To open an online store, you need to solve many technical issues.
For example: what infrastructure to place it on and how to deploy it, where to store data and ensure its security, how to implement analytics to predict demand and reduce costs
Let’s see how to get by with minimum costs and what tools you can use.
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How To Build Infrastructure For An Online Store
There are many options for launching an online store. For example, ready-made SaaS solutions and already working trading platforms like marketplaces. They can be used immediately, but there is a significant disadvantage – technical limitations that do not allow you to add your functionality. On marketplaces, in addition, you compete with hundreds of similar online stores.
If you want to launch your online store, it can be built based on a solution created by your programmers, using any of the top eCommerce website builders like Wix and Shopify or a ready-made CMS for site content management like WordPress or Joomla!.
A self-written store has advantages: you can develop any functionality. But there are also disadvantages. For example, creating all the code from scratch is long and expensive – you definitely won’t be able to launch a store quickly; besides this, you will need programmers on staff or on a contract basis and other specialists involved in maintenance. In other cases, they are also required, but in smaller quantities.
Therefore, ready-made CMS is often used, that is, site content management systems. They are modified if necessary; for example, they add different ready-made plugins or create their own. In this case, you can get by with less time and resources for developers while retaining most of the advantages of self-written code. A site on a CMS will not be as flexible as a self-written project, but this is suitable for small and medium-sized companies.
The site itself, applications, services and data of this store need to be placed somewhere; that is, an infrastructure needs to be built.
There are three main options here:
Buy or rent “iron” servers and deploy everything on them. It is expensive, time-consuming and complicated: servers must be purchased, configured and maintained. In addition, you will need to independently deploy and maintain the infrastructure for running your solution, such as virtualization and application containerization platform.
You host your site on a hosting provider’s set of web servers, pre-configured for a specific tool stack. It allocates some of the resources: disk space, processor power, RAM. This method is fast but not the most convenient: shared hosting has an inflexible payment system and few settings. In addition, it will be possible to expand the site’s functionality in the future only within the framework of the standard technology stack. Such hostings are usually limited to the most popular technology stacks; for example, they allow you to use only Apache / MySQL / PHP. If you need a rarer tool, you won’t install it.
Here you rent a part of the platform’s resources, which implements a high degree of automation and self-service capabilities. You can deploy a virtual server, create networks, use the containerization platform, DBMS, message queues and other services without spending time and effort. You can configure the virtual server at your discretion, choose the required power, connect additional security measures. And at the same time, you will pay only for the resources you use. And the cloud provider will take care of the platform itself.
Difficulty Level 1: Deploy An Online Store On Cloud Hosting With An Already Installed CMS
Who suits: Most often, small companies need a regular working website as soon as possible. However, you do not want to administer the infrastructure.
To configure the server, you must select the appropriate virtual machine configuration, disk size and type – from standard HDDs to fast High-IOPS SSDs. The choice of disk type depends on the required performance: the more visitors your store will have, and the more data you store, the more productive the disk subsystem should be.
For such hosting to work, you will also need to configure DNS, add an SSL certificate, specify an external IP address – that is, perform the standard settings necessary to access your site via the Internet.
Peculiarities: Startup speed and minimum settings are the big pluses of a ready-made solution with pre-installed WordPress, but there are also disadvantages. This template solution is only suitable for simple projects or a test environment.
Such a virtual machine will not be 100% optimized for your site. However, complex and self-written solutions can be attached to it. But here, self-deployment, maintenance, and configuration are already required; it is more logical to take regular cloud hosting if you need such capabilities. Also, in this solution, you can only build a scalable infrastructure with high-reliability mechanisms manually by running several machines with WordPress and adjusting the necessary tools on your own or with the help of the provider’s experts. At the same time, such a VM is protected from hardware failures at the platform level.