If you’re just starting a business website or have an existing one, you already know that the eCommerce portion of your website is crucial to the success of your business. But should you host your own shopping cart or allow it to be hosted through a provider?
Why does where you host your eCommerce even matter?
Firstly, for every minute an eCommerce website is down, so are the profits. And with over 200,000 eCommerce retailers in the United States alone you don’t want to lag behind the competition with slow equipment or a lack of resources, right? You’ll end up like all those VCR repairmen who are still holding on to whatever invisible shred of hope they’re imagining while pretending that contract they signed with the mob will just wash away. But beyond keeping the site online, speed especially matters when dealing with online consumers. When a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 40% of consumers decide the site isn’t worth their time and abandon it before ever seeing the first product. Sadface. (Test your site to see where it ranks against your competitors) So, how many business owners realize this problem? I spent some time trolling around this question on Quora.com where it seemed like others were posing the question as well.
Kyle Hultman, a Senior Engineer at Logicworks, offers this question in response to all of this:
“For many companies, the question is do they want to be in the business of managing and orchestrating servers, swapping drives, running day-to-day facility management and maintenance, and having the staff to support it all; Or do they want to be in the business of solving the problems that bring them revenue.”
Hultman is basically saying, do you really want to spend time, money, and resources on something someone else can take care of for you?
What are the advantages / disadvantages of self-hosting?
When you self-host you can implement thousands and thousands of customizable themes, plugins, and whatevers that you can shake a stick at. Which is pretty cool.
But with great stick-shaking comes the hazard for a swollen-sibling’s eye. If you self-host you do have the option of having a fully customized shopping cart that can do anything you could ever think of. But one little bug in the code can ruin it all like that bug in the nice soufflé you baked to impress your in-laws. But that’s not to say those bugs aren’t potentially packed with protein-laden sales. It’s just that you’ll have to get your squishing boots out and stomp on those bugs while your competition hired an exterminator to do it while they focus on increasing their client-base. No big deal, though, if you have the resources. Self-hosting your eCommerce can truly be yours.
What are the advantages / disadvantages of a Provider-Hosted eCommerce?
One could argue that the greatest advantage of not self-hosting your eCommerce business would be the savings on IT employees. The resources you would normally place into that department can be used to grow other aspects of your business. Many hosting companies are known for great uptime and reliability, so there would be a decreased factor of hardware or network failure. Unless Godzilla decided to show up in the city in which you were hosting. But I can’t decide if that’s an advantage or disadvantage—an article for another day. Another advantage is that you know your stuff is being monitored at all times. Whether or not it’s that guy watching your stuff, it’s still peace of mind to go about the actual business part of your business. So, where does that leave us? Let’s face it: the decision is ultimately up to the business owner Whichever the decision it is, just don’t end up like this guy:
Maybe we can make your decision a little easier with our Web Hosting Solutions.