When it comes to setting up an online store, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to use a hosted or self-hosted ecommerce platform. Both options have their pros and cons, and the best choice for you will depend on your needs, budget, and technical expertise.
Hosted ecommerce platforms are cloud-based solutions that provide everything you need to set up and run an online store, including hosting, security, and payment processing. These platforms handle all the technical details for you, so you can focus on managing your store and selling your products. Some popular examples of hosted ecommerce platforms include Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix.
One of the main benefits of using a hosted ecommerce platform is that it’s easy to get started. You don’t need any technical expertise regarding how to set up a server or how to set up your store. Most platforms offer a variety of customizable templates and design tools to help you create a professional-looking website. Hosted platforms are also generally more secure than self-hosted options, as they handle all the security updates and patches for you.
Hosted ecommerce platforms can be more expensive than self-hosted options, as you’ll typically pay a monthly or annual fee for the use of the platform. Depending on the metric (number of products, sales per month, advanced features) that the vendor uses for pricing, some platforms will have a pricing structure that could be unaffordable for many online stores.
Additionally, you’ll be limited in terms of the customization options available, as you’re working within the constraints of the platform’s template and design tools.
Self-hosted ecommerce platforms, on the other hand, give you more control over your online store. With a self-hosted platform, you’ll be responsible for setting up your own hosting and managing your own server resources. Some popular self-hosted ecommerce platforms include Magento and WooCommerce.
One of the main benefits of self-hosted platforms is that you have complete control over the design and functionality of your store. You can customize every aspect of your site, from the layout and theme to the payment gateways and shipping options. Additionally, self-hosted platforms tend to be more cost-effective than hosted options, as you only have to pay for the initial platform license and any additional extensions or plugins you may need.
Self-hosted ecommerce platforms require a higher level of technical expertise to set up and manage. You’ll need to handle your own hosting, security updates, and server maintenance, which can be time-consuming and challenging if you don’t have the necessary skills.
For security reasons, self-hosted platforms require that you keep the software updated every few month.
Hosted platforms are easier to use and offer a range of customizable templates and design tools, but they can be more expensive and may have more limited customization options. Self-hosted platforms offer complete control over the design and functionality of your store, but they require a higher level of technical expertise and may not offer the same level of security as hosted options.