Hosted vs. Self Hosted eCommerce – Which is Right for your Business?

Hosted vs. Self Hosted eCommerce – Which is Right for your Business?

When choosing an eCommerce solution for your business, the number of options can be incredibly overwhelming. Unfortunately, while some are better than others, there is no silver bullet that fits all business models. The key is understanding your options and choosing the solution that is right for your unique needs. Before deciding on the platform, you first have to choose whether you need to have a hosted or self-hosted solution. What is the difference, you may ask?



Hosted eCommerce:

A hosted eCommerce platform is one that is hosted on the providing company’s servers, and is updated and maintained by the host company. The draw here is that, for a relatively low fee, you are provided a site that is eCommerce ready and requires very little or no maintenance from you. The benefit to this is that they are typically fairly cheap to operate and relatively quick to get up and running. The downside is that you have very limited customizability, no control over updates and no choice but to conform to their rules.

Is your budget too low to hire a developer? Do you have few products with limited options and no need for customization? If so, a hosted platform is most likely the solution for you.


A Few Hosted Platforms Examples:





Self-Hosted eCommerce:

A self-hosted eCommerce platform is one that is hosted on your own servers (or the servers of an independent host), where you either know enough code to implement the system or hire a developer to take care of it for you. The benefits to this solution are the ability to customize everything, not getting charged every time you make a sale, and having complete control over the features and functionality.

The downside to a self-hosted eCommerce setup is that they require someone to maintain and update them, so you need to either have knowledge on how to do this yourself or hire someone to do it for you. If you have a bigger budget, lots of items or need custom functionality, then this is probably the right solution for your needs.


A Few Self-Hosted Platforms Examples:



Zen Cart


Final Thoughts:

There are many options available when it comes to deciding on an eCommerce solution for your business. While both hosted and self-hosted platforms have advantages and disadvantages, there is no one right answer for every business model. Do your research, weigh your options, contact a developer or two, and make an informed decision.

For more information on the pros and cons of each eCommerce model, I suggest reading Hosted vs Self Hosted E-Commerce Solutions by Speaking in Bytes.


Fawkes FX is a digital design studio in Portland, OR, focused on helping businesses of all sizes achieve their goals through online marketing. We offer several services to our customers, including website design & development, graphic design, branding, photography, and much more. Learn more about our team and what we do on the FFX website at!

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