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Can You Host Your Own Website?

28/05/2016

It's a question many web developers are often asked: Can I host my own website? There are many people out there who ask this question because they see self-hosting as a 'free' alternative to paid web hosting.

The truth is you can't really compare the two.

Yes, it is technically possible to host your own website. For example, it's possible to turn your Windows PC into a WAMP server. WAMP stands for Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP; it's just a simple way of downloading all the programs you need to host dynamic web content at once.

However, before heading down the path of self hosting you need to determine whether this option is right for you. If you are planning to simply build and test a website or only need the site to handle a very small volume of visitors, then self hosting can work.

However, in the vast majority of cases self hosting is a bad idea.

Unless you have an incredibly powerful home server/computer and super fast internet, a self-hosted website simply won't be able to handle large volumes of website traffic. Since the main aim for the majority of websites is to generate lots of traffic, it becomes apparent why self hosting isn't suitable in most cases.

Security is also an issue. If you want people to be able to access your site you will have to open up the firewall to your home computer; ultimately, this means you are opening up some security holes that could leave you vulnerable. For this reason, a lot of people who self host have a second computer – now if you're doing this just to host your website, it suddenly becomes quite an expensive hosting option!

On top of these issues, self hosting also requires a certain degree of technical knowledge. You need to know not only how to set it all up – but also how to address issues as they inevitably arise.

Professional web hosting is a better option.

In virtually every scenario, professional web hosting is a better choice. There are many different web hosting options to choose from depending on the level of service you require; shared server hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, dedicated server hosting and cloud hosting. Basic shared server hosting (which is ideal for most websites) is very affordable.

The conclusion? Self hosting is okay if you want to test your tech skills, undertake a learning exercise, or host a site that's in the building/testing phase. However, in most cases professional hosting is by far the better option!

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