Modern businesses cannot survive without E-commerce platforms, because they are the virtual lifeline for their survival. This is especially true for present times when social distancing is the need of the hour, and we cannot go on shopping like we did earlier. Ideally, when you first get connected to an e-commerce site, the most important choice you need to make is should you opt for a hosted or self-hosted e-commerce platform. They both have their good and bad sides, and there are many reasons why you should choose one over the other.
However, in the end the decision comes down to factors such as your needs and objectives, your technical aptitude and experience, your customers’ expectations, and how tightly you want to control your store. A hosted site is a turnkey solution that allows you to run with ease, but then you have absolutely no control. On the contrary, a self-hosted site offers a lot of leg room and customization options, but you need more technological know-how. So, what are the pros and cons of e-commerce hosting sites to help you select the better option?
You Need Little Technical Aptitude
It’s true that you have not much control with a hosted site, but frankly speaking you don’t need as much, or high technical skill to be able to maintain or run the server or the software. It’s almost like you don’t need to know how to drive to get a bus, so you can easily use a managed e-commerce platform without much experience with the technology or software that works. Besides, hosted sites also ensure that your customers will get the type of security and privacy they expect while shopping online, without you having to worry about the technical aspects of it. It’s the hosted platforms that are responsible for payment processing, and you don’t have to worry about signing up with a payment gateway or purchasing your own security certificate.
It’s Easier to Set Up and Simpler to Use
If you are working with a managed e-commerce site, hosting and software are maintained on your behalf while creating or not hosting the commerce sites, you are responsible for selecting, downloading, and using the open source software platform. Also, with an e-commerce managed site, you don’t have to worry about how e-commerce works to have your store because the provider will take care of everything. This is the ideal way to get started with e-commerce because most of these platforms implement the best available tools and features for you.
Since hosted sites don’t require you to possess much technical ability, you’ll have access to technical support whenever you need it. And if something goes wrong with the server, or a bug affects the software, or just any problem crops up needing diagnosis, you don’t need to worry about how to fix it. But if you have a site that you create for yourself, however, you do not have that support you can rely on, especially if it is related to software. Moreover, with hosted sites, you can focus your entire energy on your business rather than bothering about how to maintain it. And even if you like to have your own support team, you cannot do it as efficiently as hosted sites. Therefore, it’s better to leave the job to experts who do it day and night instead of involving yourself in something which is not your forte.
You Have Less Control over the Functioning
It’s a fact that a hosted site doesn’t offer you much freedom and control in terms of customizing your site, because you’ll be supposed to work within the confines of the theme or template you select and will have very few options for customization. Therefore, you won’t have the liberty to tailor your customer experience based on your needs or the demands of your audience. You may have some unique requirements that only you know how to handle, while hosted sites have a set formula that doesn’t consider the specific requirement of a particular customer. And if your customers aren’t satisfied with your site, ultimately loss will be yours.
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You Don’t Get Freedom to Move Around
Another drawback with hosted sites is that they don’t offer as much freedom in terms of moving around. Depending on the type of store, you may end up switching platforms quite often which might prove expensive and will also require a lot of time and effort. In contrast, with self-hosted sites, it’s comparatively easier to choose a startup platform and then switch hosting services when you grow bigger than the provider.
Hosted Sites Are Costlier
In general, e-commerce platforms are very clear and offer full services, which make them more expensive than the sites they have created. Also, the more traffic you get, the larger your store becomes, and the more features you offer, the more investments you’ll require. Therefore, your annual or monthly expenses will likely increase as your store grows. Therefore, a self-hosted site will require a bigger initial investment but a lower overall cost, whereas a hosted site may require lower upfront costs but higher monthly costs.
Whether you are looking for a well-owned or personalized commerce site is one of the biggest decisions you will face when starting an online store. Your present choice will have an impact on your business in the future, so it’s crucial to take all the pros and cons into account before making an informed decision. The most important things you need to consider is that a hosted site is easier to operate and maintain, it doesn’t require much technical know-how on your end, and you’ll have access to help and support when you need it, and the startup costs will be always lower.
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