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Website builder vs. web hosting: How they differ

A website is essential for your business, regardless of whether you’re managing a small side hustle or launching a company with multiple employees. When potential customers are interested in your products or services, one of the first things they’ll look for is an official web presence. You have the portfolio and the work — now, you just need an online home to showcase your wares and attract more customers. Luckily, it’s easier now than ever before to build a site and go live within minutes

But if you’re a website novice, you might have some questions about how to get this show on the road. You’ll need to build the website itself, and find a place for it to “live” on the internet so it can be accessible around the clock. In this guide, we’ll break down website builders vs. web hosting, explain misconceptions and differences between the two, and help you decide what process to achieve website perfection is right for you. 

Website builder vs. web hosting: What are the differences?

A website builder is a tool to build your own website. Using a website builder is optional, but it’s extremely helpful — particularly if you don’t have previous web development experience. 

Website hosting, on the other hand, offers a place on the internet for your website content to live and be accessed by other internet users. No matter how you choose to build a website, you’ll need hosting services

If you decide to use a website builder, it will likely offer hosting as part of your building package. When you only buy website hosting services, you’ll need to connect it to all the other parts required to make your website go live, including a content management system (CMS), domain name, and a secure site license (SSL). You may also need a professional web developer to code the site.

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5 things to know about website builders

1. Website builders are an all-in-one solution.

If you don’t speak a computer’s language, this comprehensive solution is your new best friend. It’s your one-stop-shop for success because it has everything you need to go live. Instead of purchasing separate services and products and connecting them yourself, or hiring a developer to do it, you can pay one cost-effective price. And you don’t have to worry about hosting because they’ve got that covered, too. That’s because website builders can also be a part of a hosting platform as a built-in cPanel plugin, which is necessary to ensure all parts of your site connect and function together properly.

2. You can launch your website with ease.

Most site builders can get your site live within minutes. Since everything is usually already included, you can focus solely on crafting the overall appearance and content of your digital home. This eliminates the stress of waiting weeks or months that comes from working with a web developer to build your site from the ground up.  

3. There are plenty of templates to choose from.

In the world of drag-and-drop website builders, your journey begins with a template. When you decide on a template, it provides you with the overall layout of the pages on your website. A lot of these packages include a variety of templates that you can later customize to fit your unique needs. 

4. Your website is automatically formatted for desktop and mobile view.

When building your website, it’s important to consider how it will adapt to a mobile device. We spend a ton of time on our phones looking up information — close to half of people conduct online searches exclusively on their smartphones — so your site needs to transition seamlessly to a smaller screen. Site builders know this and often include mobile-friendly templates to accommodate any smartphone screen size.

5. They are intuitive and easy to use.

Site builders are easy to use — they understand that most people using these tools aren’t professional web developers, so they make it simple for the everyday user. Plus, they often offer tech support to help correct any issues that occur along the way. 

4 things to know about web hosting

Even if you create a stunning website, you can’t go live without a web host. So here’s what you need to know about web hosting in order to make a smart decision for your business site. 

1. Web hosting is essential for website function.

For a website to function properly, you need a host. And it’s a continuing need — hosting plans provide a subscription model, so you’ll have to keep paying monthly or annually for your host. Some plans do let you commit to a few years upfront, but then you have to be dedicated to this investment.

2. They play a role in site speed.

The frustration of a slow-loading site is a deal-breaker for a lot of internet users. Your choice of web host impacts the speed of your site, so it’s important to invest in a quality hosting service to ensure you won’t lose potential customers to a slow load time. 

3. It can impact site security. 

A secure site is of the utmost importance. You want users to trust your business and feel confident that they’re protected when perusing your website. A lot of web hosting companies understand this and implement security features. However, it’s always important to double-check and make sure that your site is secure. If you neglect these precautions, your site will be more susceptible to hackers. 

4. It plays a role in your site’s availability. 

The term “uptime” refers to the amount of time a site is accessible to users. Web hosting providers do go offline occasionally for server maintenance and repairs. Though these things can and do happen, the industry standard is 99.9% availability. 

What are the types of web hosting services?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to hosting. Here are the different types you can expect to find when searching for a website hosting service: 

  • Shared web hosting. Affordable and accessible to those first starting out, shared hosting is when you share space on a server with several other sites.

    With Namecheap shared hosting, you’ll access all the tools you may need to create an online presence. These tools include a free domain, a secure site license (SSL), a content delivery network (CDN) for speedy loading, and the website builder so you can create your own website with a drag and drop building in no time. 
  • Cloud-based hosting. Typically a little higher in price, cloud-based hosting stores a site on several servers. This means you have more access to resources and the flexibility that shared hosting does not offer.
  • VPS (virtual private server). With a virtual private server, you get what you pay for, which is an entire part of a server all to yourself. This supports many media-rich pages.
  • Dedicated hosting. If you’re interested in renting a whole server for your site, dedicated hosting is for you. This is ideal for a bigger business with a lot of web traffic. 
  • Managed WordPress hosting. This option is a resource supplied by a web host that manages the technical tasks of running your website. With a team of engineers, system upgrades, and data backups, it’s an appealing choice. 
  • Reseller hosting. If you’re a web developer looking to provide hosting for your clients, then you might be interested in renting a space that you can then rent to small business owners looking to build a site. 
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4 examples of website builders

Below are popular website builders to consider when building your site: 

  • WordPress. As the most commonly used content management system (CMS) on the internet, WordPress is an essential website builder. This open-source website platform allows anyone to create their perfect site, filled with the features necessary to attract and retain customers.
  • Site Maker. To build a website with stunning design and customer support every step of the way, use Namecheap’s Site Maker. This tool includes secure web hosting, an SSL certificate for security, 99.9% uptime, and unlimited site visitors.
  • Wix. This platform works well for website building novices, providing ease of use and site setup at a low cost. Plus, it includes free web hosting. 
  • Squarespace. This builder provides a range of design tools and choices, which makes it useful for DIY web design. All plans include hosting for your site. 

Keep in mind when choosing a website builder that not all platforms are easy to transfer out if you’d like to do so. There’s no guarantee with some platforms, like Wix or Squarespace, that you can transfer your files with ease. Tools like Namecheap’s Site Maker allow you to import website files from other sites.

If you can dream it, build it

After determining your needs and assessing your website building skill levels, you can choose the best method for getting your website up and running. While website builders don’t offer customization and may have design limitations, a user-friendly interface, accessibility, and speed to launch may be the right solution for any business owner who wants to build a website without coding. 

If you don’t have any design or coding skills, Namecheap’s Site Maker offers a personalized step-by-step web building experience at a low cost. It has everything you need in one affordable package — because you shouldn’t have to break the bank to launch your exciting endeavor. With fast and secure web hosting, you can customize and publish your website with just one click. 


Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a writer, photographer, and content marketer. He’s also the founder of BrainBoost Media, a boutique content and operations studio. With a wide range of interests, he enjoys reading and writing about sports, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
More articles written by Nick.

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