One of the first decisions you face in building a website is whether or not you want to host the site yourself. Depending on your budget of time and money, as well as tech-savvy knowledge, projected bandwidth, and service needs, it might be best to host your own site.
Or it might not be.
How can you tell the difference? With this article on website hosting for dummies, you can make the best choice for you or your business.
Welcome to the guide, your starting point in researching which hosting path is right for you and your website.
Types of Hosting
Before we get to choosing whether or not to host your own site, we need to establish the answer to this question: What is blog hosting?
Basically, hosting a blog is a lot like hosting a party. You’re going to provide the space (venue) and the refreshments (power or bandwidth). You’ll also provide the entertainment (services).
The other option is cloud-based hosting, where you buy a piece of the hosting services. Think of this like renting out a party space for a single event, instead of owning your own party space.
Now that you have a foundational understanding of what a self-hosted website versus a cloud-hosted website looks like, let’s get into choosing between the two.
Website Hosting for Dummies: Benefits
Deciding whether to host your own website comes down to the good old list of pros and cons. For this discussion though, let’s go ahead and call them benefits and potential hurdles.
First, let’s look at the benefits of self-hosting a website:
- You’ll pay less in fees
- You’ll keep control
- You’ll probably have greater performance for your website
- You’ll probably have better search engine optimization (SEO)–this is what helps users find your site in search engine results
- You won’t have to run ads for the hosting company
Hosting companies, just like party venue rentals, cost money. If you have a smaller budget, it may be worth it to host your own site because you won’t be saddled with so many fees.
Sometimes, there can be additional fees too, such as a domain name, domain registration privacy, the cost to use a theme, and more.
Hosting your own site means you have creative control. It also means you have more flexibility, which in turn leaves you with more options for the end user’s experience. You can custom-fit your website to your needs and your potential customers’ needs.
SEO can be tricky, but often hosting your own website will give you better results in search engine rankings. The better your ranking, the more visible you are to searchers.
You can utilize plugins to make your site even more SEO-friendly. Plugin developers create plugins for just about every need where SEO is concerned, so when you host your own site, you can customize them to your needs.
Finally, many hosting providers install an ad on the websites they host. Not only can this be annoying, but it can also look unprofessional.
Website Hosting for Dummies: Hurdles
Whether or not to host your own site wouldn’t be a choice if there weren’t challenges as well, so let’s take a moment to review some of the hurdles that self-hosted websites can face:
- You’re responsible for providing the power and storage to run your own site
- Self-hosting can require more technological savvy
- It’s still not free
If you don’t have server space of your own, you won’t be able to host your own website. Similarly, you’ll need the technological prowess to make all the moving parts work together seamlessly. If you don’t have this knowledge, you’ll have to hire someone who does or outsource to an IT provider.
That can get pricey, too. And while we’re talking price, self-hosting isn’t free. It may not come with the fees of purchasing hosting services, but you will still have to pay money.
Again, how much it costs to host your own site will depend largely on the site itself and how much bandwidth it requires to function properly for your audience.
The biggest potential hurdle is definitely the learning curve, or necessity for technological knowledge. If something on the site breaks, it’s up to you (or someone you hire or retain) to fix it. If you have to learn how first, that’s going to increase your downtime.
To Host or Not to Host
Hopefully, this website hosting for dummies guide has shown you the kind of benefits and challenges you might face if you decide to host your own website versus if you purchase hosting services (such as cloud-hosting).
As with all business decisions, you’ll need to weigh the cost of time and money for each option. Do your research to find out which hosting services might meet your needs and how much they cost. Also, try to estimate how much time you or someone you hire or retain would need to spend each week to keep your website properly running and updated.
While you can switch from self-hosted to a hosting service and back again, it can be a time-consuming pain to do so. You’re better off deciding which is right for you on the front side and running with that choice.
If you know someone who is struggling to decide whether to host or not to host their own website, share this guide with them on social media to help them start to wade through seemingly murky waters.