E-commerce Website Hosting: Pick your shopping cart

There are a number of things to look for when choosing an e-commerce website hosting provider, including security measures, store building software and more. But chief among them may be the shopping cart.

The shopping cart is one of the best web hosting tools you can invest in as an e-commerce entrepreneur. Fortunately, a shopping cart (sometimes more than one) is included with most web hosting packages and definitely with the e-commerce website hosting services that made our list of Top 10 E-Commerce Hosting Companies.

Shopping cart software has much the same function as a real life shopping cart, as you would expect. Shoppers peruse your site and select items, which are then added to the shopping cart. At the checkout, the shopping cart calculates the total cost, including taxes, shipping, handling and any other necessary charges. Shopping carts are a vital part of any e-commerce hosting service, helping you manage inventory, track sales and keep in touch with customers. You may notice, though, as you search the best web hosting packages, that there are any number of shopping carts available. How to choose?

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But here are some basic notes on some of the most popular shopping carts available with e-commerce website hosting packages:

OpenCart is an open source shopping cart based on PHP script. It allows you to arrange your products (an unlimited number) in unlimited categories, and offer products from as many manufacturers as you like. OpenCart is available in multiple currencies and languages. It also includes a feature that allows customers to post product reviews and ratings - great for customer interaction. As supported by the best website hosting options, OpenCart enables printable invoices and sales reports.



ShopSite is considered one of the easiest to use shopping carts, taking only minutes to install and configure. It works with PayPal, Google Checkout and more. ShopSite includes a number of top security features, which are invaluable to both you and your customers. ShopSite is extremely customizable (your shopping cart can be made to look just like your site) and even the starter package has advanced editing capabilities. The starter ShopSite package does limit the number of products and pages you can add, so check which version your e-commerce website hosting provider offers - and how much it may cost to upgrade.

ZenCart is open source shopping software. It has received recent kudos for its ease of use, simple installation and customer-friendly design. As you would expect with open-source software (meaning it is free to download and use), when supported by one of the best web hosting services, ZenCart offers few limits in terms of products, pages and categories. ZenCart makes it easy to offer multiple sales and discounts, a variety of shipping and payment options and even gives you control of ad banners. Feature products, offer discounts, manage your newsletter

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