website hosting

How to Compare Website Hosting Options

    If there is one question that we get asked a lot, it’s how to determine which website hosting plan is best. When you first started your online business or online presence for your business via a website, you probably just Googled “web hosting” and went with the cheapest price. Or, you might have bought into a media package that rolled hosting into the development of your website.

    Regardless, there may come a time when you need to reevaluate your current website hosting services and determine if the company (and structure) you are in is best for you and your bottom line.

    Hosting a website requires a decision right out the gate that can seem overwhelming for the non-techy person: whether to host it yourself (internal hosting) or contact a well established hosting company (ISP) to outsource it.

    Both of these options have disadvantages and advantages and it is crucial that you carefully consider your options so that you can avoid being held hostage to your decision later. While we work our way through our pros and cons, be sure to note one thing – everything is relative.

    Who really holds the keys to your online business? Be sure to check your tech. Click To Tweet

    If you determine in the end your current website hosting plan isn’t the best option for you, no sweat. Change is possible. So, let’s dig in, shall we?

    Web Hosting

    Internal Hosting

    Internal hosting refers to the process in which the resources and applications used by an organization are managed and hosted by the organization itself. This means that you, the organization, is responsible for setting up your own web server to host your website. This would mean that the actual hardware (server system) is located in your office building and the management of all server resources and applications are provided by an internal IT department. This also means that all the equipment belongs to the company.

    Pros of Internal Hosting

    • You have better control over the specifications of your server. No need to transfer the site.
    • No ongoing hosting fees. In internal hosting, there are no external costs for hosting or managing any website/IT related resources.
    • Internally hosted websites can offer better performance than those hosted in the cloud.
    • You are not afraid that your site will be deleted because of the violation of your host’s terms and conditions (this is extremely rare, but yes, each host has its requirements).
    • You can rent out your additional resources to other small businesses or friends which will serve as an alternative source of income

    Cons of Internal Hosting

    • Management Tasks: Internally hosted websites must be monitored and managed 24/7. They must be corrected, protected, and tested by specialized personnel within the internal IT department.
    • Purchase and maintenance costs: All hardware, software, and maintenance costs are the organization’s responsibility.
    • Power and Hosting Costs: All expenses for power, cooling, and support space for internally hosted environments are the responsibility of the organization. You must manually monitor everything related to the website and update the material / fix everything you need accordingly because you will not receive customer support when you host your website internally.
    • Security: Threats are continually evolving, and organizations that host internally must purchase additional hardware, software, and resources to keep their systems secure.

    If you plan to host your website internally, make sure you can:

    • Create an internal IT team with the specialized skills needed to maintain the system.
    • Put in place appropriate monitoring systems and procedures
    • Take immediate and effective action in case of problems
    • Provide support 24/7, internally, on a continuous basis

    If you cannot guarantee this, using an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for web hosting may be cheaper and more efficient for you.

    Web Hosting
    Internet Service Provider (ISP) Hosting

    The use of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is an external hosting solution in which the ISP is responsible for providing hosting to your website or blog. Internet Service Provider (ISPs) can provide different types of web hosting services, including, among others:

    • Shared hosting
    • Dedicated hosting

    Shared hosting

    The shared hosting plan is a hosting service in which multiple websites are stored on a single server. It involves sharing everything from bandwidth, FTP and email accounts, to databases and space, to the computer’s CPU, memory, and maintaining server throughput. The number of websites that can be stored on a single server is unlimited. The number can vary from tens to thousands. Through resource sharing, sharing hosting plans is much cheaper than VPS and dedicated hosting plans.

    Dedicated hosting

    Dedicated Hosting is a term used to describe web hosting packages that provide a dedicated server with resources dedicated to a single client. This option is suitable for large websites with high user traffic or requiring special software or an unusually high level of security. However, though this plan offers the most powerful and secure solution, it is more expensive.

    Pros of ISP hosting

    • There is no need to invest in your web server.
    • Most ISPs have high-speed internet connections.
    • ISP server offers a very high degree of availability (uptime) and reliability.
    • Well established ISP have a secure operating environment, high-quality virus protection, and the latest software patches to ensure the security of your site.

    Cons of ISP hosting

    • You depend on your ISP to maintain the availability and security of your website.
    • If the ISP hosts too many sites on a shared server, the performance of your website may be compromised.
    • If the ISP is blacklisted, it can affect you directly. For instance, you may find that your IP address is on various blacklists of spam: this can result in the filtering and disconnection of your emails or the inability to register with certain services, websites, or forums.

    An important thing to consider when looking at ISP hosting (or any self-hosting option) is whether you plan to purchase your hosting yourself (and have your own account with a hosting company) or if you plan to purchase it under a developer’s umbrella.

    Most Critical Consideration

    Website developers tend to fall in two brackets:

    1. Those who provide hosting to their clients as part of their website production package.
    2. Those who require that a hosting package be purchased separately, by the client, with access given to them for the fulfillment of their scope of work.

    Here at Fresh Take Productions, we are part of the latter group and not only prefer but highly recommend clients purchase their own hosting account.

    Why?

    Because the person who holds the keys to the hosting account holds the keys to all the files therein – meaning if a website is built on a developer’s hosting plan, it’s part of their account and technically, they own it.

    Be sure you own your website and aren't simply renting it. Check your tech! Click To Tweet

    This method is ideal for the web developer because they can more easily access the websites they produce. However, they also can charge any rate they choose and, should things go south, close down your website altogether – or hold it hostage.

    Does this mean every web developer who opts to offer a hosting plan is out to get you or hold you hostage?

    No, of course not.

    In fact, the argument for the former is that it’s much easier to manage a higher volume of clientele if all under one umbrella – plus, IT services and monthly maintenance can be done more efficiently within their own account.

    However, we feel the benefits are more geared for them, and not you. Plus, it keeps them attached to you… which is part of why they do it also… built-in sales, you see.

    At the end of the day, why chance it. Get your own account and then, hire who you need to manage it.

    Our Website Hosting Recommendation

    We’ve tried several website hosting companies and bar none, the best one we’ve ever used or worked with is Siteground. They not only offer affordable hosting packages, complete with security features and a myriad of bonuses and options, but their customer service is the best in the industry; agile, multi-skilled, and extremely helpful. Siteground is what we use on all our websites and the one we always tell our clients to use.

    Are you in the market to host a new website or looking to reevaluate your options? Feel free to reach out and schedule a free consultation where we can examine your best options and next steps.

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    About the Author Lysa Greer

    Lysa is a creative strategist and collaborator who helps clients build stronger relationships with their customers online. With 18 years of diverse experience in broadcast and digital media, she provides a wide range of opportunities to work with a variety of clients and teams, both virtually and in-person.

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