These days, it’s easy for entrepreneurs, bloggers, and other self-starters to get started with their own website. With a website builder, you can put together a web design based on a template, even if you have no previous web design experience. And thanks to built-in hosting services or external hosting providers, you can make sure your website is fast enough, with plenty of uptime, for a minimal monthly fee.
But there’s another hosting option that most people don’t consider because it seems too challenging or like too much of a burden: hosting your website yourself. The reality is, hosting your own website is easier than you imagine, and comes with many benefits you might not have considered.
The Benefits of Hosting Your Own Website
Let’s look at some of the advantages of hosting your website yourself:
- It’s relatively easy. “Hosting your own website” sounds like a massive challenge. However, if you can follow instructions, you can host your website with relative ease. You have several options, but one of the best is to use a virtual private server running Ubuntu. You can perform the initial server setup in a matter of minutes, using some set standards, set up a DNS zone and point your domain appropriately, install the software stack, and create a virtual host. If you’re inexperienced with coding or web hosting in general, there is a learning curve to tackle, but it’s not magic, nor is it totally inaccessible.
- You’ll retain absolute control. When you host your website yourself, the only person in control of the server is you. You can tweak whatever settings you want, you can modify things to make your site run better, and if there’s a problem, you won’t have to go to tech support or wait for hours to get a response. Instead, you can fix the problem directly.
- You have full transparency. With the right monitoring protocols, you can keep a much closer eye on your traffic. This can be daunting if you’re running a small operation, but you should be able to get a better read on the potential customers and leads coming to your site, as well as proactively addressing possible threats.
- There are no restrictions on what you can upload. Most web hosting providers keep a tight leash on what their customers can upload to a site, including restrictions on file sizes and types. But if you’re hosting your own website, you won’t have to follow those rules—you can make your own.
Are There Downsides?
That said, hosting your own website isn’t a strictly better option than hosting your site with an online provider. While there are many advantages to such an approach, there are also some downsides to consider:
- Costs. While it may seem like the DIY route is always cheaper than going with an outside provider, this isn’t always the case. Hosting providers use bulk offerings and shared server space to keep costs for individual customers down. If you’re buying and maintaining all your own equipment, you might end up paying more than you would for a simple monthly hosting fee. On top of that, you may need to hire dedicated staff members to keep your server up and running properly, which can cost you even more.
- Demand for redundant internet. If you want consistent, reliable hosting, you’ll need to install redundant T1 internet connections, which aren’t cheap. These connections also aren’t available everywhere; if you have a traditional office, it may be challenging or even impossible to get this kind of connection set up.
- Ongoing maintenance. Servers need constant ongoing maintenance. They need to be kept in good physical condition, your software needs to be updated, and you’ll need to proactively monitor for technical issues. That’s practically a full-time job and one that demands some level of expertise.
- Lack of support. If something goes wrong, are you certain you’ll have the technical expertise to fix it? If a site goes down and you have a hosting provider to call, you can sit back while they take care of the problem. If your site goes down while self-hosting, you’re the only one that can solve the problem—and if you aren’t sure what the problem is or you’re not experienced enough to fix it, you may not have many options.
If you’re getting ready to build or launch your next website, don’t immediately write off the possibility of hosting the website yourself. There are significant challenges to doing so, including increased costs and a demand for ongoing maintenance, but there also clear benefits you can’t get any other way—including an unparalleled level of control. Spend some time tinkering with setting up your own server, and see if self-hosting is right for you.