For a website to be visible you need to publish it online somewhere so that people can access it. Since it is not practical, for a whole variety of reasons, for you to have your own server, you will more than likely have to rely on someone else for this hosting service. Generally you have 2 options – a hosted or a self hosted solution.
In recent years the DIY market has exploded and today there are an abundance of great “hosted” web solutions that combine domain registration, drop & drag design, website hosting as well as “extras” such as email, ecommerce and social media integration for a complete “all in one” package. In other words you can design, build and publish a website online with a single service provider all for a monthly hosting fee.
This “hosted” solution is quickly becoming an attractive solution for many as DIY design & build options become more robust. The back-end for most of these platforms is user-friendly and is built for ease of use to accommodate users with limited or no technical knowledge. There is no coding expertise required, thereby eliminating the need to hire a developer. Most also provide strong tech-support teams to assist users with any issues that may arise.
When you use an ‘all in one’ service like this though the Website and the Hosting can be forever tied into one package. In other words, you can’t move your Website to another server if you want without completely re-creating it. This means that the “theme” you base your website on is not transferable. What if your service fee suddenly went up higher than you like? What if the service from the Host company wasn’t that good? Or your online needs change over time? Then you might consider a self hosted solution. This is one where you can still utilize a Content Management System framework but you control where the site is hosted. And most CMS platforms, such as WordPress, can be moved seamlessly from one server option to another.
Just as the hosted DIY market has exploded so has the demand for DIY self hosted websites. This demand for “open source” web platforms has brought a lot of programmers into the space. Built on open source platforms these programmers have developed easy to use drag & drop builders that work with “themes” that allow the freedom of adding/modifying features as well as building a customized design unique to your brand. They also allow for constant improvements and enhancements to the user experience on the site, which is important in today’s highly competitive online space. The result is a customized solution that is consistent with your brand. It also allows for a multitude of plugins and add-ons which can also be customized to your brand. This level of customization is not always possible with self-hosted platforms.
For this reason you may choose to build your website on a CMS Builder theme that is flexible and allows the developed webpage to be hosted anywhere. There are several excellent CMS frameworks and website hosting options. However make sure the server option you choose has enough capacity to manage your needs, has limited downtime (time in which your site will be inaccessible to the public), has proper security in place, offers timely customer service to address any issues and that the fees are understood up front.
We recommend that you hire a developer/consultant to set up the CMS theme and the hosting package for you. This will involve an upfront cost but could save you time and money in the long run. And by selecting a user friendly CMS framework & a comprehensive hosting package you can avoid ongoing programming costs by managing the ongoing site content yourself. Leaving you with more time for your business.