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What to choose: CMS or website builder?

June 17, 2020
Author: Hamster, www.hostens.com

When you decide that it is time for your business to have its website so that it can attract potential customers on the Internet, an inevitable question will arise: how to make a website? There are two ways: the first one is more simple and cheaper, but less effective; the second one is more expensive and more complicated, but potentially more profitable. As you may have guessed, we are talking about website builders and building from scratch on the CMS.

What is a website builder?

If you choose the easier way, you will stumble on ready-made designs. They are programmed for those who are pretty confident computer users without programming skills. you get the possibility to assemble a web page from ready-made blocks. The software is not even stored on your computer; it’s taken care of by the server of the hosting company.

There are dozens of website builders. Some of them are very simple, others offer extensive functionality.

Sounds like a good deal? It may be, however, it’s worthwhile taking a look into what advantages and disadvantages of a website builder are.

Website builders features

Available to all. As we have mentioned above, the main advantage is the low requirements for user skills. Possibly, even your grandmother could understand how such a program works if she spent a couple of days learning it.

You can work with a website builder only online. It allows you to swap blocks, select colors, fonts, pictures; you can add and remove sections and product cards. The constructor and the CMS seem to be the same thing. Both products facilitate the creation of the portal, simplify the process, eliminating the need for manual coding done by a developer.

The difference is that the website builder does not allow the owner to invade the code, automating the process 100%. This brings certain benefits: an inexperienced person will be able to cope with such a program, all you need to do is study it a bit. On the other hand, this method of creating sites greatly limits the possibilities.

Money-saving. You do not need to hire a programmer and a designer. There are ready-made templates here, thanks to which development time and cost are significantly reduced. Hostens website builder is free and it’s not a trial version: full access to the website builder is guaranteed with every web hosting package

Speed. You already have ready-made templates that you can use right away: structure options, popular blocks like “Contacts,” “Feedback,” convenient arrangement of elements, and intuitive functionality. Thanks to this, you can save a lot of time and complete the website in a day or two.

Optimization. Typically, sites assembled in Hostens website builder work smoothly and are easy to use. This is because their functionality is limited, they do not have complex programs and scripts, and the content loads quickly. A website builder is SEO friendly: you can add meta tags, meta descriptions, and everything you need for SEO rankings. With the Hostens website builder, you will be able to add your own domain.


Yes, you have access to your account to the created site and all its content. However, it remains the property of the company, which owns the website builder, and if you decide to download it and transfer it to another hosting provider to get full control, you will not be allowed to do it.

Yes, you have an initial set of templates and modules. However, if you want to make the website a little more unique, create an original design, add new functionality, or connect additional programs and plugins, the program will limit you. Even a professional developer will not be able to make changes to the code and adapt it to your needs. The site from the default constructor has a simple structure that does not allow much flexibility.

What about CMS?

An alternative for developing your website on one of the popular CMS. CMS is a content management system, a “site engine.” It has more extensive opportunities that will allow you to avoid the disadvantages described above.

CMS requires knowledge of programming languages ​​(at least layouts: HTML and CSS). Also, the systems themselves are much more complicated than website builders, which means you will need much more time to study the program. However, do not be scared and think that you will need to learn the ins and outs of programming to master the CMS.

If you compare this with manual programming, when the webmaster needs to create all the HTML files independently and individually connect styles and scripts to them, the difference will be noticeable. The website layout process in CMS is automated. Also, page editing is easier. Read more about the CMS here: www.hostens.com/blog/beginners-guide-cms-and-tips-to-choose-one.

Requirements for CMS

Any CMS is quite demanding on its users. If you want to make the most of it, you need to have a certain set of professional skills:

  • database creating and editing knowledge;
  • knowledge of programming languages ​​and markup to work with page code;
  • ability to connect and configure third-party plugins and additional modules that expand the functionality.

The hosting setup is one of the requirements. However, Hostens facilitates this process and lets you install CMS (for example, WordPress) within a few clicks with our amazing Installatron tool. Learn how to install it here: https://www.hostens.com/blog/how-to-start-on-wordpress/

CMS features

For all its complexity, developing a web resource on CMS has many advantages:

  • a variety of CMS for every taste: WordPress, 1C-Bitrix, Joomla, Drupal, Umbraco, etc .;
  • the ability to transfer the website to another hosting provider and full ownership of the content;
  • unlimited possibilities for customization and individualization;
  • correcting your work with hundreds of additional programs, widgets, and plugins;
  • most CMSs are initially free for developers;
  • wide selection, easy to find for every taste and task, no design restrictions;
  • the resource can be configured as you like, there are no restrictions for changing the code;
  • thanks to the open-source they create complex functionalities on websites;
  • search engines respond positively to standard CMS;
  • CMS sites load quickly;
  • various online payment systems are connected to the online store;
  • the robots.txt file is optimized, which affects search results favorably.

Due to those advantages, most business owners choose CMS, as the content management system opens up more opportunities for development. However, it would be unfair not to mention the disadvantages of CMS, which also exist.


Development will last a long time: from a week for single-page users and business cards to several months for complex websites, and the cost of this process is high.

If the developer is unprofessional, the pages will turn out to be heavy and slow, so to create a resource, you need a professional programmer or a reputable and experienced web studio. Also, the functionality will have to be expanded with additional programs – the standard set is not always enough to solve essential problems.

In general, each method has its advantages and disadvantages that simply make them suitable for solving different sets of problems.

What to choose: CMS or Website Builder?

A website builder is a cheap way to present the necessary information on the Internet. Suitable if you do not have a development budget and do not plan to attract customers from the Internet regularly. You can use a promo page or a landing page for a promotion or create a simple business-card-type website.

A site on CMS is a more resource-rich way good to have if you want to make a site that sells and is unique: come up with an original design, make an understandable and logical structure, and optimize for SEO.

Hostens recommends using website builders to complete one-time and temporary tasks, when you need to prepare a landing page for action, make an online event poster, etc. For more complex tasks, create a website on CMS, as it provides more flexibility in setup options and more opportunities to attract customers.

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