Should I host my own website or use web hosting services?

Should I host my own website or use web hosting services?

In the hospitality industry, the term “host” refers to a lodging owner who offers room accommodations to guests. These lodgings sometimes have cafes and laundromats where guests can order food and do their laundry, respectively.

In a similar fashion, a web host offers spaces on a server where website owners can store the files they need to publish and operate their website. The web host typically also provides the services and technologies required for the website to be viewed and used on the internet. To illustrate, if an eCommerce website announces a one-day site-wide sale, the web host must prepare for a sudden spike in online traffic. Otherwise, potential customers may be put off if the website takes a very long time to load, if it doesn't crash altogether.

In short, using web hosting services is like renting a physical commercial or office space, while hosting your own website is like owning your own physical commercial or office space. So, which one is better for your business? Let’s compare both options.

Use a hosting platform Host own website
Experience required
  • You can rely on the web host’s experts to take care of the technical stuff for you.
  • Your in-house staff can focus more on your core business.
  • Web hosts are used to handling multiple sites — they serve multiple clients, after all.
  • You’ll need to hire in-house web hosting experts, some of whom will need highly specific knowledge.
  • Staff will be split between core and ancillary tasks such as server maintenance.
  • The more sites you maintain, the greater the chances your IT team will get overwhelmed, especially if they are under-staffed or lack resources.
Deployment speed
  • Upon assessing your technical requirements, a web host can offer a premade solution and help deploy your website quickly.
  • If your business is outside of the IT industry, then delving into website hosting will involve spending a lot of time overcoming steep learning curves.
  • You may have to go for a package that includes services you don’t want or need.
  • Web hosts may be apprehensive about adopting bleeding-edge innovations until they’ve been proven in the market.
  • Having your own server means being able to configure it however you want to within that server’s limitations.
  • You may also take advantage of the latest tech, provided you have the budget and risk appetite for it (the new tech might not become mainstream and become defunct).
Site reliability and security
  • Hosts ensure optimal site performance by handling traffic spikes and applying code updates as soon as these become available.
  • The hosts’ focus is on keeping clients’ websites up and operating smoothly. They respond quickly and thoroughly when hosting issues arise.
  • You may have to wait in line for special service requests.
  • In-house IT staff must have both the know-how and tools needed to address server issues and maintain cybersecurity. Lack either, and you’re in trouble.
  • When hosting problems occur, you need your IT team to stop what they’re doing and prioritize resolving the hosting issues first.
  • You may implement enhancements or upgrades as soon as you feel like doing so (within your IT team’s shift, of course).
Overall cost
  • Renting IT resources, subscribing to web hosting plans, and benefitting from the occasional ad hoc services are considerably easier on the pocket book than doing the web hosting yourself.
  • Hosts can upgrade their machines and software with greater ease, too. This means that the tendency of tech to become obsolete is over for you
  • Acquiring assets tend to be more expensive, especially when significant amounts need to be paid upfront instead of spread out in partial payments. You’ll need to purchase your own server, obtain the necessary software licenses, hire IT specialists, and increase your electricity consumption. It may take a few years before hosting your own website becomes more economical than web hosting services.
  • Unless you’re renting servers from a Hardware-as-a-Service provider, getting your own server means accepting that your equipment will eventually become obsolete.

Let’s not overstate things — for most small companies and even major ones with relatively simple websites, using a web host is overwhelmingly the lower cost/easier option, and self-hosting really shouldn’t be considered. For those organizations that have large databases underpinning their website, perform a large number of eCommerce transactions (particularly seasonally where demand may spike), or see large volumes of users interacting with the site (like Software-as-a-Service or social media), there’s a slight chance (however slim!) that there may be both cost and agility benefits to hosting your own site.

To truly know which way you should go, turn to XBASE. Let our Exponentially Better™ professional services assess your IT needs and help you come up with an IT strategy that’s the best fit for your business. Schedule a discussion with our expert consultants today.