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The E-Commerce vendorlock syndicate

mattvb91 profile image Matthias von Bargen Originally published at mavon.ie ・2 min read

I had a discussion recently with a webshop owner that wanted some help with their shop running a bit slow. After spending a few minutes looking at their system it turns out it's running on what seemed to be a shared host PHP 5.6 which is no longer in active support or receiving security fixes.

"Ok, that should be a quick call to the host to move it off the shared instance for a start". WRONG
The outdated PHP version is an issue, although we wanted to look at that at some later point

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Photo by Micah Williams on Unsplash

So here's where I was dumbstruck by a business model that I hadn't really ever been aware of but now that I think of it alot of vendors are doing. (Although this example was quite aggressive). The first answer we received from the host was that "in order to move off shared hosting we needed to purchase a new licence from the webshop vendor".

Ok, that seems strange but we wanted this to be quick so lets give them a call. "We dont sell any more licences for that version due to it being outdated, you need to purchase an upgraded licence and ontop of that a fee for the vendor to upgrade the shop system".

Alright, well what about we purchase just an upgrade licence and I will upgrade the system myself on a small AWS instance and run it there? After all, we wanted this to be quick.

"The licence is only valid with the hosting company you are currently with"....

So not only have they managed to lock the owner into their webshop system. They are also playing customer ping pong with their hosting provider further locking people into a system & hosting that makes it incredibly difficult to get out of.

Overall the whole situation has just further strengthened our goal of empowering web shop owners with an open source jamstack ecommerce webshop that not only allows shop owners to operate at a fraction of the current costs but more importantly WITHOUT any sort of vendor lock-ins!

Have you had similar experiences?

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