The primary benefit of an e-commerce website is the opportunity for your customers to find you at any time of the day or night and from any location across the globe. But for the site to take advantage of that 24/7/365 benefit, it has to be able to stay online and accessible all the time. For that reason, it may be in your company’s best interests to consider dedicated server hosting for your ecommerce site.
What is dedicated hosting? As the Mambo Rules blog stated, “To be blunt, it is having your own dedicated server for strictly your website. It means that you are in charge, and do not need to share anything with anyone else.”
When hosting an e-commerce site, a dedicated server keeps you in control of server resources. Another site can’t use up all available disk space or crash the database with a bad query.
“The main benefits of using a dedicated server are that you don’t have to worry about sudden bursts of traffic to other sites on your shared server affecting your sites performance,” Kyle Sloka-Frey, web developer for gaming developer EvolvingPoet Media, explained. “If you are a small store, this may not be a problem, but for large stores, having your site go down for 20 minutes because another site didn’t make the jump to a dedicated server can be disastrous. Another benefit is that you don’t have to worry about having too many visitors to your site, or about your hosting provider becoming upset that you are using too many resources of a shared server’s limited resources.”
While you hope (or perhaps expect) that your site will have a high level of steady traffic, it is more likely that your site will experience traffic spikes, particularly over the holidays or special events related to your particular industry. Like or not, it is vital to plan for these traffic spikes. The primary reason to plan for them, said Sloka-Frey, is to avoid downtime or slow down of your server’s response. “Visitors to your e-commerce site will only wait so long for your page to load, and then they will go to another site. While these might not be huge problems normally, when this happens during a sale or a holiday, you’re looking at the possible loss of hundreds, if not more, of sales.”
That down time can also result in negative publicity. “Your website may be featured in a major publication or nationally syndicated television show, such as a daytime talk show. In this case, business owners may not know they are being featured, and the influx of traffic (potential buyers) may crash the site,” said Eric Nagel, an Internet marketing consultant. In this case, the business has gotten free publicity, but has its doors closed, essentially turning away business and sales because it couldn’t handle the traffic spike.
Dedicated servers, especially in a cloud configuration, allow businesses and their e-commerce managers control system resources and scale up for these heavily trafficked times, Nagel pointed out. Having the dedicated server means you can rely on uptime during those critical peak shopping times.
“Dedicated servers allow you to have your own resources for your site, meaning that you don’t have to worry about other people’s websites slowing yours down,” Sloka-Frey added. “On your own server, having an influx of ten times of your normal traffic is okay, but if you’re on a shared server with other ecommerce sites, and each of you are getting ten times your normal traffic, then things quickly become problematic.”
Overall, it’s about control. With a dedicated server, you’re in complete control and another website or bad programmer can’t affect your website’s uptime and sales during a traffic spike.