Original hosting kept and site designed in webflow?

Hi folks. I’d really appreciate a little help with the above.

I’ve scrawled through all the related existing forum discussions and don’t seem to be any further forward. I had a potential client wanting me to design a website for him on Webflow, but keep the hosting of the site to the one he has at the moment, done through WordPress originally I believe but I can’t remember the name of the hosting platform.

My question - Is it possible to design the website on Webflow and attach it to its original hosting platform?

The client does not want to pay monthly costs as the original host has already been bought outright.

I’m new and all of this gets a little confusing.

Thanks so much.


Here is my site Read-Only: LINK
(how to share your site Read-Only link)

You can, this is exactly how my sites are hosted. There are, however, caveats.

Form functionality in Webflow will not work. You must process any forms with a 3rd party service. I use Formspark, but there are others.

CMS functionality will not work. I believe that FINSWEET has a method to enable CMS in self-hosted platforms.

Some of the exported HTML will need to be edited because some references will still point to a Webflow hosted version, namely the canonical tag and the OG image.

Minification of the CSS and JS will not occur, so that must be done separately. Fortunately, there are many tools available online to use for this.

Sadly, these changes must all be redone EVERY time you export new versions of the site. The edits to the canonical tag can be automated with a text editor that has Search and Replace functionality, especially when you can apply the Search and Replace to a group of files at once.


Hi Steven, thanks so much for your reply. I’m still currently learning to code and not overly confident with this. This would be my first job through Webflow and web design.

Did you find it a lot of extra work to enable the transfer? And is the transfer of code to ensure smooth transfer fairly straightforward? Interactions done on webflow would still be present?

I did notice from a lot of the discussions there is concern over the hosting/pricing plans from webflow to be competitive enough for smaller or start-up businesses, which is exactly who I will be targeting with my lack of experience. Is this the way you normally bypass this?

Thanks again for such a detailed response. Really helps a lot.

I simply unzip the files exported from Webflow, make the pertinent changes to the HTML, CSS, and JS files, then zip them again. I upload that zipped file to my web server, then extract it. That’s it.

The main change to the HTML is this…

Webflow sets your page’s canonical version to the slug, not the actual page file. So the ‘canonical’ tag comes out ‘folder-based’, like this -
<link href="https://yourdomain.com/about/" rel="canonical">

For exported files, the folder-based scenario isn’t valid, and the canonical tag should be -
<link href="https://yourdomain.com/about.html" rel="canonical">

So, I open all HTML files in Notepad++, then do a Search and Replace such as -

Find what: " rel=“canonical”
Replace with: .html" rel=“canonical”

I apply this to all open documents, and it corrects all of the canonical tag entries in all of the files at once. Really saves time.

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I should add that I don’t need to do this on the index.html file, it’s canonical tag should come from Webflow in the correct format.

Hey Sebrame! Sorry for delay. For some reason I’m not getting emails to confirm reply like I used to. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

That seems way to simple! That’s good to know for future reference. I just let a job slip through due to hositng issues. But didn’t realise it was so simple to transfer onto old host. I’m presuming all the interactions get transferred across and same layout and design potential? I guess it’s only the host you are keeping and still being done via webflow?

Thanks again for all you help.

That is exactly my target client.

I have been a reseller for a host since 1994, and I’d hate to break my ties with them, so I’ve stayed. I pay $29/month for my reseller account and typically have about 15 sites. At $12 per site with Webflow hosting, that’s $1,812/year I’m saving.

Other than the caveats I outlined earlier, the only things that will not work when self-hosting are any CMS functions and Forms. Forms are easy enough to handle with a third party forms processor. CMS would be a bit more challenging.

Thanks for the infos! Good to know and good to have here on the forum!

Just discovered one more idiosyncrasy in Code Export, if you have any pages in ‘Draft Mode’, they are exported as well, so they’ll need to be deleted before upload to host.

I’d actually want that :smiley:
They just shouldn’t be reachable with links and shouldn’t be in the sitemap.

Very few folks actually cat out or brute force urls

This brings up another point, you’ll need to create your own sitemap.xml and robots.txt files.

recursive idiosyncrasy