The way businesses do things has greatly chance since the internet made its ways to the world. It reaches many at an amazing speed playing a major role in how people and businesses do their day-to-day activities. Businesses that incorporate the internet in turn furthers their way of moving their products and services through the online stores they create. It is undeniable that the world of business today has grown exponentially reaching its wide customer base in the online community, and thus, selecting the ecommerce platforms that works best for you is critical.
There are many varying platforms available to pick from with varying prices. Basically, choosing the best ecommerce platform can pressure you since you need to get it right the first time and get your business going. Many companies started as small and humble and by incorporating the best ecommerce platform, they emerge as big and sophisticated business with the goal to grow to a huge enterprise. Ecommerce platforms helps a business penetrate in different regions or globally.
For any business looking to get an ecommerce platform, there is usually one question that comes up. Hosted or Self-Hosted ecommerce platform. This section particularly compares and contrasts both this two types of ecommerce platforms.
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
Self-Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
This generally refers to a platform that requires one to download open source application which requires you to run it yourself or by hiring a software developer. Self-hosted ecommerce platforms can be set-up in any particular region. Picking a self-hosted is easy since you will be seeing what your options are as the software is documented and possible changed can be made. Furthermore, additional features are available and they are easily enabled by finding plugins or extension or by creating them.
As you can set up self-hosted ecommerce platform anywhere, there are no restrictions when it comes to hosting services. This means you are not tied to a single or centralized host, thus, you can move if your store outgrows the current service provider. Self-Hosted ecommerce platforms has their share of shortcomings which we shall also discuss. Self-hosted ecommerce platforms include:
Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
Hosted ecommerce platforms is another choice that you might see fit for your business. In the case of these platforms, there is a monthly fee that you pay which varies depending on features like store size. Hosted ecommerce platforms have several solutions including hosting, technical support and a shopping cart feature. These platforms may be termed as all-in-one. The said monthly fees are set to a reasonable prices and discounts are offered to businesses that pay months in advance.
Hosted ecommerce platforms have an advantage over self-hosted platforms in the sense of simple management. The technical team of these platforms offer services to their customers apart from the obvious hosting. You have the capability of customizing the site by adding items to the store and everything else taken care of by the technical teams available. The fixed rates on this platforms lowers all the technical barriers that seem to affect the counterparts using self-hosted platforms.
Pros and Cons
- Self-hosted ecommerce platforms have better functionality. The ads on, themes and plugins available for the self-hosted platforms allows additional functionalities unlike hosted counterparts.
- Customizability made better. The freedom of modifying self-hosted platforms allows regular improvement for better user experience.
- The number of products and categories to be added on the website is not limited, thus, betters in handling large and sophisticated stores.
- No technical support to contact when the platforms run into errors. You might seek assistance of web designers to help you with errors that will have a cost.
- Hard to set up in comparison to hosted ecommerce platforms.
- The cost of host providers may rise when the store start to grow.
Hosted Ecommerce Platforms
- Lower cost of development, maintenance and administration. When using hosted ecommerce platforms, you won’t need to hire experts to enhance your code.
- A strong technical support is always at your disposal to assist on issues that may arise.
- The back-end of hosted ecommerce platforms are user-friendly and is designed to reduce the use of technical knowledge that might be a problem to many businesses.
- They cost much more than self-hosted platforms.
- Depending on the size of your store, the cost of switching becomes high and can consume a lot of time.
- Creativity is hindered by the customization capabilities of the owner, thus limited features you may want to use.
- As the store grows attracting more traffic, the monthly/annual fees rises and calls for more features.
- Hosted application do not provide stand-alone search engine tools. A professional developer might be hired to enhance the application with additional SEO tools.