How to start a hosted ecommerce solution like Shopify and Volusion?


I'm thinking of building a django application which is like an online shopping mall similar to eBay and Amazon. My business model is somewhat like that of Shopify or Volusion, which means I will build the app as a hosted ecommerce solution/SaaS that offers different plan packages for the users to sign up to and have a store.

My questions:

  1. What kind of hosting do I need to host this solution? Do I have to have a dedicated server? Or can I just use a cheap VPS or even an unlimited business shared hosting when I'm starting up?
  2. How do I make it work like Shopify and Volusion (hosted software solution which allows users to sign up and choose a package)?

I have never done this kind of things, so I am quite frustrated and clueless at the moment.
Please, if anyone knows how to do this kind of stuff, give me a hand or at least point me a direction where I should go to find information on this.

Thank you.

Ecommerce Saas Hosting Server

asked Nov 14 '11 at 11:48
1 point
  • I'm a little confused as to how you're going to be able to build a piece of software complex enough to be useful (and for people to pay for), but not know the answer to your second question? – Anonymous 11 years ago
  • Welcome. You have two completely different questions in your post. This site works best when you have one question per post. Also, your questions are not reasonably scoped for this site. Please review our FAQ - it states: "Please avoid: Wide open questions. Don't write a sentence and expect to get a page back. A question like "How can I sell more of my product" deserves an encyclopedia article. Try to scale back to something more specific." and "Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much." – Zuly Gonzalez 11 years ago
  • I suggest scaling back your questions to something that can be reasonably answered on this site. Also, add the details of your initial research to the question. As your question currently stands, it appears as if you have not done any research on your own. If these changes are not made, your question risks getting closed. – Zuly Gonzalez 11 years ago
  • I am sorry for not knowing the rules for asking questions in here, and I am also sorry for replying so lately! Thanks for your response though! I actually did some research on this, but as I learned more over the last few months, I now see why you thought I didn't do any research on my own. Anyways, thank you for commenting! – User14412 11 years ago

3 Answers


Can I give you a word of advice?

Pick a project that you know much more about and do that successfully first. Being a successful entrepreneur is a huge learning curve. It is not about implementing the first big idea you have and striking it rich first time. Even Mark Zuckerberg (young as he is) worked on a 3 or 4 smaller projects first - before he launched Facebook. This enabled him to learn all he needed to know to start and grow FB successfully.

Trying to pull this off when you know so little about it is unlikely to succeed. Pick something you can do now and do that - and learn.

answered Nov 14 '11 at 13:08
Susan Jones
4,128 points
  • Does it have to be another project? It could be the same project (hosted e-commerce) to a much smaller scale (with only some core features). I'm sure both of those services started small. – Dyn Zack 11 years ago
  • Sure. You can do anything you like. But you will have infinitely more chance of success if you do something that you have a background of knowledge in. Most people start a business in an area or industry they know something about. The reason is that they are increasing their odds of success. It means they can concentrate on the business learning curve instead of having to learn that and deal with a technical learning curve at the same time. – Susan Jones 11 years ago
  • Thank you very much for your advice! I understand. I was kind of too ambitious back then. I have read a lot of articles on doing startups and being successful entrepreneurs recently. I realize the importance of starting small and keep working hard. I learned that doing business is not as easy as it appears or how others describe it to be. I am totally learning by doing much smaller projects first! – User14412 11 years ago
  • Sounds like you are on track to learning all you need to know! Well done. :-) – Susan Jones 11 years ago


Volusion and Shopify are complex products that require a team of developers to build and maintain. Not only are there many aspects of their products that you most likely have no experience with or knowledge about, but also how will you market your service, and will you have enough credibility for people to use it? And why do you want to re-invent this wheel anyway? All important questions.

answered Nov 27 '11 at 20:13
Dan Rothman
11 points
  • Very true! I now realize how naive I was back then. It takes a lot more than programming to launch a product like that, although the programming part is already pretty hard.. There's the programming side to it, and there's the more important business side to it as well. And both would need a team of experts. But I see some many people these days launching their own product and succeed... That might be possible for those very experienced people, but not for me. Thank you very much for your reminder! – User14412 11 years ago


Regarding your first question, I would prefer a shared hosting solution first and then to scale up to dedicated servers. Since you are into SAAS, try to use the EC2.

answered Dec 28 '11 at 14:42
Srihari Sankar Sahu
1 point
  • Thank you very much! That's definitely what I will choose to do when I am capable of launching a Saas service. – User14412 11 years ago

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