When deciding on your business hosting first you must decide whether you would like to host the site yourself or outsource it to an established hosting company. There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these options.
Advantages of hosting your own website
Those who decide to host their website themselves are those who want complete control over their hosting. This can be a major advantage to some, especially those who would like to constantly monitor everything about their website and their web hosting. Those who would like to make regular changes to the hosting setup (and want to do it themselves) will benefit from hosting their own site. In some circumstances it can be cost effective to host your own site but only if you have the requirements to have your own server. This is because you wont have to pay another company to do it for you. There is also the potential for an extra income stream, because if you are hosting your own website you may have the equipment and expertise to host websites on behalf of others as well.
Disadvantages of hosting your own website
Although in some circumstances it can be cheaper, the majority of the time it is more expensive to host your website yourself. You may have to hire staff just for this purpose, and the relevant expertise can be costly. You will also have to have you own server and other equipment, and if you dont have the requirements to use this to its capacity you will still be paying for it. If you dont have the necessary expertise it can pose obvious problems, especially if something goes wrong. It is also another area you have to worry about, and can distract you from the rest of your business.
Advantages of outsourcing your hosting
The main benefit of outsourcing your hosting is that you are leaving it in the hands of experts. You therefore should be able to forget about it, which allows you to focus on your core business. Most hosting companies offer 24/7 support, something you are unlikely to be able to manage if you are hosting your own site, unless you have a large team employed for this purpose. This support means your site is being watched around the clock which gives you peace of mind. For some sites this can be extremely important. If shared hosting is adequate then you can share servers with the hosting companys other customers which will be cheaper than having your own server. Colocation can also take away one of the disadvantages of outsourcing: that you have no control. With Colocation you own and maintain your own server but rent rack space at a Colocation centre which will cost less than hosting it yourself as you are sharing bandwidth and other variable with other customers. With outsourcing you can purchase Managed Hosting. Managed Hosting means all your hosting is completely managed for you. This should take the worry completely away from you.
Disadvantages of outsourcing your hosting
As already mentioned, you dont have the same control if you are outsourcing. To an extent things are dictated to you by the limitation of the hosting package you choose and the operations of the hosting company. If something goes wrong with the hosting company, for example if they go out of business or make a mistake, you could have a problem. There could also be a potential security risk if confidentiality is a major issue.
For the majority of businesses, outsourcing is the better option. Most do not have the expertise to host their own website, and can make use of the support an established hosting company can offer. In the end it all comes down to the hosting needs and hosting knowledge of each individual business.
Andrew Marshall (c)