Website Hosting - Do It Yourself
Matt Williams - 20th April, 2010
Things to Consider
The choice of whether or not to try to administer your own web site brings with it a host, pun intended, of
For most web site owners, the primary focus is naturally on creating, maintaining and enhancing the site. That
often is just part of managing an entire business, for which the web site is just the means to an end.
That implies there will be little interest in or time left over for technical administration like database
maintenance (tuning, space management, security, bug fixes), establishing and maintaining backups to ensure they're
successful and usable, email administration, disk space management, applying operating system fixes for bugs and
security, and other tasks.
But cost is always a factor in any business. Paying for technical help can burden the budget of a new and
Consulting fees can range from a few dollars an hour to over $100. On the lower end, the poor skill level and
quality of work will make it not worth even that small amount. On the higher end, you can quickly rack up expenses
that will bust your business.
Permanent employees are usually somewhere in the middle of that range when you add up salary, employment taxes and
more. Often, server and/or web site administration can be paid for as part of the web hosting package. That cost is
usually lower than independent contracting help, but those staff are usually tasked with maintaining dozens if not
hundreds of servers and sites. They can, therefore, give very little individual attention to yours.
Often, novice web site owners are intimidated by some of the technical requirements for server or site
administration. But, as with anything, a little familiarity can show that the knowledge required is more modest
than one might expect. Administration in many cases involves fairly elementary, and frequently repetitive, tasks.
These can be learned easily. Using a test site or a free hosting service is a good way to practice and learn
without risk or cost, other than time invested.
Once that initial hurdle is jumped over, administration can be done quickly and some even find it interesting. It
allows the site owner to exercise additional control over the total product, and there's satisfaction in being able
to say 'I did that' even if you prefer not to do it forever.
That real-life learning experience also allows the site owner to better judge any consultants or staff that are
hired. It's much easier to judge if someone is providing you with an accurate assessment of a problem if you've
solved it yourself. Any time-estimate they provide to fix it can also be better calculated if you've had to do it
Every web site relies on a variety of factors, usually unseen, in order to continue to function properly. But the
fact is that they misbehave from time to time. Deciding whether to tackle those problems yourself depends on your
available time and skill set, and what it will require to get things back on track. In other words, it's a standard
cost-benefit analysis that everyone has to undertake every day in life.
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