Building E-Commerce stores have become increasingly popular over the years. The entry barrier is much lower than in the past, which may seem like a great opportunity to make some extra cash. But, of course, you’ll need a website to sell your product before you dive in.
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted eCommerce:
This begs the question: Should you go with a hosted or self-hosted solution for your E-Commerce store?
Benefits of Hosted E-Commerce Solutions
Hosted E-Commerce platforms offer a neatly packaged, right-out-of-the-box solution to getting your store up and running fast. For many hosted solutions like Shopify and BigCommerce, you only need to sign up for an account and begin building out your store.
Hosted solutions are extremely appealing to those who don’t have the time to build or manage their online stores. In addition, the costs associated with running a hosted E-Commerce site are fairly inexpensive. Typically hosted platforms consist of a standard monthly fee. This can be an excellent solution for small to medium-sized businesses that cannot afford fluctuating costs. However, as your business grows, you may need to upgrade to higher-tier plans to accommodate the increase in traffic and sales volumes.
The host you choose will handle all the updates to ensure your store runs smoothly. This means you won’t have to spend hours learning to code your website in your spare time. With anything involving payments, security is a huge area of concern. The hosting platform handles the security patches with hosted E-Commerce solutions. So you can rest easy knowing your store is well protected.
Disadvantages of Hosted E-Commerce Solutions
Although there are many advantages to running your online store through a hosted platform, there are also some disadvantages.
- Customization of your store becomes limited. Running your store through a hosted platform means there is little you can do beyond what the hosting platform offers. You can implement several themes and design features, but a unique, custom design is not something you can control.
- Along with customization, your E-Commerce store’s features can also be limited. As your store evolves, you may want to incorporate new customer features. Unlike self-hosted solutions, where you can install new plugins, hosted solutions are limited to what they currently offer.
- Hosted E-Commerce solutions can quickly become more expensive than a self-hosted platform. In addition, as your business continues to grow, upgrading plans becomes necessary, which can get pricey.
Benefits of Self-Host E-Commerce Solutions
Self-hosted E-Commerce solutions are open-source platforms, giving you complete control over your store. Setup is a little more time-consuming and requires some knowledge, but the customization possibilities are endless. If you want total control over the look and feel of your online store, self-hosting is your best option. With the freedom to use plugins and extensions, you can give your customers the experience you intended. This list is a good place to start if you want plugins to incorporate into your self-hosted E-Commerce store.
With a self-hosted E-Commerce solution, you will be responsible for setting up your website to house your store. WordPress has done a great job accommodating E-Commerce store owners, making it fairly simple to get your store running. Along with setting up your own website, you will need to decide on a 3rd party hosting company. Unless you choose a WordPress-hosted website.WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org can help you decide which option is best.
When determining the cost for self-hosted E-Commerce stores, there are various factors that need to be considered.
- Cost for 3rd Party Hosting
- Cost for a Domain Name
- Cost of Plugins, Extensions, etc.
Even with the various costs to consider, in many cases, self-hosted can be cheaper than many of the hosted options. You know, and understanding how to build your website and which 3rd party hosting to choose can greatly impact store costs.
Disadvantages of Self-Hosted E-Commerce Solutions
The customization of your E-Commerce site can be a factor large enough to sway you in that direction, but there are the disadvantages that come with the self-hosted option.
- There is a learning curve with choosing to go self-hosted. Many of the services typically included with hosted solution will now be your responsibility. This can include regular maintenance and updates to your website and ensuring all plugins are up-to-date.
- Security is the store owner’s responsibility. There are several plugins and tools that can assist with improving the security of your store, but you will not have the added protection that a hosting site can provide.
- The cost of your store can get expensive. Depending on which 3rd party hosting, plugins, etc., you choose, these costs can add up. This is where doing your homework upfront can pay off dividends in the long run.
Hosted and Self-Hosted E-Commerce Solutions
Whether you’ve already decided which route you prefer to go, finding the right solution can seem daunting at first. So, we’ve outlined some of the best hosted and self-hosted solutions for you to look at.
Hosted E-Commerce Solutions
Self-Hosted E-Commerce Solutions
Which E-Commerce Solution is Right for You?
This answer comes down to the individual owner or business. The main trade-off here is the ease-of-use for customization. If you are looking for an out of the box solution with little to no work upfront, hosted may be the route for you. On the other hand, if you prefer complete control over your website’s look and feel, self-hosted may be the better option.
Regardless of your choice, all E-Commerce solutions are pretty good at what they do. In addition, millions of people run their stores through E-Commerce solutions, so you’re bound to find something that fits your business needs.
Nick Nalbach is a project manager and entrepreneur, helping new business owners and entrepreneurs with their business ventures. In recent years, Nick has assisted others in building their brands and helped found several businesses, including Expeerent, LLC.