eCommerce, short for electronic commerce, refers to the purchase and sale of goods and services over the Internet. To conduct eCommerce, you must first have a commercial web hosting account. Details regarding our commercial web hosting packages and features are available on the Feature Chart and in the Commercial Web FAQ.

Shopping Carts
If you will be selling products on your Web site, the first thing you need is a way to take orders on-line. The most common way to do this is through a Shopping Cart program. Our Premium Pro and Corporate Pro packages include a shopping cart that can be set up and managed through the Control Panel (cPanel). If you want to use another shopping cart program, you can also load your own program in the allotted Web space.

Secure Servers
Secondly, if you are conducting e-commerce transactions over your Web site, you should seriously consider enabling Secure Server (also known as SSL for Secure Socket Layer). Secure Server is included with the Enhanced Pro, Premium Pro and Corporate Pro web hosting packages, and can be enabled through the Control Panel (cPanel). For more information, please refer to the Feature Chart.

SSL ensures that any data transferred to and from secure areas of the Web site is encrypted, which will help protect information like credit card numbers and other sensitive data. For this reason, customers are more likely to purchase products and services from sites that have SSL enabled. You can determine if a page is on a secure web server by looking at the web address. Web addresses that begin with https://wwws, rather than http://www, are hosted on a secure server.

Digital Certificate
For Secure Server to work properly, you will need to purchase a digital certificate for the site, which is a verification service provided by a third-party company. The purpose of the certificate is to validate that the connection between the client and the remote server is valid and secure, and that the company selling the services has provided some level of proof that they are a valid business entity. This digital certificate provides the public key needed to activate the secure socket layer on the server and enable encryption for your eCommerce site. Companies such as GeoTrust, Verisign, and Thawte provide digital certificates.

Payment Processing Account and Merchant ID
In addition to Secure Server and a Shopping Cart, you may want to incorporate an on-line payment service, which allows for automatic authorization and processing of credit card transactions while the shopper is still on the Web site.

Companies such as PayPal, Merchant Partners and Authorize.Net offer payment processing services to businesses and commercial web site of all sizes. These payment system services will have extra charges that usually include a set-up fee and a per transaction fee. These services may also require you to obtain a merchant account with a bank that will accept payments over the Internet, if you do not already have one.

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