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and I'm just confused as to who to choose to host it
Looks like you already have some good choices. At this point, it's up to you to just pick one :)

We can't make the decision for you, we can only keep giving you recommendations.

Now's the time where you just have to jump in and learn. Try things. Adjust. Try something else. Just keep moving forward.

Nothing wrong with lunarpages, they have good recommendations (I recommend them also myself to plenty of people). It's up to you to take the next step.

who to use for the shopping cart
Again, all we can do is keep giving you recommendations :)

You've got to do the research and process it all to make the next decision.

What exactly is stopping you from moving forward at this point from what you've read?

Or I should say, what could we actually say that would clarify things for you more than what you've already read?

who should I go w/ for payment gateway
Do you want full fledged merchant account (which comes with monthly fees, but looks more professional), or are you just looking to start slowly and grow?

I'm trying to fit my "needs" (kinda outlined above) into a program.
It probably won't all fit into "one" program.

It could fit into "one" program., but you might be paying more monthly than you need to. The all in one (hosting, shopping cart, payment processor) options include places like volusion, yahoo merchant store, monstercommerce, etc.

More "light" options where you do less would be places like shopify and bigcartel which provide the hosting and shopping cart, and you just add your products.

The way I personally was describing it was having it all on your own site like this:

The basic outline:


1) You'll need to pick a webhost. (like lunarpages)

2) Pick a shopping cart. (like zen cart, cubecart, oscommerce)

3) Install a shopping cart. (or hire someone. With lunarpages, they have a control panel where you can do the install yourself with a couple clicks of your mouse)

4) Get a merchant account (or use PayPal).

4a) If using a merchant account you'll need a SSL Certificate for processing secure transactions. (your host can provide this)

5) Customize your shopping cart (or hire someone)

6) Add your products.

7) Market your site.

Based on the features I want and low amount of merchandise I can currently offer - should I just jump in and go w/ lunarpages ? or spend more and go w/ pair ?
Here's the thing. We could name 5 different GREAT webhosts and they all would be essentially equal. It wouldn't matter if you picked host A, host B, host C, host D, or host E. They all would fit what you need. They are just the "web host".

Based on what you describe your needs are, it sounds like lunarpages would be a better fit than pair.

If you're looking at having someone do the work for you, then this is a good place for you to flesh out exactly what your needs are.

You really don't need "programmers" and fancy stuff.

Your shopping cart (like zencart, cubecart, oscommerce) can power your whole website so you wouldn't need to pay $399 for 10 pages because your shopping cart can create unlimited pages.

So you can do Step 1, 2, 3, and 4 yourself before you even talk to a web designer.

Then when you get to step 5, you can find a freelance web designer to create a cool site layout that will match your brand. You can find a freelancer in places like elance, guru, 99designs, or even the support forums for the shopping cart you pick.

You can hire the designer to just create the overall "layout" template or you can find someone specific to the shopping cart you pick and have them create the layout AND implement it into your already installed shopping cart.

Then you just move on to 6 and 7. With 6, you just read the instrucions that come with the shopping cart program.

If you have any questions with any of those steps, just ask :)
 
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