Self-Hosted v Hosted Websites

The terms ‘self-hosted’ and ‘hosted’ describe whether a website is self-hosted by the website owner on their own web hosting space or whether a website is hosted by a 3rd party service on behalf of the owner. With Coventry.Domains you have the opportunity to create your own self-hosted websites. This post will explain the differences between self-hosted and hosted websites so you can better understand how each option works and which option is right for you and your work.

Hosted websites

A hosted website is a website you create using an online service like or to make a website. When you build a hosted website, the website is hosted on your behalf by a 3rd party company. This company will monetize their service either by showing adverts on your content or ask you to pay a fee to use their service.

You can think of having a hosted website as renting a house rather than being a homeowner. The company hosting your website is like a landlord who takes care of the maintenance and certain fees on your behalf. You will depend on your landlord to make sure your house is livable and you can’t redecorate the house as you please.

With a hosted platform you can start publishing content straight away as the company that owns the platform manages all the behind the scenes stuff like software upgrades and configurations. This makes it seem like an easy option for beginners but hosted websites have their downsides:

  • There will be limitations on how your website can look, and what you can add and change about your website;
  • You will be given limited storage which may prevent your website from growing in future;
  • If anything happens to the hosting platform or if you are seen to break their terms and conditions in anyway, the company that owns the platform has the power to remove your website and content;
  • With most hosted services you give away your freedom and control over your intellectual property, as many terms and conditions ask you to waive your rights to allow them to distribute and reuse your content as they wish.

Over time there have been lots of hosted services that have changed their terms and conditions or the way they operate which has meant that their users have lost their content in someway. The hosted services most popular now will likely in future go the same way as these previous services, and either change how the platform works or close down entirely. When this happens anyone who has a website with that company may lose their content or the online audience they have built around this work.

Self-Hosted websites

With a self-hosted website, you create your own website and then pay a company for web hosting space to make it available to the public (with a Coventry.Domains account you are provided free web hosting).

With a hosted website the company that owns the platform is the landlord and your website is a rented house. With a self-hosted website you own your website, and your website is a house that sits on rented land, i.e. your web hosting space. This land is rented from a web hosting company and your website is whatever you choose to build on your new space. With a self-hosted website you manage your own web hosting and make use of it in any way you wish to.

Having your own self-hosted website gives you the ability to fully customize your site. Because you are managing your own web hosting you can make decisions around what kind of application you might want to use to build your website and take full control over how it works.

You also have control over your intellectual property and how you want your work to be displayed and distributed. You own the content and the site and can do whatever you want with it.

You can also easily make backups of your website so you never lose your content. You can export all of your self-hosted content and websites and move to a new web hosting provider whenever you wish to in future. This means you are not tied to one web hosting provider, and instead have the option to change which company you want to buy web hosting from depending on your needs.

With a self-hosted website you have:

  • More control over everything on your website;
  • More control over how your website works;
  • The ability to add new functions to your site;
  • More storage and the ability to increase your storage as your website grows;
  • The option to export your whole website and re-host it with a new web hosting company.

Initially there is a little more work with a self-hosted website to set it up and get going, but once this is done you now have a web space that is yours to play with, change and make it your own.