Building E-Commerce stores have become increasingly popular over the years. The barrier to entry is a lot lower than it has been in the past and this may seem like a great opportunity to make some extra cash. Of course, before you dive in, you’re going to need a website to sell your product. This begs to question: Should you go with a hosted solution or a 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, all you need to do is sign up for an account and begin building out your store.
Hosted solutions are extremely appealing for 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 can’t afford to have 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 that you choose will be responsible for handling all the updates to ensure that your store continues to run 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. With hosted E-Commerce solutions, the security patches are handled by the hosting platform. 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. There are several themes and design features you can implement, but a unique, custom design is not something you have the ability to control.
- Along with customization, the features your E-Commerce store has can be limited as well. As your store evolves, you may want to incorporate new store features for customers. Unlike self-hosted solutions, where you can install new plugins, hosted solutions are limited to what they currently have to offer.
- Costs for hosted E-Commerce solutions can quickly become more expensive than a self-hosted platform. As your business continues to grow, the need to upgrade plans becomes necessary and this 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 does require a bit of knowledge, but the customization possibilities are virtually 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. If you’re looking for plugins to incorporate into your self-hosted E-Commerce store, this list is a good place to start.
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. That is unless you choose a WordPress-hosted website.WordPress.com vs WordPress.org can help you decide which option is best for you.
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, ect.
Even with the various costs to consider, in many cases, self-hosted can be cheaper than many of the hosted options. Having good knowledge and understanding of how to build your website and which 3rd party hosting to choose can have a huge impact on your 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 that are 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?
Really, 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. If you prefer to have complete control over the look and feel of your website, self-hosted may be the better option.
Regardless of which option you choose, all E-Commerce solutions are pretty good at what they do. Millions of people are running 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 own business ventures. In recent years, Nick has assisted others in building their brands and helped found several businesses, including Expeerent, LLC.