Many companies are bypassing the web hosting providers altogether in favor of hosting their sites on their own in-house servers. There are some definite pros for doing this but I don’t recommend going this route unless you have a full-time IT person on staff who is skilled at web server management.
I once flirted with hosting my site in-house. I have a rented in-house file server which comes with ongoing customer support. My tech sold me on the benefits of hosting my site in-house. After moving my site over I quickly realized that there was much more to web hosting than meets the eye. Days went by as I waited for my server tech to set-up proper email functionality and domain redirecting. After about a week with calls to the domain registrar, server tech, and programmer, all saying the problem is somebody else’s issue, I return to using a real hosting provider.
In-house hosting also raises site access issues. When hosting in-house the ability for visitors to access and download your site is largely dependent on your local ISP and the connection speed you receive. Even with broadband DSL or cable, typical connection speeds are much slower than can be provided with a quality web host. This can increase download times and create a more sluggish site if you have many visitors at once.
In-house hosting also does not provide you with any kind of uptime guarantee, and in my experience, excellent tech support. Should your server go down, you temporarily lose Internet access, or power goes out, your website will be unavailable to your visitors.
In my experience, quality web hosting is difficult to come by, but is absolutely essential for any business that takes their online marketing efforts seriously. Be sure to research your potential web host providers carefully. Find out what services they provide for free and what you have to pay for. Make sure they provide sufficient tech support, guaranteed uptime, as well as a good reputation from others. If you need to, be willing to pay more for quality service. A little extra each month can help eliminate thousands of dollars in potential lost revenue if your website or email goes down at an inopportune time.