Should a WooCommerce Shop Run on Shared Hosting or a VPS?

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One of the worst setbacks a website deals with is downtime. The longer your site is down, more sales go down the drain. One of your main concerns as an ecommerce retailer is maximizing your revenue, and web server issues directly undermine that.

Suffice it to say, the hosting plan that you choose matters immensely.

There are a near endless amount of hosting options to choose from, and it’s a bit difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. The purpose of this blog post is to discuss the best options for your WooCommerce store. Generally, most stores will choose between two main options: shared hosting or a Virtual Private Server (VPS).

Not every website is created equal. Your site may be a small e-commerce store that doesn’t push high volume sales. Or your store may be a high-octane machine that consistently gets new customers in the door. The hosting that you’ll need is entirely dependent on the status of your operation, and where you’ll think it’ll be in the future. You may have a low amount of sales currently, but that may not be the case in 6 months. Know exactly where you are and where you want to be. Making the incorrect decision on your hosting can have consequences. For your WooCommerce store to run smoothly, you’ll need good hosting.

Shared Hosting

When you’re on a shared hosting plan, your website is hosted on a server where other websites are hosted– hence the term “shared”. When on a shared hosting plan, you’ll most likely be limited on certain services– monthly traffic, email accounts, and disk space. Because of this, shared hosting plans are usually very inexpensive.

Many sites will do fine with shared hosting. But if you really want to maximize your web presence, it’s not the way to go. There are several reasons why:

  • You’re always sharing resources. Since you’re on a server with many other users, what they do can directly impact the performance of your site. If other users are receiving a great deal of traffic, or if they are expending email resources, it could have a negative effect on your site. This isn’t always the case, but it is a possibility, and something to seriously consider.
  • It’s never fully reliable. When you’re selling online goods, you cannot afford significant downtime. With shared hosting, you’re constantly at risk to server issues. If you have traffic consistently coming to your store, and your website goes down, you will lose revenue. There is never a good time for a website to experience downtime, and with shared hosting, you will have to deal with web server issues on a far-too-frequent basis.
  • It can be insecure. When selling goods online, security is a major responsibility– namely, PCI compliance. If credit cards are processed on your website, PCI compliance is absolutely essential. Unfortunately, many shared hosting servers are not configured to be PCI compliant. This can be a major concern.

VPS Hosting

When you use Virtual Private Server hosting (VPS), your website is exclusively hosted on its own server. This means that the server will have dedicated RAM and CPU. You won’t be sharing server space with other websites.

In many ways, this is the exact opposite of shared hosting. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • It’s usually more expensive than shared hosting. Depending on the hosting company that you choose, the pricing may vary. Be wary of companies that are offering very cheap deals, as they may not be reputable.
  • Though it’s more expensive, many of the issues that are commonly experienced with shared hosting are nearly nonexistent when using a VPS. It’s still possible to experience downtime– especially if you have a great deal of traffic coming in– but downtime isn’t as frequent as it is with shared hosting. VPS is known for faster performance.
  • There are two types of VPS hosting: managed and unmanaged. Managed hosting is, by far, the more user-friendly. Don’t choose unmanaged unless you have the technical knowledge and apparatus to deal with it. Most hosting companies will clearly state that they are either managed and unmanaged. Keep in mind that managed hosting will cost more, but you will probably save a great deal of time and frustration by using it.

What’s best for you?

Your choice should directly correlate to your needs. If you have a website that’s only averaging a small amount of traffic per day, you can do fine with shared hosting. However, if you expect to experience growth in the future, shared hosting will handicap your site’s performance eventually. VPS hosting will be more expensive, but it’s a tremendous step up from shared plans.

This is a strong recommendation towards VPS hosting– especially if your site is growing in popularity. Server issues are crippling.

We recommend that you take into account how much traffic you currently generate, and how much you expect to grow in the future. From there, make a decision.

Are you ready to discuss your next e-Commerce website project with the leader in e-Commerce development and digital marketing? If so, contact Zen Agency today! We are a group of WooCommerce experts.

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Joseph Riviello

Joseph L. Riviello is the CEO and Founder of Zen Agency. Joe's agency builds websites and web applications that attract, engage, and convert. Joe has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and he is an expert digital marketing strategist who specializes in conversion-centric e-commerce experiences and cutting-edge solutions that maximize growth and profit. Check out Joe featured on: Business.com, Redbooth.com, Kabbage.com, MaterialDesignBlog.com

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