Should You Buy Your Website or Rent It?
Just like there is no such thing as a “free lunch,” there is no such thing as a “free website.” At the end of the day, you’re either renting your website or you’re buying it. Here I explain the difference between the two and what it means for your business.
What Does “Renting” a Website Mean?
Whether you’re paying $10 a month to a company like GoDaddy or $10,000 a month to a professional website design firm, if failing to pay for one month could lead to your website being shut down, deleted, or otherwise incapacitated, you are renting.
Renting a website means that another company has ultimate control over your hosting and maybe even your domain name. If you’re unfamiliar with what “hosting” means, imagine a piece of real estate. The “host” is the plot of land where the building is located. The building itself is the website. You can’t have a building without a piece of land, and you can’t have a website without a host.
Drawbacks of Renting
Renting from a service or firm means that you don’t have complete control over many aspects of your website, like adding capabilities, customization, posting quantity, and who can make changes. Also, if they decide to add to your “rent,” you may have to agree simply for the fact that you’ll lose your website altogether if you don’t.
Even if your “rent” is $0, it’s still not free. Let’s see you set up a website on a “free” platform like WordPress.com (it’s not the same thing as WordPress.org by the way). You will get a free address like mywebsite.wordpress.com. By sharing that free domain, you’re promoting wordpress.com and will most likely have ads on your website that you don’t control. If you want your own domain (like mywebsite.com), you’ll need to pay for it.
You may also pay much more for advanced (or even basic) capabilities than if you owned your website. Things like eCommerce, user portals, booking, directories, etc. may cost you 2 to 10 times more than if you simply added a plugin to a website you own.
Benefits of Renting
If you’re renting your website from another company, there is some up sides! For one, you don’t have to worry about security and backups (a good firm or service will handle these), and you have someone to call if something goes wrong (hopefully). If you want to make updates a good service will do the for you depending on your arrangement.
What Does “Owning” a Website Mean?
Owning a website means that you have complete control over the hosting, domain, and the website itself. While you’ll need to pay for hosting in most cases (hosting on your own server can be complicated, costly, and dangerous in terms of security) and your annual domain renewal, the costs are controlled by you.
While not the most glamorous analogy, imagine that your website is a mobile home. You can change the location of your mobile home (the host), you can change its address (the domain name), and you can own the home outright and do what you want with it.
Drawbacks of Owning
Owning your website means that the maintenance, security, and updates are primarily up to you (or someone you hire). Some of the security and updates may be done automatically by your host, but you’ll need to be more involved in the process than you would be if you were renting. You’ll also need pay someone to make updates, customizations, and upgrades if you can’t do them yourself.
Benefits of Owning
You’re in control! Rather than have your website be held hostage by some nerd with a god complex (I’ve heard of this happening many times before), you are the owner of all aspects of your website. Further, if you build on a commonly used platform like WordPress, you’ll be able to pick from thousands of specialists to help you make upgrades.
Upgrades on platforms like WordPress can be extremely cheap and sometimes free. This means that you can add unique features and capabilities whenever you want.
Not Sure What To Do?
Whether you want to buy or rent a website, MegaMad Websites can help come up with a solution that works for you. If you want to “buy” your website, we will set up hosting in your name and give you all assets involved in the build. This means you’ll get all the capabilities you want, and at the end of the project you can do whatever you want with it! Click Here to schedule a consult.