The success of your online store is based on the eCommerce hosting platform you have chosen: Hosted or self-hosted.
There are a plethora of eCommerce hosting platforms available these days and the online retailers often get confused with the selection of self-hosted and hosted eCommerce platforms.
Here, we will discuss the basic concept, pros, and cons of hosted as well as self-hosted eCommerce platforms which can help you in deciding whether to launch your online store using hosted platform like Shopify or a self-hosted one like WooCommerce.
Hosted eCommerce Solution
When you are signing up with a company offering eCommerce solutions and getting your store launched instantly, you are using a hosted eCommerce solution. In this case, you don’t have the access to the code of your store. You can customize your store but up to a certain extent. The eCommerce store is hosted in lieu of certain charges which you need to pay to the specific service provider. Few examples of hosted eCommerce platforms are – Shopify, Bigcommerce, Volusion, Prestashop, etc.
Self-hosted eCommerce Solution
A self-hosted eCommerce platform can be downloaded and hosted on the server of your choice. You have the access to the entire code of your eCommerce store and so you can customize it up to the extent you require. Some of the most popular self-hosted eCommerce platforms include – WooCommerce, Magento, OsCommerce, ZenCart, etc.
The difference between hosted and self-hosted eCommerce solutions have been compared with the difference between a car and a bus. If you prefer traveling using your own car instead of a public transport bus which is shared by many people, then self-hosted eCommerce solution would be perfect for you.
The question arising in your mind – Which eCommerce hosting platform would be able to answer your business requirements and provide the level of control you want on your eCommerce store?
To get answer to this question, let us go through –
Pros and Cons of eCommerce hosting platforms
Self Hosted: If you have the technical expertise or have enough budget to hire someone to setup your eCommerce store, then self-hosted eCommerce platform would be the best. It gives you the complete freedom to customize the website as per your out of the box ideas. It helps you in providing best customer experience and thus ideal for online stores.
Hosted: By using hosted eCommerce platform, you will not be able to customize your website to a higher extent, but will be able to launch your store without any technical expertise. You can setup your online store instantly without consuming much of your time or efforts. The only drawback; your ability to provide unique customer experience would be constrained.
Self Hosted: The cost of launching and maintaining a self-hosted eCommerce website would be higher when compared to the hosted online store. If you are developing your online store on your own, then the costs can be lower. Although there are no monthly recurring expenses in case of self-hosted website but still to keep your online store happening, you need to maintain it as per the latest trends.
Hosted: In this case, you need to pay monthly charges to the hosting company. Those monthly charges are much lower when compared to the website development and maintenance charges. So, if you don’t have enough budget while initially starting your online business, you should go for this type of eCommerce hosting platform.
Self Hosted : In the case of server issues, the hosting company would provide you the technical assistance but in the case of software problems, you will have to deal on your own. So, if you don’t have technical expertise, you will have to hire a developer to solve the technical issues relating to your online store development.
Hosted : If you have hosted eCommerce store, then your monthly fee includes technical support. Any problem on your store; the hosting company would be providing the solution.
Thus, the decision of choosing an eCommerce hosting platform totally depends on your business goals and resources. Over the period of time, your business is going to grow and generate more revenue than it is at present. In future, you may realize that the hosted eCommerce solution you have chosen is not giving you enough room to expand your business and thus you will have to start looking for self-hosted eCommerce platform for your store. So, just introspect your present business situation and future plans as this decision is going to be most significant factor determining your online business profitability.