In This Episode: How to Choose the Right eCommerce Hosting Setup

It’s the age-old question for online retailers: do you go with a hosted web solution where you only have to manage web content and products, or do you go with a self-hosted solution that you can control completely? And like everything with computing, the answer is a resounding, “it depends.” It depends on what you need, what you want to focus on, and the goals of the business.

The way Patrick explains this through the renting vs. buying analogy. Buying a house or car is like opting for self-hosting; it’s the cultural dream to be a home, car, or web host owner, but as Patrick illustrates, it is only the best solution for particular situations. Some businesses are better suited to the ‘rental’ solution; a hosted website.

For example, Patrick admits that owning a car costs him more than just using a car sharing or taxi service whenever he needs a ride; for living in a city and working from home, owning a car doesn’t offer many additional benefits. Joe, meanwhile, has a family outside of town. In his particular case, it would be impractical for his family not to own a car. So renting (hosted) and buying (self-hosted) attract different customers.

This also applies to renting vs. buying a house. With a rental, if something’s broken, the landlord will fix it. It’s much faster and more convenient than finding and hiring a contractor. But if you want to remodel the bathroom, you can’t unless you own it. So personalization in a rental – as with hosted websites – is limited.

Looking at a more concrete example, Patrick explains how he started his board game business using Shopify:

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