RJ Web Builder 3.0 FAQ

What is RJ Web Builder 3.0?
RJ Web Builder 3.0 is an enterprise level website platform using the WordPress-based Content Management System (CMS) on which congregations can build and host their websites. The platform makes it easy for users with little to no technical knowledge to manage a sophisticated and professional website. The system will allow your congregation to have its own website as a benefit of URJ membership.

The URJ has been assisting congregations with their websites for the past 20 years. Before website and domain hosting were widely commoditized and user-friendly, many congregations hosted simple sites with the URJ. As websites became more complex, the URJ offered more robust sites complete with a content management system (CMS), allowing congregations to do more with their sites. The RJ Web Builder program grew to more than 200 congregations as many found the consistency of the offering — the URJ wasn’t a web designer who might someday retire, or a congregation volunteer who moved away — a great way to take advantage of their URJ membership.

With the popularity of open source software (which have no licensing fees, and updates are supported by volunteer developer communities), the URJ upgraded the RJ Web Builder platform (now 2.0) to the most widely used open source CMS in 2011, Joomla! Again, the program grew to nearly 300 congregations of all sizes who took advantage of the DIY system that the URJ maintained, hosted, and updated.

As the open source community has evolved, a new offering has been made that is hard for the URJ to turn down: WordPress. This user-friendly CMS has grown to become the most widely adapted website software, and its multisite option makes it even easier to manage, update, and modernize congregational websites. As always, RJ Web Builder 3.0 will offer the stability of service that is hard to find locally for many congregations, and is included as a benefit of membership.

What is WordPress?
In non-geek speak, WordPress is web publishing software you can use to create your own website or blog. Since it was released in 2003, WordPress has become one of the most popular web publishing platforms. Today it powers more than 60 million websites! It’s a highly flexible content management system (CMS) that enables you to build and manage your own full-featured website using just your web browser. WordPress is an ”open source” project. That means that hundreds of volunteers from all around the world are constantly creating and improving the code for the WordPress software, allowing for thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes that enable you to build just about any type of website you can imagine.

What are the advantages of WordPress?   
WordPress was originally designed as a blogger tool but over the years has become one of the most popular open source CMSs. With a large developer community and thousands of different plugins you can create a professional-looking website with little technical knowledge. In addition, WordPress is designed for non-technical users and has an easy to use and intuitive interface for managing and creating website content.

Does the URJ still handle software updates?
The URJ will handle all updates and maintenance tasks associated with the system. You will not be required/able to make these on your own.

How secure will my site be?
We will provide different layers of security; however, the details will depend on the hosting. We are currently working out those details.

Will I be able to process financial transactions/can we get SSL? 
All sites will have 256-bit encryption and SSL certificates. You will be able to process financial transactions on your site through selected payment gateways.

Will there be password protected pages/sections for my membership? 
The site will come with a membership management system. You will be able to create membership levels and restrict content on the site for only members.

Who is the developer?
We are pleased that Jared Shih, and his team of developers at NYC Help Desk, will continue on in their role as lead developers for RJ Web Builder. Jared has been working on this system since 2011 and is well acquainted with the specifics of congregational websites.

Where will our site be hosted?
All RJ Web Builder 3.0 sites will be hosted at Pantheon, a leading WordPress host which will provide flexible bandwidth, SSL certificates and security. Domain (DNS) records will still be maintained by congregations.