What are Websites
Many people would probably roll their eyes after reading the title of this lesson, but I bet if you ask someone “what is a website?”, they would probably give you some convoluted around the bush explanation without actually hitting the nail on the head.
I can tell you my definition of a website; and after reading it, you may start looking at websites in a different light.
A website is your identity and personal or business brand online, for anyone to see, judge and engage with if they want to. It defines who you are, what you represent, and what you offer. It can be your best sales person, your greatest asset, or your nemesis.
Or Wikipedia’s definition is a little more literal:
A website is a collection of related web pages, including multimedia content, typically identified with a common domain name, and published on at least one web server.
I have personally witnessed business fail due to their website being weak, poor quality, broken, ugly, and generally much weaker than the competition. So take your website seriously, invest in it appropriately, and understand it can be fundamental to your online success, or downfall.
Think of a website as your first home, how you want it to look and feel, and what type of emotions you want it to instill. How you want others to feel when they visit it, and what they can take away from the efforts you undertook to turn your proverbial “house into a home.”
I know it all sounds a little dramatic, but a website isn’t just a place to sell things, or write stuff and provide information. It’s an opportunity to create a recognizable brand that people can familiarize themselves with, and have trust when visiting in the future. The more effort you put into a website, the more reward you will reap. A website is a showcase, a front facing “artificial entity” that introduces complete strangers to you and your brand, and if you don’t program that entity properly, it’s going to do more damage than good.
Self-Hosted vs Hosted Websites
Every website that you see on the Internet is hosted somewhere on a web server within a data center. But the difference between Self-Hosted and Hosted websites is to do with the flexibility and control you have as a website owner and who owns the software that runs your website.
With self-hosted websites, you can fully control and choose where you want the website to be hosted and you can easily move it around and take full control.
With hosted websites, the software and hosting are provided by the company providing the service and you are not able to move the site to anyone else.
Self-Hosted websites are websites usually created using an open-source Content Management System (CMS), such as WordPress [recommended], Magento, Drupal or Joomla, which can then be hosted by any hosting company anywhere in the world. So you don’t actually host the website yourself at home or work, but you can choose from any hosting company that suits you, your specific requirements, or budget. With self-hosted websites, you need to pay monthly or annually for the hosting but it’s usually only a $ per month.
Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
Hosted websites are websites fully hosted by the provider such as Wix, Shopify, Weebly or Squarespace. They usually charge you a monthly fee for providing the website content management software and hosting as one combined package. As the software for the website doesn’t belong to you and you have no rights to use it outside of the providers hosted solution, you are unable to move your website to any other provider.