Top Ten Catholic Parish Website Providers

Over the past year, my company, Liturgical Publications (LPi), did a survey of 12,000 Catholic Parishes to identify who their current website providers are.

The data is pretty interesting.

Before we get started, I would like to point out a few things:

  • Collection Method – This data was manually compiled by a group of interns who determined the service or software used mostly from the footer designation (i.e. “website provided by…”). Our estimate is that this data is 80% accurate accept for Open Source solutions (see below).
  • Timeline – These results were complied over the period of one year. Any changes that occurred during that period are not reflected in the results.
  • Open Source Results – The websites in the Custom and Other categories are probably open source solutions provided by smaller, local firms or parish volunteers. We could have inspected the source code of each site to determine this conclusively, but we chose to focus our efforts on reaching the largest number of churches possible.
  • Potential for bias – I need to acknowledge that my company creates and maintains WeConnect, so there’s a potential for bias there.

Here are the top ten website providers for Catholic churches:

  1. Custom Websites: 5,383 total parish websites
    Parish websites in this category did not have any company or technology identifier and no commercial website provider taking credit for their creation. These are likely open source websites.
    .
  2. Small / Local Vendor Websites: 3,321 total parish websites
    Parish websites in this category are created by local or small website vendors or consulting firms. We classify “small here” as vendors who have produced less than twenty parish websites and 98% of the vendors actually had created two or fewer. In short, there are literally thousands of local website providers, each helping a small number of churches.
    .
  3. LPi LogoLPi’s WeConnect Websites: 701 total parish websites
    WeConnect is a template-based, easy-to-use solution geared specifically for the Catholic Church market. WeConnect is available for a monthly subscription fee of $39 per month.
    .
  4. eCathoIic LogoeCatholic Websites: 694 total parish websites
    eCatholic is a template-based, easy-to-use solution, geared specifically for the Catholic Church market. eCatholic is available for a monthly subscription fee of $20-50 per month.
    .
  5. Wordpress LogoWordPress: 403 total parish websites
    Due to the proliferation of WordPress website templates out there and the fact that many of them do not specifically say “Wordpress” on them, it is quite likely that WordPress is dramatically under-reported and the clear winner among open source solutions.
    .
    It is important to mention that WordPress is a technology platform not a church website service. With the template solutions available from WeConnect, eCatholic, and OSV, the parish receives a complete solution package including support. The WordPress open source code is “free” but requires a volunteer or local consulting firm to assist, a website hosting plan, and possibly an external consultant.
    .
  6. OSV LogoOSV: 231 total parish websites
    OSV appears to have two template-based website solutions—Faith in Action and Radius. This total encompasses both. While not specifically listed on their website, I believe pricing is $79 per month.
    .
  7. Weebly LogoWeebly: 231 total parish websites
    Weebly is a low-cost, general website tool for any business or non-profit. Monthly pricing ranges from free to $25 per month. Unlimited storage and phone support are only available on the pay plans.
    .
  8. Google LogoGoogle Sites: 231 total parish websites
    Google Sites is Google’s free easy-to-use website builder that is branded primarily as an intranet tool to be used by teams. Google Sites does require a $5-10 fee per backend user and parishes also have to pay a fee for a domain.
    .
  9. SolutioSolutio: 116 total parish websites
    Solutio is a template-based solution geared specifically for the Catholic Church market and is typically advertiser supported. Unlike other Catholic website providers, Solutio requires a longer-term contract due to its connection with advertisers. The advertiser supported sites can be free. Ad-free websites start at $3,500 and go up from there.
    .
  10. GoDaddy LogoGoDaddy: 78 total parish websites
    GoDaddy is a large, national website hosting provider that offers domains, websites, and additional services. While the monthly cost of operating is low, GoDaddy also requires a volunteer or local consulting firm to assist in the building and maintaining of the site, a separate hosting plan and possibly an external consultant.

Here are a few additional providers that had under 100 total parish websites:

  • John Patrick Publishing: 48 total parish websites
    John Patrick Publishing is a Catholic bulletin publisher with a website solution product.
  • Wix: 44 total parish websites
    Wix is a large national website solution builder for any business or non-profit.
  • SMB Creative: 39 total parish websites
    SMB provides web design for both churches and businesses.
  • DIS Faith Websites: 32 total parish websites
    DIS Faith is a cross-denominational Church website solution.
  • Diocesan Publications: 29 total parish websites
    Diocesan is a Catholic bulletin publisher with a website solution product.
  • Clover Websites: 22 total parish websites
    Clover is a non-denominational focused Church website solution.
  • Joomla!: 8 total parish websites
    Joomla! Is an open source solution that is dramatically underrepresented in this survey due to its many templates and usage by small web design firms. Like WordPress, this is a technology not a service.

Overall, these results show a proliferation of small, local, or parishioner solutions. There has definitely been an increased number of parishes choosing a Catholic Church focused solution like WeConnect, eCatholic, or OSV, but overall the church website environment is still largely populated by a tremendous diversity of websites, solutions, and small companies supporting them.

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Author:Joe Luedtke

Joe Luedtke is the Chief Operating Officer for Liturgical Publications (LPi). Joe specializes in Social Media and Web 2.0 and is currently leading LPi’s efforts to move into the on-line world. Joe works for the world's largest and oldest social network, religion, and believes that this social network could benefit tremendously from the the proper use of Internet technologies.
  • disqus_NAVsMmJ24g

    I’m a parish volunteer webmaster. I used CatholicWeb since 1999 for our parish because it was free and easy to do. (I knew nothing when I started.) Then last year they stopped providing service and I did a lot of research. I really don’t have the time to create a website on my own so we wound up going with Solutio. We have a very nice website now. Joomla is what you update it with. They did most everything for the switchover. They have been very responsive and helpful: training, answering any emails, they are the ones getting all the advertising to support the site, etc. The people who work there are serious Catholics, too. So I like supporting them. I’m very happy. (And they didn’t even ask me to say this!) http://www.ststephenparish.net/

  • http://www.brandonvogt.com/ Brandon Vogt

    Hmmm. Those numbers seem a bit off to me, particularly for eCatholic. I know from working with them that they host over 2,500 Catholic parish websites–way more than the 694 you suggest. Even extrapolating your number by a factor of 1.5 to account for your sample size (1.5 = 17,900 total parishes in US / 12,000 parishes in your sample), that brings the total of eCatholic sites just over 1,000. That means you underreported their share by 150%.

    I’m also pretty sure, from working with them, that you’ve seriously underestimated OSV’s numbers, too.

    I would never accuse LPI of intentionally crunching the numbers in their favor, to make it appear that LPI is the most popular specific website provider among parishes. But even given the methodological limitations (i.e., interns spot-checking website footers), it does raise eyebrows when LPI appears in the top slot of their own survey.

    • http://www.catholictechtalk.com/ Joe Luedtke

      Brandon, I knew this would come up and would of actually preferred that the numbers came out differently for the eyebrows that I knew would be raised by this. As I tried to point out in the article, there is large margin for error based on the sampling method used. We relied entirely on attribution in the footer of the website for this sampling and it was done over the course of a year so change during that year were not captured.

      Prior to this survey, I would of thought that eCatholic was leading the market and again, based on the survey method used and time lag, they may easily be doing so.

      This forum is meant to be an open forum for sharing information. I’d invite eCatholic or any other website provider to weigh in with more accurate data if they’d like to share.

  • Brian Shaffer

    You may also want to check out http://www.finalweb.com. We host a number of Catholic church websites at a very affordable rate with no setup fee. Our web templates are responsive, we have a powerful feature set including online event registration, membership directories, online giving, sermon downloads, live streaming, and native mobile apps.