Top Free Church Website Design Tools

Church website design is similar in many respects to any other type of website design. The standard procedure for building a website involves looking at the available tools and seeing how much of the process has already been done for you, and how much it will cost to start from scratch instead. For example, if one were building a site for a car wash, you might check to see if there are car wash website templates available, minimizing the amount of design work needed to be done. The process is identical for church websites, the only difference being that many, many more tools are readily available and easily implemented.

For example, while using a site with a CMS such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, the tools are present to simply use plugins to handle the bulk of the work. After choosing a church template (many of which are free or very affordable), you can drop in plugins with the click of a button to handle podcasting, streaming sermon broadcasting, image slideshows, and online giving. The process of implementing these features is not at all complicated, and is set up from the website dashboard, no coding required. We recommend these CMS programs for the novice web designer, especially WordPress, as it is incredibly well-documented, and very widely used. In addition, it is completely free.

For the user with a little bit more experience, or a background in web design, Joomla and Drupal are both very popular options. Both of these tools are designed with modular use in mind, meaning that they are also plugin-based. However, Joomla and Drupal are geared towards a more experienced web designer and provides additional tools to “tweak” the fundamental design of the site at the code-level, allowing customization and freedom that many other tools can’t match. Drupal in particular is known for being a good tool for someone with a background in PHP. Joomla is known for being somewhat more usable than WordPress, and also a great way to build a template-driven website that is dynamic. Joomla has many modules to support things such as blogs and RSS feeds, but is also very customizable. Like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are both open-licensed and are free to use.

With the tools to create your website, having a choice of church website design templates is also a way to customize your website and save money in the process. Find a church web hosting provider that offers both easy design tools and church website templates that fit the needs of your church or business.

Part of the benefit of using these free web design CMS products is that the money that would have been spent on a proprietary tool can be used elsewhere to improve the final product. For example, by using WordPress instead of a proprietary tool, the cost to use the software is nothing; however, money can then be spent on premium themes or plugins that can drastically improve the look or feel of a website. The benefit of using free tools in the first place is having the option to use pay-only features, but not be forced to do so.

There are many choices to be made when choosing your church web design tool for your website. Though it may seem overwhelming, oftentimes the barrier for entry is very low, and we recommend trying out many different free web design tools until you find the right one to fit your needs. All that you need to get started today is right at your fingertips.


Choosing the Right Church Web Hosting Provider

Choosing the right web hosting provider for your church website is kind of like choosing an auto mechanic for your car. Most will provide the same services, most will do it at a fair price, but sometimes if you have a foreign car, you find it’s worth your while to go to a specialist.

First, it is important to understand what exactly web hosting entails. Many novices confuse web design, web hosting, and administration. Often, these are split into separate fields. Web hosting is simply renting a server from a company. This server is configured in such a way as to “serve” content over the internet in the form of web pages. Oftentimes, hosting providers will offer perks such as web design tools, domain name registration, and support in addition to simply giving you a public-facing server where your website can reside. Many hosting providers specialize in different types of websites and offer tools geared toward niche implementations, while others generalize and try to offer everything all at once. Frequently, in offering everything, hosting providers are known to nickel-and-dime their customers by charging for each additional service that is not explicitly included in the hosting package. For example, many hosts say that they “include a free domain name” in their hosting. However, this free domain name is subject to a long-term contract to be paid up front, or a commitment to pay for a certain length/duration of time. When searching for a church web hosting provider, it’s important to look at the potential pricing scheme and understand if you are going to be charged for using your hosting space in a certain way.

We recommend going with a christian hosting provider that offers all fees up-front and “in big letters”. You should be concerned about items such as: bandwidth, storage space, email and technical support. If the cost of any of these things is unclear, you probably could make a better choice for your church’s web hosting needs. In addition to billing, it’s also important to take into account what type of web design tools are offered. Most providers can support all of the available tools, but in many cases, installation options are given to quickly install any given Content Management System (CMS) package to minimize the amount of actual configuration the end user needs to be familiar with. We recommend a hosting provider that is able to offer “one-click” tools to quickly and efficiently install your applications. This way, you can be assured that getting started on your website is not going to involve a crash-course on web design. Many larger providers do not offer hands-on support for these types of tools, potentially leaving you on your own when it’s time to install and setup your environment.

And finally, when choosing a web hosting provider, we definitely recommend choosing a company that has similar values to you and your organization. Many church administrators choose not to host with some companies because they find that the salacious photos they use to promote their product conflict with Christian values. We find that the best companies to host a church website refuse to host illicit content, and share their values front-and-center on the company website. When taking all these factors into account, choosing a web hosting provider may not be so daunting for the average church administrator.