Many people feel great relief working with a professional web designer who not only creates a great looking site, but seems to understand all the mysteries of the internet. So website owners are often surprised to learn that their web designer will not host their website. It just doesn’t make sense.
But there are many reasons why your web designer won’t host your website — and why you wouldn’t want them to either.
1. You Don’t Own the Hosting
When you have your designer host your website in addition to doing the design work, you lose control over your website. Now, for some, this might not sound like a deal-killer; after all, you hired that design agency for your site so that they can do the design work for you.
However, the lack of control we speak of here is not the inability to control your website’s design. If your designer is refusing to work with you on your website’s design at all, you have an entirely different problem. What we mean is that whatever website hosting program/service that your design agency is using to host your site, the ownership of that site is most likely in their name, not that of you or your company.
This can be a severe problem later when the time comes to update your site if that agency no longer works for you. If the hosting is registered to someone else and not your company, you cannot perform password recovery if you lose track of the site password, or you may encounter the next problem:
2. They’re Specialists
The amount of stuff that web designers have to know is enormous. And the same goes for system administrators. While it is certainly true that there is overlap, the jobs are quite different. So in the same way that the people who painted your house wouldn’t want to remodel your kitchen, your web designer doesn’t want to host your web site.
3. They Don’t Have the Human Resources
Your web designer does not have tens of thousands of customers. They are probably a small firm or even a single person. They can’t provide you with 24/7 tech support.
If your web designer is hosting your website, you will be forced to call them when you have a technical problem. That might be in the middle of the day when they are around but busy designing websites — which is a pain, but perhaps not a deal breaker. Unfortunately, it is just as likely that your website will have a problem a three in the morning when no one is around.
Your web designer needs to sleep and take days off and go on vacation. Good hosting companies have the resources to provide 24/7 support — real people who are paid to answer phones or respond to your email right away — and fix your problems. Your web designer is not in a position to take on that responsibility.
4. They Don’t Control the Server Hardware
It’s important to realize how hosting actually works.
Websites live on servers. A server is a computer, connected to the internet. You could turn your desktop computer into a server and run a website from it, but it wouldn’t be very efficient. Instead, web hosting companies have set up high-efficiency servers in large data-centres, connected to the rest of the internet with high-speed access. When you buy a hosting plan, you are paying for a piece of the computing power in one of these data-centres, along with the support and technical expertise of the hosting company.
Imagine you convince your web designer to host your website. They aren’t going to set up their own servers in their office, or build a data-centres. At best, they would have a server installed in a remote data-centres. Many hosting companies do that, but it doesn’t make sense for most web designers for the reasons we’ve already mentioned.
The only realistic thing your web designer can do is buy hosting from a large provider and resell it to you.
Your designer can do their best to select a highly reputable hosting company, but that’s it. They can’t actually do anything to guarantee uptime or quality. All of the actual technical responsibilities for hosting are with the hosting company, and the designer is left as the one who gets blamed (and gets phone calls at three in the morning).
5. They Don’t Want to Be a Bottleneck
If your designer were hosting your website, they would almost certainly be doing it as a reseller for an actual hosting company. Thus, they will just be acting as a relay between you and the hosting company. When you tell your designer about a problem, they tell the hosting company. And back and forth.
This is terribly inefficient. If your website is down, it just makes more sense for you to talk to the hosting company and leave your designer to do what they do best: design.
6. They Can’t Charge Enough for It
A decent shared hosting plan should cost under $10/month from any reputable provider. This type of plan is good enough for the vast majority of small businesses, non-profit organizations, sole practitioners, and pretty much any other type of non-tech, non-ecommerce business with less than 100 employees.
Major hosting companies have tens of thousands of $10/month customers, so they can afford to pay people to answer the phone at three in the morning and on Christmas day. They can hire tech support people who know all about Linux and Apache an countless other things that are critical to web hosting. In other words, they can afford sophisticated support.
Your web designer does not have tens of thousands of customers. As we’ve said, most web designers are small firms or even a single person with a few dozen active clients — maybe a few hundred at most. In order to provide the kind of real support you should expect from your hosting company, your designer would have to charge a lot for it. Charging you $10 a month just isn’t worth the hassle.
Web designers are specialists in a rapidly changing field. Your web designer does not want to fix your computer, help you email pictures to your friends, teach you how to use Facebook, install your printer, or host your website. And that’s a good thing, because you want a web designer who is focused on web design.
Even if your web designer had the time to provide good technical service, and even if you didn’t mind paying extra for it, and even if your designer was willing to answer your “OMG! MY WEBSITE IS DOWN” phone call at three in the morning on Christmas Eve… your designer still probably wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) want to do it because it’s not what they are good at.