The three Ws: Web hosting, WordPress or Website builder?

When creating a website, early on, those involved should decide on the exact breakdown of responsibilities between those in the business and outside companies contracted to provide services and technical knowledge. 

The three Ws represent three possible divisions of responsibilities, where external service companies handle some aspects of website creation, and the business others. 

With web hosting, a service provider sells space and access to a server (or virtual server) where the website can exist, but the content of that location is entirely down to the company to provide – whether crafted by them or another external firm. 

WordPress is a widely available content management system that was initially very popular with bloggers. Using it, a relative novice to the web can create a working website pretty swiftly, and private hosting services for this platform are widely available. 

The third alternative we’re discussing, a website builder, is a software tool for creating websites without any understanding of HTML or other technical knowhow. Once the site is completed and tested, it is uploaded to the hosted location, and the domain name then points to this server. 

An easy way to think of these different options is to imagine organizing a wedding reception.

Web hosting is the equivalent of hiring a venue, but doing all the catering yourself, so you get to choose exactly what people will eat. 

WordPress has a good selection of pre-prepared foods but doesn’t require the bride, groom or relatives to cook on the day. And using a website builder is like ordering pizza to be delivered to the reception. 

Let’s look in greater detail at what each option offers, and the strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches. 

Web hosting

Those who buy hosting have the most flexibility concerning the nature and content of their site. However, they are also taking on a greater workload to deliver the end product.

Most hosting businesses have some kind of website creation system that you get as part of the hosting package. But if you want to create an e-commerce solution, then it is likely that you will use the server space to host a third-party platform, or an entirely custom-built site. 

What you’ve bought is storage space and access to the site for internet users, and the rest is up to you.

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