Why You Should Outsource Web Hosting
When evaluating web hosting options, many organizations assume that the most straightforward option is to maintain hosting ‘on prem’ (on premises), or if that isn’t possible to at least keep internal management control of hosting in an ‘off prem’ hosting facility.
While there are situations where this approach makes sense, you may be much better served by allowing your digital marketing partner to host your website. Outsourcing web hosting to a dedicated vendor can increase security, improve performance and enable security fixes and application features to be deployed in a coordinated manner. Here’s why you should consider outsourcing your web host to ensure your website is always accessible to your users.
In the event of a new website launch or deployment, being hosted internally means your marketing and design teams are reliant on the IT team to complete the launch or update. The teams or agency used to create the website would need to hand off the production site to IT for the new website or feature to go live. This by itself can cause several issues. For many on prem hosting situations, this will likely require some downtime of your site. Most IT departments do not have development professionals on staff that know how to conduct blue-green deployments – or those with zero downtime. This is a huge benefit of outsourcing to your digital partner or web provider that lives and breathes web deployments every day. Even a few minutes of down-time can cost a company significantly so this reason cannot be understated. A tried-and-true pattern of 0 downtime deployments also means that your features can be rolled out during the business day instead of relying on early morning or late-night windows to minimize end user impact.
Another important facet is that your digital partner or web company does deployments for a living. Most internal IT departments wear a lot of hats and have tons of other business priorities. Deployments become small painful projects that must be squeezed in between other day to day tasks. Additionally, unless you outsource hosting, if an issue arises during deployment the entire process comes to a standstill until development and IT can coordinate. If the root cause is with the CMS or web code itself and not with the hosting environment, even more time would pass as your internal team had to work to coordinate with the web platform developers. Each time the dev team accomplishes a big fix or catches a new update, the launch pass-off process would need to repeat with the internal IT team.
When hosting through a digital partner, this process is often automated and routine. Since the entire ecosystem is under one umbrella deployments are generally a non-event which lets you focus on enjoying your new features now instead of coordinating how to deploy them next week.
Outsourcing your website to a reputable agency that specializes in web hosting can provide a degree of security that is not readily re-creatable in an “on-prem” setup. Public facing websites are constantly under attack and the changing security landscape requires constant vigilance and quick reactions to new threats. It is the hosting agency’s job to stay on top of security threats to the website, while it is not an IT team’s only job. The internal team may have servers to monitor, internal systems to maintain and more. But for a public-facing website, the skill sets are different. Meanwhile, internal IT teams may have varying levels of knowledge and capabilities around the security they can provide especially for a site that could possibly their only publicly facing asset.
While an IT team may be equipped to host internally, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are educated on the content management system (CMS) your team uses. While you can’t have a reachable website without hosting, a CMS is necessary for the look and functionality of your website. Internal IT teams may know hosting, but they aren’t necessarily developers nor have the requisite skillset to apply security patches or functional updates on their own. In these scenarios they often need to be trained on how to do deployments and handle potential rollback scenarios. A partner who knows your CMS and hosting is more capable of holistically addressing product issues. Whether an issue is a code change, or a configuration update, merging these skillsets under one umbrella pays dividends in time to resolution.
When compared to on prem hosting, a cloud web host can enable you to rapidly scale resources in a matter of minutes. For both the expected and unexpected situations, like back in 2020 when the Small Business Loans site crashed due to the volume of users applying for PPP loans. A hosting agency using an Azure app service for example could have pre-configured the environment to automatically scale out during load and sent proactive notifications so further steps could be taken if necessary.
International banks like Santander and UBS have migrated large percentages of their infrastructure to the cloud, leading the former to report cost savings and the ability to update apps more frequently, claiming the cloud push has reduced energy consumption by its IT infrastructure. According to an executive at UBS, the embracing of cloud has "fundamentally changed the way we operate, allowing us two reinvigorate our technology estate and reimagine how we build applications for our clients.”
While there is no “right” answer to the best way to host your website, and each company should choose the solution that works best for it, there are many benefits of outsourcing your web host and working with your digital partner to manage it. In short, it keeps your website safer and makes updates easier. Visit our hosting and managed services pages to learn more or reach out with any questions.