I'm pretty active in different forums and Webflow related groups. There I have noticed that oftentimes people are wondering if they should actually export their site and host it elsewhere or go with Webflow's own hosting. In this article I want to shed some light on the issue and explain why it might be best to host your site with Webflow directly.
One major argument for exporting the site's code and hosting it with a separate provider is the price. Webflow can be vastly more expensive than many of the "regular" hosting providers, so especially clients with smaller budgets might be keen to pay as little as possible and shy away from Webflow hosting. However in my experience the advantages and time savings when hosting with Webflow are worth every penny. But let me explain some of these advantages in more detail...
If you host with Webflow all components of your site simply work without further work being required. This applies particularly to Webflow's CMS, as well as Webflow's form which stop working once you export the code. You will have to spend more time getting these things to work and possibly integrate the site you built into a platform like Wordpress. Do you have the appropriate coding skills to make this happen or are you willing to learn? There are external (paid) tools like Udesly Adapter to help specifically with "converting" Webflow to Wordpress, but it's no walk in the park.
If you are exporting the code of your Webflow site and uploading it to an external hosting provider, you will either have to make further changes inside the code once updates are being required or go back to Webflow and re-export the site every time a change is needed. If you are not utilising a CMS on the final site, there is no easy way for your client to actually update his own site as is the case when using Webflow's own CMS. Of course - as mentioned before - you can re-use your Webflow project code and turn it into a Wordpress site (if you have the appropriate coding skills) or use a tool like Udesly, and your client will be able to update the site via the regular Wordpress interface. However, this begs the question: why build the site in Webflow in the first place if you are moving over the Wordpress after all?
Site security is taken care of by Webflow if you are hosting with them directly. If you are not, you will have to ensure you safeguard the client's site as much as possible. If you are using a platform like Wordpress you will have to install, update and maintain all the usual Wordpress security plugins, which is something I definitely don't want to do on a regular basis.
The most cited reason for designers wanting to host their Webflow site externally is concerns over money. Exporting the code and then re-using it elsewhere or turning it into a Wordpress site takes time (and of course skill). This begs the question: have you factored the additional effort in when you sent your quote to your client? If you have to first spend hours researching how to do all this and fix 20 different issues on the way, are you still earning money with this project? While your client might save on hosting costs, he might have to spend way more money upfront as he'll have to pay for the additional effort it takes to get the site up and running outside the Webflow ecosystem. A client who is stingy and doesn't want to pay for Webflow hosting oftentimes also doesn't want to pay a higher price tag to get the site completed...
I personally only host directly with Webflow. In addition to the reasons mentioned above I also feel like I don't want to spend my time fiddling around with exported code or deal with Wordpress, or another content management system. My time is valuable and I want to spend it doing things I enjoy whenever I can. Therefore I rather spend the time I have saved by hosting with Webflow and further develop my own Webflow skills.
Questions? Get in touch with me. If you need individual advice on how to best use Webflow in your own (freelance) studio, check out some of my consulting services.