Backend

Even with the ease of a website editor, there are still backend considerations to weigh. Domain registration, hosting, security, testing environments, and language options are probably one-time, up-front decisions, but can add hours to a web project. Particularly in this category, if convenience is important to you the website editors are going to come out ahead; the web editors have bet their business models on the fact that you'll pay a few extra dollars for set-it-and-forget it convenience. 

 Domain Registration & Hosting 

You need two things to launch a site - a domain (your URL) and hosting (the computer that holds all your files so they are online and available when someone types in your URL. These are both recurring annual costs.
 Verdict: WP vs WE depends on your priorities.
But all three web editors are about the same. 
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Wix

 

All three Web Editors make it easy to purchase a domain and hosting, with their monthly fees all in the same $12-$25/month range depending on the package. You can purchase your domain anywhere and transfer to Wix, SquareSpace or Weebly, or purchase directly through the platform. Wix and SquareSpace offer one free year domain registration when you purchase an annual hosting plan - which will save you $12+ depending on the domain popularity. They all offer super easy setup, including CNAME record configuration so you can use your custom domain for your email addresses.

SquareSpace

Weebly

WordPress

 

Set up hosting through a dedicated provider (think Dreamhost, Go Daddy, Network Solutions, etc) for about $7+ a month. While less expensive than our other three options, you pay for convenience and automatic setup with others where you'll need to manually set up your own WordPress hosting. If you're not particularly technical, make sure you have a vendor who can help or choose a hosting provider with excellent support.

 Sandbox/Testing  

Rather than making changes to your live site, it's typical to spin up a test site or "sandbox" that isn't discoverable.
Verdict: Wix
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Wix

Easily duplicate your site without publishing it to the web. When you're ready to launch, easily repoint your domain in a few clicks. Wix also automatically saves backup versions of your site (similar to Apple's Time Machine) so if you do make a mistake it's easy to roll it back.

SquareSpace

Limited- you can duplicate your site and use a 14-day free trial, then convert to a paid site and re-point your domain. You'll need a unique email to set up a new account for the free trial, so not ideal but can be a work-around.

Weebly

 

Doesn't appear to have any option for this.

WordPress

Do-able, but not easy for someone who's not familiar with hosting configuration. Subdomain setup through your hosting provider with a dedicated test/sandbox site, then repoint the domain when you're ready to launch.

 Language 

Do you have multilingual visitors interested in your business? Building a site with multiple language capabilities is a big undertaking.
Verdict: Wix

Wix

 

Spin up to 100 different languages on your site easily with Wix Multilingual. The tool creates separate versions of your website (NOT copies which is important for SEO implications) that you can then edit and optimize in different languages. It's a pretty slick way to add other languages to your site without a ton of additional dev work. You still need to populate the translated copy - it is not a text translator (which is good because they always sound like a computer, not a native speaker, translated them).

SquareSpace

It's possible to build manually if you set up your homepage and site structure appropriately initially. There is good documentation online on how to do it, but it's definitely a workaround not a feature.

Weebly

With the Multilanguage plugin ($3 a month) you can manually translate individual pages. It's built to deliver a shopping experience in multiple languages, but can be used throughout the entire site.

WordPress

 

Many, many large enterprise multilingual sites are hosted on WordPress, so it's definitely possible. However it's not particuarly easy. You can create duplicate pages in various languages, or leverage a few of the available plugins. Either way, it's something that you need to consider during your initial build and spend some time researching the best way to do it for your situation.

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 Security 

Between malicious hacks and outdated browser compatibility (leaving your site vulnerable), it's important to consider how you're going to keep your site up to date. 
 Verdict: WP vs WE depends on your priorities.
But all three web editors are about the same. 

Wix

 

A huge advantage of any of the website builders over WordPress is that they handle security for you. There's nothing to update and they have teams of people dedicated to avoiding security breaches and browser compliance. That said, if you install non-Wix apps there may be updates required but they are typically handled in your editor platform.

SquareSpace

Weebly

WordPress

 

You'll have to manually handle installing and updating your WordPress instance and any plugins. Since so many sites are built on WordPress it can be a hacker target, but as long as you stay on top of updates the sites are generally quite secure. Do be cautious about the plugins you choose to use - the quality and integrity of plugin developers is pretty broad.

Ready to Start?

Whether you still have questions about website platforms, or are ready to pull the trigger, we'd love to chat.