Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Ecommerce Solutions: Which One Is Best for You?


Starting an online store is now very easy to do. Even with no prior experience in creating and running a website, you can get an online store up and running in just a few minutes. Some platforms are so easy to use, you don’t even have to understand HTML or web design to start selling products and services online.

Before you can start adding products to your online catalogue, however, there is a big decision to make. Should you host your own online store (using solutions such as WooCommerce and Magento) or should you sign up for a hosted ecommerce solution? Here are some of the things to consider when trying to make your decision.

Ease of Use

Almost all ecommerce solutions available today are very easy to use. Hosted solutions such as Shopify are flexible thanks to support for custom domains and a user-friendly web interface. After signing up for an account, you can start designing the look of your online store and upload products right away.

Hosted solutions, on the other hand, require installation and several more steps. Thankfully, most hosting sites now offer one-click install options for popular platforms, including the ecommerce solutions you want to use to power your online store. On the downside, you will still have to configure payment gateways and security yourself.

The best way to decide is to actually try different platforms and see which one is easiest to use based on your personal preferences. Hosted solutions usually offer demo accounts and trials. Self-hosted web apps, on the other hand, can be installed on an offline test server or tried online from their official websites.

Setup and Running Costs

Cost is the second factor to consider when choosing between a hosted and self-hosted ecommerce solution. Hosting a website is relatively cheap these days. A good web hosting service plan from iPage costs no more than $2.75 per month. More capable plans usually cost between $10 to $30 per month; these plans are more than enough for several websites, including a fully-featured online store.

You also get offers such as a free domain name, email addresses and other features included in most service plans. On top of that, a lot of hosting companies started offering free advertising credits, which means you can promote your new store without investing more money in the process.

Hosted solutions, on the other hand, are relatively more expensive and often come with transaction fees. In return, you get instant setup and a fully managed server, along with extra features and bonuses. It is worth noting that not all hosted solutions are compatible with domain names you purchase yourself.

Which one is for you?

It is easy to see that hosted solutions like Shopify are very suitable for those who want to get an online store up and running without worrying too much about the technical stuff. You can focus on important matters immediately, such as promoting the new online business and providing customers with the best products and services.

On the other hand, self-hosted solutions powered by platforms like WordPress with WooCommerce or Magento offer a lot more flexibility. You can fine-tune the way the online store is set up down to the last detail. If you love getting everything set up the way you want and you don’t mind getting your hands a bit dirty, then the self-hosted route is better.

Don’t forget to let us know which route you choose to take. We’d love to hear about your journey towards getting your online business up and running.

Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Veselina Dzhingarova

Veselina Dzhingarova has long experience in internet marketing and SEO. She is passionate about blogging to share her expertise. Veselina is a regular contributor at many online publishers and is the co-founder of BlogForWeb and InfographicsGraphics.

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