We all know Shopify is outstanding. It's a highly convenient platform that has helped thousands of businesses enter online retail. From online store-building tools to a native payment system and app integrations, Shopify seems to have everything the modern entrepreneur needs.
We're not here to dispute that but to mention that it may not be everyone's ideal option. Choosing the right platform for your website or online business is essential. It can affect everything from operational costs to website potential.
If you're making this crucial decision, here are some reasons why Shopify might not be for you.
1. You Just Need a Simple Website
Shopify is renowned as a robust platform that provides all the tools you need to build an eCommerce website or online store quickly. The website builder is easy to use, has many features, and doesn't have a steep learning curve.
You can use the Shopify drag-and-drop system to create your website within minutes. Online sellers can quickly build a digital product portfolio by uploading images and filling in the blanks to flesh out the details.
However, all of this comes at a price. Even Shopify Basic costs an eye-watering $19/mo. For online stores taking full advantage of Shopify features, it's worth the price. If you just want to build a simple or static website, it's a supremely steep price to pay.
Shopify Alternatives for Those Needing Simple Websites
Often known as the king of budget hosting, Hostinger offers all the basics that a static website owner needs. WordPress is free and can easily be deployed on a Hostinger shared hosting plan. If not, you can use its free website builder. The total cost will be a fraction of what Shopify charges.
One of the most powerful web hosting platforms, A2 Hosting is reputed to be fast, stable, and highly reliable. It offers everything from basic hosting features to developer tools and more. Shared hosting plans at A2 Hosting are also reasonably priced.
Shared hosting plans at Bluehost provide access to its famed website-building tool. It also includes hundred of professional templates, blog post management, and an image library. If not, you can simply use WordPress to create a more content-oriented website.
2. When Hosting Customizability is Important
The core of the Shopify proposition is all-inclusiveness. That means the company believes it's created the perfect environment for its target audience. The concept is correct, but it's important to understand that the target audience may not include you.
If you need more customization in your web hosting solution, Shopify isn't an ideal match. Although there is some customizability, like code insertion and app integration, you can only change a little about the platform itself.
For example, there is almost no server control permitted on Shopify accounts. You'll likely never know what kind of hosting platform Shopify uses for your website. That means no server customization, server-side rules, or anything similar.
Shopify Alternatives for Those Who Need Customizability
A2 Hosting plans are incredibly flexible. Even their cheapest shared hosting plans allow developers to create in customized environments. For even more control, you can opt for their VPS plans. The unmanaged options are dirt-cheap, and your server can be custom-built from the ground up.
DreamHost offers a broad range of hosting plans but even shared hosting here is pretty agile. You can access a website builder, free site migrations, and a custom control panel. DreamHost's support for WP-CLI for greater control over WordPress websites is the most interesting aspect.
Shared hosting plans at HostPapa are exciting. They even provide access to some eCommerce features, potentially rivaling Shopify. The plans come with website builder access, custom cron jobs, and comprehensive security features.
3. When More Control Over Data is Essential
Signing up with Shopify is an all-in-one deal. While in most cases that's convenient, it does mean you lose control over some aspects. One vital area of control for websites is how the host manages data.
Thanks to increasing regulatory scrutiny, many websites are now sensitive about where they host and process data. You lose a lot of that information if you host with Shopify. Alternatively, most other regular web hosts will allow you to choose a specific data center location.
For this to be a contributing factor, the most potent Shopify alternatives offer access to multiple data centers in various locations.
Alternatives to Shopify for Comprehensive Data Center Access
While not as extensive as Hostinger's network, TMDHosting does provide hosting from seven data centers worldwide. These include Chicago, Phoenix, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney. That covers most of the major regions.
We already know Hostinger offers cheap hosting plans, but it lets you choose from multiple data center locations. That includes Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. Each region has various access points, like the Netherlands, Lituania, and the UK for Europe.
For even more options, use a Cloud hosting platform like Cloudways. It works with several Cloud infrastructure providers, which means a stunning array of data center choices for any website. You can even create individual websites on various servers around the world.
4. If Vendor Lock-in Scares You
With Shopify, another of its assets can become a liability if you decide not to stick with the platform. The convenient website builder and app integrations can become a nightmare if you ever migrate to another service provider.
Much of what Shopify offers is proprietary. Moving a Shopify-based website to a regular web host may result in disaster. It's improbable that a straight migration will be successful without lots of tweaks and redos.
Even worse, the free migration services that most web hosts offer will likely not include migration from Shopify. Typically, they only support the move of regular static websites or WordPress-based websites.
Shopify Alternatives for Website Portability
With InterServer, you get a good balance of power and reliability in a standard web hosting environment. It's an excellent choice where portability is concerned, and moving to or from InterServer to any alternative should not be a problem.
Quiet and unassuming KnownHost offers a broad hosting package selection. While it isn't as cheap as Hostinger, it offers well-managed services and free website migration to its servers. One highlight is a US-based support team that sets it apart from most competitors.
GreenGeeks is excellent enough that you'll likely want to stay put once you set up shop here. However, it also uses industry-standard hosting, so portability for any website will never be a problem. cPanel is also in play, So you can move entire hosting accounts if necessary.
5. When Cost is a Major Factor
Shopify is by no means cheap, even amongst its peers. Even if you use Shopify Lite, the small sum you need to pay goes up with the need to host your website on another web host. Combined, it still can't beat many self-hosted eCommerce solutions.
One good alternative to this high cost is using a host with strong WordPress hosting plans. That will allow you to build an eCommerce website with WooCommerce easily. You can more easily manage costs depending on how you configure the WooCommerce website.
Less Expensive Alternatives to Shopify
DreamHost offers a special category of WordPress plans called DreamPress. With this, you get powerful web hosting that's WordPress centric for less than half the price Shopify charges on the lower end.
Nexcess by LiquidWeb
LiquidWeb is well known for its excellent performance. They created a unique brand called Nexcess to support WordPress users. Here you get powerful hosting and access to advanced utilities like Beaver Builder for your eCommerce website.
When cost is concerned, we can't go by without mentioning Hostinger again. Among most web hosts, you'll find the lowest prices here. However, what you get isn't the bare minimum, and most basic eCommerce websites can thrive in this environment.
Conclusion – Be Cautious Before Signing on With Shopify
Shopify can be an excellent choice, especially if you're building what's intended to be a high-performing eCommerce website or online store. Yet this perfection can come at a high cost if you aren't careful.
The system here has several pitfalls that the unwary can easily fall into. The problem is that once you fall in, getting out can be tricky unless you're ok with starting over from scratch. Consider these and other factors carefully before signing on with Shopify.