Almost all web hosting companies now offer 99.9% uptime as part of their Service Level Agreement or SLA, but only the best hosting services can uphold the claim correctly. A 99.9% uptime means your site must not be down for more than 45 minutes every month.
There are many factors that may affect your site’s uptime. The ecommerce platform you use could be the cause of downtime. The same can be said for plugins and other components. So how can you keep your online store accessible at all times? Here are some of the best tips to follow.
A Reliable Server
I never recommend using a shared hosting plan for hosting an ecommerce site. For starters, a shared hosting plan can be highly saturated. A single physical server is used by hundreds, even thousands, of websites at the same time. If one of those sites happens to use more server resources than it should, your site can experience slowdowns or downtime.
There are better alternatives to consider for maximum reliability. Cloud VPS hosting is now more affordable. A good plan with sufficient server resources should cost no more than $5 to $10 a month. Of course, you can also choose to use a plan with more resources if you have a big ecommerce site with high traffic.
You can also opt for hosting plans from companies with a good reputation. Some shared and reseller hosting plans have clearer SLAs and define specifically the number of other sites using the same server, so you get better performance without significantly increasing your hosting costs.
A Stable Platform
The ecommerce platform you choose to use will also dictate how reliable your site can be once launched. There is no shortage of ecommerce platforms to choose from, so you have plenty of options indeed.
WordPress and WooCommerce are great if you want the familiarity of WordPress and all the ecommerce features you need. Magento is another reliable ecommerce platform to look into. Since Magento is developed from the ground up as an ecommerce platform and you can use premium services such as Magento support to help you deal with long-term maintenance, it is considered the more robust option for faster growth.
Test every part of the site before actually launching the online store. You can simulate heavy traffic to make sure the site is capable of handling sudden spikes in the future.
Setting up an online store is never a one-time thing. The site needs to be maintained properly for it to remain reliable and perform well. After just a few months, the records of completed orders and other obsolete database entries may start bogging the site down and causing reliability issues. This is where regular maintenance is needed.
You should also take the time to upgrade both the ecommerce platform and the plugins you use regularly. A lot of security issues can be avoided through regular updates and proper maintenance, which means you’re reducing the possibility of downtime even further.
There will still be times when maintaining 99.9% uptime is not possible. With these tips in mind, however, you can rest assured knowing that you have done everything in your power to provide customers with a reliable site that delivers superb user experience.