A few years ago, publishing a website required knowing HTML, CSS, and Flash. These days, you can design a beautiful and fully functional website without a single line of code. Numerous IT companies have done a marvelous job of simplifying Web design by offering easy-to-use yet powerful website builders.
If you’re looking to build your website, you’ll see that choosing the right kind of tool can be a difficult job. That’s why we are here to help. We’ll be taking a closer look at 10 of the most popular website builders – their capabilities, functions, usability, as well as pros and cons. Hopefully, you’ll narrow down your search by the end of this guide. You may also check the full comparison chart.
2017’s Best Website Builders – The Top 10
|Website Builder||Price||Usability & Tools||Ease of Use||Performance||Overall Rating|
|Starts at $0/month||5/5||5/5||5/5|
|One of the widely-used website builders. Even though its free plan it cluttered with ads, this platform shows a lot of promise. Hundreds of themes and third-party apps await. Most recommended.
|Starts at $0/month||5/5||5/5||5/5|
|A huge selection of attractive themes that can be customized. Weebly is one of the most capable website builders that even non-technical users can understand and use. Most recommended.
|Starts at $29/month||5/5||5/5||5/5|
|Shopify brings all you need to build and launch your e-commerce website: tons of great themes, high levels of customization, and a user-friendly dashboard for running your store. A highly capable option. Most recommended.
|Starts at $1/month||5/5||4/5||5/5|
|GoDaddy offers a selection of nicely designed themes. You can combine different design modules to create a truly unique website. However, its functionality is somewhat limited but still highly usable for beginners. Recommended.
|Starts at $0/month||5/5||4/5||5/5|
|A highly capable CMS with thousands of premium priced themes. Requires some time to become familiar with its features, but it’s well worth it. Recommended.
|Starts at $29.95/month||3/5||3/5||3/5|
|BigCommerce features free and premium themes that bring a professional design. However, this platform lacks support from third-party apps, which is quite limited.
|Starts at $1.95/month||3/5||3/5||3/5|
|Build for inexperienced users, Web.com is an intuitive website builder. It’s affordable and comes with a drag-and-drop website builder – all you’ll ever need to publish your first website without a lot of hassle.
|Starts at $4.99/month||3.5/5||3/5||3/5|
|Features a drag-and-drop website builder with different kinds of modules. However, it can be hard to switch between different themes – so make sure you pick the one you like the best. Experienced users might feel constrained.
|Starts at $7.5/month||3/5||3/5||3/5|
|Jimdo is built around simplicity. Make sure you pick the right kind of template since editing options are somewhat limited. Suitable for personal and business websites.
|Starts at $12/month||3/5||3/5||3/5|
|Squarespace is known for its extraordinary templates. If you’re a creative individual, you are going to love these this platform.
Why and How We Review Website Builders?
Getting to know the tools of the trade is essential for any job. This also goes for Web design. By getting acquainted with different website builders, you’re making sure that you’re choosing the right tool.
As you are about to see, the following 10 website builders are very powerful and ready to produce amazing websites. However, they are not the same.
While some are perfect for personal or corporate websites, others are more suitable for e-commerce stores. Similarly, some are design-oriented, others offer ease-of-use or unique options.
You need to find the one that suits your requirements in the best way possible.
So, how exactly do we review website builders?
We understand that our readers don’t want half-baked opinions and conclusion, which is what you’ll often find online. Instead, we have decided to deep dive into the matter.
We took for a test each of the following website builders by signing up for their free/paid plans and building a sample website.
We wanted to test free-of-charge options, as well as more and less affordable options – as well as to uncover any hidden costs. Furthermore, we tested our sample websites by inspecting their performances.
The results of our effort are comprehensive views and conclusions about the most popular website builders.
We hope you’ll find these findings quite helpful.
Who Should Use Website Builders?
We have a straightforward answer to this question – just about anyone!
If you need a nicely designed website without spending a lot of money on hiring a Web developer, website builders are a viable alternative.
You don’t have to have any experience in coding or Web technologies, since these website builders are created for inexperienced users, in general. Some are more or less intuitive, which is one of the ways to differentiate them.
It’s also important to understand that website builders aren’t made exclusively for those unfamiliar with Web design. In fact, they are often used by Web designers and developers since they help them achieve better results in no time.
Instead of writing lines and lines of code, Web professional use website builders just like you – to create a nice-looking page without a lot of effort. The only difference is that they might dig a bit deeper and make some bigger changes due to code tweaking. On the other hand, you’ll be perfectly fine without that.
Benefits of Using Website Builders Instead of Hiring Web Developers
Aside from saving you a lot of money, there are numerous other advantages of building your website on your own instead of hiring a professional.
Still, we’re far for saying that Web developers are obsolete. They will have a lot of work as long as people want to build highly sophisticated websites powered by databases or integrate specific functions that require coding.
When it comes to creating your website and setting up the foundations for your online presence, you’re good on your own.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of using a website builder on your own:
- You don’t need to have any programming or coding skills. Companies behind website builders are well-aware of this, which is why their products are user-friendly.
- You don’t have to worry about your website’s performance. The majority of website builders are self-hosted. This means that files of your website are always kept online and taken care by the company you picked. All you need is to log-in from any computer or device, make changes to your website and save them. These changes will be visible instantaneously.
- Having an eye for design is a clear advantage, but you don’t have to be good at Photoshop to build your website. If you don’t want to deal with visual design, you can simply pick an already built theme and modify it according to your needs.
- You want to add an online form, insert an interactive video, or open an online shop? Maybe this sounds complicated, but it’s not. Website builders come with plugins and apps that add new functionalities – again, without any coding.
- Most people are unaware of hidden costs of website Even after your website goes live, you frequently need a web developer to fix issues, improve performance, or make changes. Using a website builder, you don’t need to worry about that. Instead, you’ll transfer that job to a company whose website builder you decide to use. This can potentially save you a lot of money.
Top 10 Website Builders: Our Recommendations
When searching for free website builders, you’ll often come across a service called Wix. This is one of the most widely-used website builders that offers an attractive free-of-charge plan. However, this service also comes with very capable yet affordable monthly plans.
Just like with similar services, it all begins with templates. This is where Wix excels with hundreds of modern-looking templates. Most of them are professional-looking and quite attractive. You can import the one you like and access the drag-and-drop builder. This simple tool comes with everything you need to build a full-fledged website.
Numerous tools await like text customizations, custom graphics and visuals, galleries, and similar. However, there are also advanced modules like Google maps, contacts forms, and modules for blogging and e-commerce store.
One of the best things about Wix is its app gallery. Using one of the available apps, you can add a new blog or add an e-commerce section to your existing website. This kind of flexibility and ease of use is rare nowadays.
The best thing about Weebly is that it fascinatingly combines complexity and simplicity. This website builder is incredibly intuitive – and can be used by complete Web design newbies. This is because you start out with a theme.
There are numerous excellently designed themes, where just about anyone can find something. Then, you open a builder and drag-and-drop different modules. For example, these can be titles, text, images, slideshows, dividers, maps, etc.
Another great thing about Weebly is that you can easily switch between different themes. Once you’re ready to try something new, simply pick a new theme. All your content will remain intact, including text, images, and other customizations.
Finally, we mustn’t forget about Weebly’s dedicated mobile website builder. You can fine-tune your website’s mobile appearance by using a dedicated builder. Once again, you’ll have modules that can be dragged-and-dropped, including special “hamburger” menus and other mobile-oriented features.
Shopify is a specialized website builder – designed for e-commerce stores. This means that if you don’t want a typical website but a digital store, Shopify might be what you need.
The best thing about this platform is that it hosts its own websites. You don’t have to worry about your store’s maintenance or technical issues – so you can focus on your store’s design and performance.
You start out by picking a theme and optimizing it. There are numerous ways to add new modules and create something truly unique. Then, you add your products, set up their pricing and choose payment options. This sounds complicated in theory, but it’s quite simple. Building your online shop with Shopify is actually quite fun as well. It’s also worth mentioning that you can find premium priced third-party themes if you need something unique.
This platform goes beyond a typical e-commerce platform. It offers different ways of maintaining your store, tracking your sales and profits, and creating all kinds of marketing promotions. This all comes priced at $29 per month for the Basic plan.
You’ve probably heard about GoDaddy before. This is actually the biggest domain name registrar in the world, with over 60 million domains. Aside from allowing you to register a domain name and pick a hosting plan, GoDaddy comes with a powerful website builder.
What sets GoDaddy apart from the competition are its preloaded themes – all of which are responsive. Another interesting thing is that when you pick a theme, it’ll come with its own content. This is great since you’ll see how your website will look like when finished.
You are also free to play around with the design and layout, add new modules and remove the existing ones. You have quite a lot of freedom with this website builder.
GoDaddy’s plans start at $1 per month for simple personal websites, while the most popular one is the Business plan – at $4.99 per month.
Being one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS), WordPress deserved to be at the top of our list. It is said that WordPress powers around 25% of all websites, which is an astonishing figure. This isn’t as surprizing since this CMS was one of the first website builders that simplified Web design and made it available to everyone.
The necessary prerequisite to using WordPress is that you have your own domain and hosting. Then, you download or activate WordPress free of charge – and build your website. A second option exists as well.
If you don’t want to deal with your own hosting, you can choose one of WordPress’ monthly plans that start at $2 per month – including a hosting plan. These plans come with a custom domain name, free and premium themes, and the core set of Web design options.
Speaking of real no-hassle website builders, Web.com deserves a special place on our list. This website builder comes with around 9,500 preloaded themes – ready to be used, customized, and published. This is why we believe this first step might be the hardest. You’ll get to browse through thousands of nicely designed themes, which can be filtered in more ways than one. This can narrow down your choice and help you get started.
Web.com offers a very attractive price of $1.95/month for its basic plan. It includes a free custom domain, dedicated hosting plan, and the ability to use this service’s website builder. What this means is that for $1.95, you can build your own website from scratch using a custom domain and a high-grade hosting. However, your costs will go up after a full year of use of this service.
The website builder is very simple for use. You pick a theme, open it in the website builder and customize things like the website’s content, images, pages, color schemes, etc. You don’t have a lot of freedom when it comes to customization, but you should be able to build a professional-looking website with ease.
One of the biggest competitors of GoDaddy is eHost. This is because both of these companies started out as domain registrants and Web hosting providers. However, the both of them later included website builders as part of their services.
eHost’s website builder is very similar to GoDaddy’s – with a couple of additional perks. You start out by picking a theme. There are hundreds of preloaded themes, categorized by their design, possible uses, unique functionalities, and more. Once you pick the one you like, you can continue customizing it. It’s important to choose the right theme since you can’t change it afterward.
If you don’t have any experience, you won’t be overwhelmed by eHost’s website builder. It’s based on drag-and-drop modules that can be added, re-organized, or removed. In the case of any issues, you can contact the company’s support team via the 24/7 live-chat. Also, you can hire a Web developer for some bigger changes since you’ll receive access to our website’s backend (cPanel).
Monthly plans start at $4.99 if you sign up for 12 months in advance.
If you’re looking for modern and minimalistic themes, you’ll like what Jimdo has to offer. The most attractive thing about this website builder, aside from the cool-looking themes, is its simplicity.
Ever since Jimdo was launched a couple of years back, it promoted easiness. If you’re a complete newbie looking for an edgy or modern website, you’re in for a treat. Hundreds of templates await, filled with attractive graphics, texts, and typography. All you need is to add your content.
It’s also important to highlight that every single theme that Jimdo offers is optimized for mobile devices. This kind of optimization is imperative these days. This service also has its iOS and Android apps so that you can add new content on-the-go.
Prices start at $7.5 per month for a single website. If you need a more sophisticated website that has an e-commerce store, you’ll need to pay $20 per month. However, note that Jimdo is not the most capable e-commerce platform but handles smaller store just fine.
BigCommerce is one of the biggest competitors to Shopify. This is an e-commerce platform that offers both simple and complex ways to build your online store, sell products, and keep track of the inventory.
BigCommerce offers both free and premium priced themes. There is a very nice selection of themes, where everyone will certainly find something interesting. When it comes to customization, we preferred Shopify due to its simple yet powerful editor. BigCommerce features an easy-to-use editor as well, but it lacks flexibility. It seems like some higher priced BigCommerce themes are more flexible, so prepare to spend some money on your brand-new theme.
It’s important to highlight that customers from the U.S. will certainly benefit more than international clients. BigCommerce is still a new company developing its online presence, so you’ll might have a hard time when it comes to buyers from outside the U.S. This can be mostly seen in overly complex tax settings.
We’ll conclude our list of recommendations with Squarespace. This platform is known for its selection of minimalistic and artistic website templates, which is why you’ll see creative individuals using it. Nonetheless, Squarespace can be used for just about any kind of a website.
This interesting platform, aside from offering extraordinary templates, is incredibly user-friendly. You’ll get to use a website builder that works in the Preview mode, which means you’ll get to see real-time changes as you make them. Also, any change you make will reflect onto the responsive version of your website. Most of the themes offered work great on mobile devices, in both orientations. Its website builder works great with other services; You can import content from your old website, and re-format it.
Squarespace can be used for personal and business websites, blogs, and even e-commerce stores (using an advanced monthly plan). You can also make changes on-the-go on your iOS or Android devices.