So there is always this argument on whether you should host your own shopping cart or use one of the hosted platforms available to you. So I am going to go over three reasons you should use a hosted shopping cart and three reasons why you should self host. Lets start out with three reasons why you should use a hosted shopping cart.
Three Reasons to use a Hosted Shopping Cart
Reason 1 to use a hosted shopping cart
The first reason to use a hosted cart has to do with security. We all see the news about hacking incidents and credit card breaches. And while we only hear about the big ones like Target and Home Depot, it does happen to small e-commerce companies as well. The biggest difference is you don’t have millions at your disposal to save your business. 60% of small businesses that have a breach go out of business in a year.
Many of the cart companies I recommend are PCI-DSS Level 1 compliant. This means they have gone through an audit to make sure they are doing all they can to protect customer Personally Identifiable Information. Which leads us to Reason 2.
Reason 2 to use a hosted shopping cart
They handle all the maintenance and patches. They have full time staff to patch servers and software making sure its up to date. When you have to do your own patches, that is time you are not out marketing your business. And that is assuming you are doing it yourself. For non-commerce sites, I charge $100 an hour to do updates and patches.
Reason 3 to use a hosted shopping cart
Speed. You should know that a slow website leads to people leaving. And because e-commerce sites have lots of pictures and lots of pages, its easy to have a slow site. Most hosted cart companies optimize for speed and make it even faster by having a Content Delivery Network to make things even faster.
There are a multitude of reasons you might want to use a hosted shopping cart but I concentrated on these three things. Security, maintenance and speed.
Three reasons to Self Host your Shopping Cart
Reason 1 to use a self hosted shopping cart
Many people want to host their own cart for control reasons. Not only control on the exact look and feel of their website but even control over who controls their information. When Magento Go shut down, merchants essentially had to redo their websites on a new platform.
In addition to having control over your business, many people like that open source carts like Prestashop and OpenCart have tons of beautiful functional themes to brand your business. Add to this the number of modules and plugins available leads us to Reason 2
Reason 2 to use a self hosted shopping cart
Hosted carts are great for 90% of the population selling online but there is a certain percentage of people that need functionality not provided by some hosted carts. That means self hosted carts have either native functionality or you are able to buy modules and plugins to extend the functionality. And in some cases, those carts don’t have specific functionality you need to build your business.
Reason 3 to use a self hosted shopping cart
You might be selling something that the hosted carts won’t allow. This could be just about anything in the sin business like gambling, adult or things like liquor and things of the like. So you might be required to host your own cart even if you did want to use a hosted cart.
If you noticed in the three reasons I gave, I never talked about costs. Yes, open source applications tend to be “free” but I have gone over before that after you add up all the costs of running an e-commerce site, the difference in cost between hosted and self hosted aren’t that big. Or, if you are running Magento, the cost of running is, In my opinon, more than using a hosted cart.
So to recap, the three reasons you might want to run your own hosted cart would include control, functionality and product mix.