Best Practice Approach: Where Should You Host Your E-commerce Website?

By Simon Mitchell | Small Business

Commerce has moved online, but which hosting option will minimise outages and support your e-commerce business?

Increasingly channel shift to online and e-commerce enablement is becoming the strategy of choice for modern twenty-first century commerce. Increasingly outages for your e-commerce presence can be disastrous. This increasing threat has been highlighted recently by outages at, which lasted for 30 minutes and caused their share price to drop from 288.10 to 284.50, and at Google, whose five-minute outage caused visitors to drop by an amazing 40%. Increasingly organisations cannot afford unavailability or lack of responsiveness of their online presence.

Best Practice Approach: Where Should You Host Your E commerce Website? image Article Best practice approach where should you host your e commerce websiteBest Practice Approach: Where Should You Host Your E commerce Website?

On Premise, Hybrid or Cloud?

Which is best? The answer is none or all. The key is to find a balance between delivery models and adapt according to the organisation’s needs. Simply put: choose what makes business, security and technical sense.

Linux has an outstanding track record for security, scalability and reliability regardless of location if designed, implemented and managed correctly, empowering your organisation’s e-commerce aspirations. Let’s take a look at the options.

On Premise – Gives total control over the entire environment but is often harder to scale quickly.

Cloud – Provides an open, highly flexible environment to run your e-commerce presence.

Hybrid - Offers both control and short-term scalability and can have the best of both worlds without long-term commitments, unnecessary expenses and the inefficiencies of hosted and on-premise models.

Firstly you need to understand and consider what attributes are important for your e-commerce environment before you choose where to host your solution.

Important questions include:

  • What cost considerations are you working to?
  • What scalability requirements do you have?
  • Are there any regulatory compliances to consider?
  • What are your security and service level requirements?
  • What competencies do you want to have to support the solution?

These will impact on the choices you make regarding hosting opportunities. Whatever you decide, underpinning them should be a standard operating environment and management platform (SOE/MP) built to best practice, whether on-premise, hybrid or Cloud enabled. Build out a SOE/MP that will enable your ability to move between types in the future if or when required.

We ran a poll, asking the question, ‘What do you think is the most important question to ask a Cloud provider?’, and the clear winner was ‘What kinds of security policies and Service Level Agreements are in place?’ with 67.31% of the votes. It’s really clear that service and security are important to customers. This reflects some of the focus and considerations of organisations today when considering Cloud for e-commerce.


  • Where are your services currently located? On-premise, colocation, hybrid or Cloud?
  • Do you need to maximise the return on investment of local infrastructure?
  • Subscription services can be costly over time, CAPEX and OPEX will need to be considered.
  • Fixed or variable costs. On-premise hosting is more predictable than hybrid or full Cloud.
  • Costs of resourcing, both hardware, software and technical expertise.


  • What capacity targets will you have?
  • Will you need to scale quickly?
  • Will you expand and contract resources as required?
  • Have you considered dynamic v reactive scalability?
  • What resource sharing possibilities do you have?


  • Consider the impacts of standards including PCI and data protection?
  • Who will handle confidential data?
  • Redundancy – what happens if services fail?
  • How will you manage subscription and licences?
  • How and who will monitor and govern compliance and control?

Security and Service Levels

  • How secure is your on-premise hosting environment?
  • How secure are the potential providers?
  • What SLAs would providers contractually underpin?
  • Do you have the expertise to design and build an environment to maintain security and service levels?
  • How will you monitor on-going security and service levels?


  • Do you have the competencies to design a strategy?
  • Do you have the competencies to design the architecture?
  • Do you have the competencies around systems management?
  • Do you have the competencies around service management?

Finding the right platform for e-commerce is essential for your business. For more information read our free eGuide: Avoid vendor lock in: take the power back

Best Practice Approach: Where Should You Host Your E commerce Website? image 5f28e29a df28 458d 8598 2ed31303b6b9Best Practice Approach: Where Should You Host Your E commerce Website?

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