Attempting to sell a web application


I'm looking for the best way to sell a web application. I've thought of the following options:

  1. Create an installable that people
    will need to purchase and run on
    their own web servers via a script.
    This method may be prone to piracy.
  2. Allow users to purchase subscription
    plans to access the application
    hosted on my own web server.

I feel inclined to use the first method.

Which option would be more suitable, in your opinion?

Selling Web App

asked Apr 4 '11 at 02:35
126 points
  • It would not be prudent to advise you on how to sell your product without knowing the nature and strategy of the product. Could you please tell a little more about the software? – Genadinik 13 years ago
  • @Genadinik: I'm targeting the education market. The software aims to help students and teachers fix appointments. – Jon 13 years ago
  • if it is an installation it is no longer considered a web application. – Bhargav Patel 12 years ago

4 Answers


I would say start with the second method first. This gives you recurring sales and the ability to gain a customer base who all use the same hosted version. It also centralizes deployment and makes support much much easier.

After you've been selling via the hosted option for a while some larger enterprises will want to host their own copies. This is mainly due to security reasons as they are not allowed most of the time to have externally hosted data. These are profitable deals but can be a pain due to having many install locations, different versions deployed to different companies, and providing training to local IT staff. The main money maker on the "host your own" option is not the original sale but the support and training. You really need a large self services customer base first in order to have the resources and know-how to go after the self hosted solution.

Hope this helps and that I wasn't too far off point.

answered Apr 4 '11 at 03:10
313 points
  • This is an approach I have seen taken in a few different cases and it seems sound. Gives an income base through subscriptions at the very least. Also eases support since you have control of the hosted environment. – Rig 12 years ago


Commercializing web applications is very different to standard installation based software. The main difference is IT departments don't like web applications. They don't like company data to leave their firewalls, which is perfectly reasonable.

Web applications are far more successful selling to end users and small businesses (please please can we not have the typical onstartups response of "I know a large company using web apps").

I'm in the beta stages of a web app and all the evidence of the last 3 months of market research points at (1) being where the money is.

answered Apr 4 '11 at 05:21
David Benson
2,166 points


I think web-apps hosted on your own web server is the best option. After the Web 2.0 invasion the software/apps selling trends have been changed. Majority of user-base don't like to go into software installation procedures anymore and user like it more to rely on web-based solution instead.

Rest, choice is yours.

answered Feb 25 '12 at 23:31
Usman Sarfraz
1,326 points


If you do choose to go down the 2nd route, you may be put off with having to develop payment, authorisation, authentication, user accounting, subecriptions, recurring billing systems etc, but there are solutions out there to help get ideas like yours off the ground easily, one such solution is Cloudware City, based in the UK. Even helps sell and market the stuff for you just like Apple.

answered Jun 23 '11 at 02:13
Archie Eddison
1 point

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