Ecommerce Web Hosting – Proprietary Or Open Source?01/04/2012
You finally decided to take the plunge and start your very own online store. You have the products ready, you prepared a sound business plan, and all you have left to do is create the store itself. A little research shows that developing your own store would simply be too expensive and complicated for your means. But for you (and countless other budding entrepreneurs), you can use a shopping cart – a ready-made ecommerce platform that eliminates most of the workload associated with creating a web store from scratch.
Now you have a new and difficult choice to make: what type of shopping cart should you use – proprietary or open source? Both sides have their supporting arguments. With a proprietary ecommerce hosting you get formal support and more reliability. An open source shopping cart, on the other hand, may be more affordable and flexible. If you only take into account the licensing costs, open source-based ecommerce hosting solutions are always cheaper than proprietary shopping carts. But, as we discuss in this post, the indirect costs associated with using a shopping cart may tip the scale in the opposite direction.
Start with a solid foundation for your online store
No matter which type of shopping cart you choose, you should first make sure that you get a top-notch ecommerce hosting solution. Think about it: a house is only as strong as its foundation. No matter how thick you make the walls, if the foundation is cracked, the entire construction may come tumbling down at any moment. Whether you lean toward buying a licensed product, or you prefer the open source alternatives, you must first ensure that your ecommerce website hosting solution is suitable for your needs.
In most cases, personal hosting solutions such as shared hosting plans are not suitable for ecommerce hosting. Shared hosting solutions, and even some types of virtual private servers, simply don’t have the power required to run a web store in optimal conditions. You will also be severely limited by the lack of features that are specific to ecommerce hosting such as dedicated IPs and SSL certificates.
If you are serious about your business, the only solution is to invest in a dedicated ecommerce web host. Uptime is important for all types of websites, but for ecommerce, it is absolutely crucial. In order to convince visitors to make a purchase, your virtual store must inspire trust, which is only possible with a professional ecommerce hosting service. A good ecommerce web hosting solution will give you all the physical resources you need to run an online store, without any errors or downtime.
How much are you willing to spend on a shopping cart?
This is probably the first question that comes to mind when choosing a shopping cart to install on your ecommerce host. The price range of ecommerce platforms starts at zero for the fully open source solutions (osCommerce, Zen Cart) and can reach thousands of dollars per year for the enterprise editions of CubeCart and other proprietary solutions.
Keep in mind that the licensing cost of the ecommerce application is not the only cost that you should consider. Some solutions include free support for your ecommerce installation, while others offer the same service at a cost. Similarly, if you choose a shopping cart that offers limited functionality out-of-the-box, you may need to extend it with paid add-ons or hire a developer to customize it.
The total cost of installation, maintenance, and support can be significant. In this respect, open source solutions may not actually be as affordable as they first appear. When drawing the bottom line, you may find that open source-based ecommerce hosting solutions can actually be more expensive than the proprietary products.
One way to decrease the total cost of ownership for your online store is to opt for an ecommerce web hosting provider that offers free services. For instance, instead of paying someone to install a shopping cart on your ecommerce web host, you can get the same service for free from your provider. The same goes for software updates, template installation, and module installation. By choosing an ecommerce web hosting service that comes with free services, you can save hundreds of dollars per year, which you can redirect toward improving the design and the content of your website.
Get excellent ecommerce hosting solutions and free services from Certified Hosting
Certified Hosting provides quality ecommerce website hosting services for all types of businesses. Whatever you want to sell, you can be sure that at Certified Hosting you will find the infrastructure you need at prices you can afford.
The Certified Hosting ecommerce website hosting solutions are ready out-of-the-box to host any type of shopping cart – open source or proprietary, including osCommerce, CubeCart, Zen Cart, Magento, and Ubercart. To help you get started, we offer free installation, free transfer, free module installation, and free templates for most popular shopping carts. Or, you can set it up yourself, using the one-click installation scripts that we make available to our clients.