A common question we'll often hear is the question of hosting a website from home. In theory, hosting your own website would provide the ultimate freedom, but is it possible? In most cases, the answer to this question is no. It's simply not worth the effort involved, nor the risk. Why not? Let's take a look at some of the problems with hosting your own website and some solutions that you may want to try instead.
The Problem with Hosting Your Own Website
Lifehacker does a pretty good summation of why it's never a good idea to host your own website. The only reason why you would want to have your own server is if you want access to your files outside of your home or you want to give friends or families access. Otherwise, there's really no reason to have your own server:
- Your home broadband may not allow it.
- With lower upload speeds on most home broadband connections (ADSL), your website will be very slow if it gets a lot of hits
- It's prohibitively expensive and requires extensive knowledge
We wanted to speak about this final point for one moment. In a recent episode of Silicon Valley, Pied Piper was forced to make a decision over whether to rent out a posh new office space or build a server that could handle its complex coding and video processing chip requirements. They are currently being sued by a major software company and that company has bullied data centers into not hosting their app.
They choose the latter to maintain their progress, but this is where they run into trouble. First, they get behind incredibly quickly, causing their business to shut down for a few precious weeks. Then, one of the programmers (who in his head is good with servers but really isn't) tries his hands at the server. He fails miserably, blows out the server, and causes a complete blackout of the neighborhood. Building your own server requires extensive knowledge and investment. However, if your website is really small, you could run Apache web server software on an old PC.
Additionally, hosting your own server requires constant maintenance, troubleshooting, and guarding against security threats (there will be many of them). We mentioned the lower upload speeds because of ADSL broadband. It's kind of a Catch-22 if you were to own your server on your home broadband connection. The more web hits your website receives, the slower it will be. Therefore, the exact thing that you would want for your website would be the thing that will damage it.
Finally, home broadband connections are not nearly as reliable as the connection a professional web hosting company. That means that it's very likely that your website will experience some downtime, which is probably not the best way to experience traffic growth. So even if your ISP does allow you to run your own server, it will most likely not even be worth it.
Choosing a Professional Web Host Provider Instead
In nearly every situation, it makes a lot more sense to choose a professional web host company instead. You will not only save money on the costs of hardware, electricity and software; you will also be safeguarded against today's growingly sophisticated security threats, have more time to work on higher order concerns with your website, have the most possible uptime, and more. While these benefits do seem great, there is one thing to keep in mind: there are quite a few different levels of web hosting available and many, many, many more web hosting providers.
So how do you choose the right web hosting company for you? First off, you're going to need to consider the level of host based off your individual needs. There are six levels of hosting available for website owners to choose from: shared hosting, VPS/VDS hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated server, reseller hosting, and CDN hosting. Let's take a look at each level to determine which one would make the most sense for your website.
Shared Hosting: There's strength in numbers. With shared hosting, multiple websites are run on the same server and they share resources. This allows website owners to have their website hosted for a very inexpensive cost and the added benefit of many host provider benefits like 24/7 support. There are some challenges with shared hosting as some host providers will offer less in term of features and one website with higher traffic could potentially disrupt load time for another website on the shared server. However, if you are new to hosting and have a limited budget, shared hosting makes a lot of sense.
VPS Hosting: A virtual private server uses multiple virtual copies of an operating system so individual companies can run their own operating system. However, these virtual private servers are run on a server that other companies can use. There is more privacy here and what you do on your VPS will not affect others on the server, which is different from shared hosting. VPS hosting is very popular for small businesses that want more than shared hosting but don't have the budget yet for dedicated hosting.
Cloud Hosting: Cloud hosting is kind of like VPS hosting, but instead of using one physical server, it uses a network of physical servers to create the virtual server. The best analogy for what the cloud is has to do with utilities. 100 years ago, households had to use wells in order to get water. Today, the majority of households get their water from an incredibly complex system of piping that is shared by thousands or millions of households. Cloud hosting is kind of like that. It can be cheaper and more scalable than dedicated hosting but just as dependable. Still, some might be hesitant to try cloud hosting because of its newness and security concerns and might choose to go with dedicated hosting instead.
Dedicated Hosting: Larger companies that don't want to share a server with others (and have the budget for it) will most likely choose some form of dedicated hosting. With dedicated hosting, customers rent their own server equipment. It provides the highest level of performance, privacy and security for hosting. It's also best for companies that require a large amount of customization.
Reseller Hosting: Reseller hosting might be an option, but that depends on how reliable the host is. This is often an issue customers have with reseller hosting. However, it can be mean major savings if you do find one that provides good uptime. Some startups actually become resellers themselves
CMS Hosting: CMS hosting refers to the type of content management system your website uses. The most common ones are WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and Magento. There are hosting companies that will provide packages specific to these platforms, so it might be a good idea to look into one of these companies if you have a specific platform for very individual needs.
When you have the level you're comfortable with, it's now time to choose a hosting company. Budget, features and expertise will all factor into your decision, but another that should not be overlooked is customer reviews of the company. Let's talk about why you should use hosting reviews in your decision-making.
How to Use Hosting Reviews to Make a Decision on Your Hosting Provider
PickUpHost.com offers a number of hosting reviews, ratings and comparisons that any website owner should take a look at before they make a final decision on the hosting provider they are comfortable with. Website owners will be able to look at top hosting providers like InMotion Hosting, iPage, WebHostingHub, BlueHost, Hostmonster, GoDaddy, and more and find important information that could impact their decision, including disc space limits, bandwidth limits, preferred CMS, price per month and more. In addition to that, website owners can read real reviews from individuals who have used the specified hosting provider. Here, you can get candid information to help you make a decision that goes past the numbers.
So, in summation, we learned that it is probably in your best interest to avoid hosting your own website from your home. Although it might be tempting to keep everything in-house, there are just too many security risks, uptime issues and costs involved. The only time you would want to host your webpage yourself is if you don't plan on having too much traffic. If you are running a page where you want and expect traffic growth, a professional web hosting provider is the way to go. Which provider you choose will depend on a number of factors, including the level of hosting you prefer, your budget, and the CMS your website runs on. Finally, the importance of looking up hosting reviews cannot be overstated. You can learn important information and details about the hosting provider directly from people who have used their services. To learn more about choosing a hosting provider and read reviews of the top ones in the industry, please visit PickupHost.com today.