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Five Reasons to Use a Web Host

In the past, I’ve been asked by businesses and individuals about the possibilty of hosting a website in-house. While this is possible if you own a server, it is in most people’s interest to leave the job to professionals. There are many reasons why choosing a web hosting company over your basement is in your site’s best interest:

1. Web hosting is cheap.
With hosting priced as little as £5 per month, just about anyone can afford it.

If you were determined to take the DIY route, you could use a spare computer lying around as a server. Even the oldest of machines are fast enough to run a small site. But you would still have to power the machine and upgrade failed hardware. Not to mention most ISPs block web server traffic.

2. Operating a server is time consuming.
Quite a lot of work goes into deploying and maintaining a server. First you have to set everything up. This often involves installing hardware components, installing an operating system, and then loading and configuring a number of software packages. After that, you will find yourself constantly downloading security patches and other updates. If something goes wrong, it may take hours to find the source of the problem. Web hosts do all this for you.

3. Web hosts are safe and secure.
When you connect a server to the Internet, you are opening it up to all sorts of attacks: hacking, worms, and denial of service, just to name a few. Since the only job a host has is to keep your website online, it is able to stay current with the latest developments in cyber crime and has the expertise on hand as well as the best firewall protection available to deal with these threats.

Most hosts are operated out of large data centers with all sorts of safety features in case something goes awry. This nearly always includes gas generators, surge protection, and theft. In the event a server crash occurs and data is lost, they make daily backups. How much would this cost you to provide per month? A good host has 99.99% uptime.

4. Free stuff is great.
Because the hosting industry is so competitive, the most prominent providers will offer free perks for signing up. This often includes vouchers for advertising services like Google AdWords, fee waivers, and/or a free domain name.

Hosts will also offer a wide variety of scripts for free to customers such as photo galleries, automatic installation of content management systems and blogging platforms, and shopping carts. Email is nearly always included for free.

5. Is DIY hosting worth the risk?
Do you really want to take chances by hosting a site yourself, especially if that website generates a significant amount of income or is for a business? Given the low price, reliability, features, and security of web hosts, why even bother with the hassle of hosting on your own?

Photo: Flickr

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