Should You Self-Host Or Use A Web-Hosting Company?

2002-11-02 by Mark Bove

Web-hosting companies' fees have dropped dramatically over the past couple years. Only rarely does it make sense for a small business to host their web site on their own computers. Because web-hosting companies do volume business they can enjoy economies of scale that make it much cheaper for you to hire them than to try to do it yourself.

Advantages Of Using An Outside Company:

  • Reduced Downtime - Studies have shown that self-hosted web sites are down (non-operational) for a cumulative average of over two weeks per year. Many outside web-hosting companies enjoy well over 99% uptime. Every minute your site is down is a minute you aren't making money.

  • Enhanced Security - The best and biggest web-hosting companies have first rate security features to protect your web site from hackers. It isn't economical for small businesses to have security experts on hand 24/7 to protect just one web site, but it is economical for web-hosting companies to have such services shielding your interests.

  • Substantial Cost Savings - Many businesses mistakenly think that they will save money by hosting their own sites. However, this usually requires buying a top of the line computer or computers with server software, plus leasing some kind of dedicated ultra-fast computer connection such as a T-1 line. Also, a knowledgeable webmaster has to be on the payroll to troubleshoot any errors that might arise and preferably at a minute's notice. All this makes self-hosting the much more expensive option for all but the most heavily trafficked sites.

Possible Reasons To Self-Host Your Web Site:

  • You Are A Computer Expert - Although, not only would you have to be a computer expert, you would also have to have all of the following:

  1. Substantial knowledge about server software.

  2. Already own a high-grade computer capable of hosting a web-site 24/7 without crashing.

  3. Already have a high-level consumer internet connection such as DSL and be willing to compromise your web-site visitors' experience with this less-than-professional connection.

  • You firmly believe your site will immediately attract over 100,000 visitors per month - Only if you are starting an eBiz with a substantial marketing budget, will your site take off right away. You will always be able to switch from a web-hosting company to self-hosting as you grow to the point where it becomes economical. Even sites with hundreds of thousands of visitors may still be better off with an outside host if they don't have substantial graphics, advanced-media content, or high multiples of page views per visitor.

Strong Recommendation: Everyone hopes that the world will beat down their web site doors the minute their eBiz is up and running. Instead of gambling on the certainty of your hunch, start off with an outside web-host. You can always upgrade later and will not have lost much of anything in the process.

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