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Self-hosting is a term that is used to describe the process of making use of resources in the possession of a user to host web sites and manage internal servers without the need to utilize hosting services provided by other entities. Once considered impractical for many users, the idea of being able to create and manage this type of support network independently is now much easier to manage, thanks to innovations in technology. With self-hosting, users have greater control of their web sites and the amount of bandwidth they can devote to those sites.
During the earlier days of the Internet when many residential and small business users relied mainly on dialup capability to access and make use of online resources, the potential for self-hosting was not possible on a grand scale. The need to buy a great deal of expensive equipment, to secure massive amounts of bandwidth to accommodate traffic to the site, and even to obtain the resources necessary to properly manage each page on the site put the idea of self-hosting outside the scope of possibility for many users. Instead, customers would rely on services provided by a web hosting company who could provide the facilities courtesy of a data center, charging the client a fixed rate or a rate based on usage for providing the hosting services.
With advances that allowed Internet access to move away from dial-up services and into a realm of faster and more robust use of Internet resources, the possibility of self-hosting became more viable. As is true with many forms of electronic equipment, the hardware necessary to create and manage a hosting network became more affordable. At the same time, software packages that could help configure and operate the networks also became more cost-effective. Coupled with the fact that more people began to make use of the Internet for both personal and commercial purposes, and also became more familiar with how to design sites and understand bandwidth, the idea of self-hosting is now well worth consideration.
While self-hosting is certainly more viable than in years past, the process still requires securing the right equipment, using software to manage the resources, and protect the host from all the threats that could filter into the hosting process via the Internet connection. This means that users who are not comfortable with these types of management processes are likely to find that working with a hosting company rather than trying to handle the processes alone may still be the best bet. For others who feel competent to engage in self-hosting, the strategy can mean greater ease in managing resources and even allowing the entire project to be much more cost effective.