What you will need to run a Shopping Cart.
* A shopping cart program.
* An e-commerce account.
* A SSL certificate.
Before you begin to shop for a cart there a few things you need to know and some decisions to make before you purchase, lease or install a cart on your site.
The first piece of information you must have is what type of a web host you are using. Does your web host use a Linux-based server or a NT or Windows type server Shopping carts run on either one type of server or both, so you will need to know which system your host is using. This information can usually be found by going to your web host site. They will say which they use on the opening page. You will either see words like Unix, Apache, Linux for the Unix-type server or Windows, Microsoft, NT for the Windows-type server. Some hosts offer both types of servers but it would necessitate moving you if you bought the wrong cart and might incur an additional fee to do so. So know what type of server you are on. This is your starting point for choosing a cart.
Should I buy a Shopping Cart or use a free cart?
There are advantages and disadvantages to each choice. However, what you live with from this point forward will rest on this decision. Setting up your cart is going to take time either way. Since time is money…. take your time to decide.
Buying A Cart: Advantages and Disadvantages
The advantage of buying a cart is that it belongs to you. You can change your web host if you want and the cart goes with you, as long as the server is the same. You have control over the cart pages and how they look. You can choose a cart that offers the options that you need such as, taxes, shipping rates, check out information gathered, e-commerce options, security, affiliates and shipping options. You can choose a cart that is search-engine friendly and allow you to use static pages that can be optimized. And once it is set up there is very little maintenance and no on-going monthly fees. Your cart can be client-based not server-based. That means you are in control.
Usually, when you purchase a shopping cart it will come with free tech support or a trial for a specified time period. This is usually more than adequate for the learning curve.
The disadvantages are the learning curve to set up your cart and the purchase cost. The purchase price can be handled somewhat by using a credit card and paying it off monthly, but there is no short-cut to the learning curve. Some carts have shorter learning curves than others. It depends on what you are requiring from your cart. The more flexibility you demand from your cart the more you are going to have to learn.
You will also have to secure your own SSL certificate and have your host install it on your site. The cost on the certificate can vary depending on what you want.
Website Shopping Cart Continued…