Skip to main content

Best Adobe Dreamweaver alternatives: Free and paid software options

wix website builder
(Image credit: wix)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Best Adobe Dreamweaver alternatives

1. Visual Studio Code

2. WordPress

3. Wix

4. CoffeeCup SiteDesigner

5. Squarespace

Read on for our detailed analysis of each service

A popular choice when it comes to web design software, Adobe Dreamweaver enables you to create and publish responsive website designs. While it has support for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more, it has a graphic interface that doesn’t require too much coding knowledge.

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.

Visual Studio Code

(Image credit: Microsoft)

1. Visual Studio Code

A good choice for confident coders

Reasons to buy
+Customizable interface+Simplified coding process+Multiple integrations and extensions
Reasons to avoid
-Requires coding expertise

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. 

This means it’s not for beginners, but when you are confident enough to code, you’ll find that it’s a powerful and intuitive tool. It eases the process by offering smart suggestions for completing lines, you can debug code right from the editor, and it has Git commands built in. It works with a wide range of languages, including Java, JavaScript, Python, C++, and Go, and has particularly good support for JavaScript and Python.

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.

WordPress.com

(Image credit: WordPress.com)

2. WordPress

The most popular website builder for beginners

Reasons to buy
+Easy to install and use+Pre-built templates+No coding required
Reasons to avoid
-Plugins can be expensive

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.

Wix

(Image credit: Wix)

3. Wix

An easy and speedy web design solution

Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Intuitive design features+Useful auto-design and templates
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than WordPress

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.

CoffeeCup SiteDesigner

(Image credit: CoffeeCup)

4. CoffeeCup SiteDesigner

A creative web design app

Reasons to buy
+Graphic or code-based design+Useful design features+No subscription fees
Reasons to avoid
-Not the simplest option

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

(Image credit: Squarespace)

5. Squarespace

Accessible design of visually attractive sites

Reasons to buy
+Attractive templates+Useful integrations+Unlimited storage on all plans
Reasons to avoid
-No free plan-Interface tricky to navigate

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.

There is no free plan available, though you can trial Squarespace for free for 14 days. The plans begin at $12 a month, and each one includes a custom domain and unlimited cloud storage.

Kieron Moore

Kieron Moore is a freelance writer based in Manchester, England. He contributes to Future sites including TechRadar and Creative Bloq, focusing on subjects including creative software, video editing, and streaming services. This work draws on his experience as an independent filmmaker and an independent TV watcher.