The Top Five Reasons You Shouldn't Self-Host Your E-commerce Store
Are you opening an online shop? If so, you may be considering platforms that enable you to self-host your e-commerce store. Here are five reasons to say "no." At the onset, it sounds like a promising premise: You cut out the middle man and take a hands-on approach to everything in your online shop.
Specifically, you self-host it, meaning you don't rely on an outside platform to host your store's files on its server. While that idea may pique your interest, the cons far outweigh the benefits.
You're a busy e-commerce entrepreneur. If you have time to sort through the technical details of self-hosting, quadruple-check security measures, guarantee compliance and more, your sales are likely falling behind.
Before you decide to take a self-host e-commerce approach, read on. Today, we're sharing five reasons why it's wisest to leave the logistics in the hands of the professionals. Ready to learn more? Let's get started.
What is Self-Hosting?
Before we begin, let's take a high-level look at the differences between hosted and self-hosted e-commerce platforms. With a hosted e-commerce platform, you'll choose a company to host your store's files. The platforms work in conjunction with the top hosting companies, meaning that you're covered in terms of the following:
Conversely, a self-hosted platform only provides you with the platform for your shop. It's up to you to decide where to host it. That means you're the one who has to:
- Research options and offers
- Install the platform onto your server
- Ensure compliance with industry requirements
- Enact safety and security measures
While a self-hosted platform won't cost as much in the beginning, it's far from free. Next, let's explore some of the challenges you could face if you go this route.
1. The Setup is Challenging
If you're a web developer with plenty of technical chops, you may be able to navigate the setup of a self-hosted platform yourself. If not, the process can be complicated. Ever heard of a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client? It's what you'll need when you're ready to upload your store files to your server.
You could learn the ropes and figure it out eventually, but you need to devote that time to closing deals, instead. You could also pay to outsource this initial step to a third-party provider, but that too will cost you.
2. It's Difficult to Change
A fresh website design is key to driving traffic to your e-commerce shop. Hosted e-commerce platforms allow you to make simple changes, such as a font style switch-up, with ease. When you're on your own, even the most minute adjustments can take hours to make, especially for the uninitiated.
For instance, if you want to change your font, you'll need to begin by downloading the font file. Then, you'll upload it to your server using an FTP, locate the appropriate folder, and paste it there. With a hosted solution? It's done in a click.
The same applies for maintenance, bug fixes, troubleshooting and more. Without a hosted platform to reach out to for technical support, you'll have to perform the research on your own to find a solution.
3. Safety Compliance is Tricky
Studies show that two-thirds of customers are worried about their safety when shopping online. That means they're less likely to patronize your e-commerce store if you aren't up-to-speed with the latest security measures, such as Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance and SSL certification. The latter is critical to both your user safety and your online sales.
An SSL certificate protects sensitive and confidential data as it travels on computer networks around the world. If your website doesn't begin with HTTPS, you're losing both trust and traffic.
When you go to get your own SSL certificate, the process can be more challenging than you'd expect. You'll need to furnish your own IP address, generate CSR texts and other steps. You'll also have to shell out around $45 per year to maintain it. A hosted solution takes care of all of this for you, so you never have to think twice about whether or not your site is secure.
4. It's Time-Consuming
You're busy running a successful e-commerce shop. Or, at least you hope to be soon. This means you don't have time to learn all there is to know about proper hosting. The literature is there, but it's dense and full of industry jargon. You could watch hours of online tutorials, find a mentor and even attend a course on DIY approaches.
All the while, your competitors are outpacing you in sales and your target audience is losing interest. It's in your best interest to leave the reins in the hands of the experts, so you can get back to doing what you do best.
5. It's Unreliable
If you opt to self-host your website, you'll need to evaluate and choose the data center you use, taking into account considerations such as location, proximity, power sources, climate and more.
When you're the one behind the wheel, it can be difficult to discern how reliable that data center is. If it experiences routine downtime, for instance, you'll have to wait in the interim.
On the other hand, a hosting service relies on robust, proven data centers to house its servers. These feature multiple power providers, generators, cooling mechanisms, backups, fire protection systems and more to keep you up and running.
Want to Self-Host E-Commerce? Think Again
As a business owner, you want your shop to soar. That means dedicating your time to growing your inventory, acquiring new customers, marketing your store and more. It doesn't mean spending tons of valuable time and energy navigating a clunky hosting platform. If you've been considering taking a self-host e-commerce approach, think again.
Instead, leverage a hosted solution that takes care of the legwork for you. Interested in learning more tips and tricks on how to succeed as an e-commerce leader? That's where we come in. AmeriCommerce offers the timely advice you need to crush the competition, stand out in your space and drive eyes and dollar signs to your virtual storefront.
Want to get your shop off on the right foot? Check out our guide to building an online reputation that speaks for itself!