Web hosting options and trade-offs


Shopify and BigCommerce are two of the fastest growing and most well-known hosted eCommerce platforms. Ecommerce options exist on a spectrum of convenience and control. Both Web hosting options and trade-offs and BigCommerce are right in the middle of the spectrum because they bundle all the technical parts of an online store — hosting, speed, security, inventory, shopping cart and payment processing — and bundle it into a single monthly price.

But like a self-hosted eCommerce website web hosting options and trade-offs, Shopify and BigCommerce also bundle as part of your website on your domain where you have full control of product, pricing and customer experience. So unlike running a store on Etsy, eBay or Amazon — you control the build, design, and content of your store.

Even though this part of the spectrum has plenty of tradeoffs — services like Shopify and BigCommerce are an excellent option for many store owners. So the question becomes — Shopify vs. They are both excellent companies with an excellent product. Aside — I built a Buzzfeed style quiz for eCommerce platforms that grades the factors with your goals.

You can check out the quiz here. Also, a quick disclosure — I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All data and opinions are based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer. That said, their plan structure is just different enough to make a direct comparison a bit difficult. They have apps and themes — but both tend to be either free or expensive.

However, once you start factoring in apps, themes, credit card rates, and mid-tier features such as HTTPS and cart recovery — then Shopify is a better web hosting options and trade-offs value price for most stores. Either way — price is not the deciding factor for Shopify vs. Customer support is one of the most underestimated benefits of using a hosted eCommerce platform. Both BigCommerce and Shopify have customer support built into their monthly price.

You get access to all sorts of channels on both — everything from phone to chat to forums to email tickets. Shopify and BigCommerce both serve businesses that range from very small retailers selling niche products to multi-million dollar brands.

Both have enterprise plans I wrote about Shopify Plus here and they both have customer support teams trained to help absolute beginners. Their platform is built to web hosting options and trade-offs all retail businesses both on and offline. Shopify runs their own payment processing service and even has their own Point-of-Sale POS system so that small offline retailers can sell offline and online from within the same system. The idea is that your website is only one of many sales channels.

You can definitely run your website as your only sales channel in Shopify — but the options to sell elsewhere are already built-in. BigCommerce has plenty of integrations with eBay, Facebook, etc — but they are still treated as an extension of the website.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify are excellent platforms for beginners to enterprises. Both BigCommerce and Shopify have excellent onboarding processes and user-friendly management areas. Web hosting options and trade-offs main difference is how each backend is structured. BigCommerce has a single Dashboard where you manage everything — your products, inventory, website pages, settings, billing, etc.

Additionally, Shopify has their own lingo. If you have never run a website before and only have a small to mid-size product collection, then BigCommerce will likely make more sense than Shopify. Both Shopify and BigCommerce have almost all the tools marketing, SEO, inventory, order, etc an online store would need to be successful.

They differ though, in how they each approach adding new features. They have essential features that all store owners will need built-in. But for features that not all store owners need — they focus on making sure store owners can add feature extensions to their store as needed. They have a large and active App Store that not only has well-known extensions ie, MailChimp but also plenty web hosting options and trade-offs indie apps for every situation ie, apps for international tax and shipping features.

Web hosting options and trade-offs has an App Store for extensions as well. However, BigCommerce has a bigger focus on building lots of features directly into their software so that there is no need web hosting options and trade-offs add an extension.

For example, take selling on eBay or importing your eBay listings to your store. Both Shopify and BigCommerce can make these features happen. BigCommerce builds the feature into their backend. Shopify does web hosting options and trade-offs have it web hosting options and trade-offs in. Another example is bulk Redirects. BigCommerce has bulk upload built-in while Shopify users have to install an app to take care of it.

But if you do, you are more likely to get it in some form or fashion in Shopify than BigCommerce. Overall, if you have fairly core eCommerce needs and simply want everything to be there and to work — then BigCommerce will likely work better. Aside — this is why I recommend doing a 2-week free trial with both BigCommerce and Shopify just to click around and see for yourself. You select a base theme and then edit it to look as you like.

Most themes have a hybrid approach to editing. Small customizations colors, logos, etc require just a click. BigCommerce has a Theme Store that is rapidly growing. However, it still lacks the diversity of Shopify.

Their price points for premium themes are usually higher as well. So Shopify or BigCommerce — who is a better fit for who? Get a free day free trial with BigCommerce here. Get a free day free trial with Shopify here. I personally like the versatility and options of Shopify. They are likely a better fit for most online store owners.

If you are undecided — then take my eCommerce Platform Quiz here. It will take your preferences and tell you web hosting options and trade-offs is the best choice for your online store. I try to help people who run their own websites Skip to the conclusion here.

Price Ahh — price. Customer Support Customer support is one of the most underestimated benefits of using a hosted eCommerce platform. They have videos and screenshots for even small changes on the Dashboard whereas Shopify will have text instructions. BigCommerce comes across as more beginner-friendly. Shopify has more thorough and instructive content on running your overall business. They invest a lot of time and resources in case studies, long-form guides, tutorials, and helping your business succeed beyond just implementing a new feature.

Shopify web hosting options and trade-offs has a more well-developed network of 3rd party developers and marketers who specialize in Shopify. Customer Focus Shopify and BigCommerce both serve businesses that range from very small retailers selling niche products to multi-million dollar brands.

Approach to Features Both Shopify and BigCommerce have almost all the tools marketing, SEO, inventory, order, etc an online store would need to be successful. While the end result web hosting options and trade-offs the same, they do take a slightly different approach.

Why not explore more? Featured Ecommerce Resources Shopify vs. No Infinite Scroll Here:

Ecommerce options exist on a spectrum of convenience and control. Both Shopify and Volusion are right in the middle of the spectrum because they bundle all the technical parts of an online store — hosting, speed, security, inventory, shopping cart and payment processing — and bundle it into a single monthly price.

But like a self-hosted eCommerce websiteShopify and Volusion also bundle as part of your website on your domain where you have full control of products, pricing, and customer experience.

So unlike running a store on Etsy, eBay or Amazon — you control the build, design, and content of your store. Even though this part of the spectrum has plenty of tradeoffs — services like Shopify and Volusion are an excellent option for many store owners. So the question becomes — Shopify vs.

They are both excellent companies with an excellent product. Aside — I built a Buzzfeed style quiz for eCommerce platforms that grades the factors with your goals. You can check out the quiz here. Also, a quick disclosure — I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All data and opinions are based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.

That said, their plan structure is just different enough to make a direct comparison a bit difficult. First is your monthly store fee. Both Volusion and Shopify are generally the same. Volusion is slightly cheaper, but they web hosting options and trade-offs do not include every single feature on lower tiers that Shopify does.

Second is your store transaction fee. Otherwise, their transaction fees are the same. The third is your credit card processing fees. If you use a 3rd party processor like Authorize. If you use Shopify, you can use Shopify payments for 2. If you plan on using a 3rd party processor ie, for price or for sticking with your current providerthen Volusion will be about the same — or even slightly cheaper than Shopify every month.

Either way web hosting options and trade-offs price is not the deciding factor for Shopify vs. Customer support is one of the most underestimated benefits of using a hosted eCommerce web hosting options and trade-offs.

Both Volusion and Shopify have customer support built into their monthly price. You get access to all sorts of channels on both — everything from phone web hosting options and trade-offs chat to forums web hosting options and trade-offs email tickets. In other words, Shopify has a bit more of a learning curve to learn their system, but once you learn it — you can do more with it.

Shopify and Volusion both serve businesses that range from very small retailers selling niche products to multi-million dollar brands.

Both have enterprise plans I wrote about Shopify Plus here and they both have customer support teams trained to help absolute beginners. Their platform is built to serve all retail businesses both on and offline — but with a focus on startups or online-first businesses that want to expand offline.

Shopify runs their own payment processing service and even has their own Point-of-Sale POS system so that small offline retailers can sell offline and online from within the same system. The idea is that your website is only one of many sales channels. You can definitely run your website as your only sales channel in Shopify — but the options to web hosting options and trade-offs elsewhere are already built-in.

Their backend and terminology are all focused on the store owner who has an existing retail business and needs to bring it online. They have a robust inventory system with a focus on the operations of an eCommerce store rather than the marketing of an eCommerce store. They have a straightforward functionality to bring on team members to manage listings and inventory.

Both Volusion and Shopify are excellent platforms for startups to enterprise. Web hosting options and trade-offs Volusion and Shopify have excellent onboarding processes and user-friendly management areas. The main difference is how each backend is structured. Volusion has a web hosting options and trade-offs Dashboard where you manage everything — your products, inventory, website pages, settings, billing, etc.

Additionally, Shopify has their own lingo. If you have never run a website before and only have a small to mid-size product collection, then Volusion will likely make more sense than Shopify. Both Shopify and Volusion have almost all the tools marketing, SEO, inventory, order, etc an online store would need to be successful. They differ though in how they each approach adding new features.

They have essential features that all store owners will need built-in. But for features that not all store owners need — they focus on making sure store owners can add feature extensions to their store as needed.

They have a large and active App Store that not only has well-known extensions ie, MailChimp but also plenty of indie apps web hosting options and trade-offs every situation ie, apps for international tax and shipping features.

Volusion has an App Store for extensions as well. However, Volusion has a bigger focus on building lots of features directly into their software so that there is no need to add an extension. For example, take selling on Amazon or importing your Amazon listings to your store.

Both Shopify and Volusion can make these features happen. Web hosting options and trade-offs builds the feature into their backend. Shopify web hosting options and trade-offs not have it built in. But if you do, you are more likely to get it in some form or fashion in Shopify than Volusion.

Volusion, though, is decidedly lacking. Again — a CMS is not in itself a huge deal. Overall, if you have fairly core eCommerce needs and simply want everything to be there and to work — then Volusion will likely work better.

Aside — this is why I recommend doing a 2-week free trial with both Volusion and Shopify just to click around and see for yourself. You select a base theme and then edit it to look as you like. Web hosting options and trade-offs can do it via drag and drop or via a hybrid approach to editing.

Volusion has a Theme Store that is rapidly growing. However, it still lacks the diversity of Shopify. Their price points for premium themes are usually higher web hosting options and trade-offs well.

Volusion — who is a better fit for who? Get a free day free trial with Volusion here. Get a free day free trial with Shopify here. I personally like the versatility and options of Shopify. They are likely a better fit for most online store owners. If you are undecided — then take my Ecommerce Platform Quiz here. It will take your preferences and tell you who is the best choice for your online store.

I try to help people who run their own websites Web hosting options and trade-offs Ecommerce Platform Comparison. Skip to the conclusion here. Price Ahh — price. The main tradeoff comes from fees — And there are 3 different types of fees to consider. Customer Support Customer support is one of the most underestimated benefits of using a hosted eCommerce platform. All customer support is customized since both run on proprietary platforms.

They have videos and screenshots for even small changes on the Dashboard whereas Shopify will have text instructions.

Volusion comes across as more beginner-friendly due to onboarding and heavy consultant walk-throughs Shopify has more thorough and instructive content on running your overall business. They invest a lot of time and resources in case studies, long-form guides, tutorials, and helping your business succeed beyond just implementing a new feature. Shopify also has a more well-developed network of 3rd party developers and marketers who specialize web hosting options and trade-offs Shopify.

And often, those other platforms will actually provide support for the Shopify integrations. Customer Focus Shopify and Volusion both serve businesses that range from very small retailers selling niche products to multi-million dollar brands. Approach to Features Both Shopify and Volusion have almost all the tools marketing, SEO, inventory, order, etc an online store would need to be successful.

While the end result is the same, they do take a slightly different approach. Why not explore more? Featured Ecommerce Resources Shopify vs. No Infinite Web hosting options and trade-offs Here:

Yet once they graduate, their accounts are deleted. In the past, I have listed my favorite options, but I realized there must be more. So I asked for suggestions on Twitter.

My requirements are as follows:. If you know of others, please send me a note! This great service reimagines the late Geocities for a modern age. Instead, try Soundcloud and Vimeo, respectively. Yes, GitHub will host your static site of any size and using a custom domain for free! Having to learn git might be considered a downside. It would probably be good for you in the long run, but undoubtedly there is a learning curve. Fortunately, you can avoid the command-line completely by using web hosting options and trade-offs free GUI client.

At the free level, all repos are publicly viewable, so your entire website would be open web hosting options and trade-offs by default — no secrets here.

While traditional hosting companies charge a flat monthly rate, and then cap your total usage e. You just need a credit card. Fortunately, Paul Katsen wrote a great step-by-step guide to setting up a static site on S3.

True penny-pinchers can even take steps to optimize their sites even further. A project out of the University of Mary Washington, this service is built specifically and only for students, faculty, and institutions. Presumably, SFTP is supported yay. They are so great. Even better, this plan includes 5 GB of file space, and you can designate individual folders within that space to be served as standalone, static websites.

So, really, a FastMail account is awesome email web hosting options and trade-offs simple web hosting rolled into one. Plus, you can use SFTP to access all your files in the usual fashion.

Instead, you just ZIP up your site folder and drag-and-drop it onto their web interface. Dropbox is free, up to 2 GB, and any folder you make public is served as a static website. Cactus looks like a beautiful way to develop your site on a Mac, and it has built-in integration with S3 for publishing. Divshot is free for a single, static-files-only website including use of a custom web hosting options and trade-offsbut requires use of a command-line interface to configure your site and deploy files.

Pagoda Box is all git-powered, techie, and scalable. Pagoda Box hosts this website, alignedleft. Heroku is conceptually similar but even techie-er than Pagoda Box. But still, you can get the basic service free. Thanks to the many people who chimed in on Twitter with ideas, including John C.

Switch JavaScript back on in your web browser for the full experience. So each May, one or two seniors on the verge of graduation will ask: I want to keep my website.

Where can I host my website cheaply? My requirements are as follows: Free or cheap to fit within the budget of a student or recent grad.

We can do cheaper than that. Must support custom domains. Design students will use this for online portfolios, so they need to use myname.

Static file hosting is okay. I am looking for bare-bones here. Low-bandwidth and low-storage are okay. These are for personal sites to be viewed by friends and potential employers. SFTP access is ideal. The ideal solution would also allow SFTP connections, to maintain a familiar workflow.

Free Neocities This great service reimagines the late Geocities web hosting options and trade-offs a modern age. Cheap Reclaim Hosting A project out of the University of Mary Washington, this service is built specifically and only for students, faculty, and institutions. Thanks Thanks to the many people who chimed in on Twitter with ideas, including John C.