Picking out a hosting platform is kind of like deciding on the perfect outfit — you factor in where you’re going (outdoor adventure or sit-down dinner), the atmosphere of the location (black tie or semi-casual), and heck, you might even have to take the temperature into consideration (as a perpetually cold individual, I never go anywhere without a jacket). Needless to say, if my boyfriend makes dinner reservations at a five-star restaurant for our two-year anniversary, you won’t catch me wearing sneakers and khakis.
Hosting platforms are exactly the same. They might sound a little more daunting, but you can easily break them down and determine which plan best suits your needs.
Sneakers and Website Builders
Website builders are the What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) platforms used by novice creators and many first-time business owners. They’re the comfortable sneakers you wear around for hours. They’re familiar. Easy. Workable. Same can be said for WYSIWYG products.
If you’ve never tried your hand at website design, this is definitely the way to go. Most of these builders have a drag-and-drop feel — one that even first-time creators can master. If your online venture is strictly informational, you could use something like GoDaddy’s Website Builder. Or, if you’re planning on selling goods or services online, there are e-commerce stores available, too.
All of these options pride themselves on ease of use. There isn’t any need to fret about coding. You just have to write up your business details, snag a few photos for your products, and publish your site. It’s as easy as pairing those sneakers with your favorite jeans (we all have them).
Kitten Heels and Managed WordPress
Kitten heels and a blouse — my go-to attire. It’s a step up from the jeans and T-shirt wardrobe, and walking in heels is always a tad trickier than strutting in sneakers. Sometimes, you just gotta take it up a notch. With hosting, that means Managed WordPress.
If you don’t know much about Content Management Systems (CMSs) or databases or any other techy jargon, then look no further than Managed WordPress. Definitely more advanced than a WYSISWG site, there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to WordPress. Yet, with that knowledge comes the ability to customize your site on an entirely new level.
Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just someone with time on their hands, WordPress is always a viable option. It’s easy to use, and it’s the most popular site-building platform out there — which means there’s a ton of support for it and even more customizable themes and plugins. Plus, with Managed WordPress, the platforms are specifically built to optimize the efficiency of WordPress.
Stilettos and Blank Platforms
Alright, time to roll up your sleeves (or rather, go sleeveless and opt for a dress). When you’re ready to spend all day preparing for the perfect night out, then you’re ready for a blank hosting platform.
If you’re not a seasoned designer or developer, I’d highly suggest you stick with either a website builder or Managed WordPress. A blank slate is great if you know what you’re doing, but have you ever walked into a store packed with so many options that you could barely determine which way to look? That’s what a blank platform is like.
Let’s say you are ready to break out those black stilettos with the slick, red bottoms. They look fantastic. They’re amazing. They’re every girls’ dream. We get it — you go, girl. Just make sure you’ve got the skills to pull them off (have you ever tried to walk in those things for more than an hour?). Or, if you’re testing the waters, just make sure you have the time to learn how to effectively use the tools. Do you need FTP access? How are you coding your site? Will you need Windows or Linux (and trust me — just because you have a Windows computer doesn’t mean you need Windows hosting)?
These are some of the basic questions you’ll need to address when determining a hosting solution. And that’s just the platform. If you’re the type who’s interested in a personal stylist, then you might need a designer on your side, too. Just find yourself a reliable professional to help make your site look like it’s ready for the Oscars.