Category Archives: Hosting

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vs. Downloadable eCommerce Solutions

Whether you are just starting your eCommerce journey or are growing an existing eCommerce business, finding the right platform to host your online storefront is key to your success. However, when exploring the options available for your business, it can be hard to tell which solution fits your business best. To make a decision that works best for your specific business, you need to understand the pros and cons of the two most common solutions: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions and Downloadable software solutions.

What is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for eCommerce?

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) eCommerce solutions are hosting platforms that are provided on a subscription basis. Just like a subscription video service such as Netflix, SaaS solutions involve a fixed fee every month to host your online store. In the case of SaaS eCommerce solutions, you are “renting” the platform for your online store.

What are the Pros of SaaS Solutions?

Fixed monthly cost – SaaS solutions have a set monthly cost rather than paying for new features or changes to your site as they come. This is more so a matter of preference, but for some, having a set cost in the beginning is easier to maintain and account for. Another benefit of subscription pricing is that SaaS platforms may sell their services in tiers, allowing you to choose from a variety of plans and change your plans as you grow.

Hands-off installation & maintenance – With SaaS solutions, a service provider often handles the installation & updates of your new online platform, removing the need for technical knowledge and a server to house your site. Also, any licensed software that comes with the platform, such as tools and applications, are kept up to date by the service provider rather than scheduled on your calendar.

Scalable as your business grows – Business growth can happen unexpectedly, requiring you to grow your platform and features. With a SaaS solution, upgrading your platform can be as simple as changing your plan to a different tier rather than manually scaling your website on your own.

What are the Cons of SaaS Solutions?

Customizations are limited – With SaaS solutions, you are given limited features and options to create your site. In the case of certain features, you may find that there aren’t any available options to do what you are envisioning, and since you don’t own the software, you can’t create your own customized feature easily.

Price can increase with features & growth – As a subscription-based service, SaaS solutions require you to change plans if your business becomes too big or requires certain features that aren’t part of your original plan. That means that the only way to handle your growing business is to pay a higher fee every month.

Harder to make your site stand out – With limited customizability available in a SaaS service, you can run into the issue of your site looking like every other SaaS based website. There are only so many options built into SaaS solutions to personalize your site, so often, your site can end up looking “cookie cutter” like, where your site has the same look and feel as others who use the same features and themes as you do.

What is Downloadable Software for eCommerce?

Downloadable software eCommerce solutions are hosting platforms that can be locally downloaded and maintained. Rather than “renting” space like you would in a SaaS solution, downloadable eCommerce solutions are installed in a place of your choosing. In most cases, downloadable eCommerce solutions are bought at a fixed, one-time price or are open source alongside a set monthly hosting fee.

What are the Pros of Downloadable Solutions?

Fully customizable – With downloadable solutions, you are able to download the full package of your platform, code and all. This means that you can freely customize your site. Custom features, themes, scripts, and so forth can be incorporated freely into your platform without penalty.

One time license fee or free software – Downloadable solutions are often bought at a one-time license fee and can even be free to use, such as open-source software. Just like with SaaS, when and where you want to spend money on your eCommerce journey is a matter of preference, but some business owners prefer to buy only what they need at the moment rather than pay on a fixed monthly basis.

New features are bought as needed – When it comes to adding new features to your platform, you are free to add any kind of feature you want unlike a SaaS based solution. If the feature is something that you and your team can’t build yourself, other professionals can be brought into build the feature for you as needed, allowing you to plan out your spending.

What are the Cons of Downloadable Solutions?

Technical knowledge is required – Downloadable solutions require you and your team to install and maintain your hosting platform. Any new or custom features would also be created and installed by your team or a hosting provider. Both require varying degrees of technical knowledge.

Updates & maintenance are done manually – Unlike SaaS solutions that may automatically update your software and platform, it will be up to your team or hosting provider to ensure that everything is up to date and working correctly. For some downloadable solutions, updates may involve simply clicking the update button. Others may require further steps to complete.

Scalability can be complex – As your business grows, you will have to scale your business platform and features with a downloadable solution. This may require your team manually upgrading your platform, machines, and so forth to scale appropriately, or, in some cases, require either a specialist or your hosting provider to help with the technical details.

Want to learn more?

While Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Downloadable eCommerce solutions may be different, both have the tools to create successful eCommerce businesses. Choosing your solution requires understanding your business needs, both present and future. Once you understand what features and abilities you must have, you can more easily determine which solution is best for you. To help you decide between SaaS or Downloadable solutions, download our FREE SaaS or Download Decision Making Guide! This guide walks you through a handful of steps that aim to layout your business’ must-haves and can’t-haves in order to more easily see if SaaS or downloadable eCommerce solutions are right for you. Other resources can be found on our blog and podcast.

To host or not to host: The pros & cons of self-hosting vs. hosting providers

To host or not to host: it’s a question that comes up often for online business owners. Is it better to host my own website or to pay a hosting provider to do it for me? The truth is both are valid answers. When it comes down to choosing how you want to host your website, you need to consider the pros and cons of both options in comparison to your expertise, time, and funds.

What is hosting?

Hosting is the process of allocating storage space and computer resources to run online services. For eCommerce business owners, their online services would include their online storefront: their website. Your website could be hosted in multiple ways: you could self-host it, or you can have a hosting provide it host it.

Self-hosting your website

Self-hosting means you are hosting your website on your own servers. Everything is locally run and maintained by you and your team when self-hosting. This set up comes with many benefits as well as drawbacks:

Pros of self-hosting

Gives you full control over your website – From the tech your website is hosted on to the installed, you have complete control to set up your hosting environment any way you please. By self-hosting, you can pick and choose how much you want to spend on each part of your hosting server, as well as what quality you want those pieces to be. Things like the amount of storage you want, or the speed you want your hosting server to have are up to you rather than limited by a hosting provider.

Allows for quick response time & full transparency – Instead of waiting for technical support on the phone or via email, if something goes wrong or if you want to adjust something in your hosting set up, you can do it yourself right in the moment. You also can set up any amount of analytics on your online service to better understand any issues it may be having as well as monitor your sites traffic more closely.

Let’s you customize your site freely – If you want to change the amount of storage your hosting server has or use a specific software in it, you can incorporate customizations without having to discuss it with a hosting provider first when self-hosting. It’s your equipment, and yours to do as you please.

Cons of self hosting

It can get expensive to run – To self-host, you will not only need the hardware, but you will also need the electricity and consumer grade internet. On top of that, you may need to hire a team of workers to maintain and protect your server depending on your teams existing expertise. Any issues that arise are paid by the company rather than handled by a hosting provider.

Zero support when issues arise – When issues such as hardware failures, data loss, outages, security breaches, and so forth arise, it is your company’s responsibility to identify the problem and fix it. Depending on your expertise and team, this could be incredibly time-consuming and costly.

Time consuming to learn & maintain – Hosting is fairly straightforward start but is a continuous process to maintain. Depending on your current workload, it could be hard to make sure that your server is up to date and running properly. While you can learn the ins and outs of server maintenance and hosting, it may require time that you don’t have.

Security and technical Risks – Lack of proper maintenance can lead to security risks and errors in your hosting server. An insecure store can put you and your customers valuable information at risk, as well as push users away if they don’t feel comfortable. Technical errors could bring your server down, making your online store unavailable to potential customers.

Using a Hosting Provider

Hosting providers will run your website on their servers. A hosting team will take care of your website’s maintenance and changes. Having a company host your online services comes with its own set of benefits and troubles.

Pros of using a hosting provider

Is Reliable and secure – Hosting providers are paid to keep your site up and running. This includes keeping track of updates, saving your data, creating a secure environment, maintaining internet connectivity, and so forth. With a quality hosting provider, downtime should be minimal, and your site should be protected.

Experts handle outages and problems – Hosting providers monitor and respond to errors and outages that impact your website. Experts in their fields, they can more easily identify and fix problems than those with little to no experience. This means quicker return times and less stress on business owners.

Little time investment on your end – For a business owner utilizing a hosting provider, there is little time investment involved. The hosting provider does all the maintenance and major changes to the hosting process, leaving the online business owner more time to work on other important parts of the eCommerce endeavors.

Cons of using a hosting provider

Upgrades & maintenance have to be done by provider – When hosting providers are managing your site, upgrades, maintenance, and changes have to go through them. Depending on the quality of your hosting provider, you may encounter hosting providers that are slow or unreliable.

Resources can be limited and monetized – When shopping for hosting providers, many providers will determine their prices based on the amount of resources you want. Storage, RAM, network traffic, and so forth can be billable items that you need to think about when getting a hosting provider, which requires you to understand your site’s needs.

Industry challenges can impact hosting providers – From mass security events to accessibility, there are industry wide laws and issues that hosting providers need to comply and react to. Finding a hosting provider that you trust in terms of keeping up with the law and potential security risks of the internet can be daunting.

Is there a right option when it comes to self-hosting or using a hosting provider?

When it comes to choosing between self-hosting your online storefront or going to a hosting provider, there is no correct answer. The decision depends on what you can manage as a business. Do you have a team who have the expertise to host a site? Do you have the money to either buy your own server or buy the resources you need from a hosting provider? Do you have the time to maintain a server? Do you have a custom environment that cannot be provided by a hosting provider? These questions and more determine which of the two options best suit your hosting needs.

Need help with your hosting needs?

At BCSE, we not only have hosting services, but we can also help manage existing hosted sites with a select group of providers. If you have questions about finding a host provider or about your current hosting environment, schedule a consultation with us! If you liked this blog and want to see more like it, check out our new eCommerce Made Easy podcast for more eCommerce tips and tricks!

GoDaddy Breach November 2021

GoDady Breach - 1.2 Million WP accounts at risk!

Up to 1.2 Million WordPress Accounts At Risk in Latest Breach

GoDaddy has announced in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that up to 1.2 million managed WordPress accounts are at risk.

An unauthorized attacker managed to breach a “legacy” WordPress management tool still in use at GoDaddy.

The attacker used a compromised password on September 6, 2021 to access the tool. However, the breach wasn’t discovered by GoDaddy’s internal security team until November 17, 2021.

Over the six-week period of unauthorized access up to 1.2 million active and inactive managed WordPress customers had their email address and customer number exposed to the attackers.

Additionally, major customer credentials and secrets have been exposed:

  • Customers’ original WordPress Admin password (set at the time of account provisioning)
  • Customers’ FTP and database usernames and (plaintext) passwords
  • And, for a subset of these customers, their SSL private keys.

Immediate Consequences of the GoDaddy Breach

GoDaddy has implemented a series of changes to remediate the effects of the breach, including resetting any potentially compromised passwords.

While GoDaddy is still investigating the causes of the compromised accounts they are also reaching out to impacted customers to issue appropriate advice regarding resetting passwords.

They’re also attempting to raise awareness of the compromise of their users’ email addresses, so that those users can be conscious of phishing scams.

It is unclear whether GoDaddy has fully accounted for all potentially exposed private keys.

Long-term Consequences of the GoDaddy Breach

The attackers were able to gain access to raw passwords for sFTP and database accounts. It would therefore appear likely that at the very least GoDaddy was storing FTP credentials in a majorly insecure manner.

This is a huge security practice failure on GoDaddy’s part.

Storing passwords in plaintext is a major no-no. It’s unclear at this point why GoDaddy didn’t remediate this relatively basic flaw with their “legacy” managed WordPress service. This service – which makes up a sizeable portion of GoDaddy’s income – was fundamentally insecure.

It’s unclear what GoDaddy means by “legacy” and whether GoDaddy intended to move these customers off of this platform eventually. However it is clear that they did not do so soon enough.

GoDaddy is also keen to point out “best practices” for securing WordPress instances in a (long) series of posts. However, GoDaddy’s own mistakes here have lead to a massive customer exposure.

That does little to instill a sense of trust in GoDaddy who will need to do some reputation management in the coming months.

What should you do?

If you’re a GoDaddy Worpress user you should immediately reset all passwords associated with your account. Note: don’t re-use passwords, ever!

Users should also look to their email for notification from GoDaddy as to the status of their SSL certificates. At the time of this writing GoDaddy was still “in the process of issuing and installing new certificates for those customers.”

And it never hurts to consider alternatives when looking for WordPress hosting. We offer a low-cost basic hosting package that’s more than suitable for hosting a small WordPress site / blog. We also offer a wide variety of larger hosting packages that would perfectly suit the needs of a higher-trafficked site.

How to Move Hosting Companies

Man Carrying Laptop


Have you ever been fed up with your current hosting provider? Do they keep going down or have poor customer service?

Sometimes moving to a new hosting company is the answer. The biggest thing is, how do you do it, especially with eCommerce sites, with minimal to no down time?

The key is someone skilled at moving sites and DNS preparation.
How do you know if someone is skilled at moving sites? Ask them how long it takes for your site to come up on the new server during the transition. If they tell you a day or two, or even three, then they do not know how to properly prepare DNS. The answer should be an hour or less if they know how to prepare everything in advance.

Steps to moving to a new hosting provider

  • Create an account on the new hosting provider and copy your site to the new hosting provider
  • Use a development subdomain for this so you can test it. For example:
  • Once everything is set and working, start preparing DNS by turning the TTL (time to live) down on the DNS server settings. Put it as low as your DNS hosting will allow, however note what it is set to before you change it. We like to put it to 5 minutes.
  • After the time has past for the old DNS TTL setting you can get started doing the actual live move!
  • Start by copying the site again to the new hosting and re-test everything. This is your ‘dry run’ to make sure the copy will work seamlessly.
  • Note any issues, fix and try the dry run again until there are no issues.
  • If you have an eCommerce or dynamic store of any kind, close the store/put it in maintenance mode.
  • Copy the site to the new hosting provider and test one last time.
  • If everything works correctly, update your DNS to point to your new IP at your new hosting provider.
  • Open up the eCommerce store on the new hosting provider and you should be good to go!
  • If everything is good, you can later update the DNS to have a longer TTL if you’d like.


With this proper preparation, the only down time should be copying the site that one final time to the new hosting provider and then the minimal time for DNS to propagate! So it should be about 5-10 minutes depending on the speed of the copy of the site!

Keep in mind, sometimes bigger is not better when it comes to a hosting company. It really is the service that matters and level of support they provide. If you have an eCommerce store and aren’t happy with your service, contact us today to see if we would be a good fit for you!

BCSE recognized by X-Cart for Hosting Services

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BCSE Hosting Services Recognized

Did you know that BCSE offers hosting services?  We recognized the need for quality hosting for our customers years ago and have been offering this reliable and affordable service ever since that time!  Recently, X-Cart listed us as an expert for hosting services on X-Cart marketplace and we’re pretty excited to be listed.  We’ve known for a long time that our hosting services are terrific, but it’s always nice to be recognized in the industry!

You can find detailed information on our hosting page or contact us with any questions that you may have.