The Difference Between Hosted and Self-Hosted Shopping Carts

Shopping carts for your online store can either be self-hosted or hosted. There is a big difference between the two especially when it comes to the price. Hosted shopping carts have monthly fees and sometimes they even require a percentage of your gross sales. This may not seem much at the start when your sales are still low but when you get heavy traffic and sales are high, 1.5% plus monthly fee surely adds up to a lot of money. Self-hosted eCommerce shopping carts, on the other hand, can cost a lot but it’s only a one-time fee. Some shopping carts can be downloaded by getting your license for a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. It’s also self-hosted so you won’t be getting any assistance once you installed and use the program.

Why Choose Hosted Shopping Carts

Hosted shopping carts are excellent for those who cannot host it on their own or for companies who don’t have IT experts with the technical know-how in hosting their shopping cart.

With hosted shopping carts you don’t need to have the knowledge in managing and handling the shopping cart especially when something goes wrong. You are paying them a monthly fee for the reason that when something happens or you have any questions, they have a technical team that will help you out quickly.

Usually, hosted shopping carts also include web hosting or it’s inclusive to a web hosting package so it is more convenient especially for beginners.

If you don’t have much time in your hands to fix problems for your site when they arise then you should go for one with the full support. Let them worry about it and you just wait for them to get it fixed in the quickest time.

Why Choose Self-hosted Shopping Carts

Self-hosted shopping carts (see our SunShop hosted shopping cart review) can be downloaded and installed on your web server. You will be doing it on your own and you are not getting it in combination with a web host. You will need to rent your own web space for it and you’ll be installing it on your own. You will learn about how to install it properly but it’s relatively quite easy to do though you also need to have the knowledge on how to install apps on your server. If you want, some also offers to install it but you also need to pay the installation fee.

If you don’t like to think about monthly fees then the self-hosted shopping carts are for you. No fees and the host will not get a percentage off your sales. The earnings you get from each purchase will go completely to you so you’d be earning more. In the long run, spending hundreds of dollars for the downloadable shopping cart upfront would save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you like to do things your way and don’t want to be limited then the self-hosted shopping cart is perfect. You just need to know how to do it and have the time to spend to get things done.

What are Free and Open Source Shopping Carts

Free and Open Source shopping carts are self-hosted shopping carts that you can get for free. Many are also interested with this type of shopping cart solution as long as it’s from reputable names known to give secure open source experience. Everything is customizable but you need to do everything on your own. Unlike the downloadable shopping carts, these shopping carts require a lot more in building and in getting verified. If you are going for the free and open source shopping carts but would like to hire a technical expert to handle it for you, you’d actually wind up spending a lot more than going for the self-hosted or the hosted shopping cart solution.


Finding the right shopping cart solution for your eCommerce site is very important. Although cost is an important factor to consider but it’s not the only factor. You also have to think about whether the shopping cart solution is going to be beneficial for your site or it may cause problems eventually.

Be realistic. If you know you are not a technical expert then don’t go for the self-hosted shopping carts just yet. If you want to learn, then learn about it first then decide later on if you would like to get the self-hosted shopping cart or if you want the free and open source shopping cart.

Whether you go for the hosted or self-hosted shopping cart, one thing is very important and that is to get one that is well respected and secure. The important part is really for your customers to enjoy their shopping experience with you.

About Scott Buehler

Scott is the owner and founder of Top Five Advisor. He specializes in business to business products and services. He offers digital marketing services to any local business that wants to drive traffic and customers from the Internet including search, pay per click and social media marketing. This page is maintained by Scott Buehler.

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