Why You Need a Self Hosted Online Store for Your Business?
by Aswathi SB
Nowadays, it’s not that difficult to get an online store up and make it run. Yes, that’s really perfect, unless, in your hurry, you pick the wrong type of platform and are forced to either begin from the scratch or go on with a store that is less than perfect.
With a multitude of e-commerce platforms available out there, each with its own unique features, you’ve the freedom to choose the apt one for your business. Choose one to serve as the backbone of your e-commerce empire. It’s about whether to go for hosted or self-hosted solution. Before taking a decision, let’s find out what they are and why you should care.
Bike or Bus?
Let me give you a simple example that’ll help you understand the difference between a self-hosted and hosted platform.Do you prefer using a bike? Or would you prefer taking the bus? Well, the answer will probably help you decide whether you want a hosted or self-hosted platform.
With a bike, you can go anywhere anytime you want. You’ve the whole freedom to customize it the way you want. You can choose a model that has good mileage or with some exciting features. You can choose how fast you get to your destination.
Certainly there are downsides to owning a bike– you have to pay for the bike itself, you have to pay to park, you have to fill it up, you have to think of its maintenance and repairs. Well, if you like the freedom of owning a bike, we’d say you’ll probably like a self-hosted solution.
You could of course rely on the public transportation too. It goes to where most people want to go, at a pretty good speed. And you don’t have to bother about the maintenance at all. There are a lot of busses but you can’t leave exactly when you want, you might have to wait a bit to board the bus. But you can’t customize anything on the bus.
You have to stick to their rules – even if they sound stupid. And if you ever move to a different city you’ll have to learn a whole new bus system. If you like taking the bus, you’ll probably like a hosted solution.
Now the Technical Aspects:
A hosted solution refers to a piece of software that runs on someone else’s server. In most cases you don’t have access to the code that runs your site. That means you use their website to make changes to your site. Consider Facebook as an example. You don’t manage its code and you don’t run it. You create an account and then edit your profile via their platform.
Shopify & Bigcommerce are the best examples for hosted e-commerce solutions.
Well, on the other hand, a self hosted solution is a piece of software that you run on your own machine (or a rented machine). The code is visible to you and you are being told where to upload it. A simple example would be a computer program like Excel. You can control exactly when you want to update it, but you are ultimately the one responsible for pressing the update button. If you have technical problems you have to figure them out, ask for help, or hire someone else to troubleshoot it for you.
Examples of self hosted e-commerce solutions are WooCommerce & Magento
Advantages of a Hosted Solution
Ease of Use
One of the primary reasons to use a hosted solution is that it’s very easy to use. You’re given the web interface and there’s not a line of code to write. In fact, it’s as simple as signing up for a Facebook account.
With a hosted solution, you really don’t want to bother about the updates. With a site like Facebook, they roll out changes daily or multiple times a day if required. That means when there’s a bug they fix it for everyone immediately. You don’t have to login and press and update button. It’s just fixed.
Advantages of a Self Hosted Solution
The key feature that makes a self-hosted solution exciting is the customization possibilities it offers. With a self-hosted solution if you don’t like something you can change it. It offers the possibility to add some features to your site too. For example, if you want your store to have two columns, one on each side and your products in between you can do that. When you have the code you can do anything – or you can hire a developer to do that for you.
When it comes to hosted ones, they can change the rules whenever they want. That means, your hosted solution could close overnight. Then your store will be stuck. You don’t own the code, you don’t have access to your content or any of your sales stats. It’s going to be a pretty miserable time to get back up and running.
With self- hosted solution, you have the complete control over your platform. In fact, if you host your own software it will always be there. If another platform becomes more popular you can stay on your existing platform for as long as you want – forever even.
As discussed, both platforms have their pros and cons. I guess, you could grasp the key points that enable you to choose the right type of solution based on the needs and nature of your business.
Need further help on picking the apt e-com platform for your business, click here.
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