Self-Hosted vs. Fully Hosted E-Commerce Platforms

If you are on your way to starting an e-commerce business, then it is important to understand the hosting aspect of your e-commerce site. There are two kinds of hosting solutions for e-commerce sites – self-hosted and fully hosted. Your choice would eventually influence the future of your business. That is why, before you make a decision on your hosting option, read on for a better understanding of the pros and cons of each.

Self-Hosted E-commerce

As the name suggests, this kind of e-commerce platform is hosted on a web hosting account or a server and is completely managed by the site owner. The web host will only provide you with the basic hosting infrastructure, but any applications or tools that you might need to run your site will have to add on separately. There are many open source platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, OpenCart, etc. that works for self-hosted sites. The only cost that you would incur in self-hosting will be the cost of the server.

Fully-Hosted E-Commerce

Contrary to self-hosting, fully-hosted e-commerce takes care of the e-commerce platform as well as the hosting service from the same provider. Your hosting provider owns and manages the server, develops necessary applications, and takes care of the end-to-end service for a certain fee. Depending on your business needs, data volume, and budget, you can choose from various service plans.

Although both serve the same purpose of hosting an online store, there are a few fundamental operational differences between Self-Hosted and Fully-Hosted e-commerce platforms –

Server Maintenance and Backups

With self-hosting, you will be solely responsible for managing every aspect of your platform, including managing the server. Even if you opt for cloud hosting, which is much easier to manage, you would still need to run regular maintenance of your web server, take daily/weekly backups, and keep your site applications updated at all times, to ensure that it runs smoothly. This can become a daunting task, especially during peak sales times.

On the other hand, if you are going with a fully-hosted platform, then you can be free from the daily legwork. The hosting provider employs a tech team which takes care of your site maintenance, server management, and other functions. They also have the right tools for automatic backups with a standing instruction from you on the process.

Site performance management

When you are managing your online store yourself, you have to ensure that it performs well at all times. This might be manageable until your business experiences high volumes of traffic or the site continues to grow exponentially. In such situations, managing everything single handedly can be daunting. Because you only get a basic server allocation, you would need to add more resources to accommodate the rising traffic. Such additions might take time, money, and efforts, resulting in the time lag between processes.

With fully-hosted sites, you do not have to worry about such resource allocation, especially in cloud environments. Such hosting platforms have provisions for scalable resources which can be easily added to your server as and when you need. This saves you ample time and cost, so your site is always up and running even during high traffic times.

On an ending note…

While self-hosted e-commerce gives you more control on your site, fully-hosted e-commerce gives you more convenience. Before you choose, consider what is best for your store, not only in the short term but also in the long run.

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