Understanding IaaS, PaaS and SaaS in the context of eCommerce

eCommerce is one of the main driving forces for cloud computing

With the growth of eCommerce, businesses need a scalable and flexible infrastructure to handle the increasing traffic and transactions. Cloud computing provides businesses with a cost-effective way to manage their infrastructure, scale their resources up or down as needed, and leverage a range of cloud-based services to improve their eCommerce capabilities.

Cloud computing has enabled eCommerce businesses to reduce their upfront costs, improve their operational efficiency, and provide a better customer experience. With cloud-based solutions, eCommerce businesses can easily integrate with various platforms and services, such as payment gateways, shipping providers, and marketing automation tools, to enhance their eCommerce capabilities.

Furthermore, cloud computing has also made it possible for small and medium-sized businesses to compete with larger enterprises by providing them with access to enterprise-level technologies and services that were previously only available to larger organisations. In conclusion, eCommerce has been a key driver for the growth of cloud computing, and this trend is likely to continue in the future.

The Pros and Cons of the three main cloud computing solutions

“As a Service” (aaS) is a term used in cloud computing to refer to different types of services that are delivered over the internet. These services are typically provided by cloud service providers and allow businesses and individuals to access computing resources and services without having to invest in the underlying infrastructure.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS provides businesses with virtualised computing resources, including servers, storage, and networking, over the internet. IaaS allows businesses to scale up or down their infrastructure as needed, without having to worry about maintaining the physical hardware. Some examples of IaaS providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).


  • Flexibility and scalability
  • Cost-effective
  • Greater control over the infrastructure


  • Requires more technical knowledge and expertise
  • Limited customisation options
  • Greater responsibility for maintaining security and compliance

IaaS for eCommerce

Self-hosted eCommerce websites are a common implementation of eCommerce utilising IaaS, and are quite popular among businesses using platforms such as WooCommerce, Magento CE, and Magento EE with on-premise licenses. Many web development agencies prefer to create their own eCommerce hosting environment instead of using other cloud solutions such as Adobe Commerce (PaaS), Shopify, and BigCommerce (SaaS). This approach gives them full control over the underlying hosting infrastructure, making it more compatible with a wide range of web applications. However, this approach requires DevOps engineers to maintain the hosting environment, and while it can be cost-effective, any cyber security incidents can quickly eliminate these savings. This is one of the key reasons why larger eCommerce players opt for PaaS or SaaS solutions, which offer the clear advantage of better security.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS provides businesses with a platform to build, develop, and deploy their applications. PaaS offers an environment that allows developers to focus on coding and development, without worrying about infrastructure management. Some examples of PaaS providers are AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, Microsoft Azure Pipelines, and Google App Engine.


  • Faster time-to-market
  • Reduced development costs
  • Easier collaboration and integration


  • Limited control over the underlying infrastructure
  • Limited flexibility and customisation options
  • Higher dependency on the provider’s technology stack

PaaS for eCommerce

Adobe Commerce is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) eCommerce solution. It offers a pre-provisioned infrastructure that includes various technologies such as PHP, MySQL, Redis, RabbitMQ, and OpenSearch or Elasticsearch. This comprehensive infrastructure provides businesses with the ability to combine bespoke capabilities, performance, reliability, and security, making Adobe Commerce a top choice for those seeking a robust enterprise level eCommerce solution.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS provides businesses with access to applications and software over the internet, without having to install or manage them locally. SaaS applications are typically accessed through a web browser or mobile app, and users pay a subscription fee to access the software. Some examples of SaaS providers are Salesforce, Dropbox, and Google Workspace.


  • Low upfront costs
  • Easy to use and access
  • Automatic updates and maintenance


  • Limited customisation options
  • Data security concerns
  • Dependence on the provider’s availability and uptime

SaaS for eCommerc:

Shopify and BigCommerce are prime examples of SaaS eCommerce platforms. While extending functionality on Magento can be as easy as installing a new third-party module, there can be instances where the module is not entirely compatible with the customised Magento environment. This can result in integration issues that require fixes, which could potentially become problematic for maintenance. However, Shopify has addressed this issue by offering a seamless integration process which only requires a click of a button. Nevertheless, a drawback of using these third-party apps is that it scatters eCommerce data and codebase across different platforms, posing a considerable risk in terms of data security compared to storing all the data in one place – the Magento solution.

How to choose among IaaS, PaaS and SaaS?

Choosing the right cloud computing environment for an e-commerce website largely depends on the business’s specific needs and priorities. Here’s a breakdown of the three different solutions:

IaaS provides businesses with the ability to self-host their e-commerce website on a cloud infrastructure. This option provides businesses with the most control and flexibility, allowing them to customize their infrastructure to meet their specific needs. However, this option requires significant technical expertise to set up, maintain, and secure the infrastructure. IaaS is best suited for businesses that require high levels of control and flexibility over their e-commerce environment and have the technical expertise to manage their infrastructure.

PaaS provides businesses with a pre-built e-commerce platform that can be customized to meet their specific needs. Adobe commerce is an example of a PaaS solution. PaaS solutions are easier to set up and manage than IaaS solutions since the cloud provider handles the underlying infrastructure. However, this option may not offer the same level of customization and control as IaaS. PaaS is best suited for businesses that require some level of customization but want a simpler, more streamlined solution than IaaS.

SaaS provides businesses with a complete e-commerce solution that is managed entirely by the cloud provider. Shopify and BigCommerce are examples of SaaS solutions. SaaS solutions are the easiest to set up and manage since the cloud provider handles everything from the infrastructure to the software. However, SaaS solutions may not offer the same level of customization and control as IaaS or PaaS. SaaS is best suited for small to medium-sized businesses that require a simple, turnkey e-commerce solution.

In conclusion, businesses should consider their level of technical expertise, customisation requirements, and budget when choosing between IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS solutions for their e-commerce website. Each solution has its own target audience, with IaaS being ideal for businesses with high levels of control and flexibility, PaaS for those who need some customisation but want a simpler solution, and SaaS for businesses that want a complete turnkey solution.

By Ethan

To many, a business is a lifetime commitment. It's easy to start one yet difficult to make it successful. Attitude, skills, experiences and dedication help hone the craft along the way, but it's often the great vision and resilience to remain focused wins the game. Read more about me here