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Q: e-commerce web hosting ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   6 Comments )
Subject: e-commerce web hosting
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: erast00-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 15 Aug 2004 12:20 PDT
Expires: 14 Sep 2004 12:20 PDT
Question ID: 388187
Hi--Just started a home-based business and I'm going crazy trying to
find the "perfect" web host. I need it to be for e-commerce and I even
though I'm willing to pay a fair price I don't have hundreds (or
anything close to it!) to pay every month. There seem to be a ton of
extra fees on top of the monthly charge for e-commerce (bank fees,
security certificates, etc. etc). Here are my requirements/concerns:

1. minimum uptime of 99.5% (prefer 99/9%)
2. would I be expected to pre-pay a potential overage of GB? Is there
a published charge for GB over the allowed bandwidth?
3. 24/7 support (most say this but after emailing many I still haven't
gotten a personalized response in over 12 hours)
4. SSL/SQL/shopping cart
5. email addresses
6. auto-resonder
7. Can email be forwarded to my current email address?
8. Can I manage account myself?
9. Can I pay/cancel monthly?
10. Own or lease server? (I probably won't go with a reseller)

Thank you----willing to stick on a generous tip for quick answer since
my graphic designer wants this uploaded and finished two weeks ago!!
Subject: Re: e-commerce web hosting
Answered By: larre-ga on 15 Aug 2004 14:17 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for asking! would seem to be a good fit: 

1. minimum uptime of 99.5% (prefer 99/9%)

According to Netcraft, an independent web server monitoring service, consistently ranks highly for uptime and service. They
topped the list in April, 2004, with 100% uptime.

Netcraft Server Stats

Network updates (Update box in lefthand menu) are available at:

2. would I be expected to pre-pay a potential overage of GB? Is there
a published charge for GB over the allowed bandwidth?

Prepay? Arrangements can be made for consistent overage, but generally
this is billed on the following period. Published overage charges are:

1,000 MB $5.00/mo
4,000 MB  $15.00/mo
10,000 MB  $25.00/mo

Jumpline - Compare Hosting Plans (scroll to bottom of list)

3. 24/7 support (most say this but after emailing many I still haven't
gotten a personalized response in over 12 hours)

Jumpline has a tech support extranet. Jumpline customers can contact
tech support directly 24/7. Toll free telephone support 12 hours
daily. Service and tech support specialists are patient and

4. SSL/SQL/shopping cart

Miva Merchant - $100 one time installation fee

5. email addresses


6. auto-resonder


7. Can email be forwarded to my current email address?

Oh yes! Mail can be automatically directed/forwarded to -any- address you choose.

8. Can I manage account myself?

Yes -- a custom Control Panel. Quick and mistake-proof.

9. Can I pay/cancel monthly?

Yup. Jumpline offers a discount for yearly payments, but also allows
monthly contracts. I've been burnt twice over the years with yearly
contracts. I'm a believer in pay as you go service.

10. Own or lease server? (I probably won't go with a reseller)

Jumpline's server facility is located within QWest's CyberCenter near
Columbus, Ohio. Jumpline's corporate offices are nearby, giving them
physical access to their servers for maintenance. They're server
owners, rather than resellers.

Jumpline Plan Comparison

Each account is run on a "Virtual Server" - completely separate from
all other accounts on a shared server.

Jumpline's VDS Technology

"Your own Web Server ? Unlike virtual hosting environments our VDS
accounts have an independent web server. This allows each website to
operate independently from all other websites on same physical
machine. If another user were to overload or crash their VDS only
their web server would be affected.

Independent File Structure - Virtual Dedicated Servers have their own
server software and file structure that runs inside an isolated file
directory and provides autonomy for each website.

Administrative Privileges (chroot) - Administrative Privileges allows
you to administer services such as Apache, Sendmail and many other
system settings. This is made possible because of our chrooted
environment. System changes made by one user will not affect another

Your own Mail Server ? Unlike virtual hosting, our VDS environment
allows clients to utilize their own independent mail server. This
allows our users to have more customization for mail options. In
addition, having your own mail server helps distribute mail load
across the network.

Ability to Install Applications - VDS website owners have full control
of the environment with administrative privileges and may install
additional applications.

Multi-Layered Security ? The first layer of security is general user
authentication into a VDS. The second layer of security is if the
first layer of security was compromised, the intruder would be fire
walled off from all the other VDS's on the physical server.

Your own Database Server - Unlike shared hosting environments our VDS
infrastructure allows clients to utilize their own independent
database server.

Ability to Host Multiple websites ? virtual hosting accounts can be
added within a VDS. This allows for multiple website hosting under a
specific VDS."

Jumpline Product Detail Definitions: VDS Hosting

In the interests of complete disclosure: As a web developer, I've
helped place several hundred clients in web hosting over the past
eight years. I've utilized several dozen hosts, and search every two
months or so for the best services. I host my own site on Jumpline,
and have recommended them to all my eCommerce clients. I've swapped
around twice, but come back to Jumpline each time. No hidden fees,
everything is upfront and handled professionally. Jumpline is an ideal
business or eCommerce host. Toll free support. Need I say more? :)


Request for Answer Clarification by erast00-ga on 18 Aug 2004 16:35 PDT
Hi, Larre----You've answered questions from me in the past and I
completely trust your responses. I ordered an account through jumpline
but now I'm not sure it offers what I need. Have your clients
experienced the following? I really need someone who is reliable etc
etc that isn't going to run me financially into the ground before I've
started selling. Am I dreaming or is it out there somewhere? In
addition to Jumpline's prices I need to spend:

1. $100/yr for a security certificate (seems much higher than others)
2. Miva Merchant is $100
3. On-line services are costing per transaction and costing to set up
an account (a bunch more cash).
4. They told me I have to go to a third party to have them set up my
shopping cart, etc which is a ton more money and the company they told
me to go with looks shady at best.

Have your customers done ecommerce through them and how have them made
it work?Help!!!

Clarification of Answer by larre-ga on 19 Aug 2004 01:49 PDT
Costs are going to depend upon your volume. My customers' add-on costs
per month range from $15 to $100, again depending upon volume. $150 is
nothing against a sales volume of $10K. The web developer usually
handles the interface between the website and the shopping cart and
payment processing.

But let's see what we can find that will fit with your skills,
timetable, and budget. You know I'll be happy to work with you until
we come up with a workable solution.

What is a realistic expectation of initial transaction volume? Number
of items in the database? I can probably point you to scalable
solutions that can be installed with just a reasonable knowledge of
HTML, plus, perhaps, the ability to install a CGI script.


Clarification of Answer by larre-ga on 19 Aug 2004 13:50 PDT
Here are some additional options. :)

The two "nearly instant" all-in-one storefronts that seem most
appropriate for your needs are products of two of Yahoo and Microsoft.
These packages automate the eCommerce process, and offer an excellent
value for the monthly fee.

Both stores are expandable. They allow you to start small and work up
to a larger operation.

Yahoo Stores

Starter package: $39.95 a month, with a 1.5% transaction fee. Hosting
is included, merchant account setup is extra. Features list is
impressive. I've worked with several customers using Yahoo Stores who
were very happy with the arrangement. Support will talk you through
most set-up arrangements.

Yahoo Stores | Merchant Starter

Microsoft Commerce Manager

$24.95/month. Includes a storefront and catalog, up to 10,000 items.
Accept credit cards via PayPal, transaction fees are extra. Live
support (via website).

Microsoft E-Commerce Manager

Remotely-Hosted Shopping Carts

A remotely hosted shopping cart would also be an option. This can be
easily integrated with a Jumpline website. The shopping cart can match
the website in every detail. The shopping cart provides an interface
between the website and the payment/transaction process. Cut and paste
HTML is generated for each product and added to product webpages. They
may be used with a traditional merchant account, or 3rd party
transaction processors.

There are a number of remotely hosted carts out there, however, I've
worked most successfully with the following:

VirtualCart - $21.75 - $30/month (in addition to separate hosting),
depending upon payment plan chosen, quarterly to yearly. 30 day free
trial - you can set up the store and begin accepting orders before
payment is due. VirtualCART works with 3rd Party Transaction Processor
Cardservice, LinkPoint, Authorize.Net, VeriSign, PayPal (Business),
and shippers: FedEx, UPS, and USPS. I've had the fewest difficulties
with VirtualCart, it's literally cut/paste eCommerce without a buncha
hidden fees. 3rd Party transaction processors, however, do usually
charge transaction fees as well as monthly fees based on volume.

Upgrade Scripts are available for automatic page creation/database
management. Simple database, $199 one time license fee, SQL $399 one
time license fee. These scripts are ADD-ON. They are not necessary in
order to use the remotely hosted cart.

Virtual Cart Shopping Cart Service

Mal's eCommerce - Free and Premium ($6/month) remotely hosted shopping
carts. Integrated with many worldwide 3rd Party transaction
processors: PayPal, NoChex, PayMate, TrustCommerce, VeriSign,
AuthorizeNet,, SkipJack, Cardia, InternetSecure, SecPay,
WorldPay, ePDQ, uSight, and ProTX.

Setup is a bit more technically demanding than vCart, but certainly
do-able by a beginning/intermediate sitebuilder. Plus, there are lots
of Mal's carts out there, and experienced webmasters who offer advice
based on their own experience. Several forums as well.

Mal's eCommerce

More questions? Feel free. ---larre

Clarification of Answer by larre-ga on 20 Aug 2004 09:15 PDT
I am familiar with LunarPages, but do not recommend them. Lunar Pages
come with extra fees. Also, you must prepay at least three months.
$7.95/month is only available with yearly payment. Extra charges for
additional (non-parked) domains (including in addition
to Extra bandwidth must be pre-ordered. By the time you
get set-up and configured as needed, you're paying out more than what
is included in Jumpline's pricing for six or more domains.

I've looked closely at LunarPages, hoping to be able to switch a few
clients over, but there is no savings -- in fact, the costs would be
higher long term. Also, I don't recommend paying hosting on a yearly
basis. Not only could the host close up shop in that interval (I have
a long list of those who have) the host has no reason to respond to
your needs -- they already have your money. Monthly fees help keep 'em
honest. Adult content is allowed on Lunar Pages. This type of
neighborhood may, or may not, be attractive to you.


Clarification of Answer by larre-ga on 21 Aug 2004 13:00 PDT
A number of my clients have used Yahoo Stores. They have all been
satisfied with the experience. My clients tend to be small businesses
selling luxury items, gourmet foodstuffs, and premium products. Their
sites generate an average 50K or so pageviews per month (each), and,
in about half the cases, the online catalog is an addition to a long
established print catalog, so traffic is relatively steady from the
very beginning.

I like Yahoo because I believe that the product will be around awhile.
There's nothing more frustrating than an eCommerce provider suddenly
going out of business, or worse, simply shutting down without
notification. I've had this happen to customers when trying to save
money with eCommerce discounters. I have learned to "just say no" to
that kind of frustration. I choose eCommerce players for the long
term, and only recommend that type of resource to others.

Yahoo meets your original criteria. I'm not able to find online stats,
but I've had good experience with Yahoo Stores uptime. I monitor each
client site round the clock. I haven't seen any actual server downtime
from any of over a dozen Yahoo stores during a two year period. A
Yahoo solution means you can concentrate on products and selling,
rather than the store itself. For a beginner it's like being able to
skip a lot of the "how to build a store" stuff and go right to work.
The power tools are all provided.

I know only one person using the Microsoft bCentral solution. Not a
client, but very happy with the product. His little store sells only
about different 50 products, but he's thrilled with the ease of adding
new products and maintaining the site, building a clientele, and the
email tie-ins.

If determined to avoid the big guys, I'd recommend the Virtual
Cart/Jumpline solution. Individual pieces that add up to a very solid
eCommerce performance. It's easy on the developer and the clients.
Once the database script is installed, you have the power of SQL with
a very simple user interface. VirtualCart handles the networked
security for their merchants, and it is much more formidable security
than you are likely to be able to match with any small provider. You
can think of the monthly fee as the payment for an SSL certificate,
and still see a very good value.

erast00-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $30.00
This has been enormously helpful! You've been incredibly thorough,
friendly, and fast. I feel very confident with the information you
provided and have decided to go with Yahoo. Thanks so much for your

Subject: Re: e-commerce web hosting
From: mrsneaky-ga on 16 Aug 2004 03:02 PDT
I've been VERY happy with Yahoo Small Business Services...  Goto Yahoo
about half way down the page "Sell Online".  The site is VERY easy to
build with their tools.  The Credit Card Processing offer through
Paymentech is seamless.

Email and all the requirements you mentioned I believe are included. 
It's very reasonable, plus the exposure of being on Yahoo.

Just my 2 cents.
Subject: Re: e-commerce web hosting
From: erast00-ga on 19 Aug 2004 03:58 PDT
Thank you! So, you've realized I have no techinical ability and very
little time (am also raising two small kids and working a hundreds (or
so it seems!) hours. I'm selling around 30-40 items. Right now I have
a zero customer base and would love to think I was going to be one of
your 10K customers but realistically I'm lucky if I sell 1k/month (the
products are fairly inexpensive as well). Again, since I haven't
started all the money I'm paying out is from my personal non-existent
bank account. So, in the future it might be realistic to pay more I
literally just don't have it. Through some research I did it seems
some hosts outsource everything and some hosts include it all.
Honestly, even though I know it'll pay off in the end the whole web
site thing has unexpectedly been delaying me for months and I just
want to write a check to my designer, have it uploaded, and start
marketing so I can pay back some of the thousands of money I've put
out there. After saying that I am really serious about this,
completely believe in my product, and really want a strong and
powerful web presence. Also, the designer I'm using is a college
professor---knows everything about design and absolutely nothing about
technical support/web hosting. He can upload but apparentely that's
about all.

Thanks again for helping me sort through all this!
Subject: Re: e-commerce web hosting
From: dreamboat-ga on 20 Aug 2004 08:15 PDT
For your reference only. I JUST completed and its
*store*. It's just PayPal, but PayPal no longer requires payers to
"sign up", so people can pay with credit cards without joining PayPal,
which is a way cool new feature. There are no "monthly fees" or
anything like that. They let you create "buy now" buttons that add to
a shopping cart. It works REALLY well. I can't see why anybody would
use anything else anymore. I tried Agora, and found it just too darn
difficult for the web owner. I'll be going over to her house soon to
show her how to change products and such herself. You can go to any
page at the store, and hit View-Source, and see the PayPal code. You
just change the code behind the buttons to be the price, item descr,
etc. Too easy, I tell you. :)
Subject: Re: e-commerce web hosting
From: dreamboat-ga on 20 Aug 2004 08:16 PDT
Oh! And is hosted with, which
costs a WHOPPING $8/month and likely has ALL you need. I love them.
Subject: Re: e-commerce web hosting
From: erast00-ga on 20 Aug 2004 17:56 PDT
Thanks---comments are great! Very thorough and helpful. Wondering if
you know why Microsoft is half the price of Yahoo? Also, other people
have suggested Yahoo before and I've been reluctant to go with them
even though I'm not sure why. Sounds like you're confident with them?
Have any of your clients used Microsoft? A friend also suggested
Earthlink? I felt like I shouldn't go with one of the huge
companies---seemed like I could get a better deal, better support,
better hosting options, etc. Was I incorrect with these assumptions?
Do you know if Yahoo et al meet my hosting requirements as mentioned
in my original question?

Thanks again for the great info!

Subject: Re: e-commerce web hosting
From: larre-ga on 21 Aug 2004 21:27 PDT
Thank you for the rating, kind words, and generous tip. I hope your
new store is enormously successful!  ---larre

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