Self hosted on the web or your own hardware

The Self Hosted Difference

A better alternative to SaaS solutions

ZPD Applications and You

Why should you trust me with your business?

I have the benefit of being the sole-designer, developer, and support structure for all of the applications I create. This equates to a custom-tailored experience and direct one-on-one support from the source. I don't like gimmicks and I appreciate value as much as you do! This page serves as an honest, insider brief about why you should seriously consider my applications over a software as a service (SaaS). It's also a good read for freelancers and small-business owners.

What is SaaS?

Software as a service (or SaaS) is a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet [...] SaaS applications run on a SaaS provider’s servers. The provider manages access to the application, including security, availability, and performance.

Sourced from Salesforce

Why not?

Give yourself some credit. If you are a serious business-minded individual, you can do this. If you've ever used Wordpress then you can install and use my applications. You pay once and get the code forever! Support is included for 6-months on qualifying CodeCanyon purchases and 1 year on premium applications. Oh, and by the way, when you send an email, it's coming directly to me!

Operational Costs

Because at the end of the day, it always comes back to money. Here are some serious considerations you should be aware of when comparing a SaaS solution with one of my applications.

Recurring Payments

Software as a service (SaaS) is by definition: software you are licensed to use that some company serves up for you either online or locally using some licensing mechanism. The word service denotes something provided "over time." This equates to recurring payments and no right of ownership - more on that later.

Limited Resources

Since someone is hosting the software and provides it to a large population of users just like you, there is always a limit on the amount of resources offered to you. if you want more, you got to pay up - every month. Up time and resource packages are regulated by the company you're paying.

Limited Support

A part of the SaaS model involves supporting the software being provided. Unfortunately, support is limited to the functionality of the application, what is beneficial to the large-scale development process, and the vision of the providing entity a.k.a them, not you. This also leads to integration and data control issues.

Lack of Integration

Speaking into support, you should also consider that customization is not usually possible in most SaaS applications. So, if it doesn't do what you need, you either have to find another solution, or buy into another service for that aspect of your business. This equates to more recurring payments and multiple systems on someone else's domain.

No Data Access or Control

Who owns your data? I hope you read that long EULA! Regardless of whether you did or not, your company's data is sitting on someone else's servers, and should you need access to it for integration into other systems, most SaaS solutions respond with "I'm sorry this is not possible and doesn't meet the terms of service", leaving you stuck and frustrated.

High Cost Coupled with Impermanence

The bottom line is that you could end up investing thousands of dollars for an impermanent solution that is at the mercy of the market. At the end of the day you will walk away without the data and kick yourself for not doing what the big names do, and do it yourself. Think it costs a lot? Think again.

Leverage Free Tech. You know they are!

There are two main dimensions to coding, scripting, and programming a website or web application.

Client Side Scripting

The type of code that is executed or interpreted by browsers and generally viewable by any visitor to a site. I try to minimize the application of visitor-viewable code to a minimum and rely on it mainly for interface wiring and asynchronous actions such as front and back end communication and synchronization.

Common Client Side Terms and Tools:

  • HTML HyperText Markup Language
  • CSS Cascading Style Sheets
  • JavaScript ECMAScript built in the browser
  • Ajax Asynchronous JavaScript and XML
  • jQuery JavaScript Framework Library
  • Dojo Toolkit JavaScript Framework Library

Server Side Scripting

Code that is executed or interpreted by a web server such as Apache or Nginx and which is not generally viewable or accessible by any visitor or general public. These are the "wizards" behind the curtain so to speak. Things happen, but visitors don't get to see it in action and that's good for security.

Common Server Side Scripting Terms and Tools:

  • PHP Pre-Hypertext Processor - Linux / Unix based
  • ASP Microsoft Web Server (IIS)
  • ColdFusion Adobe's Web Application Framework
  • Ruby on Rails Ruby programming's Web Application Framework
  • Perl Server Side Scripting Language
  • Python General purpose high-level programming language

By the's all free and open source! That means no license fees or support fees to maintain or implement your vision!

Hosting it Online

Web-hosting and a custom web application can save you thousands while promoting flexibility and control of your operational process.

Choosing a host

Hosting is really more about personal taste now days. Most hosts are very competitive and offer outstanding deals. Digital Ocean, Linode, Media Temple, GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator, just to name a few, are all good options depending on your level of experience and your desired intent.

Various web hosting providers

Choosing a Plan

Shared, VPS, or Dedicated? It really comes down to your budget. A good shared plan can go a long way for a long time if you are just starting up so don't feel pressured to jump in over your head in the beginning.

With that said, the cheapest shared hosting plan could set you back only $60 USD a year (domain name included).

Some things to look for

  • Linux-based (Ubuntu, CentOS etc.)
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • PHP 7
  • cPanel License (Included)

Hosting it Locally

A decent in house server could cost as little as $300 USD.

Go with Linux Compatible Hardware

All of my applications, and the majority of other PHP-powered apps, run on Linux. That's not to say it can't be done using a Windows powered server, but for one, the cost is increased about $500 for the license alone. Besides, Linux is free and is the primary OS used by hosting platforms in the world. It's extremely secure and highly configurable. Trust me, you're going to love it - think Apple macOS, but free, and much more powerful!

Powered by your local network

All of my applications can be used in a small-business environment using a LAMP-stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) server served over a local area network. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. Basically, it's a computer you share on your network that stays on and everyone in your network can access. it's like your own private hosted solution, but your data is all in house on a machine you have complete control of.

The benefit of having it in house is that you pay a one-time up-front cost for the machine, getting the network setup (unless you're tech savvy), and any future hardware upgrades if you need to expand. The key thing to remember, is that you are in control and you don't pay recurring fees to accomplish the same task!

Use Cases

What you can accomplish with a self-hosted application is only limited by your imagination. Think of a problem that your business has and then think of a solution because the demands for companies to build Web Applications are growing substantially.

Web applications will:

  • Reach and service millions of consumers and businesses
  • Generate substantial, multi-layer / multi-category income from consumers, businesses and advertisers
  • Easily build business goodwill and assets based on audience reach, popularity, technology and potential growth

Good reasons to build web applications:

  • You want to streamline your internal departments and functions, operations, sales and project management, etc.
  • You want to take advantage of a web based application's flexibility and versatility, by moving away from the traditional desktop application platform to a web application platform
  • You want to gain more clients or better service your current clients by offering convenient services and solutions online
  • You want to build new web applications to offer innovative services or solutions to online users and businesses

What you can do

The better question is: What can't you do?

  • Scheduling
  • Online Training Delivery
  • File Sharing
  • Secure Messaging and Communication
  • Statistical Reporting
  • Business Analytics and Competitor Research
  • Project and Asset Management
  • E-commerce and Product Sales

Who might use a self-hosted solution?

  • Medical Offices
  • Charities
  • Freelancers
  • Small-Business Owners
  • Vehicle Dealerships
  • Government Applications
  • Schools and Universities
  • Restaurants

Business Impact

Today's web applications have substantial business impact on the way companies and consumers do business such as:

  • There are opportunities to gain the upper hand and bypass the traditional brick and mortar companies when this type of opportunity was rarely possible or existed before the explosion of the web
  • The new web created a global business environment which challenges the way in which traditional companies do business
  • Companies need to reinvent and evolve in order to compete in today's trends, online business and global marketplace
  • Businesses and consumers have more options and resources to research and easily compare and shop around for the best deals
  • Information and resources are immense and available to everyone who seeks it
  • Businesses or companies who used to profit from consulting or advice, that can now be easily acquired online are struggling, and will need to take a new business direction if they want to stay solvent.

What about OpenSource?

I love the open source community and a lot of the applications out there, but when it comes down to it there are too many singularities open source solutions can't meet. Do yourself a favor and get it made from the ground up!

Are you interested?

Take it back in-house!