When you’re getting a new site or starting work with a new web designer, one thing that’s going to come up is hosting. More specifically, who’s in charge of arranging the web hosting.
Some people prefer to have their web designer take care of everything, while others like to keep things separate. And some designers are happy to provide hosting services, while others won’t touch it.
You might also like: How to choose the right web designer
What is web hosting?
Before we go any further, do you know what I mean by web hosting?
It’s one of those geek-speak web-designer-jargon things, so let me explain:
Think of your home. It’s made up of a bricks and mortar building – your house or your flat, etc – and your belongings stored inside it are what makes it work as a home.
Your website is your online home. The files making up your site are what makes it work; they’re your digital belongings. And the hosting account is the virtual space where you store them.
Who should host your website?
Let’s look at the pros and cons to find out who should host your website:
Choosing the right web host & package
If you’ve never had to buy a web hosting package before or you’re not technically minded, choosing a package can be scary. Are you buying the right one? Is this a good price? Is this a good hosting company?
I get it. I feel exactly the same way if I’m shopping for things outside my area of expertise. Like when I had to buy a washing machine, or a new carpet for my living room. Eek!
Having your web designer choose for you takes away that worry. They do this all the time, right? So they know which hosts are reliable and which package will work for your site. Plus they know what things like MySQL, bandwidth, cPanel and VPS mean.
You know what, though? This knowledge isn’t secret. If you choose to buy the hosting yourself, or your designer asks you to arrange it, they can tell you which package to buy.
At the very least, they should be able to provide you with some recommendations on which hosts to check out and tell you what kind of package will work for your site. Sorted.
If you need help with any part of your site, it’s nice being able to call on your web designer. You already know them and they know you and are familiar with your website. That’s so much better than talking to some faceless minion in a call centre, isn’t it?
But what if it’s 10pm on a Saturday and your designer doesn’t work over the weekend? You’ll probably have to email them and wait until Monday for a response. That’s totally fine, if it’s not an urgent request.
And what happens if you need help right now and your designer is busy, ill or on holiday?
Small design agencies and freelancers are going to struggle to provide 24/7 support, while a big hosting company can usually offer faster response times. So if patience isn’t your strong suit, look carefully at the level of support on offer 😉
Sure, it’s really convenient if your designer takes charge of your hosting. That means that all aspects of your site are in one pair of hands. And they’ll manage everything leaving you to get on with what you do best, running your business.
Buying hosting from your designer often ties you to using their services to edit and maintain your site. Great if you both want a healthy, long-term relationship. (And speaking as a designer, long-term clients are awesome!)
But what if you want to try out a new designer? Awkward!
If your relationship with your designer breaks down, or you simply want fresh eyes to help you with some changes, then you probably have to move your entire website to a new hosting account.
And if the relationship has gone sour, then moving could be a real hassle. You hear horror stories full of things like bills not being paid, sites being taken offline or being held hostage. Yikes!
Remember that if you control the hosting account, you can get any designer you want to work on your site, without offending your previous one.
So, who should buy the hosting?
As you can see there are good reasons to host your website with your web designer. And as many benefits to buying it yourself. I’ve tried both options, and I do prefer it when my clients buy their own hosting. But honestly, there isn’t a should. It all comes down to personal preference and which arrangement you and your designer are both happy with.
The important thing is that you shouldn’t feel pressured into buying web hosting through your designer if you’d be happier taking charge of it yourself.
Does this apply to domain names too?
Nope. Nuh-uh. Definitely not.
When it comes to your domain name, you should always buy it yourself. That’s a vital part of your branding and an important business asset.
When a designer registers a domain name on behalf of a client, they often end up as the registrant – the owner – of the domain. It is possible for a designer to specify you as the registrant, even when they’re the one buying it. But I’ve seen so many domains where this hasn’t been done.
And if you’re not the registrant of the domain, you don’t own it. If you want to move your website you’ll need their help to update the domain settings. If you want to break up with your web designer, or they go MIA, you could end up losing your domain name altogether if they can’t/won’t transfer control to you.
That’s why you should control it right from the start. Always buy your own domain name, ok?
You might also like: Does having your own domain protect your copyright?
Planning a new site?
If you’d like some help in choosing a hosting package for your new site, stay tuned. Next time I’ll be sharing my top tips for finding the right package. And if you’d like to work together on your new site, get in touch for a chat!
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