“What do hosted and self-hosted mean with regard to websites?”
While these concepts may sound intimidating at first, they are really very simple. Learn the differences between hosted vs self-hosted websites below.
While you shouldn’t have to be a web development expert to hire one, there are a few basic concepts that are important to understand. Our goal with this article is to describe the differences of hosted vs self-hosted websites. Understanding what you need will help you make the right decision.
What is a host?
A web host is a business. It provides the technologies and services that are required to have a website accessible over the internet. Special computers called servers are owned by the hosting company and they are used to host (store) the website. Your web host essentially rents space on their computers to house your site. We like to say, “a host is where the site lives.”
What is a hosted platform?
Hosted platforms are an all-in-one buy. They usually provide simple propriety software to build your website and the computer storage space where that site will live. (WIX, SquareSpace, and Blogger are three popular hosted platforms that you may have heard of.) When you use a hosted platform, the hosting company handles all the software updates for you, and this can contribute to a low maintenance burden.
The biggest drawback to hosted platforms is the inherent restrictions on customization and functionality. In order to make their systems easy and inexpensive to use, they have to restrict what is possible.
It is also important to note that with a hosted website, if at any point you are unhappy with the hosting company, you have to abandon your site and build another site from scratch elsewhere. Also, if the hosting company goes out of business, your website goes down with them.
What does it mean to be self-hosted?
A developer builds a self-hosted website using software of their choosing, and then hires a hosting company to store that website. The price for self-hosting ranges from free for non-profit organizations to several hundred dollars for a fully-managed dedicated server.
Self-hosted websites provide the ultimate in flexibility and customization. There are fewer restrictions to the changes you can make to layout and design, and you can add any functionality you choose. If you’re unhappy with your hosting company, you can pick it up and move it elsewhere.
Hosted vs self-hosted
We hope we’ve covered the basic differences between hosted and self-hosted websites. If you have any other further questions on this subject, please feel free to email us or include a comment below. If you’d like to know more about our website design and development services, visit our web services page of our website.
See our related article: The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.