Web Designers that offer hosting as well? Beware!

We see all kinds of advertisements from web design companies, from big firms to fly-by-nighters, that offer web hosting as one of the many features offered when you hire them.

“We’ll even host your site for you” (for a small fee, of course). Sounds good, right? Well, maybe not…..

Those who are internet savvy know that this is not the optimum way to have a site built, but for those not currently in-the-know, let me explain:

Building a website is very similar to building a house. The language framework in which the website is built is like the structure framework of your house. The content on your website (text, images, etc.) represents the furniture that would go inside your house. But, just like your website, your house cannot be constructed just anywhere. You need a piece of land on which to build. The land on which you build your home is like the hosting platform on which you build your website.

So, would you pay a builder to build your new house on land that the builder owned and leased to you? If the answer is ‘yes’, there is no need to read further……..

Your web designer and your hosting agent should not be the same company.

When you hire a web designer, and use that designers hosting service, you don’t really own the site they are constructing for you, but are merely renting it. Sure, you own the content of the site (furniture), but the framework (house) and the hosting (land) belong to the web designer. As long as you pay the designer for whatever fees they ask, you are fine. But when you decide to take your website and go with someone else because of better rates or more effective work, your web presence will have to start…..all…..over.

Avoiding this pitfall can be very easy. After you have a domain name secure, you should get your own hosting. Companies like BlueHost, HostGator, and Go Daddy offer very reasonable shared hosting for smaller websites (less than $100 per year), or dedicated hosting which costs more, but can handle bigger websites. And when comparing, you will likely find that using your own hosting is considerably less expensive than the web designer’s.

Once this is done, shop for a quality website designer that is willing to work for hire, building a website for you on your newly acquired hosting platform. This will keep the work honest and the hosting fees down. If you find a designer unwilling to build on your hosting platform, you might want to keep shopping.

You may be an internet expert, but if not and you have questions, always try to seek advice from an unbiased third party that you trust.