Practical Ecommerce

Debate: Hosted Shopping Carts "Perfect For Most Entrepreneurs"

1ShoppingCart is a hosted shopping cart with thousands of small business customers. Michael Valiant, 1ShoppingCart’s product management and marketing specialist, offers his views on hosted cart solutions.

PeC: Why should an ecommerce business consider a hosted shopping cart, versus purchasing a one-time cart license?

ALTValiant: “A hosted solution ensures quick implementation and turn around, inclusive security, 24/7 monitoring, no investment in infrastructure, full and continued support, regular automatic and free software upgrades, a maintenance free environment, easy data management accessible from anywhere in the world and a generally more robust system.”

“Hosted solutions are responsible for the entire infrastructure, as well as maintaining the safe and smooth operation of merchant’s data and order processing. It’s fully prepared to deal with any emergency situations that may occur with its merchants’ businesses online.”

“A hosted solution is perfect for most entrepreneurs and small to medium sized businesses that don’t have or want to invest in their own IT departments. Choosing to run your business online using a hosted shopping cart solution would prove to be the cheaper, easier and least risky solution for most business owners.”

PeC: Critics say that hosted carts are less flexible than licensed carts. Is this true?

Valiant: “That’s such a broad generalization. It’s sort of like saying all domestic cars are less reliable than imports.”

“Like licensed carts, not all hosted carts were created equal and I’m sure you’d find both more and less flexible versions in both categories. While it may be true that some licensed carts may offer slightly more shopping-cart-page customization [as long as you’re comfortable programming your own changes or paying for a developer to do it], many of those same carts lock you into very specific templates and design constraints through your entire storefront [website, catalogue pages, etc.]. This is something you won’t encounter with a hosted shopping cart.”

PeC: What does 1ShoppingCart cost? Price ranges?

Valiant: “Our shopping cart package ranges from $29 to $79 per month and includes everything needed to run a business online. The low monthly prices with no start up fees ensure a low start-up and maintenance cost for any business.”

“One of the benefits of being a hosted solution allows for us to offer a whole suite of more advanced tools, including email and broadcast marketing, affiliate marketing, ad tracking, dedicated IP services etc., without having to charge our merchants until their businesses are prepared to take advantage of the increased functionality. All modules are pre-integrated and available with a flip-of-a-switch readiness that allows us to grow alongside our merchants’ needs.”

PeC: By Practical eCommerce’s count, there are over 300 hosted and licensed carts available. How can a smaller business know which of these is the best fit?

Valiant: “It’s hard to do when you’re first starting out, but it’s really important to think about where your business is going to be in one, three and five years and choose a platform that will continue to be a viable solution throughout your growth. Finding a solution that can grow with your business, while not having to pay for features you aren’t using right from the get-go will prove to be an extremely valuable asset for your small business.”

“Also, consider the amount of time you want to invest in maintaining and upgrading your ecommerce solution. Most business owners will agree that time is much better spent on efforts to grow their business. That means a hosted solution is the way to go.”

Other things to consider:

  • Time to market — How long it takes you to launch your ecommerce store after investing in a solution.
  • Security — Is the cart PCI/CISP certified? Does it offer HackerSafe?
  • Support — Can you call someone? Submit email or ticket support? What are the hours of operation? How well trained is the person helping you?
  • Growth potential — Is the shopping cart just a shopping cart or does it offer advanced features like email marketing, autoresponder follow-up, affiliate management, ad tracking, analytics, etc.? Do you have to pay for these features before you’re ready to use them?

PeC: Other thoughts on hosted or licensed carts?

Valiant: “The fact is there are a variety of great licensed and hosted shopping carts available. You really have to compare what you’re getting for your money and consider how much time you want to, as a business owner, dedicate to integrating and maintaining your shopping cart process.”

“When you invest in a hosted system, you’re paying for an entire secure infrastructure where, frequently, millions of dollars have already been invested to build-in the highest levels of certified security, including PCI/CISP certification through the credit card industry and HackerSafe certification through ScanAlert.”

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Comments ( 13 )

  1. Legacy User August 28, 2007 Reply

    I can really agree with Mike on his comments with regard to hosted vs license … I've done both and find the hosted cart much more advantageous to small businesses like my two ( and, which are both with 1shoppingcart. "1Shopping Cart is one stop shopping with everything I need without any of the worries of a licensed cart."
    Kenny Rogers ( and

    — *Kenny Rogers*

  2. Legacy User August 29, 2007 Reply

    I am with, developers of both the Hosted and Licensed WebplusShop ( Unlike many hosted solutions we provide all of our features regardless of which route you take. Pricing on the hosted side starts at just $14.95/month and a single store license is just $369. We offer FTP access also which opens the door to unlimited customization. We also have a customization department for those who would rather let us handle the project. We feel that the hosted solution is much more convenient and cost effective for the small online business who doesn't have the time or skills to manage their own dedicated web server. For those who have the skills, our Single Store license is very flexible but most importantly affordable. Keep an eye out for out for our ad in the upcoming issue of Practical Ecommerce.

    — *Bryan Kriech*

  3. Legacy User September 3, 2007 Reply

    I would have to agree. I'm from a hosted shopping cart company in the UK ( and find that all our customers are in the business of selling rather than getting technical. They see their time is best suited to selling not coding.

    — *Andy Brown*

  4. Legacy User September 7, 2007 Reply

    One shopping cart seems to be the one
    I'm going to sign up with


    New York Hypnosis Center LLC

    — *Ya got me sold*

  5. Legacy User September 7, 2007 Reply

    The only trusted and most secure shopping cart belongs to Yahoo. There are numerous options, thanks to living in the USA!
    #1 on the Internet Retailer 500 and a couple of excellent developers who know what they are doing with Solid Cactus being the best by far.


    — *Yahoo No Relation*

  6. Legacy User September 20, 2007 Reply

    Valiant has some really solid insight here. When faced with the challenge of developing an online storefront for clients quickly, a hosted and security-rich solution like 1ShoppingCart seems to be the best option for me — hosted solutions offer a peace-of-mind to the merchant, I think.

    — *Matthew*

  7. Legacy User September 27, 2007 Reply

    It seems like a lot of consultants convince small business owners that hosted shopping carts are not the way to go. As someone who works for a hosted shopping cart, I have had consultants admit to me that they would never recommend us simply because they want to charge the merchant to host the site with them. Our hosting environment is PCI/CISP certified, and as much as that consultant wants to say they are PCI/CISP compliant, there is no way of being sure unless you have actually been audited, which is very expensive and time consuming.

    Going with a PCI/CISP certified shopping cart or host is the way to go for any company online…period. Risking fines and being blacklisted by credit card companies makes going with anything less too risky. The fact that most stores online are not compliant in an environment where even the bigger companies' servers get compromised just floors me. I have personally spoke with companies that were hacked and the trouble they go through just to find another host would shut most companies down.

    For a small business, it is easier to go with a PCI/CISP certified shopping cart than deal with reinventing the wheel. Unless a company has very specific needs that need to be customized from scratch, they should be able to find a hosted cart that meets their needs. This ensures that they spend more time marketing their site and improving their products than dealing with adding features and functionality to their website.

    –Michelle Greer

    — *Michelle Greer*

  8. Legacy User October 21, 2007 Reply

    I'm with Mals e-commerce based in the UK but designed for the US.
    -waiting for Google checkout to settle down before integrating
    -not a limitless number of questions and shipping options, although sufficient
    -hard to set-up for a complete HTML novice unsupervised
    Favourite points:
    -includes use of Mals' secure servers and PCI compliance certificate
    -low one-off charge for the full data downloading software
    -middling number of people helping each other in a message board; several third-party scripts and sites including one obscure one that runs a content management system from an excel file ( which I don't yet use.
    It's not perfect, but when I see people paying so-much-a-month for similiar products or trying to learn Perl or Javascript and then rent a secure server, I'm not jelous.
    John Robertson for vegan shoes online

    — *John Robertson*

  9. Legacy User December 4, 2007 Reply

    At the shopping cart is included with the purchase of a storefront. You can sell your products and manage your own mall based web pages. It is a very cost efficient and functional way for small business owners to put their products on the internet and sell them. For just $20.00 per month you can safely sell in the mall and use the shopping cart that is provided.

    — *Karen*

  10. Legacy User April 9, 2008 Reply

    I am with AShop Software. We offer hosted shopping cart service, licensed shopping cart software and web hosting service.

    AShopCart hosted service is quick and easy because it is installed automatically. The server infrastructure is maintained and monitored 24/7. The hosted shopping cart service includes FTP access for customization. With AShopCart service, the shopping cart resides in a subdomain, which may not be the most effective for search engine optimization. A top level domain name that is optimized with keywords may be more beneficial.

    AShop Web Hosting service includes free installation of our shopping cart and other ecommerce software. The server infrastructure is maintained and monitored 24/7. The shopping cart may be added to a hosting plan with monthly or semiannual payments or the software may be licensed separately by paying a one-time fee.

    In either case, when our shopping cart software is installed on one of our servers, installation and technical support is free for as long as the account is active. I recommend paying the one-time license fee and hosting with AShop Web Hosting service. This is the most cost effective, reliable and flexible solution.

    You could pay the one-time license fee and host your domain with a third-party service, but then installation service is not free and technical support is only free for the first year ($60/year after the first year). Also, third-party hosting services occasionally change server configuration when updating the infrastructure and they may not consider software that is installed in each domain. This can eventually cause trouble with the shopping cart when installed in third-party hosting services. It is best to have a cohesive infrastructure where the hosting service is fine tuned for the shopping cart software and where technical support covers all aspects of the shopping cart environment.

    — *Rob*

  11. Bryan Gan November 23, 2008 Reply

    We have just released our e-commerce solution, We studied various shopping carts providers and they require the users to deal with the technical to setup their stores. Although some come with wizard, but there are just users that don’t want to know anything about the technical. Customers want to see their online shop is being taken care well and traffic that leads to sales. Finally, low cost to start an online store is what most require to start their online business.

  12. webdev January 28, 2010 Reply

    Thanks for great discussion. This post will certainly encourage the concerned merchants to go for hosted cart solution; we have launched our online shopping cart solution for libraries and bookstores. Hosted carts are another evolution just like manual programming today is replaced by pre-build corporate solutions and the way web2.0 is molding into another shape it seems like future is hosted cart.

  13. Kabolobari August 30, 2015 Reply

    It’s the hosting environment that needs to be PCI/CISP certified and hacker safe, not necessarily the cart.

    These days, several hosting companies are compliant with PCI standards, so that using them and a licensed cart–free or paid–seems a cheaper and more robust (giving stores more freedom) than a hosted (somewhat restrictive) solution.