are limits, too. The website builder only supports a maximum of six pages, for instance, and many customers will expect to be able to pay by credit card as well as PayPal. (You can do that, but you'll need to sort it out yourself.)
Still, the introductory price is very low at $1.99 a month for up to 36 months, $7.99 on renewal. It could be worth buying just as a learning environment to experiment with the technology and see what you can do. And if you do go online, you shouldn't have to sell many products to make your hosting fees back.
- Read our iPage review
While many web hosts go to huge efforts to highlight e-commerce abilities, others barely mention them at all. SiteGround (opens in new tab) is a great example: there's no big "build your web store here" headline, and yet when you look at the details, even its most basic shared hosting plan has a lot of ecommerce power.
A Weebly-based website builder is available to create your store, for instance. HTTP/2 enabled servers and Cloudflare CDN integration boost speeds, reducing the chance that customers will abandon the site. And when it's time to buy, free Let's Encrypt SSL certificates will give your customers confidence that their payment details are secure.
SiteGround plans include the Softaculous installer, which enables speedy setup of big-name shopping cart and ecommerce tools including PrestaShop, WooCommerce and Magento.
At the time of writing, the company quotes 99.996% uptime, good news when you're running something as important as a web store. Although if you do hit trouble, 24/7 support and automatic daily backups should help you quickly recover the situation.
- Read our SiteGround review
The IONOS (opens in new tab) eCommerce Website Builder/Online Store is a powerful tool that combines a simple template-based ecommerce website design with professional features and functionality.
High quality design templates (opens in new tab) help you get up to speed quickly. There aren't many, but they look good, and can easily be customized to suit your needs.
IONOS's most popular account is priced at $20 (£25 for UK page) a month (the first six months are priced at $5 per month though). You get support for up to 5000 items and there's a free domain, an SSL certificate thrown in, some basic SEO, and some additional extras like Facebook and Instagram stores.
The range improves significantly with the next plan priced at $35 a month (the first six months are priced at $25 per month). This adds more product support (up to 10000), advanced SEO, improvement to shipping (scheduled pickup and real-time shipment tracking), and multilingual shop.
The highest plan takes your store to the next level by increasing the product support to unlimited and allows you to sell on eBay and Amazon Marketplace along with additional improvements. It's an unusual and welcome extra, but the price is high at $50 a month (the first six months are priced at $35 per month)
- Read our IONOS review
Starter ecommerce hosting plans can do a lot for a very low price, but you'll often pay in terms of service quality. Websites based on shared hosting may be slow, or fail entirely, and support is often limited. This might not matter for tiny web stores, but if you're running a big business, it could be a major issue.
Wide product support covers physical goods, digital downloads, virtual products (like online courses), for instance. With Liquid Web (opens in new tab), there are no limits on the number of products you can sell, and you have many powerful ways to present them. The site doesn't just allow customers to choose product variations from a list, for example (color, size, design) – you can show them photos which match their selections.
Store management tools are just as flexible. You can define your own custom order statuses and workflows, automatically offer customers related products, set promotions, create coupons, accept product reviews, manage inventory and more.
Professional design features include hundreds of responsive themes and a drag-and-drop page builder for editing.
Your site is hosted on scalable containers. These are isolated environments which aren't shared with other users, improving reliability. Even better, they don't limit you to some preset amount of system resources. The platform can detect when you're busy and dynamically add RAM and CPU cores as required.
Premium touches include performance testing and a staging area to test site features before going live. Jilt's abandoned shopping cart recovery may help you regain lost customers, and support for Glew's analytics will deliver valuable information about your customers and orders.
For busy stores, perhaps most important of all is Liquid Web's excellent support. The company isn't just available 24/7/365 to respond to problems: it monitors stores, often detecting and fixing hosting-related issues before you even realize anything is wrong.
Put it all together and this is one very impressive range, with more than enough power to run the busiest of web stores.
- Read our Liquid Web review
Best ecommerce hosting FAQs
How to choose the best ecommerce hosting providers for you?
There are three main questions you should ask yourself when choosing the best ecommerce hosting solution for your needs.
1. How big is your budget?
It is important to note how much you are willing to set aside every month for ecommerce hosting. Knowing how much you can commit to monthly will be the key factor in the hosting solution you will choose.
2. Have you got development experience?
If you are a beginner, you will need to pick an ecommerce hosting solution that is relatively easy to use. If you are a pro, you will need to pick a solution that gets straight to the point and lets you get on with the task at hand.
3. How much support do you need?
It's easy to get flustered if you've never used an ecommerce hosting solution before. If you're new to this, you'll want to pick a provider that's known for responding swiftly while offering relevant solutions.
The best ecommerce hosting providers: How we test
When testing the best ecommerce hosting providers, we looked at various aspects, from their pricing and ease of setup to the interface and security. We evaluated their uptime guarantee, daily backups, and storage.
To assess their customer support, we tested the response times and the quality of support given to users using some common stumbling blocks that may arise when setting up a store. We judged the different hosting providers based on what size businesses they'd be best suited for.
We also looked at their third-party integrations and their migration options, among other aspects.
The importance of getting the best ecommerce web hosting
Today, ecommerce has become a massively lucrative channel for retailers. However, the quality of the hosting services that many small businesses are using often leaves a lot to be desired. A recent report showed that one in three Britons have abandoned their online transactions because of poor website design and inefficient hosting.
Research from hosting company 1&1's 'Digital High Street Audit' finds worryingly low levels of consumer satisfaction with the small business websites available to them. The risk to firms from providing a bad online experience is clear – 49% of consumers believe that a bad website makes a worse impact than a business having no website at all. This conclusion has led 37% to walk-away from companies completely, in favor of using a competitor. An additional 9% of Britons have found themselves reducing their spend with small companies as a direct result of being deterred by a poor company website.
Oliver Mauss, CEO, 1&1 Internet said: "Research shows that keeping an ugly or badly functioning website online can comprise a risk to sales revenue. Consumers have ever higher expectations, and it is essential that every company website inspires confidence. Businesses that invest carefully in their web experience will see higher levels of customer spend, retention and referral".