Why did WordPress become so popular? Partly, it is because WordPress is easy to use and because its theme and plugin ecosystems are so large. But just as important are the values that fuel the project: freedom and control. Freedom to use WordPress as you see fit. Control over every aspect of your site.
That ethos of freedom and control was embraced by many other projects, including Magento, WooCommerce, and Craft CMS. If you build a site or store on Nexcess web hosting with these applications, you have complete control.
There are alternatives to this model. SaaS publishing platforms are designed to hide the technical details of hosting and publishing. They provide a simple interface and an acceptable – if bland and uninspiring – design. But, unlike a WordPress site, this type of publishing platform does not exist to fulfill the needs of creatives and publishers. It exists to serve the needs of the business that owns the platform.
Custom Domains Are Not Optional For Publishers
Last year, a prominent SaaS publisher announced that it would no longer offer custom domains. This announcement came in the wake of others that “sunsetted” the features that attracted publishers to the platform in the first place.
Users with custom domains would be able to use them for the foreseeable future. New accounts would be served from the platform’s domain with the publication’s name demoted to the URL’s path component.
In your day-to-day experience as a publisher and writer it may not seem to matter much. However, a domain is hugely important for branding, for search engine optimization, and for control. Without a domain, you don’t own the name of your site. You can build a business and an audience around your content and have it taken away in an instant. That can’t happen with a properly registered domain.
- A domain can be pointed anywhere. If you have control over your site’s domain, you can redirect to any server on the internet. You decide which company hosts the site, and you can change your mind. Without a domain, changing hosting providers means changing the name of your site.
- Links move with the domain. Incoming links remain an important part of SEO. Incoming links persist when a site moves only if the site owner can control the domain and any redirects. A publication that builds a link profile on a platform that doesn’t offer custom domains cannot take those links with them when they leave.
- The platform’s policies override the publisher’s needs. Without a custom domain, the cost of switching to a new platform or hosting provider is high. That cost may force publishers to stay with a platform as it changes in ways that don’t benefit the publisher.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of a custom domain to site owners. It isn’t an optional perk. It’s a necessity. For these reasons, many publishers and site owners who embraced SaaS publishing platforms are pulling out.
With WordPress and Craft CMS hosted on traditional web hosting or a platform like the Nexcess Cloud, you will always have complete control over your site, your content, and the business you build on them.Posted in: Web Hosting Basics