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What if Webflow just... stops?


#1

Hi there!

So, what if tomorrow, Webflow decides to stop and close its doors (or go bankrupt). Would that even be possible? What happens to all the websites that are hosted there?

I hope this is not a dumb question… :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks! Robert


What if Webflow doesn’t stop?
#2

If Webflow closes up shop the only thing for most of us to do would be to scream, “EXPORT FASTER” at the top of our lungs while furiously searching for a replacement. The ones who can code would spend the following week generating content targeting the search phrase “what do I do now that Webflow has stopped” and make a gajillion dollars.


#3

Hi @Robobo ! Totally valid question.

We don’t expect to close up shop, but then again, no one can 100% predict the future. What you can do is look at our history and hopefully it’ll help you make a decision to work on our platform or not.

  • Webflow first launched in August 2013 (source)
  • Webflow has been making updates frequently since then (source)
  • Our community has been consistently growing and is very dedicated
  • 6 out of 7 Customer Success Team members started as fans of Webflow (myself included)
  • 3 out of the 4 QA Team members started as fans of Webflow
  • Webflow has been making $10mil with almost no investor money. (source)
  • our CEO has mentioned that we are only 5% into our long term goals (up next is ecommerce)

However, if we did have to close, we would notify everyone and make sure there is a smooth transition for you to export your data in some way. Currently you can export your site’s static HTML, CSS, JS and images.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:


#4

Thank you @PixelGeek, that helps! :smiley:


#5

Don’t worry if Webflow stops it just means the end of the world is here and nothing will make sense anymore.


#6

It’s a great question and a very valid one. Many have been burnt by the Adobe Business Catalyst fiasco. Apparently it was extremely unlikely that their platform would fold but it did… and so too could Webflow no matter what sort of spin they want to put on it.

If you have small site the export function makes things reasonably easy but if you need to make any significant changes to the site layout things might not be that easy. If you’re using CMS hosting features you’ll be stuck and have to find another platform to re-build if they close down. A huge problem if you have multiple sites.


#7

This is going to be the case for almost all SaaS or WYSIWYG solutions where the “developer” isn’t going to be comfortable getting deep into code to continue supporting their clients.

This is where I think Webflow does it right.

There are no shortage of complaints from users who are frustrated by the learning curve, saying (for example) they wished they could drag various pieces of their website to specific spots – without any thought for how the structure of the elements would support such an action. The Webflow Designer forces you to think like a developer, creating nested elements that behave the way they should because they fit within the framework of actual web development.

I started from a place of creating websites in notepad (albeit very basic) and now work as a “Web Designer” for a company working with Shopify - so I might not be the best example - but using Webflow has ingrained a solid knowledge of why the things I can do easily within the platform work the way they do. I’m more comfortable creating things from scratch the old fashioned way, and I even understand my limitations in a pseudo-visual way – all thanks to Webflow.

The takeaway from my unnecessarily large rant? If you aren’t already, think of Webflow as a time-saving device instead of a replacement for doing work the old fashioned way. Pay attention to the tools you use, what their limitations are, and how you can apply that knowledge outside of the Webflow bubble.


#8

The biggest threat to the continuation of Webflow is probably from a buy-out by a competitor.


#9

I’ve watched and benefited from Webflow’s growth and development over the last 2.5 years, and the trajectory is definitely positive and upward, there is a grander vision than just building a business to eventually exit for profit, they want to change the way both websites and applications are built…

Have a listen to Co-Founder and CEO Vlad’s most recent Q+A and in particular 26:21 if you want to hear him directly answer the question of being acquired - they are only 5% into the future vision for the company and want to work towards it independently. Click the ‘Ask a Question’ at the bottom and you can go to the exact point where any of the questions are answered:


#10

I remember back when the small Australian platform “Good Barry” was bought-out by Adobe to later be renamed Business Catalyst. It felt far from being a threat back then and was seen and moving towards something bigger and better.


#11

Yeah, I love Webflow as far as a website building tool and will continue to use it in that way. The more I use it, the more I realise that it may not be the solution for many of the sites I currently have on BC.

Sure, building sites with Webflow is great!! But I’ve found updating then having to export to an external host is far from “time saving”. I could manually update the code for simple changes but then if I need to make more significant layout changes at a later stage on Webflow I can potentially run into version control issues. I’ve found editing the code directly can be tricky due to the CDN image linking and form processing .

Hosting at Webflow is the obvious solution to all this but the hosting fees are way more than what my clients currently pay. The conversion to AUD + international bank fees make it really expensive. Not all my clients want or need CDN. Most DO need email.

The biggest issue is I have to give an honest answer to my clients when they ask “What happens if Webflow goes belly up like the last company did.”

I don’t mean to come across as overly cynical but from my experience (not a supposition) the opening question was valid and rather than just putting faith in the platform and what the directors are saying, I’d be considering a contingency plan if Webflow isn’t around in a year or two.


#12

Webflow and the way the CMS system works is one of those rare applications of software which makes for a better design process and workflow methodology. For me personally it’s up there with Maya, Quark/InDesign and Flash. The problem is if something is too good it is a threat to entrenched and emerging, less capable ways of producing something.

That should not be a problem, but if you’re a corporation like Apple/Microsoft/Autodesk/Adobe then protectionist instincts may kick in to the detriment of the users and the technological solution.

I’d hate to see another fine solution to design process that makes life easier for producers in order to yet again turn them into consumers…


#13

Is there an existing design tool like Webflow that has the same ease and potential? All of the CMS solutions that I’ve looked at take more time and distract from the purpose. Webflow does not. There’s an argument to be made for inclusion in the platform for a purity of code approach, but that is achievable.


#14

IIRC, Webflow does not plan to get bought out by a competitor, so no worries there. I myself believe in Webflow.

Edit: found it Hmm...Invision buys out Macaw


#15

I wish webflow remain stroger more and more


#16

That is also my only fear. In my opinion Webflow is a still-little-known disruptive technology that at one point is going to be seen as a threat by on of the big players (=Adobe).


#18

Is there an existing design tool like Webflow that has the same ease and potential?

Not that I’m currently aware of. I have some larger sites on BC that I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with so I’ll keep looking.

There was Adobe Muse… I’m glad I didn’t embrace that one!! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I made the decision not to go down the WordPress route a long time ago. There are moments that I wonder if I made the wrong decision there.

I’ve lost a few customers to Wix & Squarespace but I refuse to go down that route.

Previously I was building sites using Bootstrap and then using the code for static websites on any host or as a CMS on Business Catalyst. After trying Webflow, it’s opened up a lot more possibilities for me from a front end design point of view… but it’s not (currently) all I was hoping it would be.


#19

Good to hear this from the company. Respect.


#20

I was specifically asking about the Webflow CMS as it’s very logical to me in terms of using it to build dynamic sites, looking at Concrete5, Grav, Wordpress, Drupal etc means a lot of inline code that can be hard to visualise in terms of actual production: link to this collection > use this field > populate this element.

Also the Webflow CMS is more like a traditional database in terms of designing the structure which makes a lot of sense and is not tied to any particular ‘theme’ or require the whole site to be designed around a pre-defined structure, yes Wordpress is very good for blogs but it’s a real pain to use for any other type of site.

I really like the fact that a new project can be a blank sheet of paper: the information architecture and dynamic structure can be designed specifically for the project without worrying about fitting it to an existing generic set of files. This area of production can be done first, which gives a lot more freedom in presentation. At the same time if you want an off-the-shelf theme integrated with an off-the-shelf CMS system you can do that too.

It’s pretty unique, logical and flexible.


#21

@thesergie Could the long-term plan include going public or ever giving big investors more than 25% control? I’m very curious what ownership % the original founders of Webflow still retain. But totally understand if you can’t share that.
Thanks for the reassurance! :smiley: