E-commerce is the exchange of goods or services through the Internet. Also referred to as electronic commerce, e-comm or ecommerce, this field is more than just the buying and selling portions of the transaction though. These terms also refer to the entire process of the transaction including the marketing, delivering and payment of these products and services. Ecommerce is not limited to personal computers either. An e-comm transaction may occur using mobile devices also. Virtual items fall into this category including premium content on a website and all electronic commerce is considered to be the sales portion of e-business. If you wish to add this function to your site, an ecommerce website hosting company will be of great help.

Shopping Cart

The first thing your ecommerce hosting company must provide is a virtual shopping cart. This is where your customer will be able to add items that he or she would like to provide, review his or her choices and make the purchase. When you choose the company to use for this service, you want one that allows you to customize the shopping cart to meet the needs of your buiness. You may want to add a theme or run multiple stores using one platform. Make sure your web hosting company has the ecommerce features you feel are most important.

Merchant Account

Your ecommerce website hosting company should be able to assist you in choosing a merchant account. This is where the payment information for an order will be processed. Your shopping cart transmits this information to the merchant account which will verify it automatically in real time. The funds will then be sent to your bank account from the customer's to complete the transaction. Many companies offer merchant account services so, when choosing your web hosting company, ensure they use one that you are comfortable with. Some are designed for small businesses while others are geared more toward larger enterprises and this needs to be considered also.

SSL Security

Your ecommerce site hosting company needs to provide a way for a web browser and server to communicate without fear of outside parties obtaining credit card or consumer information. SSL Security does exactly this so you need to ensure the hosting company you choose has this protection in place. If it does not, you may lose customers who do not feel comfortable entering payment information for fear of it being hacked. Identity theft is a major problem today and customers want added protections such as SSL Security in place so they do not become a victim.


I just mentioned three of the main features to look for in an ecommerce hosting package. Once you have your site set up with all the features you need, the next step is to bring traffic to it in order to make use of your e-comm features. Look for a hosting company that helps you to bring in more traffic. The more you can get through your web host, the easier your job will be. This allows you to focus on things such as customer service and innovation which will keep those customers coming back time and time again.