What Is The Difference Between CMS and Hosting?

Updated: May 18, 2023
cms and hosting

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Learning how to execute a well-succeeded Digital Marketing strategy is a complex process that starts by creating a website and goes on with large amounts of data gathered, tests, and real-life experiments to validate new concepts.

While parts of that journey are pretty straightforward to marketers, some terms seem like an alphabet soup, abbreviations that can be rather confusing. How many times did you learn about some concept and thought “But isn’t this the same as…”?

A perfect example of that is the CMS and hosting duo. If you have basic knowledge of both, you must know that hosting has to do with keeping the website online, while a CMS keeps a blog working. But wait, aren’t they the same?

In fact, they aren’t. There are some clear differences and this post will show you what they are. And also let’s go deeper into each one of them and talk about how they are important to your business to thrive online.

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    What Is CMS?

    The term CMS is an abbreviation for Content Management System. The name itself is pretty self-explanatory, as this software’s purpose is to organize and manage a content strategy in its entirety.

    That includes facilitating a lot of steps to build a consistent blog or website, like planning, production, editing, optimization, and distribution. If you have or had a blog at some point, you probably have seen or used a system like that.

    After all, it is not only about easing your routine managing a blog but also technical points, like creating and maintaining a database for storing published content.

    Why use a CMS?

    The main benefit of a CMS is that you can use one application to produce and post your content without much effort. A CMS offers unique benefits that are hard to get from other tools.

    • No programming – This is one of the primary reasons why people choose to use a CMS. You don’t need working knowledge of coding or web design. It does all that for you behind the scenes. You can focus on getting the components of your content right, like SEO and design.
    • It makes collaboration easier – Since much of the work is done online, multiple people can collaborate on one project. That is a huge benefit. A team can go in and set up a website, make edits, and update content as needed without sharing one computer or looking over each other’s shoulders.
    • Remote use – Developing your content online also means that you can work on it anywhere. You don’t have to lug around the same laptop everywhere you go. You can access the CMS from any computer and pick up where you left off.
    • Advanced resources – A CMS provides helpful tools and resources that would take time to find without one. For example, there are plug-ins that make your content stand out. You also have access to tools that can increase your revenue, like product carousels, all without having to do the coding yourself.
    • Security – In today’s digital world, security is always a consideration, especially for eCommerce sites. A CMS will have built-in security that has gone through rigorous testing. Some add-ons and plug-ins provide additional security for a website.
    • It’s cost-effective – Hiring a website designer and programmer is expensive. It also takes money and time to keep a website current. These are things that you can accomplish quickly with a CMS.

    It may take just minutes to set up your website using a template. You can make changes easily, even after it goes live. All for much less money than you’d pay a trained expert to do the job.

    How to Choose a CMS System

    Deciding what you need from the CMS is a good place to start. What do you want to use it for? Also, consider things like:

    • Budget – There are a variety of pricing plans out there for CMS software, depending on your needs.
    • Ease of use – How much control do you want over the process? Do you prefer to do some of the coding, or are you looking for more of a plug-and-play process, such as using templates?
    • Customization – A CMS can provide full customization or require you to follow set patterns for the color palette and page layout.
    • Security – How secure is your content if you use a SaaS option? What about backups? Do you need to save a copy to your hard drive, or does the company automatically create backups?
    • Reliability – Consider how likely it is that a specific CMS will still be around in a month or year. That’s usually not a concern with large established brands, but it might be with a startup SaaS.

    Look for a CMS that offers a demo or free trial. This will allow you to look under the hood before you commit any time or money.

    3 Top CMS Software On The Market

    If you start now researching CMS solutions on the market, you’ll realize you just don’t have time to assess so many of them in detail. Free or paid, there are a lot of Content Managers out there.

    As a guide, our goal with this post is to point you in the right direction to start. So let’s limit our scope to 3 of them there are widely used and popular in the world. Take a look at how they get to that status and how they can help your plan.

    1. WordPress

    Do you want an argument to use WordPress and not even consider the alternatives? It is the most used CMS in the world. By far!

    To give you a better context on it, here are some significant numbers about the platform:

    • WP is present in an outstanding 59.9% of websites that use some kind of CMS;
    • WordPress market share today is 31.4%;
    • the number of websites using the CMS is now well past 26 million and counting.

    2. Joomla

    Is this dominance by WordPress in the market a sign that it is the only robust and trustful CMS around? Not at all. Joomla! also has a lot of merits and it is globally known and used.

    Its open-source code received numerous awards as the best-specialized application in the last years, which shows how strong the platform and its community are.

    These qualities convinced more than 2 million websites around the world to use the solution, searching for features like flexibility and a scalability-friendly approach.

    3. Drupal

    Drupal‘s idea shares many of WP’s principles (like the use of PHP language and a huge community of developers) but is more focused on empowering digital projects trying to stand out.

    In other words, Drupal is best suited for bigger and more ambitious strategies. That’s why it thrives in offering the backbones necessary to create a robust website capable of supporting huge volumes of traffic and multiple domains and languages.

    There is no better evidence for that capability than saying that Drupal is the CMS of choice for the US Government, France, and London. There are more than 1 million devs constantly collaborating and improving the project.

    What Is Web Hosting?

    You can only read this blog right now because it has a web hosting service behind it. All other tabs opened in your browser too.

    Hosting is like renting a space to keep your website available on the internet. If you don’t have one, your blog can be only seen on your local machine. In other words, it would be useless.

    There are a lot of hosting models that we will explore next, and a lot of options offering services with monthly, quarterly, and even yearly plans.

    5 Main Types of Web Hosting

    The concept behind web hosting couldn’t be more simple and direct: without it, your site doesn’t work. But when going to practice, some aspects must be considered before sealing the deal.

    Do you want some help to start this process? Then take a look at the 5 main kinds of hosting and how they are different among them.

    1. Shared hosting

    The shared web hosting service is the most popular of them, in which multiple websites share the same server.

    Its main selling points are the accessible prices and the fact that it is enough to meet most sites and blogs’ demands — the ones with small to moderate traffic.

    There are even free shared hosting services but they are recommended only for tests or websites that really aren’t worried about traffic or performance — like static pages.

    2. Cloud hosting

    Cloud hosting works with a larger amount of physical servers that deliver data processing via cloud computing and virtualization.

    It means that, if one of the servers goes down, your site doesn’t have the risk of being too slow or even unavailable. Because of that assurance and flexibility, its costs are higher than simple shared hosting.

    3. VPS — Virtual Private Server

    The Virtual Private Server, like cloud hosting, creates a virtual machine within the server to better allocate resources and improve the cost-benefit.

    The difference between them is that instead of having multiple machines sharing space on the cloud, in here it’s each one of them shared by many projects.

    That way, VPS is like a middle option between shared and cloud web hosting. An unlimited bandwidth VPS can be a great choice for websites that require high traffic volume and consistent performance.

    4. Dedicated server

    Hiring a dedicated server hosting service is the most secure and robust way of keeping your website available on the internet. It is highly recommended for pages or apps that need a lot of horsepower due high traffic demand and a higher protection level for your data.

    As the server is 100% dedicated to you, it has varied options for customization and fitting the resources to your needs. Obviously, that also means it is way more expensive than the other options.

    5. Managed hosting

    In this model, the hired company is responsible for the administration, security, support, maintenance, and organization of all the hosting technical aspects. That is to say, the client hires, in addition to the space in the servers, the IT services aimed at keeping everything working smoothly.

    The biggest benefit from managed hosting, which is the model offered by Stage, is exactly removing all IT costs from the customer side. The customer can focus on their marketing and sales strategy, without needing to worry about technical issues.

    It’s a great option for any kind of business since it reduces costs and delivers more flexibility in resource usage.

    When Should You Purchase a Web Hosting Plan?

    Does your business really need a web hosting service? If your goal is to kickstart one of the following projects, the answer is yes. Learn why.

    Site or blog

    As we discussed, you just can’t have a website without any sort of hosting. So it doesn’t matter if you intend to create a static page with little information or a giant content portal, you will need to address this first.

    But remember to pick the right fit for you. Take your time. Before deciding, think about your projects today and for the future, and which kind of infrastructure you will need to make them work.

    There are some things to consider when choosing a hosting plan for a blog, such as:

    • Downtime – Downtime means that your blog isn’t there when people are looking for it. Do some research on the potential host and see what people say about it. Does it go down frequently? If so, that hurts you, so you might want to keep looking.
    • Customer support – Look for a company that has good customer service. This way, you know you have someone to contact if there are problems with the blog.
    • Cancellation – Ensure you know the terms for canceling the plan and how to do it. Blogs can be hit and miss. You don’t want to end up paying for a hosting plan if you are struggling to keep your blog active or find that it is not very useful for your business.
    • Storage – Storage capacity is a noteworthy consideration when selecting a blog hosting site, too. You will want to be able to store your previous blogs for readers to access. See if there are storage limitations and find out if you would pay extra if you go beyond them.


    Online stores, by their nature, demand robust web hosting that is also ready to scale. After all, any entrepreneur’s goal is to see their business grow.

    If you are successful, the traffic, purchasing transactions, and support tickets will only go up. All of that needs more resources from your server and a simpler web host could be insufficient.

    You’ll want to spend plenty of time researching potential hosting plans for an eCommerce website. First and foremost, be sure that they can host an eCommerce site. For example, do they provide SSL encryption? If so, is it free, or would you have to pay extra for it?

    Other considerations include:

    • Performance – How fast will your pages load on this host? If the pages load slowly, chances are that you will lose potential buyers before they even have a chance to see what you are offering. Ideally, you want a hosting plan that uses a network of services across the globe to ensure fast loading times.
    • Downtime – As with blogs, downtime will hurt you. If the buyer finds your site down, they will look elsewhere.
    • Scalability – There are seasons when your eCommerce site might see more traffic. For instance, if you sell plants, then spring is your busy season, and you may need extra bandwidth during it. Many hosting services offer multiple plans. See if you can switch them around based on your needs.

    Software SaaS

    Systems delivered via a recurrent payment plan, also known as SaaS (Software as a Service) are as complex as e-commerce stores, if not more. It is not unusual to find hosting services targeted specifically at meeting this kind of application’s demand.

    SaaS projects usually are paid or use a Freemium model (a free plan that converts clients to paid options). Because of that, they have to withstand high volumes of traffic and data processing, since no paying customer will forgive an unstable service.

    What Is the Difference Between CMS and Web Hosting?

    A CMS allows you to create your content, and web hosting is the service that makes it available on the internet. CMS is similar to design software. You use it to set up page layouts, enter text, and load images. 

    Web hosting is more like renting space on the internet.

    Should CMS and hosting walk together?

    After understanding the difference between CMS and hosting, you probably noticed that there is no space for that old question made in comparative posts: “which one should I choose”?.

    At the end of the day, both solutions walk together, as you just can’t make a website available online without a host. It doesn’t matter which project, these two solutions have their spot guaranteed in it. The key is in finding the best solutions for you among so many options in the market.

    And if your website isn’t up yet, go ahead and hire a hosting service already to at least put a landing page on and start attracting leads. After that, find the CMS that fits your strategy and start building your website with its help.


    As you probably realized, a successful blog demands technical prowess, like good CMS and hosting services. Get started with Stage, the best web hosting provider focused on content marketing, available in our Content Cloud.


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