PowerSite Frequently Asked Questions
What language is PowerSite created in?
PowerSite was created in ColdFusion, one of the first server-side web application platforms. The platform and related CFML language is not as popular as it once was, giving way to such open-source languages as PHP, Python, and Node.js, but it still has a loyal following and is regularly updated by its current owner, Adobe Inc.
Stargate continues to develop PowerSite in ColdFusion due to its speed, robustness, excellent security, and rapid development approach.
How much control do I have over my PowerSite?
The ideology of PowerSite is that Stargate performs the customizations and programming to create an easy-to-use, custom web application exactly for your needs, and you simply use the provided administration controls to create, upload, and update content and other data. You also have the ability to control user accounts and other security permissions yourself, or designate those who can.
By keeping the programming access restricted to Stargate staff we avoid all of the associated security problems of a full DIY platform like WordPress. Users cannot update code on the server, and there is no need to install or update plugins and themes. We do all of that for you.
Stargate also incorporates the design of your site through custom ColdFusion templates and standard CSS, but we can expose interface controls for updating the design, including editing the CSS if you wish to have that access. (CSS is a styling language that is essentially safe for most users to access, although learning CSS can be daunting.)
Can my PowerSite be hosted at another web hosting company?
You own the content of your website, but the PowerSite back-end is proprietary. It's a cloud-based hosting service available only at Stargate Connections. Every PowerSite requires our continued participation to update the custom programming and security, and we require those elements to be hosted on our own servers so we can properly control the server environment as necessary.
If you wish to move your website to another hosting provider and/or developer, we can export a non-PowerSite version of your site, either as static HTML, or as a simplified ColdFusion- or PHP-driven front end to access the content database. You will lose all of the administration interfaces that are part of PowerSite, but your new developers may be able to recreate those for you using their own tools and techniques. In any case, all of the exported files we provide can be edited with any standard editing applications.
Does PowerSite use themes like WordPress?
We develop PowerSite in much the same way as any static HTML site — by hand! That means the front-end appearance of your site is created by us using fully-custom HTML markup and CSS styling. We're not limited by whatever themes are available; we can create essentially any design you want. In fact, our preference is for customers to hire a website designer of their choosing and have us build the site according to their specifications. If you like, we can even replicate a favourite WordPress theme. If that theme contains licensed content, our creative team can create custom replacements you would then own yourself.
How is PowerSite licensed?
For the most part there are no licenses for PowerSite, only a monthly hosting fee plus whatever hourly fees are required for initial development and subsequent updates on an as-requested basis. Security and stability maintenance updates are included in the monthly hosting fee. Requests leading to new PowerSite features are simply part of the aforementioned hourly fees.
Some customers choose to host their PowerSite on a private server at Stargate Connections. In those situations, the monthly PowerSite hosting fee may be incorporated into the private server hosting fees. A license is required for the private installation of ColdFusion, with that fee going to Adobe Inc.
How actively is PowerSite updated and maintained?
PowerSite has seen active development since it was first created in 1997. Development is driven by customer requests. Once a new feature is added to PowerSite for one customer, it becomes available to all of the customers that need it.
Monthly hosting fees include monitoring and updates for security and performance issues. Stargate is regularly alerted to suspicious activity, both by priority email notifications to Stargate staff and logging within each PowerSite database.
Some of our customers run external security audits on a regular basis, and we use the results of those reports to further refine PowerSite for all of our customers.