Many companies know the basic benefits of eCommerce software - it allows them to create custom product profiles, make their site SEO friendly and deliver a smooth, streamlined shopping experience to customers, but what many companies are not aware of are the ways in which an eCommerce solution can be delivered. Almost all popular eCommerce providers now offer their solutions in two ways: hosted and non-hosted.
The Non-hosted Solution
Limitations in bandwidth and Internet connection speeds made this the only way original eCommerce software could be offered, and still offers a number of benefits. With a non-hosted option, a software provider sells companies the right to use their eCommerce solution, and typically a one-time fee is assessed. This fee allows the company to install the eCommerce software on their server and use it for a period of time - a year is a common term for non-hosted eCommerce agreements. Some of these agreements may include updates as the software evolves, but others may require that a company pay for any improvements in the software over the length of their term. Advantages to a non-hosted solution are that a company can install the software on their own Web server which leads to a greater sense of control over their data, as well as being able to trouble shoot any issues in-house.
Hosted eCommerce Software
A company's other choice is to have their eCommerce software solution hosted by a provider on their servers and simply access it through any desktop with the right permissions. This solution not only allows a company to offer a robust online presence but make adjustments to the site from anywhere, anytime, instead of being tied to a local server. Typically, this kind of eCommerce solution will come with a monthly fee but will also include all upgrades or access to newer versions at little to no cost. In addition, all maintenance of the software will be handled by the provider, allowing the company to focus on the creation of their site. Virtual server and cloud advancements now make hosted solutions at least the equal of non-hosted options in terms of speed, and will often come with 24/7 tech support from providers.
Ultimately, the choice between a hosted and non-hosted solution comes down to the preference of a company and what they feel most comfortable with, but the simple fact is that hosted eCommerce software will have a lower initial cost, greater support and give companies access to the latest software version. Many providers are also able to guarantee not only uptime, but that patching and other maintenance tasks will not bring down a company's site, offering peace of mind at a great value.