Why It’s a Super-Good, Cost-Saving Idea for Your Web Development Company to Host Your Web Site

Photo adapted from “The Price Is Right” by trekkie313 (Flickr, Creative Commons).

Hosting plans aren’t commodities. Many years ago, my approach (as a web developer) toward a web site project would be to roll with whatever hosting situation organically developed. For example, a client might have an existing hosting plan, or an internal server — maybe it was Windows, maybe Linux. Or, they wouldn’t have one, but they’d go buy one at GoDaddy or something. I wasn’t picky at the time, as most servers could get the job done one way or another.

But when developers start to build a lot of web sites, and specialize in specific platforms like Joomla! or Wordpress, they quickly soon that the server environment matters significantly. Things like security, configuration options, uptime, speed, PHP version, cPanel, hosting support, and various other aspects are all critical.

Here’s an (admittedly-hyperbolic) analogy to drive home the point:

Imagine scheduling some important surgery for yourself. You ask the medical office manager: “How much will everything cost?”
The reply includes a line-item fee for use of the hospital’s operating room.
So, you respond: “Wow, but an operating room is really just a room, right? So, can we just use my garage to save on costs?”
This is how you should view web hosting.

Well, that’s how I personally view it, anyway. For web sites my company develops, we almost always host the site. Making that a policy has done wonders for our efforts. Here’s why…

When we bid on a project, we take a number of things into consideration — one of them being server set-up and configuration time. If we have control over that environment, then we’re able to accurately estimate the amount of time such work might take. But, if we’re asked to work on some unfamiliar host, then almost anything could happen. For example, they may not offer cPanel, or phpMyAdmin, or the latest version of PHP, or InnoDB support, or any number of other quirks. All of these things translate into lost time on our part, and thus lost profitability. For the client, it can mean scheduling or launch delays.

However, when we work with a known entity, we’re able to gain all of the efficiency inherent in the familiarity of working with the same interface, the same methods, and same procedures for getting things done. We’re even dealing with the same support staff, should any issues arise. In nearly all cases, the cost-benefit is clear for all parties, even if the client might have previously purchased some server space.

Bottom line: When the web development company hosts the site, it makes for a quicker build-out and smoother ongoing delivery of your web site, which results in a win-win both during and after the project.

Jim Dee heads up Array Web Development, LLC in Portland, OR. He’s the editor of “Web Designer | Web Developer” magazine and a contributor to many online publications. You can reach him at: Jim [at] ArrayWebDevelopment.com.