Hosted Shopping Cart or DIY Cart?

Hosted Cart Solutions vs. Do-It- Yourself (DIY) Shopping Carts

If you planning on launching an online store, you’ll need a shopping cart. When it comes to shopping cart solutions, you basically have two choices; a hosted shopping cart solution or using a do-it-yourself solution. How do you decide which type of solution to use for your online store? Here’s some pointers.

Hosted cart solutions provided you with everything you need to open an online store (minus a merchant account). This includes hosting, software, updated and security. Examples of hosted shopping carts include the following:

Yahoo! Stores
Volusion
MonsterCommerce
3dCart
InstanteStore
Modular Merchant
ProStores

Do-it-yourself shopping cart solutions are typically open source or paid software. All you get is software or an application. It’s up to you to find hosting, install the software, apply updates and administer security. Examples of do-it-yourself cart solutions include:

osCommerce
CubeCart
XCart
Zen Cart

Selecting which type of shopping cart is largely dependent upon your level of technical skill and resources. DYI solutions require a greater amount of Web technology knowledge to setup and maintain. Hosted shopping carts cost more but are easier to launch and maintain. Plus, with hosted carts, you don’t have to worry about finding a host, applying updates or worry so much about security.

DIY are typically easy to move though. If you’re hosting company doesn’t cut the mustard, you can pack up and move to another host with relative ease. If you’re having issues with your hosted shopping cart, you’re pretty much married to them. Divorces are never painless. You'll have to find a new host and set up a new store from scratch. Plus, your URLs will likely change as a result of the move and you’ll suffer a dip in the search engines (until your new URLs are re-indexed).

Only you really knows which type of cart solution will work best for your business. Access your skills and weigh the pros and cons of each type of solution.