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Ready Made Website or Build Your Own?

Why bother learning complex code and building your own website when you can get a ready-made website with one click from loads of web providers and companies, from out the box websites like SquareSpace, Wix to blogging platforms Tumblr or WordPress all really easy to set up and maintain?  

It does seem the easier option but before you go down this road it’s worth considering the choices you make and deciding what is best for you, open source is rarely seen as an alternative option.  Below is my overview of why Independence in your choice of your online provider and web software could be more important than you think to your professional digital future.

Commercial website providers or open source or DIY web development (same principles can apply to learning code & setting up your own server space)

Commercial benefits

Open source Challenges (What is Drupal?)

There’s lot’s to choose from and everything is made so easy, choose from hundreds of ready-made templates, you really can create a website is minutes; everything is kept up-to-date for you. You need no or very little web development skills/knowledge to build a website. When you have built you easy build website, what next?

Open source (or any DIY web development) takes a lot more work, time and commitment as you are a little more independent in your web building approach. You can learn the basics and get started yourself fairly easy but you really have to either get involved yourself or have someone who can support you? Luckily the open source community is built on sharing and support, but it really is down to you!

Commercial Challenges

 

Open source benefits

 

Exit strategy: Commercial

Exit strategy: Open source: Open source

Bit early to be talking about exit strategy isn’t it? No if you don't think about this from the start then you may encounter problems in the future as your web home develops and grows. So if you can think a little into the future and about how you’d move you web site, URL and the web community with you if you no longer want to use the host or the host software is no longer sufficient for your needs?  See an example here .

 

Your Drupal installation can be taken with you at anytime. You must ensure your provider gives you access to all the relevant files (most do if its an open source platform).

So if for any reason you need to move providers then you can copy you site, databases and transfers all this along with your URL to a new provider without losing that all important network of users.

Content Community is king: Commercial

Content Community is king:Open source

If your web host provides a community network web environment, many don't do you really want to invest many years in building this community network with a commercial host? What happens in 3 years when you want to move provider, how are you going to take your network with you?

As above.

Development: Commercial

Development: Open source

Hopefully with most web packages they have everything you need in a website and the provider will keep updating new functionality as you go, but some many wont, you may reach the limitations of your providers service sooner than you think, therefore you could be stuck with them until they or if they get their act together.

The open source community has thousands of developers all contributing to the development of new site functionality, all producing and updating new modules and site improvements continuously. 

Support: Commercial

Support: Open source

You may find the host has limited support or inadequate support, you may even pay for extra support.

The same networks provide active support forums for the open source community.

Software: Commercial

Software: Open source

You are dependent on the hosting companies software this will make it very difficult to develop yourself.

The Drupal core is updated every couple of years, and new releases bring vast improvements. As above modules, upgrades and updates are improved continuously.   

Cost: Commercial

Cost: Open source

Web hosting can be expensive and pricing can change anytime. Advertising may be added for the cheep hosting packages.

All you need in server space and a URL.

What is Drupal open source web development?

Drupal is an open source web platform that provides an endlessly expandable web environment for individuals, groups, businesses and communities. The Drupal platform is free and an out of the box installation provides a skeleton web site for you to start to build and develop, if you want to add video to your site, Drupal has a module for that, integrate social media, there’s a module for that too in fact there’s thousands of modules for almost anything. And all this is made possible by the huge Drupal open source community made up of thousands of web developers who continually improve the Drupal software and create new modules every day. These modules are all offered for free back to you and me to take and use for free on our website, Drupal is a sharing community and those that ‘take’ eventually also become part of that ‘giving’ sharing community and so the open source Drupal community grows from strength to strength. Read more

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