Red flags about when to switch away from a self-hosted ecommerce platform to Shopify

If you're running an e-commerce store that needs to be online 24/7 and you are self-hosting, you need to look carefully to make sure your servers are truly serving you.

Most small stores are trying to save money by self-hosting, and that's probably the smartest financial move for young companies. However, it's easy to miss the signals when the time comes to grow and pay for the ease and expertise of a hosted site like Shopify.

Are you wondering if it's time for you to make the hosting leap? Before you jump, take a close look at these red flags that will help you make an excellent decision about your self-hosting situation.

1. Updates Are a Major Headache

Most online businesses like yours make the mistake of delaying updates for as long as possible. On a day-to-day basis, delaying may feel like the right choice because shutting down for the update to keep hackers out means missed sales and lost revenue. Instead you cross your fingers and hope that your house of cards holds together for another week, month or even longer as more updates pass you by.

If you have custom tweaks to your platform this fear is compounded because you know that they will will all need to be tweaked again again for each and every update. If you miss one (or a few!), you know that the incompatibilities can silently wreak havoc, usually at the most inconvenient time possible, such as a major promotion months after you thought you fully completed the update.

Platform hosting, like what you get with Shopify, eliminates the update trauma. The hosting team handles all of the updates automatically and also integrates your add-on apps or backoffice customizations that make your shop your own.

2. Cost for Support

If you're self hosting, it's all on you. Well, make that you and a quarter-time person who really has to know the software and the servers. Plus, depending on the size of your shop, add maybe a designer and developer.

Add in the cost of certificates, and you're probably looking at monthly fees that are close to Shopify's top service tier costs -- and you're still losing sleep at night over a system breakdown.

When your business is doing well and you're self-hosting, it's easy to miss that tipping point when you've gone from an e-commerce company to a software company with an e-commerce site.

With external hosting, someone else's team is fretting over the details -- from an image that won't load to a glitch in checkout -- so your site keeps running. And you don't have to shell out for a new support person every time your company expands.

3. When Your Site Blows Up

Let's face it, explosive growth is something we're all hoping for, but can your site handle it?

It's almost impossible to plan for effective backup in these situations, even with the best plans before an essential promotion. If you don't have enough systems in place, you may lose customers forever. At the same time if you overbuild you've lost essential revenue that your company could have used elsewhere.

Just one of these issues can be enough to distract you from doing the great work that you can bring to customers. If you're spending too much time thinking about your self-hosted site instead of your business, maybe it's time to make a change.

The beauty of e-commerce platforms is that you don't have to manage the software, you don't have to worry about the servers, and a support team is there to help you make your site truly yours, without all of the futzing and ulcers.

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Topics: Hosting Self hosted

Would you like a daily tip about Shopify?

Each tip includes a way to improve your store: customer analysis, analytics, customer acquisition, CRO... plus plenty of puns and amazing alliterations.