WHY YOU SHOULD PURCHASE YOUR OWN HOSTING
“MY DEVELOPER IS OFFERING HOSTING AS PART OF THEIR PROPOSAL, SHOULD I TAKE IT?
There are a lot of website developers that also offer hosting. Usually this is white-label hosting (also called reseller hosting) provided by a bigger hosting company. Flywheel, for example offers white label hosting. This means that the developer can offer the hosting as though it were their own. They can set the prices, determine what services are offered, and bill clients using their own brand while leaving all of the technical aspects of the hosting to the original company. Most hosting companies offer this service and many developers will use this as a source of recurring income. This also provides the developer with the ability to manage several websites within one account rather than hopping from place to place and collecting several different passwords and dealing with many different hosting companies. There are a lot of benefits for the developer to offer this service and it is common practice. It is one however that I would love to see go by the way side.
MY DEVELOPER IS A GREAT PERSON, WHY SHOULDN’T I HELP THEM OUT AND STICK WITH SOMEONE I KNOW?
Well, the short answer is because then you own it (this is also the short answer to why you should own your own domain but that’s a whole other blog post). You see, if your developer owns your hosting, they essentially own your website. Maybe not the coding, information, media etc, but they own the space it is using online. Think of it like building a house on land you are renting. What happens if the landowner decides they want to do something else with that land, or don’t want to rent it out anymore? Sure you could move your house, but its going to be a really big pain in the you know what. Or there is the scenario I’ve seen play out with some of my own clients. They decide they want to change platforms, or they aren’t happy with the service they are receiving and decide to move their website somewhere else and the developer makes things as difficult as possible by not providing login information to the hosting (or in some cases the actual website) or dragging their feet with information needed to make the move, or (in one very memorable case) delete the entire website. When you own your own hosting and have full access to that hosting (which you should, even if you don’t know how to use it) if you and your developer have a falling out, you can change the password on the website and the hosting to keep them from accessing it. You are building your house on land you own.
BUT WON’T I GET BETTER SERVICE THROUGH MY DEVELOPER I HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THAN THROUGH A BIG COMPANY?
Not necessarily, there are plenty of developers who are happy to provide maintenance packages to deal with any issues that come up and deal with your hosting company on your behalf if needed. *raises hand* Plus, many of the bigger companies have excellent customer service and are happy to help out when issues arise. My personal favorite is SiteGround. They have the best customer relations by far. I’ve reached out to them on behalf of clients for anything from domain issues to sites being down for now reason and they have always been helpful and polite. Plus, since most developers use white label hosting you aren’t losing out by going directly to the company. I actually had a client once who decided to purchase their own hosting, chose a hosting company and when they tried to create an account they were told that domain already had an account. Their developer was using white label hosting from that company, but they had no idea.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PURCHASING MY OWN HOSTING?
There are a few major benefits to purchasing your own hosting. First, you own that hosting, you are not dependant on the whims of someone else to keep your site up. Going directly to the company is going to give you more ownership over your site. Second, the service you are getting is going to be just as good or better than going directly through your developer. Third, it is often cheaper to go directly to the company than to buy through the middleman.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHITE-LABELING HOSTING AND USING SOMEONE’S AFFILIATE LINK?
You caught me, I do have a SiteGround affiliate link and I do encourage my clients to purchase through it if they don’t have hosting of their own or are looking to switch. So, that’s a great question! The biggest difference is that if you are purchasing hosting through your developer who is using the white-label hosting, the hosting account is their account. If you use someone’s affiliate link the hosting account is yours.
With white-label hosting developers often add a charge on top of what the hosting is costing them. I don’t begrudge them this, its a great way to bring in dependable recurring income. The problem is that it limits the website owner’s choices. They can’t just hire anyone they want to work on the website, they have to go back to that developer. And as I mentioned above if the site owner decides to change platforms or pivot things with the developer can go south fast because that is taking away some of that recurring income.
When you purchase hosting through an affiliate link. It still gives you control over your site. You can continue to work with the developer who’s link you used, or not. You have direct access to the site. And the developer still gets a little bit of recurring income as long as you are using that particular company. So it’s kind of like a win-win for both of you. On top of not costing you any extra, most affiliate links don’t pay out a lot in revenue so its less likely to damage your relationship with that developer if you decide to take your site somewhere else.
I have seen too many clients get burned by other developers to feel that offering hosting is a good idea. Yeah, that makes me an oddity in my field, but my priority is making sure my clients have amazing websites that work for them and their businesses. I work hard to clear the fog around tech and make my clients feel comfortable with their sites and systems. Having my clients go through me to get to their site isn’t compatible with that. There are a lot of great developers out there who offer hosting and would never take advantage of their clients or be petty about helping their clients move. But most of the interactions I have had were with other developers who were trying to leverage the control they had over a client’s site to keep a client stuck in a plan that wasn’t compatible with their clients’ needs. If a developer isn’t willing to work with you unless you purchase hosting with them consider going with someone else. There are plenty of (developer) fish in the sea and you’ll be in a better position in the long run.