It is often a consideration when setting up a website, should I use a hosted solution or go down the route of hosting the website myself?
Lets discuss the pros and cons of hosting a website versus a hosted solution?
A hosted website is created using a service such as WordPress.com, Squarespace or Tumblr but to name a few. The software running on the site is managed, and upgraded by the company who runs the service. This route often has its benefits as it can remove the complexity of running a website and can often negate the worry of having a insecure site or breaking a site by making a incorrect change or update.
A hosted solution can also restrict the domain that you can use. Some providers will only allow you to have a subdomain of their choosing, so instead of having mysite.com, you may have to choose mysite.myhostedcompany.com instead. This may not be a problem to most people especially if you have a personal blog, but this can cause confusion if your main site is elsewhere. Some services such as WordPress.com and Squarespace allow you to use a purchased domain name for a small monthly fee.
One other consideration to using a hosted solution is the ability to export your data from the site should you decide to move to another platform. Some companies will have special tools or wizards that will allow a user to export their data in a format that is acceptable to other software, so it is good to consider if the provider allows this.
Self Hosted Websites
A self hosted service is often provided by company in which a website owner can purchase a web hosting package. This is often a small section of web server run by an separate company and the owner leases their own space.
The website owner is then left to choose the software that their site runs on. This can mean that the owner will have to deal with maintaining the software, applying upgrades and fine tuning the way the site runs. This can be a blessing or hinderance to some website owners as it can be complicated to the untrained. However this also provides more control, you can use whatever theme or plugins you wish and you are not limited by the protocols put in place by the provider.
Using a hosted solution ultimately provides you with more control but also requires more upkeep. An example may be that the hosted solution may have restrictions on the url schema that you can use, so can affect your SEO. You may also be restricted by what advertising you can use on your site or what services you provide. So this is worth considering when making the decision.
A self hosted solution will also have a greater learning curve, when administering the site. I often come across website owners who are often frustrated as they seem to spend more time maintaining their site than running their business, but on the other hand it can be a bonus as you can construct the site in a way that tailors to your business.
As you can gather each solution has its pro’s and con’s, but it should mean that you shouldn’t choose a particular route just because it can be complicated. One of the benefits of using either route is that there are many other people out there who have taken the same route. I would advise that you choose a more popular service as there will be more resources on the web to help you along.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below, and if there are any subjects that you would like me to cover then leave a comment or send me an email? Good luck with your website!