Should you use self hosted or fully serviced web tools? Why I am moving BACK to fully serviced…

Are you getting overwhelmed by web maintenance? Or are you not moving forward as you don’t know web developers or worry about security?

Building a new site, deploying it and then updating is hard enough, but what happens when you suffer a catastrophe? Unless you are techy, or if you are lucky and have a pal you can really lean on, you may find yourself in a world of virtual pain.

This happened to me a few months back when my blog was hacked by a fundamentalist religious group. They had found a WordPress vulnerability and exploited it. I am seeing this more and more now as people embrace the amazing power of WordPress. But I have personally found WordPress to be a long way from bullet proof. In fact, it tends to fall over quite regularly, plus the temptation to add lots of cool plugins increases the chances of a serious vulnerability many times over.

And so I am starting to change my mind about one fundamental principle of my web presences.

I am moving away from self hosted and self built, back to a paid services that take care of management, backups and security.

Of course, no single solution works for us all, BUT when I am asked which services or products I use (or would use if I were starting over), what would my advice be?

I used host my blog on which I found restrictive – I paid for the privilege too, something like $10 a month. I was eventually seduced over to WordPress and I am glad I made the move.

But… in the four years I was on Typepad, it never once fell over, nor was I hacked. WordPress on the other hand, well it falls over and I have been seriously hacked once… Filmmaker Danny Lacey echoes this concern as he tried WordPress, then moved his entire website away from it because of the ‘leaks’.

So if you are not techy but want stable and secure a blog, I would pay for a Typepad account. I wouldn’t use a free Blogger or WordPress account either as to my mind, you are getting the worst of both worlds. No tech support and no personalised domains. Pay the extra and get the security of knowing human beings will deal with your issues.

What about your websites?
I also used to codes my own Website, but after I got spectacularly hacked a few years ago, I searched for a cost effective online system that allowed me to build a website quickly, and one where THEY took care of security and backups. I found and I LOVE it. I can now build and deploy a site in well under one day… here are a few I built over the last few months… Each took less than a day to build (though I do update them regularly).

For sure, they all have a similar layout, look and theme.

That’s part of how I am able to deploy a site so quickly and efficiently. I have also built sites for other people too, then handed over the website ‘keys’ and then they can update and maintain it… for instance Gen’s Hollywood Field Trip site was built quickly by me, but is now managed 100% by her…

Check it out here…

So if you are thinking of building a website and don’t want the hassle of developers and the worry of backups and hackers, I can thoroughly recommend Jimdo. Give it a whirl, it’s free to try out (UPDATE – Jimdo have given me a discount code so you can get 10% off if you use the code  GUERILLA13 ).

It also has a built in shopping cart system, email service and a bunch of other very cool things.

PS – I also wrote a blog on Jimdo sometime back, with more detail on what it offers… read it here.

UPDATE – I als0 have a few WordPress sites which have all failed on occasion, or have been hacked. Either way ,I needed to fix them, something I am not good at nor do I need the stress. Jimdo being a hosted solution means THEY need to fix it if there is a problem. This is now my main reason for sticking with Jimdo.

UPDATE – Jimdo have given me a discount code so you can get 10% off if you use the code  GUERILLA13 ).

UPDATE – Jimdo now has an iPhone and iPad app so you can edit on those more portable devices. Cool!

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
My movies
My Facebook
My Twitter @LivingSpiritPix

8 Responses to Should you use self hosted or fully serviced web tools? Why I am moving BACK to fully serviced…

  1. Robert Grant July 12, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    While I don’t doubt your sincerity about this it’s good practice to declare your affiliate relationships when recommending a service to someone as it helps them evaluate *all* your reasons for writing the piece. Having said that I agree, after nearly 20 years of DIY websites I now only use managed services. It’s a no-brainer if you want to sleep peacefully at night.

  2. Chris July 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Hey Robert, you are right, I may end up making £15 out of this post, £20 if I am lucky!

    I would have thought that the fact that I have used Jimdo for over 20 sites in the last year would tell you how much I like the tool.

    Still, you are right, so to be clear, yes I make 5% if you sign up, and yes you can sign up without my link, and yes it’s still a fantastic tool, and yes it’s still free to setup.

  3. Chris Hocking July 13, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    Although I agree that for the MAJORITY of filmmakers out there, going with a hosted solution (i.e. Jimdo or Squarespace) is the best solution – there are some cases where you just want the power and flexibility of something completely customisable like WordPress.

    If you’re really worried about WordPress Security and Backups, then consider something like VaultPress which offers Realtime Backup, 1-Click Database Restore, Security Scanning and Concierge Support:

  4. Chris July 13, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    Yes you are right Chris. What I have learned is that when a site goes down, it takes longer to get back up than you would like, then you need to plug the vulnerability, and its very stressful as you feel your shop windows has shutters, or worse, it looks like you have Viagra squatters. I am pretty technically minded and even I start to loose my patience with WordPress.Valutpress looks good, will check it out.


    • Chris Hocking July 16, 2012 at 1:14 am #

      Absolutely – I completely agree.

      However, things like VaultPress (although somewhat expensive) do give you peace of mind.

      It’s important to also highlight the other side of the argument:

      – If a service like Squarespace or Jimdo go “bust”, then your site can potentially go down, and it’s very hard to restore. Admittedly this is a fairly low risk, however website companies go down all the time. The bigger threat though is that companies like this get bought out. There’s nothing stopping Google from buying Jimbo, stealing all their staff then closing down the business. Again, the risk is low – but it’s happened before and it can happen again. Whereas on the flip side, if your web host goes down and you’re using WordPress, you can easily migrate your site across within hours.

      – On the same note, using a proprietary service locks you in. If the provider chances their technology or their terms of services, you’re stuck. For instance, maybe they decide they’re going to block Flash all together – but your site relies on it. Again – you’re stuck.

      Again, I think for the majority of filmmakers out there, these “all in one” companies are the way to go. They’re simple, secure and reliable.

      However on the flip side, if you want control of your content, the best way to do that is using technology that you can easily move around from company to company.

      My 2c.

  5. Jason July 15, 2012 at 5:19 am #

    I work in IT as my day job which involves Web development. I have hosted with many sights such as amazon,godaddy and

    I love by far. They are the official hosts for joomla and can handle wordpress and drupal also. I also use a great site called which is a new tech sight that allows you to build a test site for launching your product. It is kind of like a comming soon page.

    for example i have one called

  6. Robert January 9, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Great post! I love the sites you’ve created with Jimdo – great design! I also find it very convenient to have the website builder company take care of all the updates and security. Sure you don’t have all the plugins that WordPress offers. But for smaller sites you usually don’t even need them.

    • Chris January 9, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      Yep, and actually I find I can get most plugins as iFrame or HTML variants too

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