Picture this: you are building a website and wish to steer clear of the complexity of present day Content Management Systems (due to lack of time and/or other factors). Or, in other words, your website is a rather small entity (that perhaps does not require the collaborative abilities of Wikipedia or the social networking databases of Facebook). In simplest terms, you’re looking for an easy to use and nimble CMS that, though performs all the functions that you want it to, does not talk the geeky lingo.
Alternatively, picture this (comparatively better) scenario: you are a web designer (if you are reading this blog, chances are that you indeed are a web designer). You need a hosted, no-frills solution that lets you create websites for your clients (who may or may not be tech savvy), and resell them.
What is PageLime
If either of the above mentioned cases hold true, allow me to introduce you to PageLime, a web-based Content Management System.
PageLime is a hosted CMS service that lets you quickly set up and publish websites. Depending on the plan you opt for, you can add features to your site such as custom domain mapping, unlimited users/administrators, etc. You can also use it to re-brand the websites that you create and resell them to your clients. Sound good so far? Let’s dive in to check out its features!
Plans, Pricing, and Features
PageLime currently offers four plans, namely:
- Free: As the name suggests, this plan is free to use. You can create up to three websites and have an unlimited number of users (but only one of them can have administrative privileges). However, you cannot map your own domain or use the websites for reselling. Plus, you will have to tolerate the PageLime logo on your site.
- Professional: This plan lets you create 50 websites and have unlimited users (again, just one administrator). Additionally, you can use your own logo and colors, as well as map your own domain. And just in case you need it, reseller tools are also allowed in this plan. The Professional plan costs $19 per month.
- Business: The Business plan gives you everything under the Professional Plan, with the added bonus of unlimited websites (and unlimited administrators). It costs $69 per month.
- Enterprise: This plan targets large enterprises and service providers. The USP of the Enterprise Plan is that you can host it on your own server.
Also, you can try the Professional and Business plans free for 14 days before making up your mind.
We shall now take a look at the manner in which we can perform basic tasks in PageLime, and how it fares as compared to traditional CMSs. Please note that here, ‘traditional CMSs’ refers to what we’ve been using, such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla!
Since we are evaluating PageLime as a potential alternative for traditional CMSs, for the sake of simplicity, each category of operation will be looked at individually.
Running Multiple Websites
As mentioned above, PageLime lets you create multiple websites (ranging from 3 to infinite, depending on your plan). Each website has its own admin panel, domain/sub-domain, and user accounts. You can login to your master account, and then select the website that you wish to modify/manage.
Speaking of traditional CMSs, support for multiple websites within the same installation, though possible, is cumbersome to say the least. Movable Type lets you create user blogs and websites within one installation, and so does LifeType. WordPress, on the other hand, tries to make the task comparatively easier, but it too caters to “a large network of blogs“. All in all, PageLime comes with excellent support for multiple websites.
Editing the Website(s)
PageLime offers an easy interface for editing websites – pretty much on par with other CMSs – bit more ‘beautiful’, but nothing out of the ordinary. Once you add the Pagelime editable CSS class to the code, you can edit pages, links and other components of your website. However, since PageLime caters more to websites, rather than blogs/journals, it offers features such as Live Preview that lets you view the changes that you make to your website on the fly. Furthermore, another unique feature includes Content Versioning – your previous drafts are saved, and if you ever mess anything up, simply head to Restore!
Among traditional CMSs, many offer the Versioning and Restore feature, and Concrete5 has been supporting Live Preview for quite some time.
PageLime comes with a built-in Image Editor (no, do not expect Photoshop). You can zoom, crop, sharpen and resize images. Beyond that, you can modify colors or use some predefined effects. All in all, you can happily upload images and modify or tweak them for the web within the CMS.
Hardly any other traditional CMSs offer this feature – though some offer file management options, but image editing is something you’re expected to do BEFORE uploading. CMSs especially built for image galleries, such as Piwigo, however, do provide you with such editing abilities.
You can save pages as templates in PageLime for future editing, and it also comes packed with a Code Editor. Further more, it offers several pre-defined ‘templates’ that make your task easier.
This is perhaps an area where traditional CMSs do a better job, with no strings attached. While PageLime delivers what one would expect of it – you will definitely miss the freedom of WP Themes and Drupal Modules.
SEO, White Labels and Other Goodies
PageLime offers SEO options out of the box – you can edit metadata and other related info easily. Plus, the Business and Professional plans offer detailed statistics for each website that you create.
On the other hand, many CMSs such as Joomla and even Concrete5 offer sitemaps and SEO natively. At the most basic level, WordPress does the same by the use of plugins.
Quite unarguably, PageLime’s USP lies in its Reseller Tools. While the Free plan isn’t much, all other plans come with awesome reseller abilities. Apart from hosting multiple websites (each with its own admin panel and domain), you are provided with the option to re-brand and resell the websites (instead of PageLime’s, it shows your logo in the admin panel). Further more, your Reseller Panel shows you client payments, subscriptions and other sale-purchase transactions. And if that isn’t good enough, PageLime can automate recurring payments and invoices to make your life easier.
Obviously, such re-branding and reseller tools are not offered in any traditional CMS natively. WordPress and, to some extent, Drupal have plugins/extensions that can help you take care of the same, but the CMSs in particular do not come with reseller features.
So, the bottom line. Who should use PageLime?
Well, if you are a designer or a developer, you should consider using it for the ease of use and the reseller tools that let you offer it to your clients.
Also, if you do not possess the geeky expertise of web administration, Pagelime might just fit the bill for you. However, in this case, you should also bear in mind that in order to get the most out of it in terms of customization, you’ll probably need a rudimentary knowledge of HTML/CSS.
On the downside, the product seems a bit over priced if you do not wish to resell and make money using it. If, for instance, all you need is a simple no-frills website and are considering PageLime in order to avoid the other complex CMSs, even the cheapest plan will cost you $19 monthly (we are not considering the Free option as it does not have custom domain mapping, and a yourname.pagelime.com sub-domain is not something you might want for a website).
At the end of the day, PageLime is described as a “simple CMS for your clients”. In other words, it is full aware of the fact that its forte lies in the Reseller Tools.
Thus, PageLime should be in your arsenal if you are managing multiple websites or need an easy to use solution for your clients’ needs. For all other reasons, you’ll be better off using tradition Content Management Softwares.
If you have used or are using PageLime, feel free to share your views in the comments!
Sufyan bin Uzayr writes for various magazine and blogs, and is the author of "Sufism: A Brief History". He blogs about technology, Linux and open source, mobile, web design and development, typography, and Content Management Systems at Code Carbon. You can learn more about him, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook and Google+.