Disclaimer: Any products/services mentioned or recommended below are suggestions based on our own experiences. We have no affiliation with any of the products or services mentioned and you should always thoroughly and independently research your options to decide what is best for you.
When you first dip your toe into the world of website ownership, one of the first hurdles you might find yourself facing is which software option to use. We’ve broken down some of the most common choices below, to hopefully guide you through the process of choosing what option will best fit your purposes (and why we think it’s totally going to be WordPress!).
WordPress vs Managed Solutions (Squarespace/WIX etc) – What’s the difference?
To start out, it’s important to understand the difference between a self-hosted option such as WordPress, and a managed option such as Squarespace or WIX.
WordPress is open-source software that you can use for free on your own hosting account. You can change it and customise it in a completely unlimited fashion, with essentially no limitations.
In comparison, managed solutions such as Squarespace and WIX are only able to be used by signing up to these companies directly. For example, if you create a WIX website, you can only ever keep your website with WIX. You can never move it to another hosting company and you are limited to the functionality options that these platforms offer to you. Customisation is possible only in a very limited manner, and may not be enough for many website owners, particularly those wanting any special or customised functionality.
Limitations and future-proofing
One of the main reasons we recommend choosing WordPress for your new website, is to ensure that you don’t find yourself limited down the track as your business and website grows.
WordPress will always be significantly more flexible and customisable. So down the track, when you decide to add a new feature or function to your website, it’s not likely that you’ll run into too many problems achieving whatever it may be that you’d like to do. With a managed option however, you are always limited to whatever features and functionality that particular provider supports. Usually, the number of options on offer are significantly fewer than what can be achieved with open-source software such as WordPress.
WordPress is free, now and always! You don’t need to pay to use WordPress software and a huge range of plugins and themes. All you need is a personal or business web hosting account to install it on. Pricing for a web hosting account typically starts around $6.90 per month.
In comparison, managed solutions will generally cost at least 3-8x more than this per month, depending on which plan you choose and features you need. If you wish to sell products or services on your website, you are very likely to need the higher-end plans.
Features and functionality
Finally, the difference in features and functionality between WordPress and many managed solutions is significantly different. WordPress currently holds almost 60% market share of all website software solutions. This staggering volume of usage means that there are countless developers providing high quality themes and plugins to cater to all kinds of feature requirements that you may have. It can usually be said that the bigger the user base, the better the options, and WordPress in this case is no exception.
Looking to set up a non-profit and take donations? Perhaps you want to design and sell online courses? Create comprehensive and sophisticated forms? There are highly reputed, industry-leading WordPress plugin developers covering almost every base you can think of, ensuring you’ll always be able to find the functionality you need.
In comparison, managed solutions offer limited system functionality and plugin developers for these platforms tend to be fewer in number. It may even be the case that certain features you’re looking for are just not possible at all on certain platforms.
Have we convinced you yet of the wonders of self-hosted WordPress? WordPress truly is a fantastic, versatile choice for any new website owner. With approximately 75 million other websites estimated to be using WordPress at this time, you can rest assured you’ll be in good company.
That’s it from us for this week. As always, if you have any questions about this post or our shared hosting, VPS, reseller or dedicated server plans, simply call us on 1300 MY HOST (694 678) during business hours, or submit a ticket through our Support Portal and one of the crew will be in touch!