Self-Hosted Shopping Cart or Etsy

Online shopping destinations have a lot more options today than they did just a few years ago. Numerous websites let you host your online shop for a low monthly or per-listing payment, but Etsy is one of the most popular options out there.

How does Etsy stack up to hosting your own shop, though? Now that hosting your own shopping site is an option thanks to self-host shopping cart options, a lot of online shop owners are taking a second look at what Etsy is offering.

Here's how it all breaks down.

Etsy: What You Get

Etsy lets anyone with a crafting or retail bone set up a small Etsy marketplace shop. Etsy charges $0.20 per listing, which is pretty reasonable considering the exposure you'll get with the popular Etsy blog. Plus, Etsy hands out a nice eBook filled with SEO tactics to users, and that eBook is really helpful if you're new to the online world. In addition to that per-listing fee, you'll have to pay a transaction fee once your items start to sell.

Here's what Etsy pricing looks like:

self hosted shopping cart

  • $0.20 per listing
  • 3.5% transaction fee

There are no additional fees when it comes to setting up an Etsy shop, and creating your own Etsy page is really quite simple. Plus, you will be joining a network of other like-minded crafters and artists – no big corporations or machine-made goods allowed. If you're not too tech savvy and you want a great option for selling goods online, Etsy is the place to go for most people. The above image is a screenshot of PraxisJewelry shop on Etsy.

But, what about setting up your own shop hosted by you?

Hosting Your Own Shopping Site

Various self-hosted shopping cart options also exist.

etsy zencart

Two good options are:

  • Zen Cart
  • XCart

To set these up, though, you'll have to have your own web-server, and you will also need to know how to install shopping cart software. When you host your own site, of course, you will also have to know how to fix problems and set everything up on your own. In short: a self hosted shopping site is not for those that aren't tech-savvy.

Making Your Shopping Site Decision

It's really a cut and dry decision if you don't have any prior tech or web-server experience. If you do have experience, setting up a web-server on your own may be beneficial, but you'll have to think about what you will do should trouble arise. Often, web servers can be really finicky, and this can result in lots of problems for you. With a company like Etsy, however, all technical issues are dealt with in-house, and that means not having to mess around when things go awry.

If you're trying to figure out how to create a nice online shopping experience for your users, I recommend checking out what Etsy has to offer first. If you aren't satisfied with what you see there, you can always attempt to set up your own server – or, switch to another shopping site that's a lot more forgiving than constructing your own setup would be!

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