Best Ecommerce Hosting Providers 2019
Last updated on July 15, 2019
“Hey, get dressed, we are going out shopping.”
We’ve come to hear these words less and less these days.
It’s no big surprise, really — online stores are taking over!
Ecommerce shopping statistics reveal over 1.66 billion people are shopping on the Web. That is 23.37% of the entire world population.
The thousands of web stores all have one thing in common — they rely on the services of some of the best ecommerce hosting providers out there. Getting a site up and running, maintaining fast load speeds, keeping delicate client data secure — those are just the essentials you should expect from a reliable host.
All that, just so you can buy that rubber horse head and get it in time for the party tomorrow.
Totally worth it!
Today we are going to give credit where credit is due and outline the most popular hosting providers for your ecommerce website. These companies have all made a name for themselves and are worthy candidates to host your online store.
Which one is the best? That’s for you to decide!
The independently-owned company quickly became a prime example of top-class technology and stellar support. It’s as if it knew exactly what it was doing…
Oh, wait a minute, they did!
Everyone in the core FastComet team already had solid experience working with other hosts, and they combined their know-how to change the world of web hosting for the better.
|Host multiple websites on the lowest plan||Suitable for startups mostly|
|90 days money back guarantee|
Ecommerce hosting users have some particular needs that set them apart from most other website owners.
SSL certificates give clients trust and confidence in the online shop.
SSD storage ensures lightning-fast page load speeds.
Advanced security measures protect your store from prying eyes.
FastComet is able to address all of these while throwing a bunch of extra goodies in the mix — Cloudflare CDN, free domain, and a unique real-time monitoring platform.
The most amazing thing — this rich set of features is as affordable as they come, starting at only $2.95/mo.
If you look around a few of the deals out there, you will soon notice something weird. What providers label as “ecommerce packages” looks suspiciously similar to their standard shared hosting offerings.
So what makes one different from the other?
Having worked in the industry for a few years, I already knew the right answer — there is no distinct difference, but having more landing pages makes the host easier to find in Google.
Let’s see if other support operators will be this honest.
FastComet passed my test with flying colors. The rep gave me a genuine reply and took his time to shed light on some additional questions I had.
Excellent support, just as always with FastComet.
- StartSmart (from $2.95/mo)
- ScaleRight (from $5.95/mo)
- SpeedUp (from $9.95/mo)
Hosting over 2 million domains, this Bulgaria-based company has taken customer satisfaction to the next level.
Always looking to evolve and improve, SG put efforts in both technological advancement and customer service perfection.
So what are online shop owners getting out of that deal?
|Optimized servers||A bit pricey|
SiteGround packs everything you might need to start an ecommerce business in three all-rounded packages.
Every entrepreneur can choose between 18 shopping cart apps and even have the support team install it for them. The new accounts come with Cloudflare CDN included plus a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
SG’s GoGeek plan also ensures you will utilize a PCI-compliant server, which allows you to store your clients’ credit card details.
While it is still a shared server, the provider applies advanced account isolation, so no breach in your neighbors can affect you.
The SiteGround support operators are certainly no pushovers.
They’ve maintained a very high level of expertise for years now, and my live chat just reconfirmed that. The operator was polite and honest in answering my sales queries, especially the one about renaming their shared plan for better branding.
I always appreciate the blunt truth.
Despite the (justifiably) high price tags, SiteGround is undoubtedly one of the best ecommerce hostingproviders.
- StartUp (from $4.45/mo)*
- GrowBig (from $7.30/mo)*
- GoGeek (from $13.50/mo)*
* Introductory prices for new clients carry a 60% discount. Regular prices start from $11.25/mo.
3. Liquid Web
Liquid Web is one of those providers that operate with high-end clients mostly. The company started as a shared host but later decided to switch the niche and delve more into VPS and Cloud solutions.
A pivot that certainly worked in their favor.
|PCI-compliant servers||Expensive for starters|
|Specific WooCommerce package|
Unlike most other hosts in this review, Liquid Web does not believe ecommerce projects should reside on shared accounts.
This is why LW gives you a choice between their VPS, Cloud, and Dedicated server deals, so you can easily maintain even a larger shop with hundreds of products.
As you can imagine, those solutions are much more feature-packed than a shared plan — dedicated IPs, DDoS protection, the works.
Liquid Web has another surprise for the WordPress lovers — managed WooCommerce plans. You are getting a more specialized set of features there like preinstalled plugins, free SSL, and dropshipping options.
It was somewhat pointless to ask the Liquid Web support the same questions as the other hosts — after all, they are not trying to mask their shared services as “ecommerce website hosting.”
So I had a different approach.
I had a sales chat with their rep, pretending I was a complete newbie barely making his way around a computer. I was asking about EVERYTHING you can think of; at some point even I got annoyed with myself…
The operator didn’t mind. He assured me I would get all the needed personal support and Liquid Web will get me started with my shop.
No wonder they call themselves “the most helpful people in hosting.“
- Managed VPS (from $29.00/mo)
- Managed WooCommerce (from $39.00/mo)
- Cloud Dedicated (from $189.00/mo)
4. 1&1 IONOS
The largest European provider operates from 15 facilities in 9 countries, catering for businesses of any size.
Over 8 million customers can attest to that.
|Ecommerce-oriented plans||Pricey for starting business|
|Comprehensive drag-and-drop builder|
|Free wildcard SSL|
1&1 IONOS understands online shop owners have some specific needs and should not coexist with other shared clients. So they have the Ecommerce Website Builder packages.
These plans offer a custom-tailored solution, which includes a free domain and wildcard SSL, a shipping wizard, Facebook shop, and multilingual support even with the cheapest deals.
Going to the next level, 1&1 IONOS is adding wish lists, mobile and POS apps, plus options to sell on the largest marketplaces — Amazon and eBay.
One of the best ecommerce hosting providers, hands down.
One thing that always bothered me with 1&1 IONOS is their lack of live chat, even for sales questions. People outside the US rarely prefer phone calls to other means of support for a number of reasons.
A maze of automated menus, misheard details, failure to understand the issue, inability to cooperate with other team members — trust me, things can quickly go downhill with phone assistance.
For what it’s worth, people seem satisfied with the level of support. It’s just the accessibility that is lacking.
- Online Store (from $15/mo)
- Online Store Advanced (from $25/mo)
- Online Store Expert (from $45/mo)
HostPapa is a privately-owned host based in Canada. The company started as a dedicated provider in 2002 and added web hosting services three years later.
Plus, all their servers run on renewable energy.
Mother Nature thanks you, HostPapa!
|Fast servers||Not very cost-effective|
|eShop drag-and-drop builder plans|
You can find two types of ecommerce web hosting solutions with HostPapa.
On one side, you have the shared packages, which also support various shopping carts. You canhost multiple websites, take advantage of a free CDN and SSL certificate, and install your software in less than a minute. Still, some essential features, like automated backups, are only available on the highest plan.
Definitely among the top ecommerce solutions for small businesses out there.
The other option you have is called eShop. It’s a drag-n-drop site-building tool that lets you design a unique and stylish online store without any previous experience.
Shop owners get a much more tailored solution with the eShop plan — you have a bunch of essential plugins preinstalled, free support consultation, and great dropshipping/merchant options on the higher tiers.
Naturally, such a customized solution has its due cost — HostPapa eShop deals start from $23.99/mo for the most basic account.
When it comes to customer support, there is room for improvement for HostPapa.
Sure, they advertise 24/7 assistance via phone, live chat, mail, even fax (hello again 90s). But how effective is it?
I asked my chat operator a pretty simple question — to outline the difference between their ecommerce and eShop packages. Any sales rep should be able to recite this in their sleep.
Instead, the operator took a good chunk of time to “double-check” and came back explaining that another team handles the eShop queries and I can only contact them by ticket.
What a great way to make a sale.
If it’s so much hassle to confirm simple sales details, what should I expect if my shop is down and I need immediate assistance?
Quick reactions and knowledgeability are a must, and I didn’t get much of those with HostPapa.
- Shared ecommerce (from $3.95/mo)*
- eShop ecommerce (from $23.99/mo)*
*These are introductory prices which come with a discount. Renewals are on regular rates.
InMotion Hosting is a Virginia-based provider, operating on both Linux and Windows web servers. The company is one of the few hosts that can offer premium design expertise to novice shop owners.
InMotion has been steadily climbing the ranks and is now #17 in the US in terms of market share, according to July 2019 stats from HostAdvice.
But do the long experience and popularity translate into quality ecommerce solutions?
Let’s check what’s under the hood.
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Strengths WeaknessesHost multiple websites on the lowest planSuitable for startups mostly90 days money back guarantee
InMotion offers three different shared hosting deals, but looking closely, you will notice the first one is not ecommerce-ready (the sales rep confirmed that). This leaves us with the Power and Pro options.
You can host six websites on the mid plan and unlimited on the highest one, which is excellent if you have multiple shop projects in mind. All accounts come equipped with SSD storage for optimized speeds and automated backup option.
Most hosts include a 30-day money back guarantee, but InMotion ups the ante and offers refunds up until day 90.
That’s a whole three months to test the service and see if it fits your needs.
InMotion seems to cover support communications extensively. You have the 24/7 live chat, phone assistance, emails, and a knowledge base.
I’ve tested the company staff before with dubious success, so I was a little skeptical.
The live chat operator was a breath of fresh air. He managed to clear my sales inquiries while trying to learn more about my project so he can recommend the best ecommerce package.
A thoroughly pleasant surprise, which makes me think it’s really a hit-and-miss with some providers.
- Launch (from $3.99/mo)*
- Power (from $3.99/mo)*
- Pro (from $13.99/mo)*
* Introductory prices are discounted. Renewal prices may vary.
Do you know what the phrase “living the dream” means?
HostGator CEO Brent Oxley can tell you.
Starting this web hosting venture in his dorm room back in 2002, Brent soon realized he had too many responsibilities to juggle. So he dropped out of college and focused on his dream. Growing his business by leaps and bounds, the young entrepreneur managed to sell the company to tech conglomerate EIG ten years later for a whopping $300 million.
HostGator provides the full range of hosting services from its two data centers in Provo, UT, and Houston, TX.
|Free SSL certificate||No ecommerce-optimized plans|
|Low prices||Poor support|
One thing setting HostGator apart from the other ecommerce providers on this list is that the company doesn’t specify any deals for online shops. Instead, it claims all shared plans are perfectly optimized for the job (although the sales rep did recommend the Business plan as best suited).
That being said, the accounts are pretty bare-boned.
On the lowest plan, you can host a single domain and add a free SSL certificate.
You have to splash more cash to get to the sweeter deals. There is a free dedicated IP, anonymous FTP, and private Comodo SSL for the taking, should you opt-in for the Business package.
I haven’t had many positives to say about the HostGator support, especially after the EIG acquisition. Operators often sound like robots, pushing links and copying tutorials word for word.
To be honest, if you are lucky enough, you can get decent assistance from some sales operators. But when you start asking for more technical help, things quickly begin to crumble.
A lot of ifs and buts, as you can see.
If you are looking to build a cheap ecommerce website, HostGator might be worth considering, but I’d think twice before trusting them with a serious business project.
- Hatchling (from $2.75/mo)*
- Baby (from $3.95/mo)*
- Business (from $5.95/mo)*
* Entry prices carry a 60% discount. The regular rates apply for renewals.
IPage is another one of the many (link) EIG acquisitions in the web hosting industry. (link)
As such, it loves the world unlimited — unlimited websites, unlimited space, unlimited everything.
The company has a long history as a web service provider and expanded into hosting in 2009. Today, iPage houses over 1 million websites in their US-based data centers.
|Free domain for one year||Poor support|
|Free SSL||Limited packages|
EIG-acquired hosts have a very similar life cycle.
Take any hosting provider with a loyal customer base and unique offers. Once under the EIG reins, they gradually replace the staff and services until all companies look like perfectly-shaped clones.
In unison with that business model, iPage offers pretty much the same deal (and support) as HostGator. Whether you are looking to build an ecommerce website or not, you are facing a pretty basic shared package.
Free domain for the first year, no-cost SSL, and a 1-click installer for your new shopping cart.
The deal still might sound good considering the low price, but it is valid for the initial signup period only. The regular price will take you close to $10/mo, which is by no means cost-effective.
I am sure the plethora of EIG companies utilize the same support operators. I don’t mind, as long as I can get adequate assistance when I need it.
That was not the case with the iPage rep I found over the live chat.
The operator was slow (the whole app was actually rather clunky) and failed to understand even the most straightforward questions. I kindly requested to be transferred to another rep to try again but to no avail.
- Shared plans (from $3.37/mo)*
- Ecwid Store plans (from $5.58/mo)
* Introductory prices carry a discount on Shared packages.
Interserver resides in two data centers in the US — Secaucus, NJ, and Los Angeles, CA. The company is gradually climbing the market share ranks and will soon hit the 0.1% mark.
That might not sound like a lot, but in a saturated industry with so many competitors, it’s definitely a commendable achievement.
|Linux and Windows hosting||Limited choice of plans|
|Unlimited websites||Not PCI-compliant|
Interserver is not a provider that relies on a wide range of choices. On the shared level, you can finda Linux plan, a Windows plan, and a WordPress package.
Your ecommerce project doesn’t have any room for growth or any fancy add ons complementing the deal. Instead, Interserver bets on the all-unlimited business model to impress potential clients.
It can be storage space, bandwidth, number of websites, or email accounts — seems there are no boundaries for the users.
That is if you still believe in the unlimited fairytale, of course.
Interserver is one of the few ecommerce hosting sites that like to keep it old school. For example, they still utilize the Kayako Live Chat software, which is rather outdated and not a very popular choice.
But let’s not be so quick to judge.
After waiting for more than a minute, I got connected with an operator who started with the templated responses right from the get-go. When I asked him to outline the differences between two of the shared plans, he sent me to a comparison table to do it myself.
Now THAT I can judge, and Interserver wouldn’t like the verdict.
Apart from the live chat, the host also offers mail, phone, and fax as means of support communication.
- Linux shared plans (from $5.00/mo)
- Windows shared plans (from $5.00/mo)
How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Hosting?
It’s pointless to try and convince you how great it is to run an online business.
You already know that.
I doubt anyone will pass on the opportunity to become a successful entrepreneur.
But here are a few key components to watch out for so you can be sure you choose the right host:
– SSL certificate — it encrypts the user information submitted through your web page. As clients fill in delicate billing details when shopping online, SSL certificates for such websites are a must.
– PCI compliance — this is a security requirement for any shop owner that processes and stores credit card details. While not mandatory for all entities, it’s still a good feature to look for in order to avoid future headaches.
– One-click installers — this one is a no-brainer. Any host should try to make the lives of its clients easier, and that goes double for online shop startups. Such auto installers eliminate the need for technical knowledge and let the entrepreneurs focus on selling their goods.
– Support — whether you are just launching your shop or running one of the best ecommerce sites — chances are, you will need assistance at some point. Make sure your host keeps its support staff up to par with the challenges.
And so we’ve reached the final chapter of our review of the top ecommerce providers on the market. Along the way, we’ve learned more about their history, offerings, and the prices we should expect from them.
Gosh, now I feel like a momma bird, waiting for her kids to fly off from the nest for the first time.
Fly my little birdies, fly!
Q: Is Shopify a website host?
A: Shopify is a SaaS cloud solution for online shops. The company is not exactly a hosting provider, but it incorporates such services to support its software. Shopify easily integrates with other apps, touts excellent mobile responsiveness, and packs powerful marketing tools.
Q: Is Bluehost good for ecommerce?
A: Bluehost is another decent provider of ecommerce services. The reason it didn’t make the list above is that we already have two EIG-owned providers, and BH isn’t really much different. It does offer WooCommerce-optimized plans, but they are not as cost-effective as other entries on this list.
Q: What is ecommerce web hosting?
A: This is a hosting service that targets online shop owners. Apart from the standard features coming with every account, a good provider will also consider adding SSL certificates, dedicated IPs, daily backups, and round-the-clock support. The best ecommerce hosting companies will have a specified plan tailored to the clear-cut needs of shop owners.