A strange quirk of the internet is the unwritten rule observed by many businesses and organisations that he or she who built it must host it. Somehow web design and hosting got entangled.Posted on 11 August 2017 -
Whether they want the responsibility or not, often web designers or web developers who work on a company’s website end up being put in charge of hosting it.
Sometimes this is because nobody at the company in question has even thought about the need to host the new website they are having designed, or if they have thought about it, do not want to take responsibility for it. Other times it is because the web designer is acting as a hosting reseller and can make a markup on the recurring monthly payments, so it suits them rather well to look after the hosting.
But web design and hosting are completely different disciplines. We know because we used to do both. Back when we started in 1996, we offered web design and hosting services (and a range of other services related to this new-fangled internet thing), as you can see by checking out our rather snazzy website from that time. Of course, things moved on, the internet matured and we had to separate the web design from the hosting, first into different strands of the business and then into different businesses entirely: our sister company Zesty now handles that side of things.
Very few businesses would contact a web hosting company and ask them to have a go at designing a website, yet they are quite willing to reverse that equation and let a designer try their hand at hosting. In both cases, the skills and knowledge are probably there to be able to cobble something together, but seldom would it be as effective as when an expert in their respective field is doing the job in question.
A specialist web hosting company’s priority is keeping your website available. For a web designer, it is a secondary concern. So when it comes to things like maintenance to the hosting infrastructure or making sure your domain is renewed before it expires, you really want somebody who knows the situation inside-out.
A reseller is unlikely to have much control over when and how maintenance is carried out, so you probably won’t have any control either.
A web hosting company will also advise you on the most suitable technology for your hosting requirements, whereas a reseller is likely to stick your website on the most relevant tier of an off-the-shelf VPS hosting setup.
And suppose your relationship with your web designer breaks down. Perhaps you’re not happy with their work, or maybe you’ve just had your head turned by someone else’s designs. What we tend to see in this scenario is that, much like a spurned lover dragging their heels over returning your spare key and that box of belongings, your former web designer will not be in any hurry to hand over control of your hosting infrastructure to the new guy. In fact, this process can be dragged out for longer than you would imagine possible and is very effective in creating the intended frustration for both you and your new web designer.
For that reason it is far better to have your hosting arrangements in the hands of a specialist hosting company that can stay out of those shenanigans.