Ecommerce seems to flourish day-by-day as online presence is becoming the need of the hour for all retailers. Also, consumers love to buy from the online stores as they don’t need to take efforts to move out to buy the stuff. It is expected that online shopping trend will expand to a great extent in next few years. So, are you planning to start your e-store this New Year? Well then Congratulations! Well then, there are so many things to be considered while starting an e-store. Right from the website design to the hosting services, it’s a long list between your ideas and the reality.
One of the most stinging questions would be on which platform (software) to host your ecommerce site. Confused? Generally there are two ways of how you’d like to host your shopping cart platforms – hosted or self-hosted. There’s a difference between the two types to be precise. The hosted platform would mean, a third-party company manages the infrastructure and offers support for your store. The cost of such an option it higher in comparison to the self-hosted option. Taking about hosting and managing it by-yourself is – the host would allocate you with a hosting space over the server, but would be maintained and managed by you.
Open source, a loosely organized community, has given rise to the ecommerce software. The software is referred to as ‘Free and Open Source Software’ (FOSS). Being open-source in itself means the easy availability of the source code of this software is available to all. Also, the code can be altered and downloaded by the person having the knowledge of it. One of the major benefits of this is that it is free in terms of viewing, running, copying, redistributing, modifying and releasing those modifications.
There are various types of shopping cart platforms that you can choose from but before that you must decide on whether to go for self-hosted or hosted one. Both hosted and self-hosted shopping carts have advantages as well as disadvantages of their own. Let’s have a look at them.
Hosted Shopping Carts
- Hosted shopping carts are one of the best options for those firms who are unable to host them on their own or don’t have IT experts with the knowledge of hosting and managing the carts.
- As it usually runs over dedicated servers that are built for a particular purpose – online shops can be operated as efficiently as possible.
- In hosted platform, shopping carts base code is continuously upgraded to the latest versions in the background without disturbing the other operations, helping your website to work smoothly.
- It offers the ability to own a ‘turn-key’ product in addition to broad expert support.
- You don’t need to worry about the security and availability of the platform as the host provider will be managing that.
- As you are paying monthly fee to the host provider you get 24/7 technical support from the professionals if the website goes down or is infected by virus.
- You require to pay a monthly fee to the host provider.
- Only basic ecommerce functionalities like the theme can be controlled.
- Due to limitations in the hosting plans, you get locked and can’t expand according to your needs until you don’t inform the host provider.
- Someone else (usually the experts) manages your complete e-store.
- It’s free to buy, try and update as you don’t require to purchase the codes.
- One of the major advantage of self-hosted platform is you get complete control over the online store.
- An expert in web development will be able to add all the custom functionalities.
- The costs may decrease depending the website traffic.
- When it’s time to move to other platforms, the data can be exported easily.
- One can integrate with the back end software like the CRMs and fulfillment solutions.
- Keeping your website updated with different applications is your responsibility.
- If there is any problem with the website, you need to fix those complications by yourself unless you have anyone on hand.
- Customized development often proves to be expensive.
To choose a perfect platform is the most vital decision for the success of your online business in future. You need to think about whether shopping cart solution will be beneficial to your e-store or it will create problems ultimately. If you aren’t aware of any technical knowhow then don’t choose the self-hosted software as though you may find it cheap, it may give rise to complex situations when anything goes wrong with your website. You can learn the techniques of the self-hosted software and then go for it.
Lastly, it’s up to you which one to choose – self-hosted or hosted but what matters is the value and security. Remember your customer experience should be spectacular while purchasing from your online store.