When you approach a web designer to build your site, some may offer you a hosting package. It might seem like an easy decision, I mean, who wouldn’t want all the hassle of their hosting being taken care of right? But, in some situations, using your designers hosting option is going to do you more damage and you won’t even realise it.
Why do I know this? For years I have hosted my clients sites and I know first hand about the challenges this presents. I have also worked with many web design agencies and I have seen what really goes on when you trust their site to them.
Some designers I have worked also provide a good service but the purpose of this blog is not to slate designers but to make you, the client, more aware of the downsides to designer managed hosting so you can make the right decision for you and your business.
3 reasons why your web designer should not host your website
There are many problems a freelancer designer or small design agency faces when hosting your site.
1. Lack of support. Your site may go down and it it may take a while for them to restore it. This is because they cannot support you and your website 24 / 7.
Why this is wrong. If you notice a problem with your website and you think it needs immediate attention. e.g. It’s been hacked, it’s gone down or if you have been working on it and you have broken something. You need someone who can help right away. Small design agencies and freelancers go home at night, they have other clients and they are secretly hoping you never call them for support. You are probably serving clients during the day. If you are likely to have a problem with your site it will be in the evening when your designer has gone home!
What you should do about it: Ask your designer;
- Do they have 24 / 7 support?
- What happens when they are on holiday?
- What happens if it is outside work hours?
- What happens if they can’t fix the problem? How do they escalate it?
Then as soon as you can test them on it. There is no point waiting for an emergency to find out your support is bad. If you are not happy with their support level don’t commit to them.
2. Poor website performance. Your site may be slower to load because the server is not optimised for WordPress. This happens because you are not in control of your hosting environment. Your designer is.
Why this is wrong: WordPress is so flexible, you have so many options when it comes to improving the loading speed of your website (unlike other website builders). Having a fast website is so important. The performance of your hosting can affect the speed of your website drastically. I can’t imagine a web designer tinkering with your hosting server settings to make sure you have the optimal setup for WordPress. It’s a specialist job for people are experts with servers and WordPress. These people generally work for hosting providers and they do not usually build Websites.
What you should do about it: Test your website speed. It needs to load in just a few seconds. If it is really slow ask your designer what optimisations are being made to the server to optimise it for WordPress. They should be doing some of the things that a proper WordPress hosting company are doing. See what SiteGround are doing here for an idea. https://www.siteground.com/wordpress-hosting.htm
Also ask them who is hosting your website. If your designer says they are hosting with someone like SiteGround then all is good. If it’s an obscure company who are not WordPress optimised then run a mile.
3. Lack of flexibility. Your designer may insist that they are the only person allowed to work on it. This means you will be limited when it comes to getting people YOU trust to help you with your site. E.g You may find an SEO expert you like and trust, they may tell you to make changes to your site but your designer may not agree. They may also insist you can only have certain plugins. While this can make sense, other times it can be frustrating because it limits your options when trying out new features with your website. They want to control your website as much as possible so there is not much risk of anything going wrong so you don’t call them for support.
Why this is wrong: Change is inevitable. With technology and with marketing tactics. If someone is limiting your ability to be flexible with your website then you will struggle to keep up with changes, your website and marketing will be affected.
Example: Many website designers will add the Yoast SEO plugin to your site claiming your site is now SEO optimised. (This is really not the case but that’s another story for another day). A new plugin has been released called RankMath which has several of the premium features of Yoast included for free. In my opinion, RankMath is now the better plugin to use. I do SEO for clients so I know this. Your web designer probably doesn’t do SEO, so they won’t understand the differences and they may say no if you ask them to change the plugin.
What you should do about it: What you should do to make sure you can have any expert you want work on your website? You should first ask your designer; Can I get anyone I want to work on my website? I may need an SEO person to make changes to my site. I may need a VA (virtual assistant) to add an event booking plugin. I may need a funnel expert to build a funnel. I might want someone to add a membership site etc. If your designer insists that they do it then alarm bells should ring. This will really limit you in the future when you want to expand your website and call on specific people who offer specific support. If they say, “sure, yo can have anyone work on it but if they screw it up it will cost you extra for me to fix” then all is good.
Are you a web designer who hosts your clients sites?
If you are and you provide a 24 / 7 support service with a WordPress optimised server and give your clients the flexibility of them having who they want to work on their website then I want to feature you in this section. Please get in touch so I can show people that good designers who provide great client services do exist!
Deciding if your designer hosts your website or not is a really big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I know most of you want to have ‘all the hassle’ taken off your plate when it comes to your website and hosting. I have been that designer who manages web sites (I still manage a few) but if you make a bad, uninformed decision at this stage it could affect your online presence and you won’t even know.
Remember to ask the following questions;
- What are the hours of support?
- Is the website hosted on a WordPress optimised server?
- Who is allowed to work on the site
It’s your website at the end of the day. It needs to be hosted on the best possible server with excellent support and no one should be dictating who can work on it.
I now recommend SiteGround to my clients rather than host the site myself.
I could never give 24 / 7 support and their support is excellent.
They have WordPress optimised servers and you have full control over what you do with your site.
If you need further advice about how to independently manage your website I offer a range of workshops and 1-2-1 coaching to give you confidence and put you in control of your website. Contact me if you would like to find out more.