Digital invoicing has come a long way over the last few years. Some people still might not be aware of all the advantages that e-invoicing has over conventional desktop applications, and in some cases people don't seem to be aware that this type of invoicing even exists. If you're just now hearing about e-invoicing, you might be additionally shocked that there are actually two types of e-invoicing solutions, well two main types of e-invoicing at least, self-hosted and hosted invoicing.
What types of e-invoicing are there
Self-hosted and hosted web invoicing is very similar, although it's worth noting that self-hosted invoicing doesn't necessarily have to be local (it can be hosted on a private web server also), but for the purposes of this discussion we're going to be focusing on self-hosted and hosted web and local e-invoicing, respectively.
So what is exactly the difference between these two types of invoicing? Well the main difference is that hosted invoice management will cost you less and that the server management is left in the hands of people who run the service that you subscribe to. Self-hosted web invoicing on the other hand requires you to have your own server (or a shared web hosting account at least) where the entire script is going to be installed and used only by you. Hosting and script management are in your hands, so a little bit more knowledge is required.
Hosted web invoicing, what is it exactly?
When talking about hosted invoicing, we're referring to the kind of setup that Introbills is offering to its clients with our Starter and Premium Introbills packages. Script hosting and server management are provided by the script creators themselves (in this case the Introbills team). Advantages of hosted web invoicing is that you don't need to have a lot of experience to setup an invoicing account. The entire process is just a simple registration, you enter your email address, username, password, click register and you're done. Disadvantage is that your private data is in the hands of third parties, since they manage and control your server.
What about self-hosted invoicing?
Self-hosted invoicing for the most part refers to situations where you buy the invoicing script from someone (like you can buy Introbills), and then you install it to your own server, server that's owned by you. Main advantage of self-hosted invoicing is that you are in full control of what is going on with your server, more precisely with data stored on the server. Disadvantage is that you'll need to setup, configure and maintain the server on your own, or pay someone to do it for you (like an in-house IT team).
So which one of the 2 types of web invoicing is best for you? It mainly depends on how big your company is. Self-hosted invoicing isn't a good fit for smaller companies, which in all probability aren't capable of covering the high costs that are usually associated with this type of setup. So for smaller to medium size companies, we recommend hosted e-invoicing solutions. Bigger firms and corporations will probably have the necessary funds for a self-hosted private invoicing. Let's also not forget that privacy and hardware resource requirements increase exponentially when talking about a large company, that's why for them this type of setup would make more sense.