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Domains and Hosting and Platforms, Oh My! - Part 3

by BuxMont Web

Domains and Hosting and Platforms, Oh My! - Part 3

Choosing a Hosting Provider and Platform

Hosting providers and platforms can be closely bound, so the decision on one of these often affects the choices available for the other.

Site Builder Platforms

Online site builder platforms (Squarespace, Wix, Weebly) are usually tied to a particular hosting provider. You can only use their platform if you also use them as a hosting provider, and your site cannot be easily moved to a different host. If you decide to migrate away from them, usually you would need a new design built, and at least some parts would have to be migrated by hand.

There are some tools available to help migrate the content (blog posts, etc) into another CMS, but since their templates only work with their proprietary site builder platforms, you would most likely need a new design created from scratch.

Site builder platforms in general:

  • Although they may still involve a learning curve, are usually easier for a non-technical person to use
  • Usually have a visual editor that doesn’t require coding knowledge
  • Include ads on their free tier if they offer one
  • May have a limited number of themes to choose from
  • Usually are more limited with regard to customizations you can make
  • May not be optimized for search engines
  • May have limited eCommerce integration

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Websites built on Content Management Systems (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.) are highly customizable, but you may need professional assistance for anything more than a basic site with few customizations. Most can be used with many different hosting providers that offer standard Linux or Windows web hosting.

A CMS is additional software that is installed on top of your basic web hosting service. Some of the popular ones are included with many web hosting service packages. You can choose from a variety of paid and free themes and plugins to install in a CMS to customize your site with different designs and functionality.

If you use one of the popular CMS platforms, migrating to a different host can be relatively painless as long as both hosting plans offer the same CMS and control panel. That gives you a lot of freedom to move if you become dissatisfied with a hosting provider.

Custom Designed Hand-Built Websites

Another option is having a web designer/developer create a fully custom designed website built to your exact needs. With this option the developer is not constrained to the design limits of any other platform or content management system theme.

Custom Designed Hand-Built Websites

  • Can be used with any standard Linux or Windows web hosting platform
  • Require a professional to build
  • Design options and customizations are limitless
  • Can be migrated to a different host
  • Your web designer/developer handles content updates for you

Some these options can overlap. For example, Perch CMS is a lightweight CMS that can be added to a custom designed, hand-built website to make certain sections editable by you or your content management team. There is also a whole industry that has grown up around developing custom themes and plugins for WordPress and other popular CMS platforms. There are site builder plugins that can be installed in WordPress to provide visual editing capabilities, and the new default editor being developed for WordPress will provide some of this functionality as well.

Domains and Hosting and Platforms, Oh My! - Part 1

Domains and Hosting and Platforms, Oh My! - Part 2