Owning vs. Renting Your Website

So you’re wondering about the difference between owning vs. renting your website. Neon Canvas is here to help! At the core of it, deciding whether to rent or buy your website is not so different from deciding to rent or buy an office space for your business. After all, your website is your orthodontic, dental, or other medical practice’s online address, and it’s where your patients will meet your team and learn about your services before they decide to move forward in person. 

Like your office location, this “digital real estate” can determine the success of your business, so choosing whether to rent or buy depends largely on your unique needs and goals. At Neon Canvas, we make it our mission to ensure you have all the information you need to make the right decisions for your business’s online presence. Consider Neon Canvas your “digital realtor,” here to help you learn more about owning vs. renting your website. 

About Web Hosting

Whether you choose to rent or buy your site, you’ll have to work with a server that can host your digital infrastructure and store your information. This provider will give you the web space to store all of the files, images, and data that make up your site under your chosen domain name. You can think of hosting servers as the neighborhood that you’ll rent or buy in, and the domain name as your business address. 

Reliable hosting is essential to ensuring your website is accessible to prospective customers. Each server offers different benefits, levels of customization, and price considerations, which are all important aspects to keep in mind when making your decision. Consider the following when choosing the right path for you:

  • Your budget for website hosting
  • The level of technical support you’ll need to maintain your website
  • The level of customization you want to see on your website

Renting vs. Owning Your Website

Now that you’re ready to establish your online presence, there are many things to consider when choosing how to do so. Let’s review the pros and cons of each option so that you can make the best decision for your business. 

Pros & Cons of Renting Your Website

Renting your website means that you’ll sign a lease agreement with your host server to gain access to their services. Rental web services usually include web hosting and a limited range of support for your business. 

Cost & Transferability

The cost of renting a website is one of the main reasons most businesses choose this form of hosting. Renting tends to be the cheaper option, with monthly fees that reflect the level of personalized service you can expect to receive. Especially for small businesses and start-ups, these prices can be tempting. However, keep in mind that the lower cost of renting is balanced by the fact that you only receive the services as long as you continue to work with the same hosting provider. 

Perhaps the biggest downside is that renting your website means exactly that: the website is not yours to take with you should you decide to change hosting platforms. If you don’t like certain aspects of the hosting provider’s services and decide you want to work with another, you’ll lose access to all of the content and design elements that you’ve built, and you’ll have to start from scratch on a new platform.

Template Design

Rental sites usually allow you to select from a number of pre-configured templates for your site design. While this may seem like an easier route for newer businesses to get on their feet in the online world, templated sites don’t offer much in the way of unique aesthetics or customizable web pages, which can affect user experience and search engine optimization. As a result, it is harder to rank well in SEO when using a rented site. Hear from our VP of Strategy, Andy, below to get a better idea of what we mean when we say “owning” your site. 

Pros & Cons of Owning Your Website 

Owning your website means that your website is yours, no matter which hosting platform you use or how many times you switch providers. 

Cost & Transferability 

Just like buying a home, buying a website comes with a higher upfront cost than renting does. However, the amount of money you spend buying your website is an investment that you can hold on to in the long run. 

When you choose to buy your website, you’ll own all of the content, design, and story branding that you developed over the course of your agreement with the hosting provider. Should you decide to change providers, you can transfer your entire website over to the new hosting provider without losing any of your hard-earned work. 

Custom Design

When you rent your home, you can’t paint the walls or add on to your house; when you own your home, you can make as many modifications as you want. Just like purchasing a new home, purchasing your website gives you the freedom to customize your site design to your heart’s content. The ability to localize your site means a major boost in SEO rankings and the ability to stand out against the competition. 


It has long been rumored that rented sites are quicker to get off the ground, and while that may have been true in the early days of the Internet, it is no longer the case. Improvements in digital technology have made it possible to get even highly customized websites up and running just as quickly as rented sites – all with a higher-quality user interface.

Access to Data Tracking

When you own your own website through companies like Neon Canvas, you also own the data that lets you know how well your website performs. Should you decide to transfer your website to another company, you won’t lose the information that you collected throughout the course of the time spent with the original host. 

The Bottom Line: Owning Is the New Renting

Although there may have been a time when the benefits of renting your site outweighed the benefits of owning your site, that is no longer the case. Owning your website allows you to access all of the benefits of renting without the risk of losing your content at any point. 

The team at Neon Canvas makes owning, customizing, and managing your website easy, so you can focus on what matters most: building your business. If you’re ready to get started on the digital interface of your dreams, contact us for your free website audit today!

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