Building your first website can feel nearly the same as doing your taxes.
It’s confusing, there’s a lot of information out there, and if you obtain something wrong it could come back to bite you in a big way down the line.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll create early on is whether or not to construct the website yourself using a web host and CMS, or just consider a website builder. This decision determines where your website “lives” and how you customize this.
There are pros and cons aplenty for both. But it’s absolutely crucial that you know the difference between them and what they offer before you make a decision.
That’s why you’re here (I assume). Whether or not you’ re a newbie blogger building your first website, or you’re a seasoned vet who’s looking for an alternative to what you have, we want to help.
We’ve put together this guide to help break down the basics when it comes to web hosting and website contractors. They each offer different advantages, features, and tools. What you ultimately choose though is about you.
What we’ll cover:
- How a internet site works
- What exactly is web hosting?
- Varieties of web hosting
- The advantages and cons of web hosting
- What is a website builder?
- Key features of an excellent website builder
- The pros and cons of the website builder
- Conclusion: What kind is better?
Let’s jump in.
How a website functions
Before we all jump into the nitty gritty of web hosts and builders, we need to make sure you understand how a web site works.
Once you distill it down, an internet site is simply a collection of digital property such as images, videos, or even text. These assets live on physical pieces of hardware called “web host servers. ”
Every single web site on the Internet exists on computers. They’re typically housed in physical data centers worldwide.
There are many different types of web hosts out there—but we’ll jump into that later.
People access websites using a browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox. That connects your personal computer to the server allowing you to accessibility the website.
Takeaway: The comparison between web hosts vs website builders is misleading. Websites made on website builders will also be on web hosts.
However , you can create a website without a website constructor. That just means you’ll have to locate a web host and connect to this yourself (again, more on that later).
Think of websites as publications. It can have as many or as little pages as you want. You can have different images or text on those webpages.
Think about website servers as the racks you store your book on. If you want to gain access to that book, you’ll need to stroll to the shelf to get this (web browsers).
What is web hosting?
As explained over, web hosts are exactly where your website will live. It’s the way in which your audience will certainly access your blog, videos, web pages, images, and whatever else you want to show the world.
If you choose this route for your website, it means that you’ll have to choose three stuff:
- Web host. These are services that provide you having a variety of different types of hosting choices.
- Domain name. This is going to be the URL for your website, or what people type into the URL bar to access your articles.
- Content management system (CMS). This is the software you’ll use to add and create content for your website.
Going with a hosting company is a much more involved method of creating your website. However , that results in more customization plus greater control over your content.
Ultimately, it is the method I recommend for anyone developing a website. But there are plenty of good reasons to choose a website builder too.
Go deeper: Want a full breakdown of exactly how web hosting works? Here’s our comprehensive guide online hosting for more information.
Types of web hosting
There are a ton of different types of web hosting out there. The one you choose depends on a wide variety of different factors:
- Just how much traffic you anticipate on getting
- How big you want your website to be
- The type of content you need on your website
- Your budget
… and more! Let’s take a moment now to look at the most common forms of web hosting. I’ll briefly clarify how they work and exactly why it might be a good fit for you personally.
Shared web hosting
Shared web hosting is the most typical type of hosting—and it’s the one I recommend for beginners.
Your website is hosted on the server that’s shared in your way on the path to other websites (thus title “shared web hosting”). All the resources of that server are split between you almost all.
Pros: It is cheap! Think of it like splitting an apartment with roommates. You’ll share some of the exact same resources, but you’ll be able to split the bill with them so it won’t be as expensive.
Cons: But that means that if there are a spike in visitors on any of the other internet sites, there’s a chance your website could slow down or even crash.
VPS web hosting
Virtual personal server (VPS) web hosting may be the next step up from shared hosting. It’s one you should look towards if you want more resources for your website.
Like shared web hosting, your website divides a server with other internet sites. However , the difference is the quantity of websites you’re splitting the server with is lower. Also, the server is partitioned off into a virtual machine for your website. It basically acts as its own dedicated machine.
Pros: It’s more powerful and gives you more resources than a shared server. It is a lot like renting an apartment every to yourself rather than breaking one with roommates.
Negatives: It’s more expensive than a shared web host. Also, to really take full advantage of it, you are going to need a little bit more technical understand how.
Impair web hosting
This type of hosting gives your website the opportunity to live on several different servers (aka the cloud) rather than on one one.
That means if you encounter an issue with one server or data center, your website will likely be fine because it can depend on the network of computers.
Pros: This is an incredibly scalable type of web hosting. It’s great if your internet site occasionally needs more or less resources.
Downsides: This is one more more expensive option when it comes to hosting. Adding more servers also demands more effort than merely buying a plan that currently includes those resources.
Dedicated web hosting
This really is arguably the “best” type of web hosting. It entails having your own dedicated server for your website to live on—and only your website.
That means no sharing assets. No worrying about spikes in traffic to other websites possibly taking down your website. Rather, it’s just for you and your business.
Pros: This really is like having an entire house to yourself. You can use all the resources for yourself and customize this however you please.
Cons: You’ll be to the hook for any maintenance costs for your server. Dedicated website hosting is also typically the most expensive choice.
Other types of web hosting
Above were are just some of the most popular options when it comes to website hosting. In truth, there TONS more out there—a few that individuals often cover here upon Quicksprout.
Should you be interested in learning more about all the wide variety of web hosting options—or if you’re looking for a more in-depth description of the ones we already covered—check out our assets below:
- How Web Hosting Works
- The 6 Forms of Web Hosting to Consider
- Best Web Hosting Services
The Pros plus Cons of Web Hosting
If you choose to go the road of choosing your own hosting company and building your own website using a CMS like Wp, you should know about the benefits and pitfalls of doing so.
Even though I recommend this method for anyone trying to develop a blog or a website for business, it’s not for the weak hearted.
Let’s take a look at three pros and three cons of heading this route now.
Pro: Greater control of your website
If you choose the do-it-yourself method of creating a website, you’re ultimately going to have greater control over the way your website looks, feels, plus performs.
A big part of this is because you’ll be able to choose your own content material management system (CMS). This is how you’ll manage every resource that goes into your website such as blogs, videos, and pictures.
With the right CMS, you’ll also be able to customize the look of your website in any way that you want.
Furthermore, choosing your own web host indicates if you’re unhappy with your present web host, you can always switch to a better one that suits your needs. Of course , migrating web hosts could be a bit of a pain in the butt—but many web hosting companies provide to do it for free for you.
Pro: Much better performance
Perhaps the most important aspect of a good site is fast loading moments. In fact , this should be near the top of your priorities list once you create your site.
Why? Simple: Webpages that take a long time to launch lose traffic. This isn’t just hearsay either. There’s plenty of data to back this particular up.
In fact , slow loading times are found to lead to quite high abandonment rates. 40% of individuals abandon websites that consider more than 3 seconds to load.
You go through that correctly. Just three or more seconds can mean the difference among losing nearly half your own potential web traffic or not.
Now just having the ability to choose your web host doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have better loading times. However , it can mean that you’ll have greater control of the things that do determine loading times such as the ability to decrease HTTP requests, browser caching tools, and the ability to decrease file sizes of your images.
Professional: More pricing options
Choosing to go this particular route means that there’s a lot more flexibility when it comes to pricing. If there’s a web host that is too expensive, you can scale back easily.
Of course , that doesn’t necessarily mean that will going this route may be the cheapest option (we’ll enter into that with the first con). But it does afford you more flexibility. If there’s a feature or tool a person don’t like with a certain web host, you can opt out of individuals features and tools.
The same can not necessarily be said with a website builder which often hair you into certain programs. These plans can be restricted and don’t offer the range of pricing options that you have whenever you’re choosing your own hosting options and CMS.
With that said ….
Con: Usually more expensive
Good web hosts give you a lot more resources for your website, higher uptime rates (how usually your website stays up plus doesn’t crash), greater loading speeds, and more.
However , the catch is you’ll wind up paying out more for those web hosting options.
Yes, you can find “free” web hosting options available. Yet those are extremely limited in what they offer, and you’re never going to get a good, world-class website with those options.
Instead, if you select a good web hosting provider like BlueHost, you’ll be getting quality servers and support for your website no matter what you need. Yet that means you’ll see a bigger hit to your pocket book—especially if you want some of their better functions.
Que tiene: More work for you
Let’s make this clear if this wasn’t already: going the particular do-it-yourself route means you’ll have to do everything yourself.
From choosing a web host, to connecting your domain name to the host, in order to choosing a good CMS, in order to design—everything is going to be up to you.
Of course , you could just hire someone to do all of it for you, but that takes money and resources you might not have.
It’s not the hardest thing to do in the world. But this method will require more time than simply signing up for an internet site builder and letting them care for the majority of the work. This is especially true when it comes to the design of your website.
Luckily, there is a wealth of resources available that can help even the newest internet site manager build a great website. Here are a few from us at QuickSprout:
- The right way to Create a Website (Step-By-Step Guide)
- Website Planning in 4 Steps plus 20 Minutes
- How to Create a Website Using WordPress
Okay, that’s a pretty solid introduction to web hosting. Now let’s take a look at website builders!
What is a website builder?
Website contractors are platforms that care for the vast majority of the work of creating a website for you.
The way they work is very simple: go to the website, pick a domain name, design your web pages, and voila! There is a website.
They will walk you through every step, which makes a website contractor a perfect solution for beginners. It allows you to create a world-class searching website in just a few minutes. Significantly, some of these website builders help you create one that looks like a person paid six figures to a programmer for it. They’re that good.
I highly recommend utilizing a website builder if you a). Don’t need to be serious about constructing traffic and b). Simply looking to create a website along with 1-3 pages so visitors get an idea about you and your business.
As such, website builders are great for:
- Dining places
- Local businesses
- Hobby sites
- Student groups
- Community projects
- “ Resume” sites
- Short term projects
There is a ton of great website contractors out there too. Each one offers their own benefits, features, plus tools to help you create a excellent website for your needs.
However , when we break this down by the top 1 million websites, there’s one website builder that stands out as the clear favorite for most users: Squarespace.
Actually according to a trends break down from Built With, Squarespace makes up about 41% of the market share of website builders.
Does that mean you should use Squarespace? No, not necessarily. Squarespace possesses some very good features plus benefits. However , there are plenty of good stuff to say about a lot of some other website builders out there.
To help you filter down your choices, here are the five best ones we recommend.
Essential features of a good website constructor
When taking a look at all the website builders around, there are a few things that you should keep in your mind.
Each website builder acts as its own CMS. That means the good ones will provide you with plenty of attractive templates to assist you easily design your website.
Here are a few web page templates from Wix, a great website builder for ecommerce web sites:
Not only are there a lot of layouts, but each one looks excellent right out of the box. All you require to do is jump in and change some of the copy and maybe a few images.
Make sure the website constructor you’re looking at offers a lot of templates too, across a wide variety of different topics/industries. For example , within the image below Squarespace provides templates in industries and topics such as portfolios, picture taking, online stores, blogs, events, weddings, musicians, CVs, and more.
Guarantee the website builder you’re taking into consideration includes a robust set of tools to help your search engine performance. This really is crucial for being discovered organically in this day-and-age.
The tools they might include are customizable meta titles (this is the title of your web page that appears in the search engine result), keyword planning tools (in case you want to target certain keywords), and alt tags for images (in case your image does not load properly).
Wix has an whole suite of great SEO tools to help you plan out your marketing strategy.
It even helps you automatically optimize across your entire site, so you don’t have to go through web page by page to adjust copy and images. Very helpful.
Easy to use
This one might seem like a no brainer, but it is incredibly important– especially if you’re a beginner and want more of a hands-off experience with your website.
You need to make sure that your website can easily be edited by you. From the copy, to the styles, to the images, to the video clips needs to be able to easily customized or removed entirely.
Many site builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace accomplish this by include drag-and-drop editors. This allows you to simply drag different elements like text boxes or images around on the web page and place it exactly where you’d like.
You’ll be able to discover changes as they happen in real time.
The pros plus cons of a website contractor
Now that we know about a few specific things you should look for in a good website builder, let’s breakdown whether or not it’s really worth this.
Professional: Great for beginners
With most offering easy drag-and-drop builders, great out-of-the-box templates, and tutorials to hold your hand through every step of the site building process, they are a great solution for beginners of all stripes.
Not only that, but it’s also a good answer for people who don’t need a lot out of a website. For example , you might just be a photographer who have needs a portfolio for all of the images. Or you might need a web site for your restaurant or company that just requires a landing page describing who and in which you are.
All those things can be accomplished quickly with a website builder. Few that with great equipment like drag-and-drop editors or even SEO tools, and you’ll end up being set.
Pro: Free plans
Many website builders furthermore come with free plans. These are incredibly helpful for bloggers plus entrepreneurs on a tight budget (which, let’s be honest, are many bloggers and entrepreneurs).
Websites such as Wix and Weebly both offer a free plan, which includes a set of templates for you to choose from as well as a finite amount of storage space and bandwidth.
You might also be limited in the ability to accept online payments, along with other tools such as Google Analytics. Websites like Wix also require you to operate Wix ads on each page along with the favicon in the URL.
But it’s a good option if you just want to get up plus running for free.
Con: Limited customization
The website you create with a website builder will be fairly limited with regards to how you’ll be able to personalize it.
Since most website builders only allow you to use their particular templates, they can result in resembling cookie-cutter imitations of one an additional. For example , you’ll only have the ability to put text in a certain spot or images/videos in another.
If you want to be able to further personalize your website, you’ll need to turn to creating your own website using a CMS like WordPress for best results.
Con: Marketing and SEO
We mentioned above that a good feature for website builders is SEO tools. However , that doesn’t necessarily mean that site builders are the best choice if you’re looking to really go after your search engine rankings.
In fact , it’s quite the opposite.
Websites that are made up of WordPress typically dominate when it comes to organic search traffic. Whereas, those that use website builders such as Wix completely fall on the face.
This isn’t me just talking away from my behind either—there’s information to back this upward.
In one research from Ahrefs, they found that 46. 1% associated with WordPress websites got more monthly search traffic, while only 1. 4% of Wix sites got monthly research traffic.
This particular doesn’t tell the whole tale of course. For one, this simply shows that more SEO function has been done on Wp websites than Wix. Which makes sense since WordPress rules the market when it comes to CMSs.
However , one thing is clear: The majority of people who are seriously interested in SEO marketing typically don’t use website builders like Wix. Instead they turn to WordPress.
Conclusion: Which one is better? (Spoiler: Probably web hosting)
So which one perform we think is better?
Like all things in life, it depends.
If you’re a beginner who’s searching for a simple, yet attractive web site for your blog, portfolio, or business, go with a website constructor. This is especially true if you’re looking to develop an ecommerce website, as most website builders are tailor-made for that.
For everyone else though, I am unable to recommend purchasing a domain, web host service, and CMS enough. It gives you fuller control over your website and platform. Additionally, it allows you to grow your website better through SEO marketing.