SaaS or Open Source eCommerce Platform?

SaaS or Open Source? Which one is it gong to be? This is the question most merchants ask when looking for software solutions or when trying to move to a new e-commerce platform. What we will be doing here is to walk you through the differences between both and when it’s appropriate to choose one over the other. The information will guide you in making an informed decision to achieve your business goals.

What is SaaS?

SaaS simply means Software-as-a-Service. Here, you host your store on the servers of another company, and they manage every technical aspect of keeping your store active. SaaS operates a subscription-based business model (pay-as-you-go). When it comes to ease of set up, SaaS is better. Examples include BigCommerce and Shopify.

What is Open Source?

Open source software are applications that the source codes are available for free on the web. You’ll need to have the technical know-how on how to properly install the platform on a server and managing all set up details from hosting to getting your store running. This solution is helpful when a business is looking for customizable software solutions and have a team of developers on ground to tweak it according to their needs. Examples include WooCommerce and Magneto. 

Pros of SaaS

  • Simple software solution
  • Easy to use
  • Fast set up
  • Easy to deploy
  • No technicality 

Cons of SaaS

  • There may be hidden costs
  • You have less control

Pros of Open Source

  • Customizable solution 
  • Complete control

Cons of Open Source

  • Technical software solution
  • High cost
  • Difficult to set up
  • Require lots of maintenance

When to use SaaS?

SaaS is most useful for e-commerce utility solutions. If you just want a simple software solution for your business, without bothering about the technical aspect, then SaaS is most ideal. Good thing about SaaS is you don’t worry about hosting or any other internal cost for the development of business utility tools. Maybe, you want to experiment a certain business idea first before full deployment, then go with SaaS. It’s a pay-as-you-go service, so you get to pay for only the time when you use the application.

When to use Open Source?

If you run a business with huge mass appeal and you want to specifically customize your e-commerce platform to your specific business needs, then open source is better. What’s better, open source has a lot of development tools to use anyhow you want it. Most developers prefer open source because they’re able to customize the underlying codes the way they want it. Open source application platform produces better software in the long-run because any bug in the code can easily be fixed by your team of developers. 


This lies with you of course. You’ve seen the pros and cons of both types of platforms. It’s left for you to decide the one that mostly fits your business goals. If you’d rather focus on running your business than managing technology, you’ll be good with SaaS. On the other hand, if you need an application that’s fully customizable to reach your full business potential, then open source is better.

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