Website builders are a perfect solution for individuals and small businesses to start a website without hiring a developer. The problem is finding the best website builder can be tricky for beginners. With so many website builders out there, how do you know which is the right solution for you? In this article, we’ll help you choose the best website builder by going over the pros and cons of the most popular options.
We will be comparing the following website builders in this article. If you are interested in a particular website builder, then just click on the name to skip ahead.
Choosing the Best Website Builder — What to Look for?
Before comparing the top website builders, we recommend that you write down what you want to do with your website? What are your goals and what features would you like to see on your website.
For example, you can write down things like: have a blog section, photo gallery, online store, reservation system, contact form, slider, etc.
If you are unsure about what you want, then check out your competitors or other websites for inspiration.
Most website builders offer a drag and drop user interface to build your website. You can take advantage of the trial accounts to test drive before you make your final decision.
Next, you need to consider your growth options. Will you be adding regular updates to your website? Do you need a blog section? Would you be selling more products on your website in the future?
You need to make sure that the website builder you choose is capable of handling your needs as your business grows.
That being said, let’s take a look at the top website builder platforms to make your website without hiring a developer.
WordPress.org (also known as self hosted WordPress) is the world’s most popular website building platform. Over 28% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress.
Note: There are two versions of WordPress available. There is self-hosted WordPress.org and WordPress.com. We will talk about WordPress.com later in this article. You can also read our WordPress.org vs WordPress.com comparison for more details.
The self-hosted WordPress tops our list of best website builder due to its popularity, powerful features, scalability, and ease of use.
WordPress is a free and open source website builder. This means that you have maximum control over your website compared to any other builder in this list.
Unlike other website builders, you will need a WordPress hosting account and host your own website (this is a lot easier than it sounds).
WordPress gives you complete control on every aspect of your website. It can be used to build any kind of website. For example, an eCommerce store, community forums, a social network, a membership website, and more.
There are thousands of pre-made WordPress themes that you can use for your website’s design. It also has amazing drag and drop page builders like Beaver Builder and Divi which allow you to easily create your own page layouts.
You’ll also get access to more than 50,000 free WordPress plugins. These are like apps for WordPress that adds additional features and functionality to your website.
You will have to manage your own website, which means you will need to familiarize yourself with a new system. This slight learning curve is easily overcome by most users, but it does feel a bit difficult in the beginning.
You will also have to keep up with WordPress updates, plugin updates, and create backups.
WordPress software is available for free, but you will need a domain name and web hosting which typically costs $14.99/year and $7.99 per month respectively.
Fortunately, we have worked out a special deal for WPBeginner users. You can start a website for only $2.75 per month with Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider. They are offering our users 60% off on web hosting that comes with free SSL and a free domain name.
For more details, see our guide on how to make a website with step by step instructions.
Wix is another popular cloud based website builder. It offers ease of use combined with a powerful set of features to easily build your website.
Wix is a fully hosted platform, so you will not have to pay for hosting. You get access to hundreds of templates to choose for your website’s design. Each template is fully editable with their intuitive drag and drop site builder.
It also comes with dozens of free and paid apps that you can install on your website. These apps allow you to add new features and functionality to your website. Some of them are created by Wix, and others are created by third-party developers.
Wix offers a free plan with limited bandwidth and storage. However, you can use this plan to test drive their drag and drop website builder. It does not include a domain name, so if you decide to keep your website, then you may want to upgrade to a premium plan.
You also get a free SSL with all Wix plans, but you will need to turn it on for your website.
Free and Connect Domain plans will show Wix branded ads on your website. You’ll need to upgrade to their Combo or Unlimited plan to remove those ads.
If you ever decide to move your website away from Wix, then you will find it quite complicated to do so.
Their Connect Domain plan which costs $9.16 per month only lets you connect a custom domain name, so you’ll still have to buy a domain name separately.
Wix offers a limited free plan with a Wix branded sub domain. You can connect a domain for $9.16 per month. Their combo plan starts at $14.95/month and will get you a free domain name. The ecommerce plan costs $26.25 per month.
If you are interested in how it stacks up against WordPress, then see our comparison of Wix vs WordPress.
Gator is brand new website builder by HostGator, one of the most popular web hosting provider in the world. The Gator builder is an all-in-one website building & hosting solution.
Gator is a fully hosted platform, so you don’t have to worry about the software, updates, or backups.
It has an intuitive website builder that lets you choose from 200+ professional website design templates. Each design comes with simple customization options that you can configure from the builder itself.
You also have access to a built-in stock photo library, so you can find and add beautiful photos on your website.
All paid plans also include free custom domain name for your website. The eCommerce plan also comes with the ability to setup an online store and sell your products online.
Since Gator is a paid product, they don’t sell your data or show any ads on your website.
Unlike some of the other options in the list, Gator doesn’t have a free plan. They also do not offer a free trial.
Like other proprietary builders in the list, you cannot hire a developer to help you significantly modify your website design or add new features to your website.
Gator paid plans start from $3.84 per month, $5.99 per month for premium, and $9.22 for eCommerce plan.
Gator can be used to build a small business website, a store with limited items, or a photo gallery. However, it is no match for the power of the most popular website builder, WordPress.
Shopify is a website builder designed specifically for online stores and ecommerce websites. It powers more than half a million businesses with 1 million active users. Over 40 Billion dollars worth of products have been sold on Shopify’s platform.
Shopify is an all-in-one fully hosted solution, this means you don’t have to worry about managing software, installing updates, or keeping backups. Shopify does all that for you.
It offers integrated payment solution called Shopify Payments. You can also add third-party payment gateways to accept payments.
As an ecommerce website builder, Shopify comes with full inventory management, unlimited products, powerful stats, easy marketing solutions, all neatly wrapped under one roof. They have hunereds of designs to choose from, and you will never need to add code.
With its intuitive drag and drop interface, Shopify makes it super-easy to create a full-fledged ecommerce store. They also offer in-store POS, which allows you to sell products at your location, while accepting all credit cards and taking advantage of Shopify’s inventory, shipping, marketing, and stats management tools.
You can even integrate Shopify into WordPress, allowing you to use both great solutions at the same time.
If you are just starting out, then you may find Shopify’s pricing a bit higher than some other website builders in this list.
If you ever want to move your website away from Shopify, you will find it quite difficult to do so.
Shopify’s basic plan will cost you $29 per month. You can upgrade it to Shopify for $79 per month or Advanced Shopify for $299 per month. Shopify also offers a Shopify Lite plan for $9 per month, which basically allows you to add a buy button on any website.
If you want a hassle free ecommerce website builder, then Shopify may be the perfect option for you.
Weebly is a fully hosted platform, so you don’t need to install and manage any software. They take care of hosting your website and managing all the software that runs in the backend.
It comes with dozens of website designs to use as an starting point for your website. These gorgeous designs are fully editable using Weebly’s live page editor.
Weebly also comes with built-in support for ecommerce. This allows you to easily create an online store and start selling.
Each Weebly site comes with built in features for contact forms, photo galleries, sliders, and more. This allows you to easily add features to your website without any complicated setup process.
Weebly is a fully hosted platform so you are locked to the features they offer. You cannot hire a developer or designer to add new functionality of feature to your website.
Weebly charges 3% transaction fees on every purchase made through your ecommerce store. You’ll need to upgrade to their business plan to avoid these additional fee.
Weebly comes with a very basic free plan. Their paid plans start from $8 per month billed annually. The pro plan costs $12 per month, and their business plan costs $25 per month.
If you are wondering how it stacks up against WordPress, then check out our comparison of Weebly vs WordPress.
Squarespace is a popular fully hosted website builder known for its great designs and ease of use.
Squarespace comes with enterprise grade infrastructure for hosting your website. This secure and robust platform allows you to focus on growing your business without worrying about hosting.
Squarespace includes tons of website designs to get started. All of these designs are fully ready for all types of content. They are fully editable, and Squarespace even allows you to use multiple templates for the same website at once.
Adding content to your website is very easy on Squarespace. Just point anywhere on your website and start typing. You can easily drag and drop items on pages to create your own layouts in minutes.
Squarespace also has an ecommerce plan which allow you to add an online store to your website. It offers a nice interface to manage your products, inventory, orders, coupon discounts, and more.
Squarespace offers limited integrations with third-party service which can be a hurdle in growing your business.
Their ecommerce plans only allow Stripe, Apple Pay, and PayPal for payment processing. You cannot add additional payment gateways.
Squarespace websites start from $12 per month and $18 per month. Their online stores start from $26 and $40 per month.
Squarespace is a beautifully designed platform that offers very easy to use features. It can be perfect if you just want to quickly build a website.
If you are wondering how it stacks up against WordPress, then take a look at our comparison of Squarespace vs WordPress.
iPage Website Builder is a simple drag and drop website builder. A limited version of the builder is available with your iPage hosting account for free. You can upgrade it to professional or business plan to get unlimited features.
The website builder tool includes 100+ professionally designed and mobile-responsive templates. You can apply these templates to your website with one click.
Page editing is made really simple with drag and drop tools. All elements on your web pages can be easily edited by simply clicking on them in live preview. It also has pre-built sections that you can drag and drop on your website.
iPage builder has built-in social media tools, SEO settings, and beautiful image galleries. You can also embed videos, add Google Analytics, and add an eCommerce store.
The website builder is limited in terms of features. You cannot just add a new feature to your website. There are no third-party integrations or addons that you can install.
The basic website builder comes free with your iPage hosting account. You can upgrade it to professional for $6.99 per month or business for $15.99 per month.
iPage Website Builder is a simpler and easy to use tool perfect for a starter website with fewer pages. It is not exactly a content management system, so you will be limited in the future should you try to expand your website.
GoDaddy is one of the largest domain name and hosting service providers in the world. They offer a simple and elegant website builder complete with hosting included.
GoDaddy Website Builder is a simple and easy tool to create professional looking websites. It comes pre-loaded with several ready to use blocks that you can drag and drop to build different layouts.
It also has integrated photo library with professional images from Getty Photography that you can use on your website. You can also upload your own photos and create image galleries.
GoDaddy website builder works on smaller screens too. This allows you to work on your website on the go using your mobile phone or tablet.
It is not as feature rich and flexible as most other website builders on this list. It offers limited set of features with fewer design options.
It is quite difficult to move your website from GoDaddy Website Builder to WordPress.
Personal plan costs $5.99/month, business plan for $9.99/month, and business plus plan for $14.99/month. All plans are billed annually.
GoDaddy Website Builder can be used for a basic website with a few pages. However, it is not a good choice to build content rich websites.
WordPress.com is a blog and website hosting service run by Automattic. It is created by Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress open source software, hence the name WordPress.com. To learn more, see our article on how are WordPress.com and WordPress.org related.
However, WordPress.com is not the same as self-hosted WordPress.org. Please see our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for more details.
WordPress.com is a website hosting service. Built on top of the same WordPress software but with a totally custom user experience. You don’t have to worry about the software and backups as WordPress.com takes care of it.
Their free and paid plans have different set of features. All plans allow users to choose from hundreds of free and paid WordPress themes. You can then use the built-in customizer to add your site title, use widgets, add navigation menus, and so on.
It doesn’t offer the same drag and drop functionality of other website builders. However, you can easily customize designs to a certain extent.
You cannot install custom plugins or themes unless you upgrade to their business plan.
Premium and lower plans do not have ecommerce features or third-party ad network support. With the business plan, you can use WooCommerce and third-party ad networks. However, you will still have to follow WordPress.com’s terms and conditions.
The basic plan is free, but is extremely limited. Their personal plan starts with $4 per month billed annually and includes a custom domain. Premium plan costs $8.25 per month billed annually and it gives you the ability to monetize your site and advanced design customization. Business plan costs $24.92 per month billed annually, and it gives you the ability to have Ecommerce and custom plugins.
BoldGrid is a new kind of website builder that is built on top of WordPress. It is available as a standalone WordPress plugin as well as a fully hosted website builder suite.
BoldGrid is built on top of WordPress, so you get full advantage of WordPress with a customized user experience. BoldGrid’s website builder allows you to choose a professional design from their gallery of themes.
After that you can customize those designs with a drag and drop customizer. You can point and click on any item in the preview section to edit its properties. You can change colors, fonts, layouts, navigation menus, and widgets with ease.
Need a staging website? BoldGrid creates one for you with a single click. This allows you to test out your new designs, layouts, plugins, and themes before making it live for everyone to see.
It also comes with a full WYSIWYG page editor. No more guess work when editing your pages in WordPress. You’ll get exactly what you see on your page editor window. You can also use GridBlocks to simply drag and drop elements to your page and build your own layouts from scratch.
BoldGrid runs on top of WordPress, so you will still need a self-hosted WordPress.org website to use it.
But the good part is backups are included through BoldGrid backups, so you don’t have to worry about that.
BoldGrid basic plugin is available as a free download. You’ll need a WordPress hosting account and a domain name to install and use it. We recommend using InMotion Hosting because they are an official BoldGrid hosting provider.
This means you can easily setup BoldGrid with a few clicks on InMotion Hosting’s platform.
If you want to use WordPress but with the ease of hosted drag and drop website builders, then BoldGrid would be perfect for you.
Our Pick for The Best Website Builder
After carefully evaluating different website builders, we believe that WordPress beats them all in overall performance, ease of use, and flexibility.
It is not just great for beginners. World’s top brands are using WordPress on their websites. See many more reasons to choose WordPress as your website builder.
We hope this article helped you choose the best website builder for your project. You may also want to see out list of tools to help you grow your website.