What is the difference between a hosted and self-hosted website?

Hosted vs. Self-hosted Websites: Which Is Right for You?

Having a website can be helpful for your brand. It will allow people to access information and learn more about your available products and services. But to create a website, you will either have to opt for a host platform or a self-hosted solution. Do you know the difference between them and which Is right for You? We will help you out to understand them better.

A hosted website is created on a specific website builder or platforms like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. A self-hosted website, on the other hand, makes use of open-source software. This is the major difference between the two.

Hosted websites might seem to be more convenient. The host platforms are Software As A Service or SaaS platforms. They provide the software and all the necessary tools to build your website. You can create a hosted website with limited skills. Even an amateur can create a website easily using simple features like textboxes or images with drag & drop functionalities. However, there is very little flexibility if you are using a hosted website. While it is a cheaper option than self-hosted websites, hosted websites will not have too many features or themes. You will therefore not have much chance of customizing your website.

A self-hosted website provides a lot of freedom when it comes to designing and creating content on the website. But it requires enough skill to make a self-hosted website functional. If you want to create a self-hosted website, you will first have to buy a domain name. You will then have to install the required software and pay a hosting company to host the website.

In a hosted website, all of this is taken care of by the host. You will get the domain name, have the software installed, and the entire website hosted by one single company.

Hosted and Self-hosted Websites: Which is better for you?

Comparing Hosted vs Self-Hosted Sites

Choosing a hosted website or a self-hosted website depends upon your needs and requirements. Most businesses prefer to use self-hosted websites, but you can go for a hosted website too because it is much easier to maintain. The best way to determine which is best for your website is to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Advantages of Hosted Websites

  • Hosted websites are cost-effective. You can initially set up a website on any platform like Wix or WordPress for free. There are trial periods to check if the platform is suitable. You can then choose to pay for the services you require.
  • Creating a hosted website is very simple. The in-built tools help you to maintain and keep your website updated.
  • Maintaining a hosted website is hassle-free. You will not need to worry about updating features or changing any part. The host company will take care of all those details.

Disadvantages of Hosted Websites

  • There might be hidden costs on platforms that host websites. Certain platforms provide free hosting but then start charging for essential updates and features after 1 year. This can add up to the costs and become a problem later if you have a tight budget.
  • Functionality on hosted websites is restricted. There is very little that you can do with a hosted website in terms of customization. Depending upon how much you have paid, you will get additional features like premium themes, specialist support if run into issues, etc. If you violate any rules of the host platforms, your website can be deleted after giving you a few warnings.
  • Host platforms often have the right to make changes to your website. This can interfere with your design but you cannot do much about it.
  • Host companies are often not very professional. They might claim to offer a large discount or even certain services for free but they might not be too useful. It is also difficult to raise a dispute with such companies as they might not acknowledge the issues.

Advantages of Self-hosted Websites

  • You can do anything you want with a self-hosted website. You have complete control over what features you want to add, what changes you want to make and how you want to design it.
  • With a self-hosted website, you can use as many plugins as you want. Both free and paid plugins are available.
  • Some unlimited themes and designs allow you to customize a self-hosted website.
  • Search engine optimization is easier with a self-hosted website. Since you have complete control, you can create SEO friendly content and use other tools to optimize your website.

Disadvantages of Self-hosted Websites

  • Self-hosted websites are not free and it can be quite expensive to create one. There are certain cost-effective solutions for setting up a self-hosted website but they have limited tools.
  • Creating and running a self-hosted website can be very complicated. You will need to have good technical skills to be able to update and make changes to your website.
  • You will need to take care of every aspect of the website. This can be quite tiring and you might not have all the skills required. While you can always outsource work, you have to find a reliable company to take care of your website.
  • There is not additional client support available. If there is any glitch, you will have to take care of it.
Importance of Selecting the Right Platform for Your Business

Hosted vs. Self-hosted Websites: Selecting the right platform

If you wish to create a website for your brand, then you will need to first figure out what exactly you want the website to feature and how much you are willing to pay. You should also assess your technical knowledge. If you find that you can get all the necessary features at a reasonable price on a host platform, then you can go for a hosted website.

But if you can create your website or have a professional team/company to take care of all parts of the website, then a self-hosted website is a better option. You should also choose a self-hosted website if you are looking to make money from your website. It is difficult to make money on hosted websites as they might not allow you to run advertisements.

Apart from these, always check the support available. Support in case of any issue is of utmost importance and without getting timely support, your website might run into issues. Weigh all the pros and cons and then choose the most suitable option.