Thinking of creating your first website, but not sure where to start due to information overload? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. While in theory everyone can create a fully functional yet great-looking site today, it’s much more complicated once you try to implement it.
For starters, you will have to purchase a domain name (Opens in a new tab). Then you need to think about choosing the right web hosting (Opens in a new tab) Service – Rich in features but not something only the rich can afford. Next, you’ll want to address the issue of site building tools – that is, how you intend to build your site. And all the while you will be coming up with content for your soon to be successful site.
If you are new to website building, chances are you will use both website builder (Opens in a new tab) And a web hosting service – however, you can do without one of them. Also, you may be wondering about website builders and web hosts and what role they will play in your online venture.
If all of the above is true, then continue reading this comparative guide. We’ll explain what these two products/services are, what makes them similar and different, why you need either, and which one might be a better option for you.
What is a website builder?
In the old days, creating a website meant being familiar with lines of code, having web designer skills, and spending a lot of time and energy on your online project. Now, it’s a completely different story, and fortunately so is it.
The number one tool that makes building beautiful websites accessible to everyone is the Website Builder. It is a software solution created to create all kinds of websites (simply) and requires no technical knowledge. Conversely, you can have a fully functional website up and running in a matter of hours.
To keep things simple, most site builders use an easy-to-use site editor with a beginner-friendly user interface (UI) and drag-and-drop functionality. Also, there should be plenty of ready-made, mobile-friendly templates and themes that can be modified to your liking.
The main advantage of using a website builder is the simplicity and speed involved in creating a website with it. Also, most website designs are budget friendly, so you don’t have to worry about your budget running out anytime soon.
However, this lack of complexity can be stifling for an ever-changing, evolving business website. Also, the cookie-cutter principle behind creating these sites doesn’t leave much room for advanced customization – which means your site may eventually look like any other site in cyberspace.
For example, with website builders, you won’t be able to use plugins like some open source website building solutions (such as WordPress (Opens in a new tab)), and there are some powerful plugins for just about everything. You name it, there is a plugin for that out there.
Unfortunately, with a website builder, you will always be short on options.
What is web hosting?
In short, web hosting is an online service that makes your site and its content available on the Internet – it’s a server where your site “lives”. The service provider that makes this possible is called a web hosting provider, or web host for short. There are several types of web hosting and which one you want to use depends on your personal and professional needs.
If you want to start a personal blog or a simple website, a pocket-friendly shared hosting plan should suffice. It allows multiple sites to use a single “shared” server, which makes this option cheap but tight on server resources (CPU, storage space, bandwidth, and RAM).
However, if you need a web host for a very important professional website, you will need something more powerful than shared hosting. Virtual Private Hosting (VPS (Opens in a new tab)) is probably the first upgrade you want to make and that means you will get private hosting resources hosted on a virtual server. So while you will be using the same server with other users, your virtual space on it and all your resources are yours alone.
For those who want more, there is dedicated server hosting (Opens in a new tab). As suggested, the entire server will be allocated to you. Not surprisingly, it is the most expensive type of hosting today.
There is also cloud hosting (Opens in a new tab)which is similar to a VPS but hosted by a cloud service provider – meaning your site will be hosted on the cloud and use cloud resources.
Managed hosting is a subtype of several types of hosting and this means that the web host will take care of setting up, configuring, managing, maintaining and supporting the server. The most popular managed hosting subtypes include managed VPS, managed cloud, and managed dedicated server hosting.
Last but not least is co-location (Opens in a new tab) Hosting It is a great alternative to hosting an on-premises data center or using a dedicated server hosting service. For this, you will use your own servers, storage, and other IT equipment and place them in a co-located data center optimized for such equipment. This is a powerful, cost-saving strategy for large, mission-critical companies.
The main advantages of using web hosting include affordable pricing, solid site performance, strong security, tons of free perks, customer support to count on, and the sheer simplicity of the service.
On the downside, web hosting can go from pocket-friendly to costing a pretty penny as your site grows. Also, if you are using shared hosting (Opens in a new tab) Plan your site may run out of space to grow and suffer from poor performance. Plus, since no company is truly immune from data breaches, you’ll be putting your trust (and sensitive data) in the hands of your service provider.
Similarities and differences
While a web hosting service and a website builder both play a role in building a site, they are not the same once placed side by side. First, most website builders do not offer web hosting services and never serve as servers to host multiple websites.
At the same time, while some web hosting packages include a website builder as a bonus, this isn’t always the case. In addition, you can create a site without using a website builder – you can use a Content Management System (CMS). (Opens in a new tab)), create it yourself using HTML and CSS (if you have the technical know-how, that is), or hire a professional designer to do it for you.
Simply put, a website builder is a tool that you can use to create a website, while a web hosting service is vital if you want to publish your newly created website online.
Do I need web hosting and website builder?
In short, every website needs a domain name and web hosting – so if you want to have a fully functional website, you can’t go without a web hosting service. Alternatively, if you have the requisite technical knowledge and the budget to support it, you could host a “self-hosted” server – however, it would be very expensive and difficult.
On the other hand, while a website builder offers the most beginner-friendly way to create a site, you can use some other site building alternatives like CMS, build it from scratch with HTML and CSS, or pay a professional to do the trick.
Web Hosting vs Website Builder: Which is Better?
If you are new to all this and want a simple solution to build an amazing website, then website builder is probably the best option for you. Some of the most popular website builders (such as Weebly (Opens in a new tab)and Squarespace and Wix (Opens in a new tab)) also includes free web hosting (Opens in a new tab) services, so you don’t have to worry about that.
Meanwhile, everyone else will benefit from an easy-to-use, cost-effective, and extendable CMS because it’s a more customizable and less throttling solution for complex websites. And if you are familiar with lines of code, you can go a step further and build your site from the ground up. Simply register your domain name, choose a reliable web hosting package, and start building your site now.