Today, Prestashop announced a huge update to their services (and a very sleek-looking redesigned website!).
In addition to the free, downloadable E-commerce software, Cloud services have been released! As an official Prestashop agency, we’re very excited. In line with this, the pre-existing services have been renamed Prestashop Download, and the new, cloud-based E-Commerce store hosting services are called Prestashop Cloud.
We’re fans of the Prestashop system already. We love it, as developers and web designers, for many reasons, including Amazon integration and the massive range of customisable services. This update brings a new choice to everyone planning on opening an E-commerce store with Prestashop.
What are the fundamental differences between Prestashop Cloud and Download?
This table shows the key differences between the newer Cloud services, and the Download services.
|Prestashop Cloud||Prestashop Download|
Designs can be customised to a point. You can edit the default Prestashop theme, including colours, layout and font, or upload new themes from Prestashop Addons.
|Designs are completely customisable, you can use the default theme, or upload new themes, or completely bespoke themes created just for your brand.|
|Feature Customisation||Modules can be selected and implemented from the Prestashop Addons selection, however bespoke addons cannot be created and added.||Completely custom-designed modules can be added by proficient developers. This allows for maximum feature customisation, but also should be done only by qualified developers to minimise bugs and errors.|
|Hosting||Your shop is hosted free on Prestashop servers.||You can choose from many commercial hosting providers, with plans of different sizes, or have personally dedicated servers depending on the speed your site needs to run at, and the size of it.|
|Management||Prestashop manages your store, and you may only use the Prestashop store editor to make changes/manage your products and services. You can make some changes through FTP access, such as uploading new themes.||You gain total control of the management of your store, and can choose from several management and integration options.|
|Database/Code Access||You do not have access to the source code or database of your E-commerce store.||You have complete control over your store’s code, and can edit it to your liking.|
|Domain Name||You may use a free subdomain (e.g. yourstore.prestashop.com), link your account to a domain name you already own, or purchase a domain name directly through Prestashop.||You must use your own external hosting services to run your prestashop store, and organise a domain name through a commercial provider.|
Essentially, if you want to launch an E-commerce store, and want hosting & automatic installation, you can choose cloud services. However, this limits your flexibility. You will not be able to access and manage your store’s database, and you will not be able to access the source code of your E-Commerce site. This will limit customisation options.
You can make some customisations to the default Prestashop Cloud template, or choose from themes provided by Prestashop Addons. You can have a free subdomain for your store through Prestashop (e.g yourstore.prestashop.com), provided the name is free for you to use. You can also link in your existing domain name if you have one, or purchase a domain name through Prestashop.
Prestashop generates revenue through modules, which can be purchased to enhance your store’s features, and therefore the basic cloud hosting is free. If you want a very simple store, or have very little budget for your shop, this is a good option.
With Prestashop Download, you can choose your own hosting platform (or use your pre-existing host), manage your own backups and data, edit your code and upload custom themes. This means you have a lot more flexibility. If you are intending on running a large E-Commerce store, with dedicated development staff, or you have specific requirements for the needs of your store, this is a good option for you!
Which Option Should I Choose?
When choosing, you should consider these points:
- Your budget, unless you are a developer yourself
- Your intended business size, in the long run
- Your audience, and how much you’ll need to customise
You will be able to access many of the great features of Prestashop with both Cloud and Download, including third-party integration modules, International store capabilities, Marketing tools & mobile friendly layouts.
If you have a limited budget, and are not a developer, look into the cost of development services for your website. Prestashop Cloud is a good option, if you do not have the budget to hire developers, and want to create the website by yourself.
If you have a bigger budget, and are intending to push your store to a wide audience, Prestashop Download is probably for you, with much more scope for control and customisation of your store.