Thanks for asking!
Jumpline.com 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,
Jumpline.com 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
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
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
Ability to Host Multiple websites ? virtual hosting accounts can be
added within a VDS. This allows for multiple website hosting under a
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
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
Clarification of Answer by
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
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
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.
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
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, 2Checkout.com, 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.
More questions? Feel free. ---larre
Clarification of Answer by
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 www.domain.com in addition
to domain.com). 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
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
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
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.