Custom Platform or D-I-Y Council Site?
At Grassroots Hosting, your Knights of Columbus Council has two options. Which one you choose could make a profound impact on your council for many years to come.
First, you can opt to build your own council site from the ground up. You can make a very simple site in a matter of minutes. However, a full featured site could take 100’s of hours of development time, and requires many different levels of expertise to design and maintain. There are several options you can use for a Do-It-Yourself website. We have listed a few here with our most recommended first and least recommended last:
- Concrete 5
- Other Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Custom (Designed with programs such as Dreamweaver) (Most difficult)
With a CMS such as WordPress, you can add new features through plugins, build a complex custom website, and choose from 100s of templates. As a matter of fact, we think WordPress is so amazing we built our KofC Platform on top of it. Wordpress powers over 25% of the world’s websites, more than any other platform.
All of these CMSs are free and open-source. You can modify them to suit your needs. However, this all comes with some major drawbacks. Security, stability and maintenance are constant issues which require ongoing development to ensure your users are protected. Additionally, when you choose a D-I-Y option you have to worry about things such as:
- SSL Security Certificates
- Software Updates
- Old Outdated Plugins
- Broken Sites
- Lost access passwords
- Database Maintenance
- Custom Code Development
- Graphic Design/Theme Design
- PCI DSS Credit Card Security
When you sign on to a purpose built platform you avoid all of those issues. Our KofC Platform is designed specifically with Knights of Columbus Councils in mind. We manage our own servers, develop our own code, and apply security updates as soon as they are available. We constantly update the plugins we utilize to conform to the latest security and web standards, we trouble shoot any issues with your site for you, and you never have to learn anything about PHP, HTML, CSS, servers, databases, or security.
When you utilize our platform you have access to our pre-assesed plugins and features, which have been carefully adapted to align with the normal workings of a KofC Council. We ensure your data is safe, secure and protected. We apply PCI DSS security standards, obtain SSL security certificates, update the software, and monitor your site. We even take care of the design and theme updates. Additionally, you can have a ready made website in as little as 30 minutes. Your D-I-Y hosting will take that long just to begin the setup. Then you have many hours of work to get a basic design ready. Additionally, we have developer licenses for some of the most popular plugins available to WordPress. These licenses would cost an individual council well over $500/year to obtain individually, but we are able to allow you to use them on our Platform at no additional cost.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of our Platform against a self hosted WordPress site with all the same features. Costs include required plugin licenses, theme development, and hosting.
|Grassroots Hosting Platform||D-I-Y WordPress Hosting|
|Setup Time||30 – 60 minutes||Minimum 10 hours|
|Ease of Use||Very Easy||Easy to Difficult|
|Cost||Under $10/m||Over $600|
|Domain Name||Optional (Included on some plans)||Required|
|Updates||Managed by Grassroots Hosting||You must install and test|
|Ease of Transfer
|Easy – Less than 5 minutes||Varies – Could be extremely difficult|
|Support||100% for any issue||Varies – Hosting support usually only relates to the server and standard software.
For everything else you must rely on community forums.
Obviously, we think the best option for every KofC Council is to use a purpose built platform such as our KofC Hosting Platform. However, we also respect that some councils would prefer to design a site their way. To that end, we also offer Windows and Linux based shared hosting.
Which ever you choose we will provide full support for the service we offer. In the case of shared hosting, we will ensure issues at the server and account level are worked out, but we will only be able to provide basic troubleshooting for your website software and code. For our Platform, we will provide support for every and any issue you may encounter.
Having trouble deciding which way you should go? Contact us today and we would be happy to discuss your council’s needs.