Summary: There are several pros and cons when going with a self-hosted shopping cart solution. The advantages include complete control and customization. However, it is clear that a hosted solution is superior when you take the hosting and technical support costs into consideration.
The shopping cart software you select will be the backbone of your e-commerce operation for years to come. Some of the decisions you make now will determine what you can and cannot do going forward. One of the first decisions when choosing a cart is whether to go with a hosted or self-hosted solution. There are many reasons for both, but here we will look at the pros and cons of a self-hosted setup to illustrate why a hosted solution is superior:
The main attraction of a self-hosted solution is the level of control you have over every aspect of the system. It is completely customizable, both visually and programmatically. If there is a feature you want, you can always add it. You also get away with a one-time fee and over the long term is less costly.
The first problem is that setting up a self-hosted shopping cart requires one or more people with the technical skills to run and maintain the system. You will need this person (or team) on call for future support. Even the design of the store will require another person. The cost saving with the script will be undone with the costs of the server(s) that you will need to run the shopping cart. There is also the added risk of needing to manage and maintain the security of the system to protect your customer data.
As you can see from the above, unless you have significant experience with all of these systems, a hosted solution is cheaper, easier, and faster to implement.