Every business needs an online presence and one of the most achievable ways of having one is by creating a website. A quick way of getting a site live is by using a website builder (software that helps people create a website without any coding or website design (opens in new tab) experience). Creating a site with one of the best website builder services is usually quick and easy because most offer drag-and-drop solutions that will simplify the process.
As there's no coding involved, all you'll need to do is ask yourself whether you want to create a blogging site (opens in new tab), an ecommerce platform (opens in new tab), a portfolio website (opens in new tab), or another type of online site. To making choosing the right one easier, our experts sign up to each website builder and create sites from scratch to compare features, ease of use, performance, as well as customer support and security. Therefore, you can rest assure that we are bringing you the most accurate, up-to-date and reliable recommendations. When it comes to choosing the right website builder for your specific needs, you'll need to take all these points into consideration, as well as pricing to fit your budget.
We review and re-review not only the top website builders on the market, but also the best web hosting (opens in new tab) providers too. We've also compared every feature you’ll need from a website builder from SEO tools (opens in new tab) and available plugins to customer service support, uptime and speed. In total, we've tested and reviewed over 160 website builders and web hosting services.
Below, you’ll find a list of top quality website builders with Wix (opens in new tab) in first place as the best website builder service based on its overall performance and ease of use.
Best website builder providers - Top 3 picks
Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
1. Wix - a top-notch website builder (opens in new tab)
Wix offers some powerful paid plans, starting from as little as $8.50 per month for the Combo plan, which gets you 3GB of storage space, a free domain and free SSL certificate.
2. Hostinger website builder for marketing integration (opens in new tab)
Hostinger has one website builder plan but it's packed with enough features for anyone creating a website for the first time. You can utilize Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager plus more.
3. Bluehost Website Builder for WordPress (opens in new tab)
For a cheaper option, Bluehost's basic builder plan offers over 300 website design templates, free SSL and unlimited websites all for just $2.95 per month.
The best website builders of 2023(opens in new tab)
Wix (opens in new tab) holds the number one spot for various different reasons. We tested out its website builder and found it to be extremely easy to use compared to other builders. When choosing Wix, we were given a choice of two options: WixADI or WixEditor. Wix has also recently launched a new editor that combines the abilities of WixADI and its classic editor. WixADI asks a few short questions to design the site for you using Artificial Intelligence (AI), whereas WixEditor is a drag-and-drop solution that lets you create a website completely by yourself.
We found that the WixEditor takes longer than WixADI but it gave us more autonomy over our website design. We were spoilt for choice from the over 800 templates Wix has on offer, as the website builder provides several options for a wide range of color themes to choose from. We especially found it easy to drag images and videos into the Wix template we chose.
We also went ahead and purchased a domain name using Wix’s domain registration service, which gives you the option to pay for one year, two years or three years at a 6% and 12% discounted rate. Wix also has a Site Inspection tool using Google’s new URL Inspection API that allows you to examine your entire website from the dashboard.
Relatively affordable, Wix offers a free plan, a Combo plan for $14 per month, an Unlimited plan for $18 per month, a Pro plan for $23 per month, a VIP plan for $39 per month, Business Basic, Unlimited VIP plans for ecommerce sites for $23, $27 and $49 per month, and an Enterprise plan for $500 per month.
Wix recently added a portfolio website builder solution with customizable layouts to simplify the process of creating professional online collections. It's available in multiple languages, lets you change the look of your site without having to go into each project page separately and update individually.
There’s a plan for almost all users, therefore, if you are looking for a website builder that provides plenty of options to choose from, Wix would be your best bet. Wix also offers a 14 day trial period, which we found useful as were given the option to get our money back if we weren't satisfied.
Read more about Wix
- Read our in-depth Wix website builder review (opens in new tab) to find out why it's the best website builder on the market
- Thinking of starting a blog? Learn how to use Wix for blogging (opens in new tab)
- If you're struggling to choose between two website builder providers, read our Wix vs Squarespace (opens in new tab) or Wix vs Weebly (opens in new tab) comparison articles to help you make up your mind
- Want to know which website builder is better for your business between Wix and GoDaddy (opens in new tab)? Read our detailed comparison article
- Learn how to transfer your domain name using Wix (opens in new tab)
- Also, read our Wix logo maker review (opens in new tab) to help you get your head around how to use it and our detailed review of Wix Answers (opens in new tab)
In second place, the Hostinger (opens in new tab) website builder tool is an intuitive drag and drop website editor that doesn't require coding skills required. Its automatic responsive design fits any screen size, including mobile devices.
For $2.99 per month, Hostinger's all-in-one solution lets you build up to 100 websites and up to 100 domain-based email accounts. Other features include a free domain of your choosing and a free SSL certificate. To further increase the security of your site, Hostinger helps you to protect your site from DDoS attacks with Cloudflare-protected nameservers.
If you’re interested in ecommerce features, you’ll be glad to hear that the Hostinger site builder covers all essentials for an online store. This includes over 20 payment options and automatic tools for inventory management, plus more. If you used Hostinger’s previous site builder Zyro when it first came out, you might remember the complete absence of any ecommerce features. However, that is not the case with their latest product.
We were able to upload up to 500 products to sell on our test website created with the Hostinger website builder. Like its web hosting service, Hostinger's site building tool is straightforward and simple to use.
The downside is that the site builder only has one plan and doesn't give you the option to test out the service for free. We also found that the service lacks complex image editing options. All in all though, it’s a plan worth exploring.
Read more about Hostinger's website builder
- Read our full Hostinger Website Builder (opens in new tab) review
- This guide lays out the steps you need to take to build a website using Hostinger (opens in new tab)
Bluehost (opens in new tab), known for its top quality web hosting service, launched a website builder in 2021 that’s built on top of WordPress. It has drag and drop editing, live editing, mobile editing, and stock image repository.
Thanks to the WordPress integration, we were able to set up parts of our test website using Bluehost’s website builder, and other parts using WordPress. The WordPress-friendly builder also includes over 300 templates - not quite as many as Wix but still a fair amount. There’s three site builder plans on offer - Basic, Pro and Online Store.
Priced at $2.795 per month, for a 12-month subscription, the Basic Plan renews at $9.99 per month. The Choice Plus plan is priced at $5.45 per month, for a 12-month subscription and renews at $18.99 per month, and the Online Store plan will cost you $9.95 per month for the same duration, and renews at $24.95 per month.
While Bluehost's website builder isn't as seasoned or as easy to use as Wix’s overall, it still includes attractive features such as a free domain for the first year and 24/7 expert support to its website building service.
In addition to offering unlimited websites, Bluehost’s website builder includes templates for specific website types and use-cases, and gives the option to edit websites for mobile, desktop and tablets. All three website builder plans come with marketing features that we were able to test out too, and we particularly thought the call to action button offered by Bluehost is slick and a great addition to the package. For ecommerce capabilities, Bluehost has combined WordPress, WooCommerce and YITH plugins in its Online Store solution, which provides small businesses with a WordPress website builder.
A few downsides to the Bluehost website builder includes the fact that the solution doesn't let you switch templates if you've started working on one and change your mind, plus there's no email account included.
We tested Bluehost’s “no questions asked” 30 days money back guarantee, and were able to get a full refund. If you are looking for a WordPress site builder but do not want to fully commit to the WordPress CMS, Bluehost may be the website builder for you.
Read more about Bluehost Website Builder
- Read our detailed Bluehost Website Builder review (opens in new tab) to find out more about its performance, pricing, ease of use and more
- We compare two top site builders, Bluehost Website Builder vs Squarespace (opens in new tab), to make your decision making process a little easier
- If you've chosen Bluehost Website Builder, you will need to know how to create a website using Bluehost
Squarespace (opens in new tab) takes a more simplistic approach with its website builder. We found the dashboard of the builder to be simple and easy to navigate. We were able to pick a template and build a test site in minutes. If you are new to the website building game, or you’re a first time blogger, it’s a safe bet to pick Squarespace.
We found Squarespace’s section-based drag-and-drop builder tool to be much easier in comparison to the other providers on the line-up. The platform comes with four pricing plans, ranging from $16 to $49 per month, but whatever tier you choose, Squarespace is bound to deliver a great-looking website or blog.
Its basic and advanced ecommerce plans advanced website analytics, Google ads credit and full access to Squarespace’s video studio app. If the section based builder is not for you, there’s detailed guides to help you navigate through the dashboard - we found this particularly helpful when we tested out the email campaign tool.
Squarespace’s Blog App let us manage our test blog from a smartphone, which is great for publishing and editing content on the go. Tools that publish to, sync with, and import from social media outlets, including Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo and others, also provide a great way of ensuring your posts receive the attention they deserve. Squarespace also has an invoice scheduling tool that lets you receive payments for bookings on your website. During our tests, the tool let us create, send, manage and track custom invoices, as well as accept payments, from the website builder platform.
Unlike Wix, Squarespace doesn’t automatically keep a history of the changes we made to the website we created, which means that you cannot restore an earlier version if a mistake has occurred. This can be quite problematic and could mean you having to start afresh in some cases. Nevertheless, Squarespace (opens in new tab) will get the job done and done well, and you’ll have a variety of beautifully crafted templates.
Read more about Squarespace
- Read our complete Squarespace website builder review (opens in new tab) for more details on pricing, ease of use, and the builder's interface
- We've also listed the five best alternatives to Squarespace in case you were after something else
Web.com (opens in new tab) has made its mark in the website builder space with its easy-to-use interface. It seems as though 150 professionally designed templates is the standard amount as Web.com also offers roughly the same number of templates as Zyro.
The central website building experience revolves around a system of modular elements you can simply drag-and-drop into place. We were able to customize a heading, a button, an icon, and even a text field, by dragging it and dropping it in place on our website template.
The interface also allows for blocks – pre-assembled elements such as an entire navigation bar which can just be inserted whenever needed. It’s a powerful and user-friendly interface, a potent combination. Its website builder also includes one hour of free website design support.
There is also an ecommerce functionality available – albeit with a separate plan to the basic package – allowing you to set up an online store with all the functions you’d expect (although it’s not really suitable for bigger ecommerce ventures). If you are starting out on your ecommerce website journey, Web.com’s package is $3.95 per month, which allows you to sell up to 500 products.
Pricing is very affordable with Web.com, and the customer support provided is of a high quality as well, so there’s a lot to like here. In short, you can put together a smart website with a minimum of fuss, while not paying anything like a fortune for the privilege.
We were able to monitor our website performance during our tests with Web.com's simplified data dashboard, with real time traffic statistics, trend charts and its Google Analytics integration.
There’s no option for a free trial here, mind, but that said, you only have to commit for a month when signing up (the initial fee is just $1.95 – complete with a free URL, with caveats), so that’s not a high price to pay to give the service a trial run.
Read more about Web.com
- Read our complete Web.com website builder review (opens in new tab) for an in-depth look at all features and pricing this builder has to offer
Another popular choice comes courtesy of HostGator,as we commend its website builder solution, Gator Website Builder (opens in new tab), for its simplicity and price, both of which should appeal to small businesses.
Gator is available in three versions. The Expert Start plan costs $3.84 ($3.46 with our special deal) a month and comes with free hosting, website analytics, free domain name registration for a year and unmetered storage. The Express Site plan comes with all that plus priority support for $5.99 ($5.39 with our special deal) a month. The Express Store plan, meanwhile, costs $9.22 ($8.30 with our special deal) a month and offers additional features like inventory management, a shipping and tax calculator, and the ability to create coupons.
Whatever plan you choose, you’ll gain access to an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface that lets you employ commonly used design elements such as images, videos, text boxes, columns, maps and contact forms. We found that Gator has over 200 web templates that are fully customizable, so it’s easy to get your website looking exactly the way you want it. There are also a sizeable number of mobile-friendly themes available to ensure that your online portal looks good on all devices.
For small businesses that might not have access to top-quality photography equipment, Gator comes with its own built-in stock photo library and a number of video tutorials are on hand if you are in need of extra support with anything.
If there’s any real downside here, it would be the lack of functionality for larger, more complex websites. There are no built-in email marketing features, for example, and blog building options are relatively basic.
Still, for small businesses or anyone starting their first online project, Gator’s quick, professional and well-designed sites should work perfectly. And with 24-hour tech support on hand for all users, and free analytics solutions to let administrators know how their site is performing, there are plenty of reasons to choose Gator for website building.
Read more about Gator website builder
- Read our Gator website builder review (opens in new tab) if you need more information on this builder's features
- You'll also need to know how to create a website using HostGator (opens in new tab)
GoDaddy (opens in new tab) may be one of the most straightforward web builders around, boasting a hugely intuitive publication process and simple editing tools. This means that even if you’ve never built a website before, setting one up should only take a few minutes.
For individuals looking for a more in-depth experience, the GoDaddy Websites + Marketing solution provides a detailed analysis of how your site is performing. The analytics tool delivers a comprehensive set of metrics that compares how your online presence is performing against other websites in your field. So far, the tool has certainly proved successful, with customers experiencing an 18% increase in business revenue within 12 months of using it, GoDaddy claims.
Of course, challenges arise with even the most impressive online platforms and the GoDaddy Website Builder is no exception. Fortunately, GoDaddy’s support is among the best around. We found ourselves using GoDaddy's extensive PDF guides, (like Squarespace) which covers a multitude of questions and troubleshooting topics, and 24/7 tech support is also available. Moreover, the community forums are a great resource and it’s likely that someone there will be able to respond to your query. A live chat feature is also available on weekdays, although, during our tests, the provider didn't provide the most timely help and gave us limited solutions.
In terms of pricing, GoDaddy is very competitive, offering four website builder pricing tiers. The prices range from $6.99 per month for the Basic plan, up to $29.99 per month for the Ecommerce package. As you would expect, the ecommerce plan comes with everything you need to start a full-featured online store, with the cheaper plans offering slightly reduced functionality as you work your way down.
We did find that the lack of an app market means some of the site builder features lack depth. It does mean, however, that all features are built in-house and so are fit for purpose. If you’re on the lookout for a website builder that is both affordable and boasts great support, then GoDaddy may be the right choice for you.
Read more about GoDaddy's website builder
- Read our GoDaddy website builder review (opens in new tab) for an in-depth look at its blogging and shopping features and more
- We've also put this popular website builder head to head with the top provider on our list in our Wix vs GoDaddy comparison article
Europe’s largest web hosting provider, IONOS (opens in new tab), currently hosts more than 12 million domains and represents a great choice if you are looking to create a serious, professional website to promote your business.
While the lack of a free plan is disappointing (although you do receive the first month free), the paid options are reasonable enough, starting at $84 for the full year, which works out at $7 per month - although you can't pay monthly for this price. We were able to gain access to the MyWebsite Now or MyWebsite Creator packages. MyWebsite Now comes with a domain, email address and an expansive image library, but lacks some of the more advanced functionality that you get with the Creator plan.
Where IONOS really comes into its own, though, is with regard to its choice of themes. We were spoilt for choice as its inspirational templates are organized by industry and type, so it’s easy to find the right layout for your website, regardless of whether you are based in the retail, tourism or real-estate sectors. Some of the templates are more image-focused, while others cater to text-heavy sites. Regardless, they are all easy to implement; no coding knowledge is required whatsoever and templates can be adjusted easily using a drag-and-drop editor.
Small businesses are also likely to be enticed by IONOS’ multilingual translation, which can translate a site’s content into 62 different languages. It is even possible to have up to 25 different languages on a site at any given time. This makes IONOS a great choice in terms of its scalability: as a business grows, this website builder is more than equipped to facilitate international expansion.
Targeted content is also an option – so businesses can set up their website to present special offers to new visitors, for example. So if you’re looking for a scalable website builder with a great selection of themes, then IONOS is definitely worth considering.
Read more about IONOS website builder
- Read our IONOS MyWebsite website builder review (opens in new tab) for details on pricing, interface, features and more
- If you are planning on building an online store, read our IONOS Ecommerce Website Builder review (opens in new tab)
- We also reviewed IONOS domain registration (opens in new tab) service
Elementor (opens in new tab) is rather different in that it’s actually a plugin for WordPress which functions as an easy-to-use website builder. There’s a free version which is impressively capable considering it costs nothing, as well as premium products.
The interface is a dead simple and streamlined affair allowing you to drag-and-drop whatever elements you want into place, while seeing what the results look like in real-time. We set up our test site in minutes and did not run into any complications while doing so. There are a bunch of widgets and pre-designed templates on offer, and as you might expect, you get a lot more content with the paid-for plans (even the basic ‘Essential’ package has 300+ templates).
The Pro plans also boast more features, and they support running across multiple websites, as well as providing premium tech support (or live chat for the top-end subscriptions). You get a lot of editing tools here, and there’s a seriously impressive amount of customization to hand for your website creations.
Similar to Wix, even the free option is pretty well fleshed out, as mentioned, and comes with 30+ templates (and 40+ widgets, though the full range is 90+). The freebie route may deliver enough functionality for some, and for those who’ll need more, it’s still a great way of checking out what you’re letting yourself in for before stumping up any cash (no credit card details are needed for signing up to the free plan, either).
The main downside with Elementor is that compared to some rivals, such as Bluehost or Squarespace, the premium pricing isn’t so competitive if you’re running lots of websites – but the basic Elementor plans which support one or three sites are great value if that’s all you need.
Elementor also has an all-in-one website builder kit, which enables seamless WordPress website creation. Elementor Cloud Website let us build our test website faster using a single end-to-end solution that includes a code-free builder, web hosting, and gave us the ability to connect domain names at no extra cost.
Read more about Elementor
- Read our in-depth Elementor website builder review (opens in new tab) for more information on pricing, interface and features
- Make the right choice between two top choices in drag-and-drop website builders: Elementor vs Squarespace (opens in new tab)
If you are looking to set up a website quickly then Weebly (opens in new tab) is a great choice. This is because Weebly goes straight to the point with its signup process - simply asking you for your name, email address and a password.
Some of the questions you'll be asked about the website you'll be creating includes what sort of theme you want, what your domain name is going to be and what pricing plan works for you.
In regards to pricing plans, there are three paid options for building a website: a Connect plan for $5 per month when paid annually, a Pro plan for $12 per month and Business plan for $25 per month.
Where Weebly really stands out, however, is with regard to ecommerce. When starting out, users can select to build a “website with an online store” which will unlock a number of powerful features. Among them are a fully integrated shopping cart and secure checkout experience, an inventory tracker and a filtered product search tool.
The drag-and-drop interface that is a sought after feature with so many website builders also makes an appearance within Weebly’s ecommerce platform, allowing businesses to showcase their products with a range of display and merchandizing options. Social media integration is also included, allowing shoppers to share products via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Another major benefit of Weebly’s ecommerce platform is the support it offers users. Live chat, email support and a number of other resources, including several step-by-step guides, provide users with everything they need to get their store up and running.
The variety on offer here is also seriously impressive. Online store managers can sell physical goods, digital products or services, and retailers are able to set their own price and define their own configurable product options.
The lack of an Artificial Design Intelligence option meant that setting up our test online store took a little longer than we anticipated, but once we were up and running, there was no shortage of great features available for for us.
Read more about Weebly
- Want to know more about what this builder has to offer? Read our Weebly website builder review (opens in new tab)
Jimdo (opens in new tab) made our best list for a number of different reasons, but we particularly enjoyed the range of clean and flexible templates it has on offer. The professional and modern styles available make Jimdo a great website builder for designers, photographers or anyone else who wants to display their portfolio online.
The platform even comes with its own Logo Designer that helped us make our brand recognizable. All we did was enter our business and selected a starting point for our logo design. Then, we customized our icon and layout, chose a color and font, and that was it!
Another useful design feature from Jimdo that we appreciate is the way that website colors automatically harmonize with an uploaded logo or image. This means that garish color clashes become a thing of the past – that's great for businesses where looking good is part of the brand.
Furthermore, Jimdo comes with a host of tips and support documents that helped us create our test website, similar to GoDaddy and Squarespace. These documents include a number of examples of existing photography websites (opens in new tab) created using the platform, along with tips on how to build a successful website.
Other pros of using Jimdo include its speed as well as simplicity. First off, users have a choice between going with Jimdo Creator or Jimdo Dolphin. Creator has more than 100 templates broken down into four categories (Business, Store, Portfolio, and Personal) and there are plenty of customization options. Dolphin, on the other hand, gives you an AI-created website. There is also a collaboration with Facebook, which allows you to sell your products directly on Facebook and Instagram.
In terms of price, there is a free plan that comes with no time limit but will force you to have a Jimdo sub-domain and advertising. We did notice that there was a lack of fancy features, but if you want a quick, straightforward way of launching a great-looking site, you’ll struggle to find a better website builder than this.
Read more about Jimdo
- Read our full Jimdo website builder review (opens in new tab) for more information on the builder's features and getting started
- We've also created an in-depth review of Jimdo Logo Creator (opens in new tab)
Network Solutions (opens in new tab) is a great website builder for any businesses that remain unsure of what direction they want to take their website in. There are a huge number of options on offer here, so there’s bound to be one that’s right for you.
With Network Solutions, you can choose to build a website yourself or instead opt for professional website design services. The DIY plan comes with a personalized domain name and matching email address, point and click editing, as well as a well-stocked image library. The professionally designed option is more extensive, however, and comes with SEO tools, web analytics, and unlimited changes in the first 30 days.
We found that Network Solutions has more experience than most when it comes to providing online services, first getting involved with DNS registration back in 1991, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t able to deliver more modern touches.
One of the best aspects of the Network Solutions website builder is its mobile-friendly approach. The builder comes with thousands of design options to choose from, and with the professionally designed plan, you will receive guidance to ensure that your website loads as fast as possible. We tested our site out on a smartphone and the quality was top-tier. Given that 53% of mobile users (opens in new tab) abandon sites that take more than three seconds to load, speed is an absolutely vital consideration for a successful mobile site.
Although the website designer interface can seem a bit dated in places, and some users have complained about persistent upselling, there’s a lot to admire about Network Solutions website builder. The prices are competitive and there’s just enough customization to provide a good amount of flexibility without things becoming overwhelming. Furthermore, all ecommerce plans come with a fully customizable storefront along with a mobile version.
It can be a bit no-frills at times, but for any business looking to craft a simple, professional-looking mobile site, Network Solutions is well worth a look.
Read more about Network Solutions
- Read our detailed Network Solutions website builder review (opens in new tab) for everything else you need to know about this builder
While many website builders offer some form of ecommerce functionality, some are certainly better than others – and BigCommerce (opens in new tab) may just be the best around.
Offering great scalability, a host of built-in features, fantastic SEO tools, and the ability to sell across multiple channels, BigCommerce is geared towards big brands that have plenty of customers to satisfy.
First of all, the platform made it easy for us to build a store that looks good, with its drag-and-drop visual editor, fully-customizable themes, mobile optimization, and checkout customization. We also received plenty of support once we were ready to make our site live and hypothetically start selling. BigCommerce lets users sell physical, digital, and service-based products without needing to use an app and doesn’t lock sellers into a single payment plan, giving them more than 65 different payment gateways to choose from, which is just five payment options less than what Zyro offers.
In terms of drawbacks, BigCommerce can use complex terminology at times that might make it a little confusing for inexperienced website builders and its design interface can take some getting used to. Having said that, it’s still not a bad choice for smaller retailers, as it has a staggered pricing plan dependent on how many sales your site generates. There’s also a free 15-day trial available, with no credit card details required.
Overall, with more built-in sales tools and more scalability than its competitors, BigCommerce is a great choice for online retailers that have significant sales figures or smaller brands that are planning for major expansion.
Read more about BigCommerce
- Read our detailed BigCommerce review (opens in new tab) for more details on pricing, features, and ease of use
- If you're an SMB looking to build a site, we've put two top quality builders head to head: BigCommerce vs Weebly (opens in new tab)
Best website builder FAQs
How we test each website builder
In the same way we test web hosting services (opens in new tab), our reviewers also sign up and purchase plans from website builders and go through the same process a beginner would when creating a website for the first time.
We look at the features offered, ease-of-use, pricing, functionality, support and other add-ons like blogging and ecommerce capabilities. A key feature we look for in a website builder is if it offers you a free trial period to make up your mind and have a feel of the website builder before making a more permanent commitment.
Once our reviewers sign up to each website builder, they create a website to get an accurate depiction of what you can expect. We have tested and reviewed all website builders listed above.
Because nothing can be 100% perfect, we made sure to dig out the positives and negatives of each website builder so that you have a clear understanding of what to expect.
How to choose the best website builder?
There is great variety in terms of both the number and type of website builder available today. Some specialize in email marketing and others offer a first-rate ecommerce solution; some value simplicity, while others deliver so many customizable features that it could overwhelm a novice website creator.
When deciding on a website builder, therefore, it’s important that you have a clear plan in your own mind first. Think carefully about what sort of website you are looking to create – whether text or images will be the main focus, what sort of design you have in mind and, crucially, how much you want to pay.
Once you’ve come up with a mental framework for your prospective site and have a rough idea of your budget, you can start to look at your options. Whether you’ve used a website builder before will also be important to determine how comfortable you will be using some of the more complex platforms on offer.
You should also consider whether you’re likely to do most of your website editing from a mobile or desktop device. Most web builders offer mobile-responsive templates, but not all allow you to edit the mobile version without changing the desktop site too.
Choosing a website builder can seem complicated, but fortunately most come with free trials so you always have the option of changing your mind.
What is a website builder?
A website builder is a tool that enables the construction of a website (or multiple websites) without the need for coding. Website builders are for individuals and businesses that are looking to build, manage and maintain a website.
The tool is usually preferred by those who want to create an online presence for themselves or their business but are not necessary skilled website developers.
Online website builders usually require customers to sign up with a web hosting company, and most provide drag-and drop functionalities to make website building quick and efficient. With a good quality website builder, you can create basic personal web pages or social network content or business and ecommerce websites.
This can be done using a template or made from scratch which most builders give you both options.
Website builder vs web design software?
Website builders and web design software certainly have plenty of overlap. Both can be used to create beautiful, professional looking websites that have all the features that your business needs. The key difference lies in how they are delivered and how much prior knowledge is required to use them. In general, website builders are online platforms, often available in free versions, and which place a great deal of emphasis on simplicity, usually offering drag-and-drop editors. Web design software, on the other hand, is usually a bit more complex, with some geared towards experienced programmers and offering the option of coding a site line-by-line.
Another key difference between web design tools, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, and website builders, like Squarespace, is the price. Web design tools are often more expensive and there may not be a free option like there is with most website builders. Although web design tools will try to offer an intuitive experience, it’s probably a good idea to have some coding knowledge before giving them a try. Ultimately, whether a website builder or web design software is right for you will largely depend on your level of experience and also what sort of site you need. In most cases, a simple website builder will be sufficient, but if you want to tinker a little more, there’s no harm in trying a web design solution.
Free website builders vs paid website builders, which is better?
Why pay for a website builder when you can get one for free? Well, as is often the case, you usually get what you pay for. That isn’t to say, however, that there aren’t some great free website builders out there. Many free builders still come with all the features that you need to create fantastic online portals – customizable templates, intuitive drag-and-drop editors, marketing tools, and mobile optimization. Having a clear idea of how you want your website to look and conducting thorough research is key to avoiding paying more for a website builder than you need to.
It is true, however, that some features are less commonly included in free website builders. Ecommerce tools, for example, often have to be paid for and there are a number of other features that are usually excluded from free plans. Free website builders are often accompanied by advertisements that you will have no control over – you might not mind this but they can sometimes be intrusive. What’s more, they can make your site look unprofessional. Similarly, free website builders won’t give you a dedicated web address, which can also affect your credibility. Fortunately, many paid website builders have free trials that let you try before you buy.
How much does a website builder cost?
There is no straightforward answer to the question: “How much does a website builder cost?” For businesses that are satisfied with simple templates and are happy to put up with ads and a generic URL, website builders can be found that don’t cost anything at all. Of course, most brands would not be content with a free solution, which can deliver sites that look unprofessional. The good news is that there are some very effective website builders out there that are reasonably priced. Most work through a monthly billing system, with costs for entry-level plans sometimes as little as $6 a month.
One thing that all website administrators should be aware of, however, is how much website builders charge for additional features. Even if your basic web builder package is cheap, costs can quickly escalate if you have to buy add-ons for security, e-commerce functionality, and marketing tools. It is important that businesses have transparency when it comes to the expenses related to their website, so it’s probably a good idea to research prospective platforms thoroughly before making your choice. It’s also important to factor in whether your website builder is scalable: will it remain suitable as your business expands and how will costs increase?
How hard is it to build a website?
It may sound like a daunting prospect, but building a website is not necessarily difficult – although of course that all depends on how hands-on you want to be, the type of website you want, and your level of experience. Fortunately, many website builders are designed to appeal to the absolute beginner, coming with drag-and-drop editors that mean no coding experience is required at all. In fact, most web builders will have you up and running with a fully functioning site in under an hour. Alternatively, individuals with greater financial resources could hire a professional web designer to build their website for them.
For those that are willing to take on the website building process themselves, the level of difficulty involved will depend on what website builder they choose. Although all of them are relatively intuitive, some come with extra features that may require some knowledge of the website-building process to implement. Fortunately, most platforms come with decent levels of support, including how-to guides and video tutorials. It is worth mentioning, however, that many of the simplest website builders come with limited customization. For anyone that truly wants complete control over their site, some coding experience, as well as prior knowledge of HTML, will come in helpful.
WordPress vs a website builder: Which one is better for building a website?
Using WordPress or a website builder are both great options for anyone looking to build a website but each comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. Different from a website builder, WordPress is actually a content management system, or CMS, and is used to power 39% of the web. Since it was first launched, WordPress has added a number of features beyond its basic CMS offering, providing themes, add-ons, and ecommerce functionality. Novice website builders, however, may find that WordPress has something of a steep learning curve. The language can be quite technical and users may even need to adjust the odd piece of code in order to get a plugin to work.
While WordPress does offer both live chat and email support, less experienced users may find that a website builder is more welcoming. Most website builders pride themselves on their ease-of-use, with many using drag-and-drop editors that allow individuals to have their webpage up and running in a matter of minutes, even if they have no web building experience. Both WordPress and website builders come with several different payment plans to choose from and both are capable of producing fantastic looking sites. Neither approach could be said to better than the other, but website builders are certainly simpler to use in most cases.
Website builder vs web hosting: What’s the difference?
Most online users probably think of websites residing at their respective web address. In reality, websites need to be stored in a physical location as well, on servers somewhere. Web hosting refers to the provision and maintenance of these physical servers. Every website needs a web hosting provider in order to run the physical infrastructure that they depend upon to remain online. Complicating things somewhat is the fact that there are different types of web hosting available. Shared hosting is perfect for smaller sites as they share resources with other webpages in exchange for reduced fees. Dedicated hosting is more expensive but comes with more customization options, higher bandwidth, and better security.
In its simplest form, a website builder only provides the tools to design a web page and is not involved with the physical web hosting at all. However, many website builders also offer web hosting - although an additional cost may be applied. Of course, for anyone that does not use a website builder to create their online portal, they’ll need to source their own web hosting provider separately. Put in the most straightforward terms, a website builder affects how a website looks, while web hosting tells you where a website is physically stored.
What is the best website builder for beginners?
The best website builder for beginners is Wix. This is simply down to the fact that Wix's website builder is extremely straight forward and easy to use. Wix also has regular offers and discounts for beginners. Building a web store with Wix is very simple as you won't need any coding experience. Wix is also the best small business website builder for these very same reasons.
If it's your first time building a website, you will want to commit to a website builder that's effortless to use. Wix fits the bill, letting you build and publish a website in minutes. Wix also has an artificial design intelligence (ADI) system that will ask you some broad questions about the type of website you want to create. Wix will then give you a website shell tailored to the type of website you want to create, based on the answers you give to the questions.