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Aspiring web site owners of the world, please allow me to release you from your fears!
When you start looking at your options for building your first web site, you'll soon find yourself inundated with ads from Weebly, WordPress, Wix, Drupal, Squarespace, Joomla, and dozens of other unfamiliar software and company names that all insist that they offer the best solution for everyone. The truth is that all of these systems have their advantages, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to building a web site. In the infographic below, I've broken them down into the products and services most often mentioned by my potential clients. For purposes of this comparison, I'll define the two sets of options this way:
CMS: stands for Content Management System. The CMS options in this infographic are software packages that can be installed on almost any web hosting plan and are "open source." (You can read about open-source content management in another of my blog posts.) The software is free, but you'll still need to pay a web host for the space on their server.
SAAS: stands for Software As A Service. Technically, lots of different kinds of software fit this definition -- even the software that sits on the servers at those companies that allow you to make your own photo books from photos you upload is SAAS. It just means that the software that runs and the server it runs on are inseparable. In this infographic, I'm referring to SAAS solutions for building web sites, where you pay for hosting that comes with a built-in CMS. That CMS is owned, developed, and locked down by the web host.
So, without further ado, a side-by-side comparison of the benefits of both options:
I began my work on web sites in 1996, just as the graphical web was truly coming alive. After many years of consulting in a variety of industries, I decided to focus my attention -- and my company -- on the online presence of mission-driven companies and organizations. I am dedicated to using open-source software as often as possible, to creating web sites that organizations can maintain themselves, and to helping my clients put as many resources as possible into the ways they're bettering the world.