WEB DESIGN -- Classic Hosted or CMS Site?

When launching a website project, one of the most important decisions that needs to be made is in regard to the choice between constructing/hosting a "classic" website, or constructing/hosting a Content Management System (CMS) website. The procedure to construct the website will be quite different for these two methods of construction/hosting. However the actual principles of good design are the same with both types of site, because both types of site look very similar in the eyes of the visitor who is viewing the web pages.


Classic "FTP" Websites

The traditional "classic" method of constructing and hosting a website involves designing the website using web design software residing on the web designer's personal computer (PC). The website is designed and stored on the web designer's computer as a file, which then needs to be uploaded to the server that is hosting the website on the Internet. This uploading is executed using "File Transfer Protocol" (FTP) software. Unless you are quite knowledgeable about Internet technology and are a seasoned user of modern software programs, constructing a classic website using web design software is best left to the professional.


For those who feel that they may be able to construct a classic website, the most popular web design software programs (as of 2012) are the following:
Adobe Dreamweaver  (formerly Macromedia Dreamweaver)
Microsoft Expression Studio  (replaces Microsoft FrontPage)
PC Soft WebDev

Tanggaard SoftWare Webcoder (TSW Webcoder).


Advanced Web Development Software programs include:
Adobe's Flex

Oracle's NetBeans  (formerly Sun NetBeans).


Content Management System (CMS) Websites

With a Content Management System (CMS) website, the task of hosting the website and the task of designing the website are both integrated into the CMS software, which resides on the Web server and not on the webmaster's personal computer. In order to construct a CMS website, it is first necessary to establish an web hosting account with a CMS website hosting service provider. The AWA7.org website you are visiting has been constructed/hosted on the "netAdventist" CMS with hosting provided by the Pacific Union Conference in the NAD. The netAdventist software used on the server is provided for free by General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


Once a website account has been established with a CMS service provider, the webmaster constructs and maintains the website by means of logging on to their "account", quite similar to the way one accesses a webmail account such as gmail or yahoo mail. After loging into the hosting account, the webmaster enters a "dashboard", which is a portal for constructing and maintaining the website. The "dashboard" is also used for administering the website account, for example to give associate webmasters and site visitors access to different security areas of the website. 

"Adventist" Content Management Systems
The most popular "Adventist" Content Management Systems (CMS) are the following:
netAdventist   Software is provided by the General Conference of the Adventist Church.
Adventist Church Connect  Software/hosting provided by the North American Division.
Adventist School Connect  Similar to Adventist Church Connect, but for NAD schools.

Simple Updates  Software/hosting provided by SimpleUpdates.com, a private ASI business.

Google Sites - Free CMS Websites for Non-Profits

In locations were free or low-cost "Adventist" CMS website services are not available, or where their cost is prohibitive, you may want to consider constructing/hosting a simple CMS website using Google Sites. This is a CMS hosting service from Google which offered free CMS websites to non-profit organizations, including churches, ministries and education institutions.

Low-Cost Open-Source CMS Websites

By far the vast majority of new websites hosted on the Interent are now being constructed/hosted on Content Management Systems (CMS) offered at low-cost by hosting service providers as part of their Web hosting packages. These CMS sites typically use open-source CMS software that is pre-installed on the server by the hosting service provider. Generally all you pay for is the cost of the Web hosting. The CMS software itself can be downloaded for free and instaled on your own server if you have the expertise to operate your own server.


Popular low-cost open-source CMS Web hosting packages include the following:
WordPress   By far the top CMS on the Web, now used by about 25% of popular websites on the Internet.
Joomla         A widely supported CMS, but is difficult to use and thus favored by professional webmasters. 
Drupal          An even more difficult to learn CMS, but has some important security and other advantages.
eZ Publish    An "easy-to-use" open-source CMS software published by eZ Systems based in Norway.
TYPO3          Is used for the GC "Adventist.org" website. Is very flexible and has multi-language support.
DotNetNuke   A professional CMS used for the portfolio of websites published by the Amazing Facts.

Commercial CMS Website Services

There are many commercial CMS website services available, such as "Intuit Homestead". These services typically offer an easy-to-use interface for easy construction and maintenance of a website. However their cost is pretty expensive, and it is more cost-effective to use a CMS such as WordPress or eZPublish that is offered as part of a low-cost Web hosting package.

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