When you start an ecommerce site, one of the first features you will want to consider is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security). For a website, SSL allows the site administrator to serve pages over a secure protocol (HTTPS rather than HTTP). It is likely you already use websites that run exclusively with HTTPS, such as your bank’s website.
For your ecommerce hosting, the use of SSL largely depends on the type of business you have and the functions your website will serve. For example, if you intend to have an online store that collects information about your customers, such as their names, addresses, credit card numbers, and more, SSL is a must. Many users will not trust your site if they do not see the HTTPS in the address bar and a valid SSL certificate associated with it.
Some companies use their website only as the frontend of the store, while all transactions are actually handled by a third-party payment processor, which uses SSL encryption on its own site. In this scenario, you may be able to get away without having SSL, but you may still want it if you collect other user data, such as names and email addresses, even if no financial information is given. For sites that only provide contact information for your business, SSL is likely unnecessary.
If you do decide to go with SSL, you will need to make sure your web hosting company offers an ecommerce package or a package that gives you an IP address for SSL. You will also need to purchase an SSL certificate, something your host may also provide as part of an ecommerce hosting package.