Should a web designer offer hosting services?
Recently, I saw this question on Quora and I thought it was pretty interesting that someone would ask about hosting services. Interesting because we are in an age where digital professionals are being told to specialize. Either you’re front-end, or back-end. Specialize to be the best with the skills that you have, and let others be the best with the skills that they have.
As I’ve grown as a web designer - hosting was one of the services that I provided. When I started out, providing hosting services was part of the package. It was part of what I did as a web designer. If I was honest with myself, it was because I was scared to lose a potential client so I would throw in services such as hosting. The potential client would ask me, “Do you handle hosting?” And I would say, “Of course! I’m a web professional.” Thinking the whole time, “how am I going to figure out hosting without screwing this whole thing up.” I was worried about all of the wrong things. I wasn’t worried about not knowing much of anything about hosting, but rather how I would get the potential client to sign the dotted line.
To save you from all of the rigmarole and long article, the answer is… drum roll, please…
Just be a web designer. Leave the hosting to hosting providers. Direct your clients in the right direction to the best web hosting services, set them up with the best company, and if there are any issues — it will be with the web hosting service. They will handle the billing, they will handle the servers, they will handle your client if things go south, and it won’t reflect the high quality service that you provide.
Yes, many web designers talk about the large amount of money that you can make from monthly web hosting services, but think about the headache that you will have for this monthly service. If things go south — your client calls you at two in the morning.
Just say no.
Previously, I worked with a hosting provider that had a proven track record and had done very well for me for many years. Then, they had an issue where one of the servers went down and they were unable to get that server working again, and I had many clients on that server that were down for way too long. Because I charged my client for the hosting services, the client contacted me. They didn’t contact the hosting provider. They contacted me. It was on me to make sure that things worked. So I spent the remainder of my evening, until two in the morning, trying to provide a solution which ultimately was moving all of my client’s files to another host provider and updating the DNS records.
But if you want to, here are some options
If you’re still convinced that adding web hosting services to the package of services that you provide, then I have the best options for you.
The top 3 options are Github Pages, Amazon S3 and Webflow Hosting. Each of these options have their own particular features that make them stand out. I’ve used each of them, but I lean towards one —Webflow Hosting.
Before I get into why Webflow Hosting is the best option, I’ll tell you about the other two and what makes them stand out above any other option that I could have written about.