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What is DynamicSiteCreator?
Many hosting providers offer an easy site builder to help you get a website up and running quickly. These site builders typically offer a number of flexible themes with limited customizability. You just pick a theme, adjust color schemes and fonts to your liking, insert your text and images, and publish your site. A few years ago, hosting provider 1&1 offered an easy website builder called DynamicSiteCreator. DynamicSiteCreator is no longer offered by 1&1 and has been replaced by their new easy website builder: MyWebsite.
Dynamic Site Creator was a site builder that enabled you to easily build a Flash-based website. Flash-based websites were known for their moving graphics, interactive menus, and other eye-catching features. The term Flash refers to Adobe Flash, a multimedia software program which lends itself to the creation of a variety of graphics, games, animations, and applications. What makes Flash exceptional is its versatility. It streams audio and video files, works to enhance both images and text, and responds to user's clicks and keystrokes for a fully interactive experience. Most desktop web browsers and operating systems support Flash with the implementation of a plugin, so Flash is accessible to nearly anyone on a desktop or laptop computer. However, Flash has limited support in the mobile browsing world, which is why most website building tools have moved away from Flash.
A few years back, when Flash websites were a popular option, problems usually started to arise once you found yourself trying to learn how to use Adobe Flash software. Flash builders such as DynamicSiteCreator offered a quick and easy solution. DynamicSiteCreator was specifically designed to be as user-friendly as possible, so instead of spending time fiddling with in-software tools, you could jump straight into choosing your color schemes, design templates, and navigation structure with the help of the included control panel.
While Flash is still used for many multimedia applications and games, it has fallen out of use for most website building applications. Flash did not have native support from browsers, and required a plugin to run. The plugin was known to be prone to crashing, and required regular security updates. Also, as more and more users transition to browsing on mobile devices Flash has fallen behind and has not made the transition to responsive design effectively.
What is MyWebsite?
MyWebsite is 1&1's replacement for Dynamic Site Creator. It is a free tool that will let you quickly and easily create a simple modern website for any purpose. MyWebsite does not build Flash-based sites, and instead builds HTML5 compliant websites. MyWebsite is offered with hundreds of customizable templates and many great features such as integrated translation tools, easy file-sharing options so your customers can download documents (catalogs, brochures, etc), newsletter support, photo galleries with Picasa and Flickr integration, support for audio and video content, live chat, a calendar, and many more.
Should I use MyWebsite to build my website?
Hosting companies come in all shapes and sizes. Many hosting companies are aimed at customers who aren't full-fledged web developers or designers. These types of companies tend to offer easy-to-use website builders so that customers can get a simple website up and running easily. If your goal is to get a simple website published quickly with a minimum of expense, then MyWebsite (or a similar service from another hosting company) is a great option. However, before you make a commitment, you should do your research as there are many easy-to-use website builders available.
What are some alternatives to MyWebsite?
Lots of hosting companies offer an easy website builder. So if you have a hosting company in mind you should check to see if they have an offering. If so, check out the capabilities of that product, and some examples of what others have done with the application. You may find the easiest choice is to use their website building tool.
There are also quite a few easy website building tools that offer integrated hosting. Some of the most popular options today include Weebly, DudaOne, and SquareSpace.
Weebly is one of the industry-leaders in the offering an easy-to-use website building tool. Weeble is one of the few options that will let you build a site with their website builder and then download the source code and host it using the hosting provider of your choice, or you can also select a hosting plan offered by Weebly. Weebly is great at building responsive sites (sites that look great on both desktop computers and smaller tablets and mobile devices) and offers easy integration of eCommerce if you want to sell products online. Pricing for Weebly in May 2015 ranged from $8 per month to $25 per month depending on exactly what you want.
DudaOne is another popular easy website builder that creates beautiful responsive websites. Like Weebly, DudaOne also offers eCommerce integration so you can create your online store all in one place. One place where DudaOne falls short is that it lacks blogging integration, but as of May 2015 there were rumors that a blogging tool for DudaOne was in the works. All DudaOne plans include hosting, and begin at $6 per month and range up to $46 per month.
SquareSpace is designed to build clean modern websites. It offers many templates, but does impose more limitations on design flexibility than some of the other options mentioned. This is probably because SquareSpace templates have a professional look and feel about them already, and a lot of tweaking would probably do more harm than good in creating a website with a professional feel. All SquareSpace plans include hosting for your site, and begin at $8 per month and range up to $24 per month.
DynamicSiteCreator Frequently Asked Questions
Should I use a website builder or build my own website?
Website builders all have inherent limitations. If you have the technical skills to build your own site, and you are going to be very specific about what you want to accomplish, then it probably makes more sense to build your site using a free CMS like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla.
Should I buy hosting and use the hosting provider's integrated website builder, or start by selecting a website builder who will also host my site?
The biggest concern with purchasing a plan from a website builder such as SquareSpace becomes the issue of what happens if you decide to move on from their service. With most services you would lose your website if you decided to move on. Weebly is one noteworthy exception to this rule. With most website builders when you cancel their services you can keep your domain name, but you lose your website and have to start from scratch building a new site.
Are there other Flash website builders available?
There are still one or two Flash site builders out there (SiteCube is probably the best known). However, we can't recommend that you go with them. Support for Flash on mobile browsers is very limited, and Adobe, the developer for Flash, has stated that Flash is not going to be supported for mobile browsers in the future. With more and more browsing moving to mobile devices it just doesn't make any sense to have a Flash based website anymore.
Can I use MyWebsite with a different hosting company?
MyWebsite is a proprietary tool offered by 1&1. Many hosting providers offer a proprietary website building tool. While it's likely that these tools are often just custom deployments of a publicly available website building tool, most hosting providers don't publish that information. Your best bet is to pick a hosting company you're interested in and research the website building tools they offer to make sure they will meet your needs.
What's the difference between a website building tool offered by a hosting company, and a website building tool that offers integrated hosting?
Hosting companies offer lots of services and products as part of their hosting packages. These services will include access to databases, webmail options, website builders, one-click installs for popular applications, FTP access, support for multiple programming languages, and many more. So a website builder is just one of the many things offered by a hosting company, and is not their core competency. There are also companies solely focused on offering a great website building tool. We named some of these companies (Weebly, DudaOne, SquareSpace), but there are many more. These companies offer very limiting hosting options and are really just intended to host website built using their software. If you anticipate needing advanced hosting features such as direct access to SQL databases, highly-configurable email, FTP access to the web server, and the ability to create and use server-side code you'll want to stick with a hosting company that offers a website building tool you're happy with.