Choosing the hosting solution for your site is the most crucial decision that you'll make if you are seeking to launch an e-commerce website. You can find dozens of e-commerce business solutions like Shopify, Magento, OpenCart, and uShops etc., out there. But before making a decision for your e-commerce business, you need to understand that an e-commerce business solution is the backbone your business; it should cater to all your business needs while also syncing well with your technical knowledge and budget. Depending on the three parameters, you can choose between a hosted e-commerce platform and an open-source one.
Knowing the difference between the two is indispensable for anyone wanting to launch or make any modifications to their e-commerce website. In this blog post, we have jotted down, not just the difference between a hosted and an open-source e-commerce platform, but also thrown light on their pros and cons so you can make a well-calculated decision. Let's read on.
Hosted E-Commerce Platforms
The best way to explain hosted e-commerce platform is by comparing it to a bus. A bus takes you to where most people want to go, is maintenance-free, works according to its own time and goes with its own speed which cannot be modified to meet your needs.
A hosted e-commerce platform is just like a bus which has its own rules and you cannot make any changes to it, you can just modify your schedule to sync with its rules. Similarly, a hosted e-commerce business solution runs on an advanced company's server. You simply have to set your e-commerce store on their platform and you'll be all set to roll. It offers multiple functionalities at a small monthly charge. A hosted e-commerce platform also saves your time by managing all the technical stuff. This type of e-commerce platform is also called SaaS aka software as a service platforms.
- Budget-Friendly : No upfront cost required. You just need to pay a monthly charge for hosting rent and can enjoy a number of functionalities within a smaller budget.
- Little Technical Knowledge Required : As the server is hosted at a hi-tech and advanced company that has the knowledge of all the know-hows of information technology, the need for your technical knowledge reduces.
- No Added Maintenance Cost : Unlike open-source platforms, you do not have to shell extra bucks time and again for all the updates and technical maintenance of your e-commerce business solution.
- Highly Secure : Hosted solutions are more secure than open source solutions. The company hosting your e-commerce business server would be taking care of all the security needs.
- Expensive Custom Development : There is a very limited availability of custom development in hosted e-commerce platforms. Owing to the challenging nature of custom development, it becomes way costlier than its self-hosted or open-source counterpart.
- Less or No Modifications : Any type of custom feature modification is restricted by the company that's hosting the server. They offer pre-existing structures and features that are less flexible for any type of design or set-up modification.
- Not Cost-Effective In The Long Run : When seen for the long run, hosted e-commerce platforms are not as much cost-effective as they are in the short-term use. With the increase in the flow of traffic, you would require more functionality which would, in turn, increase your monthly cost.
Open Source E-Commerce Platforms
If a hosted solution is like a bus, an open-source platform is like your personal car. It has benefits like you can take it anywhere you want at any time, you can modify it as per your wish and you can choose its speed etc. On the other hand, it also has downsides like you have to pay an initial upfront cost, regularly pay for its maintenance, pay for the gas etc.
An open-source e-commerce platform is in many ways similar to your personal car. You can customize the platform as per your wish after you have bought an open source software. It can be installed and configured anywhere, anytime and works solely according to your wish. However, setting up of an open source e-commerce platform can be heavy on the pockets. It also requires regular technical updates which can be complex for non-developers and would cost money again for any troubleshooting problem.
- Freedom Of Wish : You have the freedom to choose your own hosting company and can easily be downloaded from any company without any type of rigid commitment.
- Integrate New Technology : There are many newest technologies that come up every year. With an open-source online business solution, you can easily integrate these technologies into your e-commerce platform.
- Ease Of Customization : Contrary to hosted that allows complex customization at high prices, open-source business platforms allow you customize it easily. You have access to all the codes and can easily customize it by yourself or hire a professional developer to do so.
- Expensive : Setting up an open-source e-commerce business platform requires you to invest huge sums initially and even at times of maintenance.
- Harder To Set-Up : You would require the assistance of a good e-commerce development company in order to set up an open-source e-commerce business solution. The set-up process is complex and lengthy which can be successfully done by someone with professional expertise.
- Less Secure : Compared to hosted e-commerce business platform. An open-source business platform is less secure.
Depending on your budget, technical expertise, time and the way you choose to run your business, you can choose between hosted e-commerce business platforms and open-source e-commerce platforms. The e-commerce solutions comparison made above would help you understand the pros and cons of both the business solutions and would certainly allow you to make a calculated choice. Choose the one that best suits your e-commerce needs and get set for a successful e-commerce site launch.