January 21, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 3,737 Reads share

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Online Website Builders And CMS

Image Credit:

Online website builders are coveted tools for web enthusiasts and businessmen, assisting them with the development of small and medium sized website projects. Whereas traditional content management systems were primarily designed with the intention of administering big websites, online website builders mainly focus on websites with more manageable boundaries.

Online website builders are a great way to get a professional looking website for businesses and companies without wasting a lot of time trying to learn the basics of PHP or HTML. It permits users without the knowledge of programming, web designing and associated tools and utilities to create decent websites with the minimum of effort.

On the other hand, CMS platforms allow users all the intricate capabilities they want from their web projects. So, how do you decide whether an off the shelf website builder such as

A snapshot of online website builders and CMS – understanding the core essences

In terms of facilitating a website creation interface along with hosting provision, both approaches are pretty much similar, as web servers are used to render the package to the customer. The real difference between the two rests in subtle attributes such as scalability of the website, suitability for customization, range of additional features available, and of course, the purpose of the website creation exercise.

With cutting edge mobile app hosting, unlimited bandwidth support, and massive plugins libraries, both online website builders and CMS provide amazing website creation experiences to users. However, CMS solutions are more about providing hassle free, no holds barred, and completely customizable website building, online website builders are more structured and defined in their features sets.

Simply put, an online website builder employs an outside in approach, building a solution that can deliver a predictable outcome. On the other hand, CMS solutions involve an inside out approach, wherein the system can be tweaked, enhanced and scaled up to create what the user wants.

When to opt for website builders over CMS solutions?

For speedy website building

The most essential benefit of using online website builders to design a web page for a company is that it offers the user quick development options. The only thing users are required to do is choose a standard template and then proceed to add their rich content over it. If they are unfamiliar with the method of creating a web page, they must carefully follow a step-by-step procedure to develop their website. Not only does this save a lot of effort and time but it lets the user have access to a user interactive and fully functional website in a short amount of time.

For tight budget web projects

It does not matter how novice the user is in matters concerning the development and design of web applications and web pages when they are using online website builders which assist in the creation of impressive sites. They are easy to use and do not require a lot of time. Moreover, using online website builders happens to be a cost-effective option as opposing to hiring an expensive, professional web designer. The user might opt to pay a meagre amount as monthly fee for the services of the online website builder and they can have their web page developed without investing a lot of money.

When ‘looks’ matter the most

Each of the modern online website builders tends to possess a wide range of pre-built templates that provide the user with a host of choices regarding the final design of the website. These templates come to you from the canvasses of professional designers, and are hence potent enough to be the brand and the face for your website.

For a more navigable learning curve

One of the most significant advantages of using online website builders is that merely by following a couple of simple steps, the user gets a brand new website that is ready to go live on the Internet. Choosing a specific design, filling in the necessary content and details is all that it takes and this allows almost any user to build a website that meets their needs. This is immensely useful since it allows users without any knowledge of HTML or PHP to use the online website builders to create the website of their choice, which might otherwise have turned into a confusing and long-winded process. For novices, website builders prove to be the automatic choice.

For convenience in website building and management

When the user works with online website builders, they no longer have to upload files. During the development process of the websites, uploading or publishing web pages and images takes a great deal of time and effort. However, since the website builders tend to create their files directly into the web hosting account, you can skip the hassle of separately uploading files to the new website. This is an extremely useful feature of online website builders since it makes it simpler for beginners who have never experienced the process before.

When do CMS solutions fare better than online website builders?

Judging from the advantages, it might seem like online website builders are the best option at first glance but a closer look will reveal that in an effort to set up a new website, the owners of most small businesses overlook the research of how beneficial CMS solutions can actually be for them. There is no denying that cloud hosted website builders are incredibly easy to use and cheap but often they end up with unprofessional looking websites stored in poor hosting environments. For users with a tongue for experimentation and a desire for differentiation, content management systems make for a winning bet.

For flexible and fully customizable websites

The user must never compromise on the flexibility of the website but most of the layouts offered by online website builders are usually too limited to satisfy the imaginative needs. Websites developed with the aid of online website builders tend to have a universal look and feel and professionals will easily be able to tell a site builder on the first look. No matter how much expertise the user has with online website builder tools, they will never devise a way to edit the original HTML code in order to add some personalization to the layout. On the other hand, CMS solutions are all about understanding the core technology and then tweaking it in any manner to achieve the desired web output. Create the most differentiated and unique websites with CMS tools.

When ‘control’ is the key

The user can never claim ownership to the site since the actual copy of the site files, such as PHP, JPGs, HTML, and others that go into the development of the website will never be provided to them. Moreover, the user agreement of the online website builder does not guarantee any reimbursement for any loss, attacks, misplacement and deletion of the web files. With CMS, however, users can enjoy complete control and a sense of ownership with their websites.

For bulky websites

In case the user wants to develop a big website, such as an e-commerce website, CMS tools tend to be better options than online website builders. It is necessary for the user to understand that the site building companies store all their information, either or their server or by connecting to a database on the server of another provider. The bigger the website gets, the more potential there is for something to go wrong, especially during the maintenance of a huge inventory. Moreover, if the website requires any sort of added functionality, the online website builders are unable to implement Java, PHP and SQL. The number of add-ons that are usually offered when working with online website builders are generally not enough to make up for the benefits that are present in an open-source system. All these factors make CMS tools more appropriate for large websites.

A deeper analysis of Online Website builders and CMS

It is common for users to be confused whether to use CMS or pick the managed packages on offer from online website builders. It is necessary to pick the correct option to ensure fewer headaches and relatively less money spent on unnecessary tasks. From a technical standpoint, online website builders share a lot of similarities with CMS. Both are delivered via web servers aimed at designing and developing pages for site visitors but the primary difference stems from the actual experience of the end user and the service delivery.

Technical Aspects

Online website builders offer ease of use for the average web user and it is this accessibility which has enabled many users to launch a website in a matter of minutes. It is not up to the user to choose which server product or hosting should be chosen to build the perfect website for the company. Most of these aspects are taken care of by the online website builder and the only task of the user is to determine the specific branding, branding and payment options. In case of a CMS approach to website building, the user will have to plan in advance the programming languages and technology used to create the site.

The ultimate goal of the CMS platform is delivering a working hosting account with current services and servers to maintain the maximum availability and uptime. The launch of the site depends on the skill set and resources of the user. It is clear that online website builders possess the upper hand over CMS and though the latter provides a wonderful set of tools for website development, the final product depends on the user.

Launch Time

An online website builder enables the user to choose a template, add widgets and personalize the featured content to get the finished web page up and running in little time. On the other hand, CMS gives the user full control over the website elements and though this might not seem like a bad thing to veteran users, it is a nightmare for untested online publishers. Experienced CMS programmers carry out the testing, design, coding and implementation.

Therefore, online website builders fare well since the workflow gets streamlined and geared towards assisting non-coders in launching functional and highly attractive websites. Online website builders are generally considered difficult due to constant desire to help non-coders launched beautiful websites.

Cost Factor

Both the cost of launching websites via CMS and the online hosting driver cost almost the same. However, in general, the differences crop up depending on the path taken by the user – whether they wish to pay a developer to design the website for self-hosted solution or want to reimburse the developer. While CMS has been around for quite some years, users have barely scrapped the surface potential of online website developers.

At the end of the day, the ‘online website builders versus CMS’ debate is best solved with an intelligent mapping of a webmasters requirements, expectations and plans to the capabilities and the costs of an online website builder or a CMS tool.

Images: ”Content Management System 3d render concept with blue arrows on a bluegrey background./Shutterstock.com


Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us?

An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.

Michael Evans

Michael Evans

Read Full Bio