Many web design companies offer website hosting services. However, whatever website hosting service your design agency is using to host your site, the ownership of that hosting account is most likely in their name, not that of you or your practice. This can cause a number of problems, including:
You will likely pay higher monthly fees for hosting and technical support, because agency markup is included. So here’s the solution to this problem: rather than paying to the website company, register the hosting account in your name and pay directly to the professional service that hosts your website. Then your monthly fees will likely be significantly lower. And, because the hosting provider specializes in website hosting, you can get a better quality service.
Limited Access to the Website
When the time comes later to update your site, what happens if that agency no longer works for you? If the hosting is registered to someone else and not your office, you may have a hard time recovering access to your hosting if the agency stops responding to your phone calls or emails. Of course, many agencies are reputable, but it’s still better to host your website independently and have access to the files, if, for any reason, you do not receive a prompt response.
Holding Website Hostage
Eventually, your design agency might dissolve or you may find it necessary to terminate the business relationship yourself. If, for whatever reason, you are not on good terms with the agency that controls your website, it can result to many problems if the agency decides to bring your website down or hold it hostage to demand money from you. Of course, not all agencies do that, but some do – and you don’t want to find yourself in that situation.
You (the consumer) have no control over the quality of hosting they use. When you host with an independent hosting company, you can select (or your independent web designer can recommend) the best hosting based on reviews and quality. When your company does the hosting, they are most likely using their own – or reselling someone else’s – servers, so there are no public reviews available and you don’t know how good the hosting quality is. Hosting quality directly affects your website speed, which is important for SEO and patient conversion.
Quality may also suffer because for a web design company, hosting is a secondary service. By contrast, an independent hosting company specializes in hosting, so they are likely to have better servers and resources.
Good Designer? Still Better to Host Independently
Even if your web agency is awesome and has great reputation, it’s still better to host your website with an independent provider. Consider this: if the company goes out of business, your site goes down. Or, you may later choose to update your website with another designer, and hosting your website independently will spare you the hassle of doing a backup and transitioning the site to another host, so you will save time and costs.
There are many website design companies that can work with a website hosted on an independent host. You can work with any such designer, while retaining full control of your site and without having to transition it anywhere.
Host with a Professional Service
There are enough affordable professional services out there that can host your website and provide great, reliable service and technical support. I usually recommend Siteground or WP Engine as the best in class. You can have your web design company work with your website, maintain it, and provide you with any advice specific to your dental website – and, at the same time, have your website hosted with an independent provider and have the hosting account registered in your name. This will minimize your risks and can potentially reduce your ongoing monthly and long-term costs.
Related post: it’s important to own your hosting account!