Rehosting vs. Replatforming: Exploring the Options to Transform Online Stores

Learn more about our modern, flexible ecommerce platform.

Is it better to renovate or build new? This complicated decision isn’t just for real estate developers and home builders. These days, many ecommerce websites are asking the same question.

An online business debating whether it should rehost their website or replatform is part of the digital transformation. It’s also a modernization process that rarely has a clear answer.

Rehosting — also known as lift-and-shift migration —  is the process of moving a website from one hosting provider to another. This process does not involve any significant changes to the website's architecture or functionality. and often involves moving to cloud infrastructure. 

Replatforming, on the other hand, is the process of overhauling the website's architecture. This process involves redesigning the website's codebase, database, and infrastructure.

Which is the better migration approach? Let’s explore the dependencies and cases for both.

Rehosting vs. Replatforming: The big differences

The two approaches do share some similarities — they both involve moving systems from one environment to another. However, the differences are much greater.


Rehosting primarily involves moving applications and software components from one infrastructure to another without making any significant changes to the underlying architecture. 

The goal of rehosting is to “tinker” and to simply move the existing infrastructure to a new environment with as little disruption as possible and can be done with both cloud-based and on-premises infrastructure.

In cloud-based rehosting, businesses move their existing applications and software components from their own data centers to a cloud environment such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure

In on-premises rehosting, businesses simply move their apps, workloads, and managed services to a new on-premises location, such as a new server or data center. This is often referred to as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).


Replatforming is different from rehosting in that it involves making changes to the application architecture during the migration process. 

The goal of replatforming is to modernize the application architecture and optimize its performance. This may involve changing the underlying software components, switching to a new cloud provider, or adopting a new programming language. 

Common use cases include allowing businesses to take advantage of new technologies and features that might not have been available before.

Replatforming Guide: A Roadmap for Migrating Your Ecommerce Store

Make your ecommerce replatforming project a success with our step-by-step guide filled with best practices from enterprise migration experts.

Download Now

Why enterprise businesses choose rehosting

Rehosting can be most effective when a company is still fairly comfortable with their existing ecommerce platform.

Enhanced security and compliance.

Rehosting is often an opportunity to improve legacy applications, which may or may not have the latest security features or be in compliance with new regulations. The process is an opportunity to upgrade firewalls, intrusion detection, and data encryption protocols.

Leveraged application scalability.

As an ecommerce business grows, its website traffic and data storage requirements also increase. 

Rehosting allows companies to move to a new platform that can accommodate their growing needs without impacting website performance or customer experience, fully leveraging the benefits of cloud computing. This ensures that the platform and applications remain responsive and can handle high volumes of traffic during peak periods.

Improved cost efficiency.

By migrating to a new platform, businesses can eliminate costly legacy systems and hardware that require ongoing maintenance and upgrades, including staff resources required to manage and maintain the site. This allows ecommerce stores to reinvest those savings into other areas of their business.

Why enterprise businesses choose replatforming

Perhaps your existing platform is slow, missing crucial features, or doesn’t scale well. If so, it might be wise to replatform. More enterprise organizations are choosing to do so for several reasons.

Compliance with regulatory data requirements.

One of the most critical reasons enterprise ecommerce businesses choose to replatform is to meet new data regulations, especially in industries that require strict compliance.

While most ecommerce platforms offer security features, they might not meet specific regulatory requirements. Switching to a platform that offers pre-built compliance measures, such as data protection, intrusion detection, and fraud prevention is wise.

Cost-effective solutions.

Of course, replatforming comes with a cost — most of which is determined by the scope, timeline, and level of custom development. However, keep in mind that the cost of not replatforming could end up being rather high for enterprises. 

Replatforming may be costly upfront, but in the long run, investing in newer technology can result in more innovation, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, profitability.

Avoiding legacy system overhaul.

Replatforming involves making changes to your ecosystem, but avoids the complete overhaul that comes with refactoring or rearchitecting. 

Replatforming involves upgrades to individual systems and improves the existing parts, but stops short of tearing the architecture down to the foundation and rebuilding new.

Effective strategies for ecommerce migrations

Migrations can be burdensome, but with careful planning and following best practices, they don’t have to be.

Pre-migration assessment and planning.

The first step of a cloud migration strategy is to understand the existing environment and microservices. Getting a full picture of front-end and back-end operations is essential to spot any potential problems that might arise during the migration process. 

Creating a system map that details the functionalities of your current ecommerce system will help. Do you have good DevOps processes? Do you have auto-scaling functionality?

Implement robust security.

Look at a migration as an opportunity to update your security SaaS solutions as needed. Be it ransomware detection, continuous monitoring, or disaster recovery, all parts of your security should be reviewed and updated as new features become available. Leverage automation where you can and move to cloud-native applications, if necessary.

Establish contingency measures.

Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. Have processes and redundancies in place should anything go wrong to help ensure that the worst-case scenario — downtime for your online store — doesn’t come to fruition.

Choose the right cloud service provider.

There are plenty of quality public cloud providers. AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure are the biggest players. Each is certainly capable, but it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each to select the best option for your cloud migration requirements. 

Ensure continuous monitoring and feedback.

Post-migration testing and monitoring is crucial to ensure everything is in perfect order. Testing after migration also reveals whether the migrated data from your old system is accurately mapped to the new one. Implementing a real-time monitoring solution should help here.

Request a Demo

Schedule time with us to walk through the BigCommerce platform.

Request a Demo

The final word

Deciding to rehost or replatform is a challenge and with numerous factors at play. Having a full understanding of the implications of application migration — both short-term and long-term — will help in the decision-making process. 

Ultimately, the decision comes down to business needs.

FAQs about rehosting vs. replatforming

Browse additional resources