We’ve gotten a lot of questions on the difference between fully-hosted carts vs. self-hosted carts for ecommerce websites and which should they go with. Generally, the best answer is that it really depends on how your business budget is. To look deeper into that, let’s go over what the difference between the two are.
Fully-Hosted Shopping Carts
Fully-Hosted Shopping Carts are sites that are completely hosted and maintained by companies such as Shopify or Volusion. They maintain the servers and software that powers your shopping cart. Everything with your site will be updated, upgraded and monitored by these companies without you lifting a finger to do much of anything.
Some of our clients prefer this route and wonder which of these companies to use. There are many to choose from. As designers and developers, we use Shopify for some of our clients. They have been a great resource that our clients are comfortable to work with and also great for us to go in and design themes that are suitable for our clients’ business needs.
We are happy to setup your carts with Shopify or Volusion at no extra charge to you. If you need a custom design for your shopping cart with these companies, we will provide a discount to your design fee. Simply contact us for more information and we will be happy to assist you.PMG: Design/Dev Team
These fully-hosted shopping carts require a monthly hosting fee. They come with a lot of bells and whistles that can be helpful for your business; just be sure your budget can handle that on a monthly basis. A few other things to consider are:
does the price include ssl certificate for your domain
the cost for each transaction and if they charge for that
does it provide a merchant account or do you have to provide your own merchant account
is it responsive to mobile devices
Self-Hosted Shopping Carts
Self-Hosted Shopping Carts are sites that have carts installed on your own hosting server such as our hosting service. This hosting service is considered self-hosted because you have control of web hosting. All of the software that is installed on it is at your own discretion. Our hosting accounts provide many different standalone eCommerce platforms to install in your hosting account which are usually cost effective and efficient for small start-up businesses. They are just as robust, and friendlier on the pockets for a new entrepreneur in the long run. These require an upfront charge because most services are charged on a yearly basis as oppose to monthly. The hosting accounts come with multiple, FREE eCommerce platforms to install such as Magento, WordPress+Woocommerce, Prestashop, OpenCart, osCommerce, Zencart, and so on. Although these are self-hosted, on-your-own type of hosting accounts, we are still around to provide assistance and/or tutorials. We won’t leave you stranded. Our maintenance plans are beneficial for updates, upgrades, and site changes.
After factoring in the costs of the monthly fees of the fully-hosted carts and the fees of the self-hosted carts, you can determine the best fit for your business budget.
Essentially you will need to weigh your options and see how things go with your new site and how it grows with customers and orders within the year. You can always upgrade if you start small or downgrade if you start bigger than needed. So either way you go, it’s good and a learning curve as you go along.
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