No typo, we are talking about SaaS – the acronym for “Software as a Service”. It means that you pay to get access to the software online; once you stop paying, you lose that access. The software and associated data are centrally hosted on the “cloud” . Examples of SaaS simple website builders include Wix, Weebly, and VistaPrint, SaaS e-commerce website builders include Volusion, BigCommerce, Shopify, and SaaS social networking website builders include Wild Apricot, Ning, and SocialGo. While there are some advantages to SaaS, the disadvantages can outweigh the good for you so that it’s not the best choice for your website.
Let’s compare the pros vs the cons of SaaS, along with alternatives:
SaaS Pro: Software upgrades and updates are handled automatically.
SaaS Con: You can’t control when and if you get the software updated. Maybe you would prefer to use the older version at the time, but you don’t get the choice with SaaS. Sometimes newer versions of software have less features as they are getting built, or may introduce new bugs – customers of the GoDaddy website builder v7, for example, have posted reviews with those complaints.
Alternative: You can get free upgrades and updates services with special offers – we offer install/upgrades services free, for example, on UltimateWB when you host with us. (optional choice) You can also just take care of the updates yourself. For UltimateWB, it just involves uploading the new software files and then going to the update page on your website and it will run the update script for you.
SaaS Pro: You don’t have to worry about a separate web hosting account. No need to worry about hardware.
SaaS Con: You are losing your choice of web hosting. You stop paying for your web hosting account, you lose your website. Your website is connected to your web hosting account. If the website builder doesn’t offer an export function or save function, you can’t take a break from your web hosting payments or you will have to start your website over from scratch.
Alternative: Get a good web host – most web hosting companies take care of the hardware for you anyways! – it’s called managed web hosting, available even for VPS (Virtually Private Servers) or a Dedicated Server. Just make sure to choose a good web host, and that the server is compatible with the website builder software you would like to use. This is as easy as emailing the web host with the Server Requirements page, for example this page for UltimateWB software.
SaaS Pro: Subscription based model instead of purchasing upfront. Can cost less to get setup.
SaaS Con: You pay the fees they set – you can’t switch web hosting because your website is attached to your web hosting. Just paying a monthly or yearly cost for keeping your website online – a subscription payment – instead of having an upfront flat fee cost for the software, like with UltimateWB, plus the web hosting of your choice, does not mean you will be paying less. It doesn’t mean you will be paying less in total or even on a monthly basis if you were to just get a separate web hosting account and install the website builder on your server, i.e. a self-hosted solution.
Alternative: Self-hosted solution: you choose your web hosting, you choose your website builder. You have flexibility and more control of your costs.
SaaS Pro: Easy to manage your website via an admin panel from any computer with internet access.
SaaS Con: That is a very important feature, but you can get that with website builder software you upload to/use on your own server, without losing your flexibility.
Alternative: Use website builder software that has an online admin panel, while also being downloadable software – i.e. you can download the software and install it on your own web hosting account. Like UltimateWB.
A self-hosted solution for your website doesn’t have to be complicated. Choosing good companies to work with that provide great tech support is important. We do provide web hosting packages in addition to the Ultimate Web Builder software which are available as an optional add-on.
Find website builder comparison charts here!