page title icon Should You Host Your Own Website?

When launching a website, one of the common dilemmas you may face is deciding where to host it. Your choices are either setting up a server on your home or office to host your site or paying for website hosting services. If this sounds all too familiar, you’re in the right place because that’s what today’s post is all about.

You should own your own website since it provides more control, freedom, and transparency. But your internet connection may be inadequate, and your site likely won’t be adequately protected. It’s also costly and time-consuming to set up and maintain servers, not to mention the lack of technical support.

The rest of this post will explain in detail the pros and cons of hosting your own website. It’ll also touch on when you would need to do that later on, so be sure to read to the end. 

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The Argument for Hosting Your Own Website

Hosting your own website can be beneficial in the following ways:

It Gives You Full Control

When you host your own website, you won’t have to entrust your data to any company. You’ll have full control of everything, including the server that stores your site’s data. That means you can change whatever settings you need to make your site run smoothly. It also means you’re in control of how you utilize your server space. Provided you have the know-how, you can leverage it in the best possible way to provide the best experience for your website visitors.

Additionally, hosting your own website frees you from the contractual obligations you’d have to fulfill if you were using a third-party server. Thus, you won’t have to finish a contract if you decide to change your server or upgrade it. Speaking of server upgrades, hosting your own site also puts you in control of when to update your software and hardware.

Lastly, the amount of control you enjoy by hosting your own site means that anything goes wrong; you won’t have to wait for hours to get a response from technical support. As long as you know how to go about it, you can instantly fix the problem and get on with your business.

It Eliminates Upload Restrictions

With most hosts, you’ll be kept on a tight leash on what you can upload to your site. These server-level restrictions limit the size and types of files you can upload, and you can’t resolve them from within your website.

The rationale for these restrictions is that they help improve your site’s efficiency and security by preventing users from overwhelming it with large file uploads, which would grind your server to a halt.

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While that’s justified to some extent, the standard upload limit of 2 or 5Mb provided by many hosts doesn’t cut it for modern websites. If you host your own website, you’ll avoid these restrictions, meaning you can upload whatever files you deem necessary to improve your site’s functionality.

You Enjoy Full Transparency

Provided you have proper monitoring protocols, hosting your own website allows you to keep a closer eye on traffic than using a third-party host. While this may be cumbersome when running a small operation, it gives you a better read on the prospective customers and leads trickling into your site. It also allows you to take a proactive approach to address potential threats.

The Argument Against Hosting Your Own Website

Having looked at some of the benefits of hosting your own website, let’s take a look at the potential drawbacks of such a move:

Your Current Internet Connection May Not Be Sufficient

Likely, you already have an internet connection from your local service provider. However, consumer-grade internet often isn’t adequate for hosting a website for several reasons. And, your internet provider’s terms of service may not even allow it.

To host a website on any internet connection, you need a means for pointing your domain name to the server, among other requirements. There are two ways to go about this. You can either use a static IP address or a dynamic DNS provider.

If you’re looking to use a static IP address, you’ll need to first consult with your provider to determine if they even offer that service. Chances are they don’t. Since the average consumer typically has no use for static IP addresses, internet providers often don’t offer that service. If yours does, it’ll come with a monthly fee.

The alternative to using a static IP address is to route a dynamic IP to a static hostname, but doing this will almost certainly violate your service provider’s T&Cs.

For someone very determined to host a website using a consumer-grade internet connection, getting a business plan package can be an option. While such packages typically come at a premium, they provide the freedom to do more with your home internet connection, such as running a web server.

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Besides the service provider terms and conditions, there are other considerations for hosting a consumer-grade internet website. These include bandwidth, uptime, and speed.

Speed

The speed of the internet connection you use to host your website is one of the most significant determinants of the quality of experience provided by your home server. If the fastest internet connection you can get is 50Mbps down/5Mbps up, you won’t have the best experience on your home web server, and things will only get worse as your website’s traffic grows. You’ll want the fastest internet connection available, but that’s going to come at a steep price.

To put things into perspective, a small website with a simple design would require about 100Mbps up/down the internet line. However, such a line’s price would be so high that it would be enough to cover the annual cost of buying a dedicated server online.

Bandwidth

As for the bandwidth, it refers to the quantity of data your internet connection can transmit. Generally, the more the available bandwidth, the more data you’ll be able to load at once. Put bluntly, if you’re using a metered internet connection, don’t bother setting up a web server. You’ll exceed our data cap in no time, especially if your website delivers streaming media, large data downloads, or has pages with lots of high-resolution content such as images, audio, and video.

Generally, your bandwidth requirements will depend on the web page size, your website traffic, and the average number of pages your audience visits. To put things into perspective, a website with an average page size of about 50KB, 20 000 monthly visitors, and an allocation of 5 pages per visitor would require a monthly bandwidth of 5GB.

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Since these numbers are often difficult to estimate when setting up a new website, the safest bet would be to get an unlimited connection, which will come at a higher price than a metered package. 

Uptime

Last on the list of considerations for hosting a website on a consumer-grade internet connection is the uptime. You don’t want to set up a web server on a connection that often goes down for extended periods. If you do, your website visitors will have a very frustrating experience, which may reduce your traffic. You’ll want a stable internet connection with reliable uptime.

With the above requirements in mind, it’s easy to see why a consumer-grade internet connection may not be adequate for website hosting. For consistent, reliable web hosting, you need to invest in a high-quality internet connection such as a T1 or a T3 line, both of which aren’t cheap.

You Won’t Have Technical Support

When you host your own website, you won’t have the luxury of having someone to call when something goes wrong with your site. It’ll be entirely up to you to diagnose and fix any technical issues you encounter along the way. If you don’t have the experience and expertise to do that, you may be left stranded.

The lack of technical support is a significant drawback because having a site go down is almost a usual occurrence, and that’s just one item on the list of the many potential issues.

It’s Costly

Besides the cost of securing a high-quality internet connection, hosting your website can be pricey in several other ways.

For starters, there’s purchasing the right type of hardware. To keep your site running online 24/7, you need a server. In simple terms, this is a physical computer that runs 24/7 to ensure that your site is always available to potential visitors. When you invest in a website hosting service, your host provides and keeps this server running.

But if you take the DIY approach to website hosting, it’s up to you to find the right server and keep it running. For your server, you’ll need a significant amount of computing power.

Specifically, you need top-notch processing speed, RAM, and the right type of operating system. Also, the computer must be designed to withstand the rigors of running 24/7. 

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Given these requirements, you’ll likely need to purchase a designated enterprise-grade server even if you already own a PC. That’s because most traditional computers aren’t equipped to handle the strenuous workload associated with web hosting. If you use your everyday computer, chances are to suffer a hardware failure, which may prompt other technical website issues that’ll be costly to fix.

Computers for running web servers are typically priced higher than conventional PCs. A decent option with a good processor, sizeable hard disc space, and sufficient RAM will cost at least $2,000. A high-end option can run much higher.

In addition to the cost of purchasing the required hardware, you’ll need to spend on replacement parts. Even the best enterprise-grade server hardware will experience failure at some point, so it’s crucial to keep a supply of spare parts at hand. That adds to the cost of hosting a website on your own, and so do the repair charges.

Lastly, there’s the cost of ongoing maintenance. Servers need it to stay in good physical shape, and their software needs to be updated on time. They also need to be proactively monitored for potential technical issues such as viruses and cyber attacks, site outages and downtime, slow page loads, and many more.

Typical server maintenance tasks include:

  • Checking log files
  • Examining hard disk space
  • Checking folder permissions
  • Evaluating security features
  • Checking systems to ensure adequate redundancy
  • Installing security software
  • Checking server logs for security alerts or traces of hacking attempts
  • Installing antivirus software updates for all computers running on the network
  • Updating essential service packs and software
  • Performing data back-ups for all critical data so it can be recovered if a system failure occurs.

As you can see, it’s a lot of work, and any mistakes made can be costly.

If you choose to take on all server maintenance tasks, it’ll practically be a full-time job, taking up time that could be allocated to other income-generating endeavors. The alternative would be to hire someone to take care of it, but that’ll still significantly set you back. With a website hosting service, you’re not responsible for server maintenance, meaning you won’t incur the associated costs.

Ultimately, hosting your own website will cost more than the price of most hosting packages.

Your Site Likely Won’t Be Safe

If websites of big companies like Equifax can be hacked, yours can too. While you can never be 100% safe from cybercrime, you need to take measures to make it hard for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to your site.

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One way to do that is to ensure that the server you use to host your website is protected, which can be hard to accomplish if you take the DIY route to host your website. When you host your own website, you may miss out on critical server security updates, leaving the site predisposed to cyber attacks.

On the other hand, using a web hosting service means that experts will protect your site’s servers. Web hosting companies are better placed to stay on top of new server security developments because they have the resources to invest in cutting-edge technology.

With so much competition among service providers, this is almost always the case, with hosts continually upgrading their security infrastructure as a means to gain a competitive advantage.

That bodes well for consumers because it means whichever host you choose, your site will be much safer from cyberattacks than if it was hosted on your server.

At the bare minimum, a quality host will provide multi-layered protection to your site. For starters, their datacenter will be adequately protected, and so will be the servers. Then, depending on your hosting package, you may have extra security to protect your website from other sites sharing its server.

It’ll Take Up Valuable Time

A typical business owner has little free time on their hands. Whether you’re starting out or are already running a successful business, you’ll likely be preoccupied with overseeing your business operations.

With time already scarce, you don’t want to allocate more of it to learning the intricacies of hosting a website and server maintenance. Sure, this is a valuable skill to have; but unless you’re in the web hosting business or looking to venture into it, it may not be worth your while to invest your time and effort into something that would be cheaper to outsource.

When Should You Host Your Own Website?

Having reviewed the pros and cons of hosting your own website, let’s take a look at the situations when it may be ideal to do so. In a nutshell, you should only host your site on a home/office server if you:

  • Have the time and expertise to provide round the clock internal support.
  • Can afford to hire an in-house technical team with the right set of skills to maintain the server. If you can’t, you should have enough time on your hands to handle server maintenance.
  • Can afford and implement the necessary monitoring procedures and systems
  • Have the capability to diagnose and come up with solutions as soon as problems arise.
  • Have a redundant internet connection with adequate speed, uptime, and bandwidth.
  • Have the know-how to safeguard your servers against cybercrime effectively.
  • Have the technical know-how required to set up server software on your PC. This software is critical because it’s responsible for allowing internet users to access the web files stored on your computer.
  • Can you afford to keep your server hardware (computer) on round the clock? Doing this will significantly increase your electricity bill, so you’ll want to factor in the extra power expenditure when comparing the cost of hosting services to that of self-hosting your site.

The Bottom Line

As we’ve seen throughout this discussion, it’s possible to host your own website from home or office. However, it may not be worth your while, especially if you don’t have much free time on your hands.

The price of web hosting is lower than the total cost of setting up a server, protecting and maintaining it, securing a reliable internet connection, and keeping your server hardware running 24/7. So unless you’re learning how to do it purely out of curiosity or as a means to prepare to venture into web-related business, you may be better off leaving web hosting to the experts.

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Sources

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