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CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor review

Website design, creation and management cut down to basics

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(Image: © CoffeeCup Software)

Our Verdict

For anyone starting out in website creation, this is likely to be too intimidating. But if you have a little HTML knowledge and want a powerful tool to put in to use, this does the job.

For

  • Decent selection of templates
  • Helpful code completion
  • Power site management and uploading

Against

  • Requires full manual coding
  • Not a tool for beginners
  • Too many features are time-limited

Over recent years, there's been a surge in the popularity of online website builders. No need to learn how to code, just use these services, drag and drop images, type in some text, et voila! Your website is ready in next to no time.

But while the likes of WordPress, and Wix are incredibly popular, there is still room for more traditional HTML editing software, especially if you want a site that loads fast and doesn’t have any extraneous code potentially bogging it down. This is where the likes of CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor comes into its own.

As you might guess – but not necessarily expect – from the name, CoffeeCup's software is an HTML editor in the purest sense of the word. There's no visual editor, no dragging and dropping of elements, and none of the other such luxuries you might find in other tools.

Does this make it a bad program? Absolutely not. You won't be left adrift in a basic Notepad-style sea of code – CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor lets you preview what you're coding, there's FTP support for uploading files, and there's a smattering of wizard-driven tools to speed up the creation of certain elements. Crucially for users on a budget, it's also free, but is only available for Windows.

Getting Started

Launch CoffeeCup and choose how you’d like to get started (Image credit: CoffeeCup Software)

User experience

While slightly intimidating for absolute beginners, CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor offers to help you get started by giving you the choice of creating a single web page, or designing an entire site as a project. Opting for the latter makes it easy to keep all related files together, and quickly upload changes using the integrated FTP client.

Templates

There are a good number of templates to choose from, should you not like to start with a blank page… (Image credit: CoffeCup Software)

CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor does feel a little dated – and the same can be said of the bundled templates and themes – but there's support for HTML 5 and CSS3 so you can create modern websites, including responsive ones which are aware of the device that’s viewing them and respond accordingly.

If the whole concept of writing a website from scratch feels intimidating, the Theme section also includes a couple of tutorials which you can customise and transform into an actual site should you like.

Coding

No WYSIWYG for you - it’s Matrix-style raw HTML code for you (Image credit: CoffeeCup Software)

But don’t expect any step by step help. If you’re not well versed in the intricacies of HTML coding, you will quickly find yourself at a loss with how to proceed further.

There are some minor annoyances, such as the fact that the free version of the program doesn't include a spell checker, constantly nags you to upgrade, and that features like the time-saving tag library are only demos. The interface isn't the prettiest thing in the world either, and offers little scope for customisation. This could be what turns some people away from what is otherwise a competent design tool.

Support

Should you need help, you’ll find detailed files in the quick Start Guide and the searchable Knowledge Base (Image credit: CoffeeCup Software)

Support

The app comes with an online quick start guide which walks you through the interface in detail, but if that isn’t enough, you also have access to the Support Centre where you can also send an email to the support team should you need to.

Final verdict

This is definitely not an app for the faint hearted. It harks back to the early days of website design, and is aimed at people who know how to code. Those who just want to create a simple site with drag and drop editing should definitely look elsewhere, but if you understand HTML, view modern conveniences with disdain, and long for the good old days, you’ll definitely find something to appreciate here.