After announcing last week that I’m now partner & co-CEO at Carbonmade, I’ve received a lot of questions about the difference between Carbonmade and Semplice. I’d love to answer them right here.

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Ultimately, both products are great at what they do (otherwise I wouldn’t work on them) but they have slightly different use cases and it depends a lot on what you want to achieve with them.

As I mentioned in my original Carbonmmade announcement, I see both Semplice and Carbonmade on a spectrum. Someone might be using both, or starts with one tool and then eventually switches to the other for different reasons. But let’s look at the main differences between them.

Self-hosted vs. hosted

Semplice is self-hosted and based on WordPress. This means you have full control over where your data is and what hosting provider you want to use. Of course, this freedom comes with the additional responsibility of managing this all yourself (and some do love that, I myself do).

Carbonmade is fully hosted on the Carbonmade servers and you cannot install it on your own server. This means we take care of everything for you instead of managing it on your own.

One-time payment vs. subscription

Semplice is a one-time payment product. There is no subscription required since it’s license based. Semplice is like software used to be back in the days; you purchase it once and you can use it forever on your own server (or until you decide to purchase an optional update).

Carbonmade runs on a monthly or annual subscription since it also hosts all your files and your work for you.

Advanced vs. easy & fast

Semplice is an advanced site builder system. You start with a blank slate from scratch and you have thousands of options to build your website based on your own design. Semplice is loved by web professionals who want control over every single little detail and spend days, weeks or even months crafting their perfect site. Semplice is used to build many other sites as well, such as studio sites, product landing pages, magazines and much more. While Semplice is designed to be used without knowing how to code, it’s ideal to know how to design a website to make it work well for you. It’s basically like Photoshop in your browser, but for websites.

Carbonmade is designed to help you build yourself a portfolio as simply and as quickly as possible, in as little as 15 minutes even. There are many things you can do with it, but since it’s based on pre-defined blocks you only have a limited amount of styling options available. But it’s exactly those presets that make it so fast and easy because you don’t need to worry about how it looks on mobile, and it doesn’t overwhelm you with 1,000 styling options. Carbonmade helps you build a beautiful, personalized portfolio even if you’re not a web designer and just want to show off your beautiful photography or art.

If I want something fully custom and advanced and want to go the extra mile, I use Semplice. For everything else I use Carbonmade, simply because it’s so easy to create and maintain.

Access to code vs. no coding

Semplice is based on WordPress and it’s also open source. You can build an entire site without knowing a single line of code but if you want to code, you CAN. Semplice supports custom CSS, custom JavaScript and custom HTML injections. On top of it, you have access to hundreds of WordPress plugins and you technically own all the files, which means you can do a lot more with Semplice beyond the features it already has. Many developers or design/dev hybrids love Semplice for that reason.

Carbonmade is designed to get you as far away as possible from any code or technicalities and focuses just on you and your portfolio. You won’t be able to add custom code or change the existing source code. Just show off your work without any hassle.

So who are you and what do you want to build?

Both products are great at what they do and might serve you at different times in your career, or depending on the project. Since I personally love building custom sites and I have nothing against the technicalities of it, I use Semplice for my personal site. But when it comes to showing off my photography work for example, I want something fast and simple where I can just drag & drop my huge JPG files in and let it do the rest. That’s where I use Carbonmade.

Depending on who you are, your work and where you are in your career, Semplice or Carbonmade will be the perfect fit for you.

More differences:

💛 Semplice is a system lets you build anything from scratch, for the brave.
💜 Carbonmade is based on pre-defined layout blocks, waste no time.

💛 Semplice doesn’t touch your images or videos. You optimize it yourself, full control.
💜 Carbonmade optimizes all your videos and images automatically (while keeping the quality).

💛 Semplice connects to Google Analytics and has no analytics built-in.
💜 Carbonmade has basic analytics included.

💛 Semplice is great for portfolios, landing pages, one-pagers, studio websites and other types of websites.
💜 Carbonmade is specifically built for portfolios and showing off your work.

If you’re deciding between the two for your site, it may also help to our 5 reasons for using Semplice along with these 5 reasons for using Carbonmade.

We hope this gives you the information you need to decide between the two for your portfolio, but feel free to reach out to @semplicelabs or @carbonmmade on Twitter if you have any questions. We’re always happy to talk it through with you, as both companies have this in common: We aim to help you build the best possible site for you and your work.

Thank you for reading

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