Patrick's Programming Blog
describes hosting alternatives in the following manner: deciding on a hosting solution is like deciding whether to take a bus or a car. The characteristics of these two transportation systems represent the available qualities of the two different hosting options.
If you decide to take a car, you have the ability to go anywhere you like at any time that pleases you. You can fully customise the design of your car on your own responsibility, for example change the colour of your body kit, decide on certain tyres and rims, choose a car with more or less storage space, mileage, horse power and technical equipment etc.
This option awards you full control and scope for accommodations which is comparable to a self-hosted software solution. Basically, it means that you install, run and maintain software on your own server (if you have one) or on a server you rented from someone else. This requires time and effort; however, the benefits are substantial as it enables full design customisation, robust functionality and full data security due to a lack of server access for unauthorised parties.
Bear in mind though that you have to pay for the car, parking and petrol as well as take care of maintenance and repairing.
The advantages of full software hosting control also include expenditures such as paying for server capacities, installing plugins, updating the software and in general handling technical problems by yourself. As this alternative is more technically demanding, we recommend it rather be used by developers or those with extensive technical knowledge.
If you decide to take the bus or any form of public transportation, it will take you where most people want it to go, thereby driving at a decent speed including automatic maintenance. There are no customisation possibilities for the bus; however, there are rules that have to be followed and in general, you have to see which bus to take to best fit your needs.
The bus option refers to a hosted software solution in which software runs on somebody else’s server and any changes made to it have to take place on that somebody’s website. Flexibility and control are therefore much more limited compared to the self-hosted version. Major point of criticism is the concern about data not being located securely enough as it is stored on somebodye else's server.
Nevertheless, due to a given web administration interface the setup to get started is achieved much faster and simpler from a technical standpoint with software updates executed automatically and bugs fixed by the software provider.