Top 12 website builders
In the early days of the internet, building a website meant you had to know how to code.
So in 2009 when I had to create my first real website — that wasn’t a MySpace page or a Blogger blog — I turned to Weebly. Back then, there were only a couple of website builders out there.
Nowadays, there are dozens of easy-to-use website builders. Adding photos, text, banners, videos, and embedding contact forms is often as simple as dragging and dropping elements on the page. You can create a website in minutes, not days or weeks.
Wix is one of the most long-standing and affordable website builders on the market. You can start from scratch or choose from over 500 designer-made templates. The drag-and-drop builder is intuitive and easy to use. Other key features include media galleries, unlimited fonts, and the ability to integrate e-commerce and calendars, and embed forms through tools like JotForm.
Wix has a free plan, which includes hundreds of templates, unlimited pages, and reliable hosting. If you want to remove Wix ads and watermarks, their paid plans start at $16 per month.
Weebly was the website builder that I used for my first professional website. Like Wix, it’s a free website builder that’s been around for more than a decade. Some key features include a drag-and-drop builder, custom fonts, animation effects, and an image editor.
If you’re looking for a basic site and don’t mind a Weebly ad/watermark, it’s free to use. Paid plans start at $10 per month.
3dcart is one of the longest-running eCommerce platforms in the industry. Businesses of all sizes can create and operate a personalized and highly refined online store with the company’s state-of-the-art software.
This specialized site builder comes with dozens of built-in features, even at the lowest pricing plans. These tools and suites cover all the essentials and more, including real-time shipping calculations, advanced analytics, mobile-friendly themes, unlimited orders, and API access. 3dcart is also notable for integrating with over 100 payment processors, more than any other eCommerce platform.
Anyone interested in test-driving the software can sign up for a 15-day free trial. They can then choose from five payment plans, ranging in monthly price from $9.99 to $19.99 to $35.99 to $65.99 to $99.99.
Webflow is a great website builder for anyone looking for flexible design and branding options. It allows for custom branding and integration with Mailchimp, Zapier, Google, and more.
Webflow is free to use until you launch. When you’re ready for your site to go live, you can choose a pricing plan and domain name.
There are two types of plans — site plans and account plans. Site plans are best for personal sites, blogs, business sites, and e-commerce. They start at $14 per month. Account plans can be either team or individual-based and are best for working on projects like freelance work. They let you bill clients and work on unlimited hosted projects.
Squarespace is a publishing platform with a beautiful, intuitive interface. It’s designed for nondesigners.
You can install multiple templates and work on them at the same time. There are many fonts to choose from, customizable content layouts, video backgrounds, starter layouts, drag-and-drop functionality, custom CSS, and the ability to restore example content from original templates at any time. You can also incorporate audio collections, galleries, and e-commerce features.
Squarespace offers a free trial, but similar to Webflow, there are no free options for a live site. Plans start at $16 per month for personal use. Each plan includes 24–7 customer support and can be changed or canceled at any time.
Shopify is an e-commerce site builder that lets you create and sell anything online. It can be used for small, simple sites that sell only a handful of products or large stores with tens of thousands of products.
They make it easy to add and update products, manage orders and shipping processes, and collect payments in a single dashboard. The site offers fast support, helpful community forums, and a large marketplace with thousands of third-party apps and integrations.
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, and paid plans start at $32 per month.
Format is a website builder that’s ideal for creating portfolio sites. Format is designed to let creatives showcase their work with a portfolio that gets noticed. Key features include access to client proofing; responsive themes; and marketing, e-commerce, and blogging tools.
They offer a 14-day free trial. You then have to commit to one of their three premium plans, which start at just $5 per month, billed annually.
WordPress.com is often confused with WordPress.org. However, WordPress.org is self-hosted and open source (meaning free to use), but you have to manage your own hosting.
WordPress.com is a cloud-hosted, all-in-one solution. It’s customizable and lets users choose from a growing number of templates, plug-ins, and options without having to worry about hosting.
The free plan will include WordPress in the domain name, while premium plans remove the subdomain. Personal plans begin at just $4 per month and are billed annually.
SiteBuilder lets you create a website with free hosting. It offers everything you need to get started, including domain options, custom emails, analytics, e-commerce, and blogging.
However, the style and functions of the website are less flexible than other web builder options. With SiteBuilder, you answer a few questions, and the site is automatically personalized with images and suggested layouts.
Plans start at $9.98 per month. With their promotional rate for new signups. This promo plan will automatically renew at regular rates. If you cancel, there’s a nonrefundable $16 domain fee, which can feel like a bait and switch.
Gator is a website builder from the web host service HostGator. It’s a good option for those using HostGator for their domain and web hosting. Gator includes a range of mobile-friendly templates for e-commerce, blogging, business, portfolio, and tech sites. The web builder also includes analytics, social, and productivity tools.
There are four affordable plan levels, and each one includes free hosting, a free SSL certificate, a domain name, and customizable templates.
Duda is a web design platform for agencies, digital publishers, hosting companies, and SaaS platforms. It’s made for team collaboration and client management. The web builder includes product updates, ready-made marketing materials, and sales strategy guides.
Duda’s platform is flexible and extensible with developer mode, a widget builder, dynamic pages, REST API, and connected data. Their Amazon-style personalized actions help improve conversions.
They have a 14-day free trial. Basic plans start at $14 per month.
Jimdo is a web builder designed to bring businesses online. Designs are tailored for individual industries, and no coding is required to get started.
Features include automatic SEO, professional domains, easy-to-track statistics, and the ability to create your own logo within seconds. E-commerce features are available with no transaction fees. There are also beautiful product layouts and flexible variants.
If you don’t mind a jimdosite.com subdomain, then it’s free to use. Basic website plans with free custom domains start at $9 per month.
Website builders have come a long way in the last decade. Because there are so many options available, we recommend making a list of all of your must-have features, then trying out two or three options to start.
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