12 Best Web Hosting for Online Retail Stores (2019 Reviews)

12 Best Web Hosting for Online Retail Stores (2019 Reviews)

Even though it’s an invisible part of a customer’s shopping experience, the best web hosting for online retail stores can be your company’s best salesperson. Believe it or not, a slightly slower page load can have a bigger impact on possible transactions than your products, prices, or customer support.

Choosing a web host for a basic site is hard enough. As you may imagine, identifying the best platforms for running your online store is even more challenging and carries more risk. Considering that online sales are beginning to overtake brick-and-mortar transactions, it’s becoming increasingly imperative for small business owners to build an online presence. After lengthy testing and reviews, here’s our list of the industry’s best web hosting services and ecommerce platforms. Take a peek:

Best Overall Hosting for Online Stores

Believe it or not, web hosting can have a dramatic effect on the success of your online business. In addition to the relationship between performance and conversions, the perceived security measures during the checkout process further enhance the trust consumers place in your brand and its products.

Nearly 25% of online shoppers say they trust a brand in part because it has done a good job of protecting their sensitive personal information, according to brand loyalty research by global communications firm Edelman. Beyond quality, convenience, and value, 80% of respondents said trusting a brand to do what is right factored into a purchase decision.

After years of testing and reviewing ecommerce platforms, plus weighing the benefits of hosted or self-hosted shopping carts, here’s our list of the top three providers that are sure to help your online store grow and reach new audiences. Whether it’s emphasizing affordability, customer service, sheer speed, forward-thinking technologies, or purely user-friendly solutions, each company below takes a slightly different approach to web hosting — but all three are perfectly poised to offer top-notch hosting for online retail businesses. Read more in our reviews:

1.
SiteGround.com

SiteGround review

Monthly Starting Price $3.95

  • 1-click installs for eCommerce tools like WooCommerce
  • FREE eCommerce plugin for WordPress
  • Daily backups, a CDN, and FREE Weebly site builder
  • Test changes to your online store within the staging area
  • 24/7 support delivered by eCommerce gurus
  • Get started on SiteGround now.

ECOMMERCE
RATING

5.0
★★★★★

SiteGround: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): SiteGround’s shared hosting plans tout eCommerce necessities: 1-click installations of Magento, PrestaShop, WooComerce, or WordPress with the WP eCommerce plugin. If you opt for WP eCommerce, your server will be custom configured to fit your site’s... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Ecommerce Hosting Plans
30 days 10 GB SSD - 30 GB SSD New or Transfer www.siteground.com/ecommerce

2.
Wix.com

Wix review

Monthly Starting Price $20.00

  • Build online stores quickly and easily
  • Choose from 100s of industry-specific themes
  • Drag-and-drop builder lets you customize without coding
  • Add features via the App Market
  • Quickly get your store noticed by popular search engines
  • Get started on Wix now.

ECOMMERCE
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

Wix: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Wix is one of the foremost names in website building and the company’s industry-specific theme collection sets the brand apart when it comes to building online stores. With the team’s drag-and-drop builder tool, you don’t need any programming... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Ecommerce Hosting Plans
14 days 500 MB - 20 GB Transfer www.wix.com/ecommerce

3.
A2Hosting.com

A2 Hosting review

Monthly Starting Price $3.92

  • 20 times faster performance that boosts conversions
  • 80+ software options: Magento, OpenCart, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, and others
  • FREE SSL certificate and SSD storage
  • Worry-free migration and 24/7 support
  • DDoS protection and multi-pronged security measures
  • Get started on A2 Hosting now.

ECOMMERCE
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

A2 Hosting: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): For those who understand the importance of page load speed and sales, look no further than A2 Hosting. The company boasts all-SSD storage, optimized security, and one of the most diverse portfolio of one-click software installations we’ve seen. Choose... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Ecommerce Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited SSD New or Transfer www.a2hosting.com/ecommerce

See other top ecommerce hosts »

Best “Cheap” Web Hosting for Online Retail Stores

Of course, your business can’t turn a profit without closely monitoring your costs. Fortunately for entrepreneurs, many cost-effective solutions are at your disposal. High-value web hosting plans that cost less than $5 per month still come with many advanced features to design, launch, and run your store effectively. Thanks to one-click installations of popular programs like WordPress and free, open-source ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce and Magento, designing and operating a self-hosted online store is something ambitious creators can do without breaking the bank.

Sure, there may be a little more work in the setup process, but you will own and control virtually all aspects of your online business. Although the hosted ecommerce platforms we review later on dramatically simplify things, we strongly encourage you to save your money and take one of the self-hosted routes we lay out below.

The technical prowess and reputation of the hosting providers here just can’t be questioned. Whether you’re looking for high-performance solid-state drives, WordPress-optimized services, or affordable access to a global network, these hosts offer access to helpful ecommerce and marketing tools at a fraction of what you’d expect. Learn more about the features and services available by clicking on our in-depth reviews:

4.
InterServer.net

InterServer review

Monthly Starting Price $0.01

  • $0.01 for the first month, then $5 monthly after
  • NO annual contracts and NO sudden price increases
  • Unlimited storage space, data transfers, and email
  • New domain is $11 with 1-month plan ($1.99 otherwise)
  • 99.9% uptime and price-lock guarantee
  • Get started on InterServer now.

CHEAP
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

InterServer: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): It's hard to argue with a shared hosting plan that includes unlimited storage, bandwidth, websites, and email — but shared hosting is a crowded industry that turns on name recognition, reputation, and bargain-basement prices. InterServer outperforms some of... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cheap Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited New or Transfer www.interserver.net/shared

5.
Hostinger.com

Hostinger review

Monthly Starting Price $2.15

  • Unlimited everything, from bandwidth to databases
  • FREE site builder & WordPress performance upgrades
  • FREE daily or weekly backups
  • 90+ auto-installation scripts and custom control panel
  • SSH access & SSL certificates
  • Get started on Hostinger now.

CHEAP
RATING

4.8
★★★★★

Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 3 minutes
Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): As the shared hosting market becomes increasingly saturated, unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts have become surprisingly average. Hostinger, however, extends the routine, expected metrics to greater lengths — the number of websites, databases,... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cheap Hosting Plans
30 days 10 GB SSD - 30 GB SSD FREE (1 year) www.hostinger.com/shared

6.
Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • Known for performance at a low price
  • Endorsed by WordPress.org team
  • FREE Weebly site builder
  • FREE Cloudflare CDN
  • Get 63% off today (was $7.99/month)
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

CHEAP
RATING

4.8
★★★★★

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): If you’re looking for an affordable host, Bluehost is a solid, reputable choice; The company's low costs, coupled with its supremacy in the shared hosting arena, is what makes this provider such a valuable deal. The Bluehost name is listed toward the top of... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cheap Hosting Plans
30 days 50 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/shared

See other top affordable hosts »

Best “Almost-Free” Web Hosting for Small Online Stores

What’s better than a killer bargain? Finding all the same services for free, naturally. When it comes to free web hosting, however, there tends to be more risk than reward. Several services are just straight-up scams looking to capture your personal information, while the few organizations that do connect you to server space are typically running outdated infrastructure that is not secured or optimized to current standards.

All that said, however, several established top website builders and content management systems give users a no-cost chance to design, build, and launch their website for free. Your web presence will likely be restricted to a subdomain (yourstore.wix.com instead of yourstore.com), but this option gives tentative or unsure business owners a cost-free chance to familiarize themselves with the host’s administrative interfaces, support systems, and overall experience before investing money into a custom domain registration and ecommerce capabilities.

Take note that these free services do not typically include the ability to add products, install shopping carts, or process payments. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the host and user interface and wish to continue building your store, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan that supports ecommerce functionality. Adding those advanced features to these hosted services can get rather expensive — upward of $10 or $20 per month — but you’ll continue to be able to capitalize on the user-friendly, time-saving systems that simplify store design and operations. While these three may not be the most cost-effective long-term online store solution, the advantages you’ll see in the short-term will make store design, maintenance, and operation much more enjoyable and efficient. Learn more here:

7.
Wix.com

Wix review

Monthly Starting Price $0.00

  • Start designing for FREE
  • FREE domain with most plans
  • Drag-and-drop templates, specific to industry or design need
  • Help Center with exhaustive knowledge base of articles
  • Huge App Market available
  • Get started on Wix now.

CHEAP
RATING

4.8
★★★★★

Wix: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Wix is known as a web-leading site builder service that's one of the most affordable — because getting started is absolutely free and about as easy as processes get. You can log in via Facebook or your Gmail account and be editing your new web property... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cheap Hosting Plans
14 days 500 MB - 20 GB Transfer www.wix.com/site-builder

8.
WordPress.com

WordPress.com logo

Monthly Starting Price $0.00

  • Advanced social media, analytics, and payment tools
  • FREE customizable ecommerce starter themes
  • Add unlimited products and services
  • Accept payment from more than 60 countries
  • Get started on WordPress.com now.

CHEAP
RATING

4.7
★★★★★

9.
Weebly.com

Weebly review

Monthly Starting Price $0.00

  • All-in-one hosting and drag-and-drop website builder
  • Start designing for FREE, upgrade whenever
  • Easily build a blog, personal site, or online store
  • 100s of FREE templates for websites
  • $100 credit toward Google advertising
  • Get started on Weebly now.

CHEAP
RATING

4.6
★★★★★

Weebly: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 3 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Weebly is a well-known name in the cheap shared hosting space — not necessarily due to competitive pricing but because several of the web's leading low-cost hosting providers have opted to include Weebly software for free, adding value to their existing... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cheap Hosting Plans
30 days 500 MB - Unlimited FREE (w/ paid plans) www.weebly.com/site-builder

Best “Hosted Ecommerce” Platforms

We’ve alluded to the hosted vs. self-hosted ecommerce hosting debate, but we’ll spell it out here: self-hosted ecommerce puts the responsibility on the store owner to acquire hosting, choose a design platform, and install software to run an online store, while fully hosted ecommerce products are all-in-one solutions that are ultimately controlled and operated by the hosting service itself.

Hosted services often take the form of ecommerce website builders that give store owners a drag-and-drop design tool to customize pre-built templates. While the hosted ecommerce route undoubtedly simplifies store ownership and maintenance for business owners, these platforms tend to be more expensive. What’s more, entrepreneurs are locked into that service — self-hosted stores can be moved from one host to another, while the fully hosted storefronts will not work on any other platform.

Below, take a look at our reviews of the most popular hosted ecommerce solutions. Wix, Shopify, and Volusion all account for millions of online stores and billions of dollars in ecommerce sales, making them worthwhile partners in your online venture. Click on a review to learn more or to get started with a free trial:

10.
Wix.com

Wix review

Monthly Starting Price $20.00

  • Build online stores quickly and easily
  • Choose from 100s of industry-specific themes
  • Drag-and-drop builder lets you customize without coding
  • Add features via the App Market
  • Quickly get your store noticed by popular search engines
  • Get started on Wix now.

ECOMMERCE
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

Wix: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Wix is one of the foremost names in website building and the company’s industry-specific theme collection sets the brand apart when it comes to building online stores. With the team’s drag-and-drop builder tool, you don’t need any programming... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Ecommerce Hosting Plans
14 days 500 MB - 20 GB Transfer www.wix.com/ecommerce

11.
Volusion.com

Volusion review

Monthly Starting Price $26.00

  • Everything you need to build and grow an online store
  • Drag-and-drop store builder and FREE themes
  • FREE payment processing, shipping, and inventory tools
  • Create discounts, send newsletters, and market your store via search
  • Unlimited bandwidth and tools for SEO and marketing
  • Try Volusion FREE for 14 days.

ECOMMERCE
RATING

4.8
★★★★★

Volusion: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Volusion packs everything you need to build a powerful online store presence into competitive bundles. Start with a drag-and-drop editor and create categories for unlimited products. Enjoy easy-to-use inventory and order management tools, payment processors,... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Ecommerce Hosting Plans
14-day FREE trial Unlimited New or Transfer www.volusion.com/ecommerce

12.
Shopify.com

Shopify review

Monthly Starting Price $29.00

  • Site builder with 100s of FREE and premium themes
  • Unlimited bandwidth, storage, and products
  • Easy-to-use dashboard for managing orders, shipping, and payments
  • Tons of ecommerce features, including discount codes
  • FREE MyShopify.com subdomain or use your own
  • Try Shopify FREE for 14 days.

ECOMMERCE
RATING

4.6
★★★★★

Shopify: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
Toby Sembower (HostingAdvice.com): The great thing about Shopify is how the feature set centers around ecommerce, a focus of many shared hosting shoppers. Shopify plans are fully hosted, but even the company's most basic plan is significantly more costly than a majority of the shared hosts... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Ecommerce Hosting Plans
14-Day FREE Trial Unlimited FREE subdomain www.shopify.com/ecommerce

See other top ecommerce hosts »

What is Ecommerce Web Hosting?

Just like other specialized web hosting plans, such as WordPress hosting, database hosting, and email hosting, ecommerce web hosting is another flavor of service optimized to successfully run and grow an online store. In addition to the fundamental technologies needed to deliver webpages to visitors, ecommerce hosting often comes with design tools and components to build product listings, shopping carts, and checkout procedures.

Going hand in hand with the special tasks of accepting, processing, confirming, and delivering sales, ecommerce hosting often includes upgraded security measures to protect the shopper’s sensitive personal and financial information. Practically speaking, keep an eye out for plans that tout upgraded SSL certificates and PCI compliance. The latter details the technical and operational standards that must be followed to adequately protect and secure sensitive financial data.

Best web hosting for online retail stores

Ecommerce hosting encompasses a variety of technologies optimized for online shopping and secure transactions.

In addition to online store creation and payment processing, many ecommerce programs — whether hosted or self-hosted — include immensely helpful tools to track orders, coordinate shipping, and manage inventory. Some services even go as far as to offer point-of-sale devices to further integrate your online store with your brick-and-mortar operations. Ultimately, ecommerce hosting aims to give entrepreneurs a one-stop shop, so to speak, for retail operations oversight.

What Type of Hosting Do I Need for Ecommerce?

Even though none of your customers will compliment your choice for web hosting, it will be one of the driving forces inspiring them to buy your products. Positive experiences, from affordable prices and speedy page loads to a streamlined and secure checkout experience, will keep them coming back for more.

One of your first decisions when shopping for ecommerce hosting will be to determine whether you’d like to pursue a fully hosted or self-hosted infrastructure for your online business. Both options work well for online stores of all shapes, sizes, and industries, so your comfort with each platform or willingness to learn will be tantamount. Your budget will also likely have a say on this decision, as hosted platforms typically cost more — but may offer more advantages.

While some hosts have specific ecommerce-oriented plans, such as Liquid Web’s managed WooCommerce offering, many providers simply direct aspiring store owners to the normal shared, cloud, or VPS packages.

Where you fit on the self-hosted spectrum depends on your current customer base and how quickly you expect it to grow. Shared hosting represents an affordable entry point with limited growth, while cloud hosting offers tremendous scalability and stability. VPS hosting gives site owners the largest computing firepower and room for growth but should likely be reserved for more established brands.

How Do I Choose a Hosting Plan?

Truth be told, the best ecommerce hosting plans are going to closely resemble our recommendations for best overall hosting providers — you’ll want to look for speed, security, reliability, and security from a company that delivers high rates of uptime and helpful customer support. Pay attention to the storage space and bandwidth allotments, as well as a free domain registration and email hosting.

Closeup of URL bar showing HTTPS encryption

Security features like SSL certificates and HTTPS encryption build a safer shopping experience and customer trust.

For ecommerce stores and small businesses specifically, special emphasis is placed on design. According to research from Stanford University, more than 46% of people said a website’s design was the top criterion for deciding a company is credible or not. As you can imagine, credibility leads to trustworthiness, which leads to conversions and sales. If coding isn’t your thing, take a look at plans that include free website builders for small businesses, WordPress themes, or other professional and responsive templates.

To track your store’s progress and maximize success, you’ll also want to leverage a strong analytics and site metrics tool. Many hosts will provide these for free as part of the control panel (cPanel is the industry standard), but integrations with Google Analytics are an added feature sure to impress. Generally speaking, many web hosting plans are roughly the same — keep an eye out for distinguishing features that can give your online store an edge.

Invest in the Best Website and Store Builders for Your Small Business

As the saying goes, it takes money to make money. Although there are differing opinions on the validity of the phrase, a few wise investments can go a long way in boosting your online store’s revenues. Wherever you turn in the hosting industry, free, open-source, or cheap alternatives abound that can give your business a far-reaching impact.

The best hosts for small businesses balance affordability with premium features and services, with many offering proprietary drag-and-drop website builders. Those that don’t will include streamlined one-click installation of popular programs like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, OpenCart, Magento, and others.

From there, look for other channels through which to expand. Free email marketing platforms can improve your customer service and retention rates, in addition to communicating with those potential customers who have abandoned carts or expressed other interest in your wares. Taking matters a step further are customer relationship management (CRM) platforms that give entrepreneurs revealing insights into their brand’s interactions with individual customers and certain demographics. Just as balance sheets and revenue models impact business decisions, be sure to leverage the data found in free or cheap tools associated with your online presence. Happy selling!

Laura Bernheim

Questions or Comments? Ask Laura!

Ask a question and Laura will respond to you. We strive to provide the best advice on the net and we are here to help you in any way we can.