When you set out to design an e-commerce website, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is whether you want a hosted or self-hosted site.
Hosted e-commerce sites
A hosted platform uses software that is hosted on a different company’s server. You’ll be able to customize your store, but using the company’s preset options, and you won’t be able to access the code. Hosted platforms usually charge a monthly fee and come with technical support.
Self-hosted e-commerce sites
If you choose self-hosting, you’re essentially purchasing software, downloading it, and designing and hosting the website yourself. This gives you a lot more control; you can change the code and add any plugins or extensions you need. Self-hosted sites can have higher up-front costs as you get your website set up, but generally have lower monthly costs once your site is running properly.
Which option is best for you generally depends on the size of your business and on the technical expertise you have available. Self-hosting provides more control and is often cheaper, but you need to have time and knowledge to dedicate to maintaining your site. Hosted sites may be a little more expensive, but they are generally easier and more reliable and come with technical support. If you do not have a dedicated IT team (or are not willing to higher website design experts), hosted is usually the best option.