Office 365 for Business comes with an option to create one Site Collection as Public Website. Creating custom masterpages and publishing them became a lot easier with the new version of Sharepoint 2013/Online (Sharepoint Online is part of Office 365). Mapping an existing or new Domain name is fairly easy as well. By default you get built-in integration with GoDaddy. It is hard to believe, but this just works as expected. Wizard does all the hard work for you.
Why you should consider this? Because to host a web site you need a hosting provider and the cheapest is at least 50€/year. You might say – I will just host a web site in Azure – I get 10 web sites for free. That is an option. But to map a Domain on your “free” web site you will first need to change hosting type from Free to Shared. You should also consider that Office 365 ( + Sharepoint Online) is CMS as well. End-user, by default, gets an ability to edit a website on their own – no developer needed … Etc.
There are limitations: What do I mean with limitations? – There are features that you get on On-prem Sharepoint 2013 and don’t get on Sharepoint Online (Office 365 for Business). See more: Feature Comparison Limitations of Sharepoint Online (on day: 15.9.2014): No Clean Url manipulation for each page No Term Store manipulation No Cross Site Publishing No Search functionality (Content By Search Web Part) No Sub Sites(SPWebs) Etc. .. go to Site Settings for more. So if you’re considering using these features and they are the requirement, my advice to you – start requesting features on UserVoice (Microsoft is listening to user request). If there is a decent amount of votes for a specific feature, they might put an effort into building it, eventually include it. There are already a couple of features that were added just because of user demand.
This post will be updated over time. Public Website template might receiving new features.
- Get started with the Public Website: http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/sharepoint-help/get-started-with-the-public-website-HA102801171.aspx
- Feature Comparison (Office 365 and Sharepoint On-prem 2013): http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-sharepoint-online-enterprise-help/websites-in-sharepoint-online-and-sharepoint-server-HA102828142.aspx?CTT=5&origin=HA102891740
- Office Dev Center http://dev.office.com/