Another issue is how to host. Self-hosting versus hosting on someone else’s equipment. If you don’t understand this, just think of it as using your own laptop in the public library versus using their computers in the library.
If the library decides to suddenly cease to exist, you suddenly can’t use either their computers or their internet access. Crap. You are completely dead in the water until you find another library with computers and you get yourself up and running again. This can take a long time.
If you have spent a little bit more money up front, you already have your own laptop. With the library’s WiFi gone, you can do an emergency procedure and whip out your phone’s hotspot and be a bit crippled, but running again very fast. Which buys some time for a proper fix.
The same situation applies with hosting. You can rent a server and use someone else’s Internet access. You can buy your own server and place it where you can use their Internet access. You can do neither and hand over the reigns to someone else and hope for the best.
All three choices have their good points and bad points. It is a decision that needs to be thought out carefully. It is also something that can be changed at any time, too.
Here is what happened to me. It was pretty bad, partly because I hadn’t downloaded my backups while traveling outside the US, partly because all of a sudden I had to figure out where to go for a new server to rent.
I rented a server and Internet access from Core Networks. Good price and service. Later another company Everstream bought them. No changes, no problems. Suddenly, Everstream decides they didn’t want to do the server thing anymore and WITHOUT WARNING just shut them OFF!
I just wanted to point out that even with the benefits (pretty good ones) of not owning any hardware, there are also big risks. What would happen if suddenly OK went offline for a month?
Alright, that’s just my two cents, but this sort of problem does happen and it hit me pretty hard and was completely unexpected.
But these decisions are very hard to make. None are necessarily wrong and everything can be changed at any time, so whatever works right now is going to be the most important.