Self Hosted E-Com
For any one starting an online E-Commerce business getting the right website solution in place is as critical as sourcing the products to sell on it. While there are many E-Commerce options to choose self hosting (having your own web-host and domain name) is only one option.
Self-Hosting means you (or your developer) has the freedom and ability to change any part of the solution as you need to because you have full access to the code and database.
These are just my preferred options based on experience and best fit for a self hosted solution to ensure all bases are covered depending on project requirements,
Im a big fan of WordPress, out of the box it has a very comprehensive and extremely well documented admin panel although it is easily broken by the novice randomly installing plugins (i couldnt count the number of Hijacked WordPress sites ive fixed) and themes it can be a very easy and quick way to deploy a website.
As far as E-Commerce goes it doesnt do it without the aid of a plugin (or 2 depending on which plugin you use) and while WordPress is an excellent CMS it really does lack the power needed to operate as a larger scale E-Com.
Overall while WordPress can work as an E-Commerce solution it feels more like fitting a round peg into a square hole. For those just starting or with a low product inventory (no more than about 30 products) it is perfect to start out on especially on a budget.
This is a serious E-Commerce platform which when deployed and built properly can be quite powerful, it offers a lot of features from customer groups and the ability to setting up very specific customer rules to multi domain sites allowing you to run multiple e-commerce websites from a single install all with different products.
As a E-Commerce business owner Magento is an awesome solution, as a developer it can be quite painful to develop in with a theme structure that leaves you wondering “why oh why”. One of Magento‘s failings is its CMS side and navigating its admin panel can take a while to get used to.
While Magento is a serious solution it will come with a very serious cost and will need regular maintenance (So be very very nice to your developer), It also has a temperament time to time so be prepared for some panicked emails to your developer to get you back up and running again (did i mention be nice to your supporting developer).
While not as strong a solution as Magento Prestashop is a strong middleweight option for those not yet ready to take on the full Magento E-Commerce solution but too big to fit into WordPress, it has a very good support network with a multitude of themes available but does lack some of the more versatility of a full blown E-Commerce solution like multi domain and customer groups that you find in something like Magento.
There are times where an out of the box solution just wont fit (even with modifications) and for that developers will usually look towards the myriad of open source frameworks to speed up development like CodeIgniter, Laravel or Symfony which will easily support most custom built E-Commerce solutions while still maintaining a level of serviceability from additional developers if required.
Of course being a custom built solution this option wont come cheap nor quick so be prepared for a lengthy and costly project and be sure to have a very good project scope in place before build starts.