However, it isn’t for everyone. Its interface and features can be too complicated for less experienced web designers, and the subscription pricing plan can get expensive.
Thankfully, there are several other options available. In this feature, we look at five Dreamweaver alternatives that may be the web design solutions that you need.
- Check out our complete list of the best web design software
Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code—often abbreviated to VS Code—is a coding platform popular among professional web developers. As it’s a source code editor and not a visual design tool like Dreamweaver, it does require knowledge of coding.
Visual Studio Code is free to download for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is also a wide range of free extensions available to add new languages, tools, debuggers, and more. You can browse for and install extensions from within VS Code’s inbuilt Extension Marketplace. They run as separate processes, so they don't slow down the editor.
- Read the full review: Microsoft VS Code
WordPress’s developers call it “the world’s most popular website builder,” and the statistics back this up: 41% of the web is built on WordPress. Its appeal is its smooth ease of use and all-in-one nature. It’s not just web design software but also a content management system (CMS), and web hosting is included.
The WordPress interface is browser-based and easy to work with. There’s a user-friendly backend for site administration and a website builder that functions more like a word processor than a coding app. There are thousands of free and paid templates for you to start from, or you can use drag-and-drop options to build your own designs. There are many ways that you can refine your design and many plugins that you can install to further develop your site, though these can often be expensive.
There’s a free plan available, which includes the full website builder tools and 3GB of storage space, though your website will have WordPress ads. The paid plans start at $4 per month and include more storage, your own custom domain, and no ads.
- Read the full review: WordPress.com website builder
With a similar all-in-one model to WordPress, Wix allows you to build and manage a website and administer its hosting within its browser-based system.
The web design tools are impressive, especially for beginners. After you answer a few questions about what you want, an AI-powered system can automatically design a basic website, or you can start from one of over 800 templates. The accessible drag-and-drop editor gives you a great deal of creative freedom because you can resize, recolor, and align all elements.
The free version limits you to 500MB and adds Wix branding to your site. The paid plans remove the ads and add more space, starting at 3GB. The prices are higher than those at WordPress, starting at $14 per month. Overall, it doesn’t quite match WordPress in advanced tools or cost, but it’s still a good option for easy creative site design.
- Read the full review: Wix website builder
In recent years, the popular web design tools, especially at the beginner-friendly end, have been browser-based services like WordPress and Wix. CoffeeCup’s SiteDesigner is a more traditional tool in that it’s a software app like Dreamweaver.
It’s a flexible tool: you can craft websites using its graphic interface if you don’t want to code, or you can edit the code manually. The design tools are all intuitive and helpful, and there are several handy features, such as a device view that lets you preview how your site will look on a variety of devices. It’s accessible and straightforward, though beginners may still prefer the more streamlined services offered by the likes of WordPress.
CoffeeCup’s Site Designer costs a one-off fee of $99. For confident coders who don’t want the visual design tools, CoffeeCup also offers HTML Editor, which requires full manual coding, for $29. Free trial versions are available. You can either buy a hosting plan from CoffeeCup alongside the software or look elsewhere for hosting.
Squarespace is another all-in-one option, allowing you to design, administer, and host your website via its browser-based system. Getting started with it can be a little more complicated than with WordPress and Wix, as the interface is not as easy to navigate.
However, the web design part of the process does have great features that enable you to create attractive-looking websites. While there are fewer templates to choose from than with other options, the choices are good, with nicely designed templates and plenty of customizability. There are also numerous options to add ecommerce features and other integrations—you can smoothly integrate a SoundCloud playlist or an Instagram feed into your site, for example.
- Read the full review: Squarespace
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