Posted on Jun 30, 2014

The Difference Between Web Hosting and a Website Builder

There are lots of different ways to get a website online. Some of them require technical expertise and experience in things link HTML, CSS, and other coding languages. But there are ways to build a website without any of those skills – the easiest to use is a website builder. Website builders are suitable for anyone with a basic understanding of technology – if you can post photos or videos to Facebook then you meet the requirements. But do you need website hosting as well? And what is the difference between web hosting and a website builder.

The answer is found in The Louvre in Paris. Just kidding. Building a website has nothing to do with a Dan Brown thriller. But a comparison to The Louvre is still possible.

The Guided Tour – A Website Builder

The Louvre is home to some of the most important artworks in the world including the Mona Lisa and Venus of Milo. It is a fascinating place where the building itself is almost as stunning as the priceless works of art that it houses. It’s also huge.
For this reason many visitors to The Louvre pay for guided tours. By doing this they benefit from the knowledge of the guide as they get a better understanding of the individual artworks and their histories.

This is similar to using a website builder and is the opposite of the do-it-yourself approach. In our Louvre comparison, the do-it-yourself approach is adopted by those visitors that do not go on a guided tour. Instead they chart their own path and set their own pace, viewing the collections and individual pieces that they choose while conducting their own research.

Of course whether you go on a guided tour or you go-it-alone you must still visit The Louvre. Similarly you will need website hosting whether you use a website builder or not. The difference with a website builder is the hosting is usually included in the regular subscription.

Pros and Cons

There are benefits to both approaches – the Louvre-like guided tour / website builder, and the do-it-yourself option. Let’s start with the benefits of using a website builder like the iPage service WebSite Creator by CM4all.

Benefits of a website builder:

  • You do not need website building or programming experience or knowledge
  • They are easy to learn and you can build websites with them quickly
  • Everything works so you do not have to spend time with compatibility issues, bugs or broken functionality
  • Performance is optimized by your hosting provider
  • Your website hosting provider also takes care of the technical maintenance so that you just have to worry about content
  • They are capable of building everything from small brochure-type websites to full ecommerce stores

There are limitations with a website builder though. You will have a restricted number of templates to choose from and it is not possible to customize many (or any) of the elements or functions. Websites built with a website builder are also not as scalable as websites built using other platforms, although this will only be an issue if your website gets significant volumes of traffic.

Benefits of doing-it-yourself

  • You have more freedom over the visual design
  • You can customize the code to get your website looking and performing exactly how you want
  • The types of functions that you can add are almost limitless
  • When built correctly they are easier to scale – so you can handle higher levels of traffic

When it comes to dealing with your web hosting provider you will need hosting whichever option you choose – the guided website builder or the do-it-yourself approach. If you want to build the website yourself to save money and have more control but you do not want to spend weeks or months learning how to do it, go for the website builder option. If, on the other hand, you want the same sort of flexibility that you get by exploring The Louvre on your own then just buy the hosting and build the website yourself.