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I'm considering trying to sell a small desktop application (I would be considered a one-man mISV, I guess?) at a price of about $20-$30 USD. I would distribute to customers by download only. I get the sense the best and most intuitive way to do this is provide a download link from the application's website.

What are the best ways to go about this? Should I create a website with a standard web hosting provider (like, e.g. DreamHost) and use that to allow customers to download it (it's 18MB or so in size)? I want to allow for the possibility that many people may attempt to download it at once (if I were able to get a write-up on some very widely-read sites), and I would not want my provider to not be able to handle that, since that would be THE crucial sales period.

I'd also like to keep costs of hosting/serving as low as possible, since I'm not sure I am going to make any money selling this at all. I'd also like to keep things relatively simple.

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2 Answers 2

Find a 3rd party shareware registration/purchase service - dont try to do the ecommerce thing yourself right off the bat. If you do get a lot of sales right up front, you'll also have a lot of support for the product, and you dont want to get drawn into having to deal with any problems with your homegrown or self-hosted ecommerce system in addition if you arent already an expert in that area. A 3rd party service will host the download and process the payment for you, and send you money (minus a percentage for their service) at the end of each month. Download volume will not be an issue with them.

Once you get established, then look at setting up your own e-commerce system if you feel the effort would be worth the extra percentages you'd get from hosting it yourself.

You will, in any case, need a company website. Either a shared hosting account or a inexpensive VPS account should be more than sufficient. And your own domain, of course.

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I would suggest to take one step at a time and keep your possibilities open. Perhaps start with cheap private hosting option, put a simple nice website with a link to download the file from your hoster's hard drive.

Once you feel that you need more resources, just ask the hoster, they would usually provide you with a faster account (which will cost more). It can be done fairly quickly (within hours).

If you expect an avalanche of users, you can put your binary to the Windows Azure BLOB storage (almost no changes to the current code), if that's not enough, you can put it into the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network. You can use other cloud storage as well.

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