There are many platforms providing hosting service, in a manner where :
• You can build, design and optimize a template theme based website in-house,
• Have access to the space and all of your files
• No code level access.
Such are called template theme based portal hosted websites.
WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, Shopify, Magento are the leading platforms offering this kind of all-in-one solution.
WordPress being the worldwide leader having 30% of global market share for this type of service and is almost as big as all the rest above combined together.
Similarly, there are many hosting servers or website development companies offering services, where :
• One can host his website by renting or buying space from them or their affiliates,
• Develop a website through programming, but without any building, optimizing or designing software support like template themes, plugins etc.
• Alongside also have code level access.
Such method is called self-hosting a website.
Bluehost, Hostgator, Amazon, Dreamhost are typical examples of top server space owners and renters used by such websites.
According to us, Advantages In Portal Hosted Websites are much greater than the self-hosting method, which we will discuss soon.
Just to clarify – If you opt for WordPress.com then you would mandatorily be on the its server and would fall under the category of a – Template Theme Based Portal Hosted Website.
But if you use this portal only for building your website, but want to host the same on another mainframe, then you need to download the WordPress.org (not .com) free software.
In such a case, you would upload the application on your chosen server and then proceed with development, after importing and uploading themes and plugins from anywhere.
However, it gives you the choice to either host your website on its portal or else on your own or a rented server and use the WordPress.org free application, if needed.
Both choices have their own strengths, positives, limitations and boundations.
As per us, there are major drawbacks in self-hosting a website !
Whereas the overall advantages in portal hosted websites are far greater.
Many running their websites on self-hosting servers and perfectly happy.
But, only those who get a chance to try out both options would understand the drawbacks in self-hosting a website !
One would know and understand the advantages in portal hosted websites only after one experiences the same.
Nevertheless, let us first explain why we think so.
Which one is a better option ?
Opting for a template based portal hosted website
On one hand that depends upon :
• Your requirement,
• Technical knowledge,
• Time, manpower and resources at your disposal or
• If you need any special features.
It’s like deciding between :
Sending your child for extra classes in a group coaching center
Hiring a teacher to come over to your house for giving tuitions.
The former is lower cost, but does not provide much room for personalization, even though the already setup system may be a well planned out schedule.
Whereas the latter is higher price, but provides much more flexibility in terms of modifying schedules and thrust on specific subjects where more focus is required.
Group study classes could overcrowded and during internal examinations, some student might find it easy to copy answers from the child seated next to him.
Whereas in a home study session, the teacher could monitor if any the student engages in any mischief during a test.
However, we find that the drawbacks in self-hosting a website are greater than the portal-hosted ones.
Exceptions always exist, as for large corporates, the self-hosting option is obviously the inevitable option.
It also depends upon what your priorities are –
A. Would you prefer designing personalization and code level access ?
Practicality and adequate security ?
B. Would you rather compromise on customization facilities ?
Opt for ultimate stability, ease-of-use and the best customer support ?
Design and functionality are not the only crucial features required to complete a powerful website.
A high level of optimization is above all.
Moreover, self-hosting works out more costly as compared to template theme based portal hosted websites.
Clients feeling unsatisfied with their website development companies and looking for another developer is a usual phenomenon.
It can happen in any case –
A Self-hosted Website
A template based website hosted on a portal.
Nevertheless, the chances of conflicts within a client and a web development company, in the former case are far more than the latter.
Feeling happy with just an above average website would imply that the owner does not require extracting the most out of this marketing tool.
Of course, a full utilization of features in websites comes at a price.
It would be better not to have one rather than owning an average website because then it becomes as good as an online catalogue only.
One needs to understand that a poor website leaves a very bad impression on educated clients.
Let us discuss some matters below which might help you evaluate a bit.
• All points mentioned below are pertaining to small and medium size companies having or wanting modest to middle level websites.
• Such suggestions are for clients 100% serious about building a website of a high-standard only.
• As we are taking only small to medium size companies into consideration, so discussing only middle to average level website promoters and developers here.
We have already eliminated two categories :
• Large companies
• High-standard website builders
The reason for excluding the two categories above is that our purpose of discussion here is to pass on our message to the masses.
The Main Benefits In Self-hosting A Website are :
1. One has the flexibility to choose a prefered hosting server.
This opens up the room for an access to the open-source applications, templates and extensions available online.
2. It’s possible to buy, upload or import any open-source plugin or theme from the internet.
One has far more room to customize the features, layout and formatting aspects.
3. Deciding for self-hosting is especially gainful for those who already have IT skills.
Or else for the ones who need a large website with special features and able to afford an in-house programmer.
In fact, people either capable of coding or can afford to hire any full-time IT engineer, should choose the self-hosting option preferably.
4. It would not be a bad idea if time and budget is not an issue and you are prepared try out more than one website contractor.
Such is because the first experiment with self-hosting usually goes wrong and one abandons a half-developed website and moves on to the next developer.
5. It’s possible to shift to any other server without too much of difficulty.
That is provided that your service provider has taken the latest backup.
6. You can monetize your website through online ads.
The Main Drawbacks In Self-hosting A Website are :
1. You would need to ensure that your consultant buys space on a high quality server.
2. Such websites are often prone to data privacy problems, virus attacks and hacking risks because of commonly used untested third-party plugins.
3. Another example of the drawbacks in self-hosting a website is that such are vulnerable to crashing during plugin uploads.
4. Such websites consume a heavy backend level maintenance and troubleshooting cost.
5. Issues like :
- Overlapping text and images
- Inconsistencies in rendering,
- Mobile incompatibility,
- Alignment problems,
- Complex navigation elements,
- Unclear text,
- Non-clickable buttons,
- Odd and sudden gaps and spaces,
- Varying font sizes or
- Untidy menus
and incompatibilities of different sorts, often crop up in such type of websites.
6. One more risk involved is that it may be very difficult for a new programmer to guarantee a symmetrical continuation in the functions of the website, after taking over from the previous one.
7. One of the drawbacks in self-hosting a website is that one is unable to make modifications if he/she is technically unqualified.
The entire interface for such a client is highly complicated even to self-promote his/her website on social media, leave apart making updations.
8. As the auto update and maintenance feature is not available, one would need to ensure that the website builder takes a backup of all files, including the code, on a regular basis, manually.
9. If ever you decide switching over to another website development company, the transition and migration stage may or may not be smooth depending upon the level of expertise of that company.
10. It’s true that self-hosting opens up an unlimited room for maneuverability on various technical aspects.
But very few middle size website building companies have that kind of expertise.
The ones not sure about how to add or change a feature, somehow successfully convince you about why that certain facility cannot be added or changed.
And those who are extremely well equipped, charge a heavy prices.
The best way to extract the maximum out of a self-hosted website is to hire your own coding engineer who could help you in dealing with your developer.
Moreover, that works out very expensive for whom a completely professional website is a priority.
11. Another example of the drawbacks in self-hosting a website is that there are quite a few hidden costs involved in websites built on such systems.
Let’s say, you need a SSL certificate for security and the company you hired, might ask you for some small additional amount to enable that feature.
Or you surely will end up paying substantial charges in case daily updations required.
12. Generally, 24X7 customer support is unavailable as the full staff in medium size website development companies, usually works only during day working hours as you find only 1 or 2 junior level, helpline professionals to address your call, in night hours, if needed.
24X7 technical care at the renowned server renters, is always available.
Nevertheless, in most cases, one requires help from the website development company and not from the server owners side.
Howeber, if the website development contractor is also large scale level, then no problem.
13. Another classic example of the drawbacks in self-hosting a website is that it’s quite unlikely for the backend code to be clean.
Your site might function reasonably well, but the chances of duplication and unnecessary html being present in your code are high.
This is a typical error upsetting the search engines.
After all a non-optimized website has minimum value.
14. The server space your website contractor would rent out, would most likely run on enterprise software.
However, there is no guarantee that they would use licensed software at his end, during the development process.
In addition if your service provider rents space from a middle level server – then downtime issues crop up. And verifying the true picture might involve scrutiny from your side.
Pirated applications are prone to faults, errors and bugs, which sometimes are detected later.
15. Often you might need to personally call the developer whenever any matter remains unresolved even after email or chat conversations.
So, that was the list of drawbacks in self-hosting a website as per our perception.
The Major Advantages In Portal Hosted Websites are :
1. One may feel assured of having a fully functional website.
The probability of any technical glitch or server downtime problem is the least, here.
Navigation and browsing is neat, stable, effortless and smooth.
2. You need not worry about any virus or malware attacks, phishing or data hacking threats during the entire subscription period.
3. The available extensions and themes are not as many as the unlimited access in self-hosting system, but still the in-house variety under the paid-plans are quite sufficient.
One of the main advantages here is – Zero risk of your website crashing during plugin uploads.
4. You can virtually launch a small website within a week and middle level in one month.
5. It’s practical as you can easily make an unlimited number of modifications and updates, sitting at home or office, as you can ask your developer for the login password.
The system is the most user-friendly and Google AMP compatible having an easy-to-understand interface to add, delete or modify anything your website builder has created.
One does not require IT skills to develop, update or maintain content within this type of system.
It’s simple for any new user to just login and insert or delete anything without any knowledge of programming.
6. Such platforms are equipped with troubleshooting any problem a subscriber faces 24X7.
These companies have customer help engineers, world-over who can provide help as your call or chat message gets routed to the staff depending upon global time zones.
You would never need to call the technical care staff, as email or chat support takes care of all issues.
7. You can be assured of a clean code at the backend and that is a positive factor for search engine optimization.
8. One of the advantages in portal hosted websites is that such platforms offering an all-in-one solution, install enterprise software.
This brings an additional benefit to websites running on their gateways, as the system sorts out technical errors, bugs and browser or mobile incompatibility issues.
9. All such portals provide an SSL certificate, i.e. all websites on such type of platforms are secured with the https prefix.
10. Generally, the first experience is the last and it’s very rare to see companies finding faults like untidy formatting, jerky movements in browsing etc. and end up being lifetime members of such platforms.
11. The annual subscription charges include automatic maintenance, backups and software update without any hidden cost.
12. Such portals enable a stronger integration and compatibility between hosted websites and social media networks in comparison to the alternative system under discussion here.
The Major Disadvantages In Portal Hosted Websites are :
1. You cannot choose a prefered hosting service and will be confined to using the server space owned by your website development platform.
2. An adequate number of safe and tested plugins and extensions are available in-house for paid-members, though not as many as one can find in the self-hosting option.
One cannot import or upload any open-source plugin or application and would need to work within the limited layout and theme capabilities.
3. You won’t be able to monetize your website.
But, there is room for some monetization as you have the option to display advertisements that your platform is offering.
4. One has access only to the automatically backed up files.
Code-level access is not available. Hence, shifting to another server or platform is cumbersome.
However, WordPress has made websites “shifting to” and “shifting away” process simple.
5. You are dependent upon the company that owns the platform where the website is being hosted.
If that portal closes down, so does your website, automatically.
However, this probability is rare as we are only discussing world-class web hosting companies here.
6. It’s not possible to import or modify applications and extensions, hence suitable only for small and medium volume websites.
All readymade template based themes have certain boundations; hence, a drawback in websites built on hosted platforms.
7. Sometimes, restrictions in some designing features might frustrate you, but at least one is prepared in-advance, to adapt within those limitations.
However, verifying if the specific restriction is from the hosting providers side or due to lack of knowledge at the website promoters end, is not difficult.
All said and done, the above discussion is based upon development of premium and exclusive websites only.
Clients for whom, design is more important than first-grade performance, may very well choose any option as both choices might satisfy their needs at the same level.
It’s possible to have a fully optimised website in the self-hosting system too.
The biggest living example is large companies owning them.
Nevertheless, it’s virtually impossible for modest and middle level companies to develop and optimise website of top class standard through self-hosting.