Creating a new website can be difficult, but the best website builders will make things that much easier. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to start a new online business venture or trying to create an online presence for your existing business—there’s something for everyone.
Website builders tend to be beginner-friendly platforms that enable people with little tech experience to create their own site. No coding or other tech knowledge is required, and it’s entirely possible to get online within a few hours.
In this guide, we’ve covered some of our favorite website builders, discussing their pros and cons, main features, prices, and more. Popular options such as Wix and Weebly top the list, but there are numerous other platforms to choose from.
The top 3 website builders right now
1. Wix: the best all-round choice
This is our choice for the website builder provider who can cater for all use-cases. Wix has brilliant flexibility and hundreds of templates to choose from and its drag and drop interface can be used by just about anyone with an inkling of computer literacy. Pricing is fair too.
2. Squarespace: the one for creative businesses
Any business can use Squarespace, of course, but we found that it's particularly suitable for creative businesses, with a choice of more than 500 professionally-designed templates and lots of customisation options. The library also includes designs for eCommerce, portfolios, blogs, and company websites.
3. Weebly: simplicity and excellent eCommerce support
If you just want a simple eCommerce website, then Weebly is the website builder for you. Its built-in tools, such as inventory management and product variants, make it quick to develop an eCommerce shop from scratch. It also offers a handful of extensions to help you deal with shipping, and email marketing.
What are the best website builders?
Website builders come in different shapes and sizes. Some require more operational know-how, while others boast unique features that can give your website a competitive edge. They may be more geared towards e-commerce or online blogs, or work well across multiple industries. When choosing the best website builder for you, you have to keep in mind various factors, such as purpose, ease of use, scalability, and after-sales support.
In our opinion, Wix is the best all-round website builder in 2021. It’s got the largest collection of pre-designed templates, a built-in image editor, drag-and-drop customization, the ability to connect with external apps, functional artificial intelligence technology for simple website creation, and more. Its prices are quite reasonable within the website building space, and it even offers free domain registration and advertising credit to premium customers.
Following closely on Wix’s heels are Weebly and Squarespace. Weebly appears unassuming and basic, but there are a lot of interesting features and advanced options for those that wish to delve deeper. It also offers e-commerce support in all its plans, a crucial feature that is missing from Wix. Squarespace, on the other hand, is a highly intuitive website builder that features great design and responsive templates. It costs more than both Wix and Weebly, but the output makes it worth the price.
These are only some website builders among many, with various web hosting services also throwing their hats in the ring. Hostgator, GoDaddy, and 1&1 IONOS all offer website building features with their hosting plans. Zoho, an online productivity suite for businesses, also includes its own website builder as a part of its applications package. Read on to know more about each of these products and their unique advantages and disadvantages.
The best website builders you can buy today
Wix is often touted as the best website builder in the world, and for good reason. With more than 500 attractive templates, an extremely powerful editor, and various other features, it brings a lot to the table.
For one, the Wix Editor stands out as arguably the most advanced in the world. The drag-and-drop interface enables users to place website elements in pixel-perfect positions. Personalizing colors, fonts, and other content is extremely straightforward, and the overall design of your site will really only be limited by your imagination.
Alternatively, you can use the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) for a more straightforward website building experience. Simply answer a few quick questions and Wix will select a custom template for your needs. Populate it with your own content and get online in just hours if you want to.
What’s more, Wix provides a suite of e-commerce tools for those looking to create a new online store. You will find virtually everything you need to get started, including powerful inventory management tools, multi-channel selling, and subscription and digital product support.
Unfortunately, Wix is a little expensive. There is a free forever plan, but it’s limited to just 500MB of bandwidth and 500MB of storage. The cheapest Combo plan comes with a free domain for the first year, 3GB of storage, and 2GB of bandwidth.
Upgrade to an Unlimited ($18 per month), Pro ($23 per month), or VIP ($39 per month) subscription for more server resources and additional tools and resources. Or, go for one of the three Business and e-commerce plans (from $23 to $49 per month) for access to even more business and online store features.
Alongside Wix, Weebly is probably the most widely recognized name in the website building space. It provides a range of site creation tools and has become known for its extremely attractive templates and excellent e-commerce tools.
This is probably Weebly’s largest selling point, with much of the company’s website dedicated to online store creation. A large percentage of the available designs include some sort of online store, which means that getting started can be as easy as adding your content and hitting the publish button.
Unfortunately, though, Weebly’s editor is a little limited. It uses a drag-and-drop interface, but you will only be able to move elements into pre-coded positions. But if you’re not too fussy about pixel-perfect editing, this will help keep things simple across the board.
There is a free forever plan that enables you to create a website and online store, but you won’t be able to connect your own domain. The cheapest Personal plan (from $6 per month) adds custom domain support and more advanced e-commerce tools. Or, go for either the Professional ($12 per month) or the Performance ($26 per month) plan for even more powerful tools.
Like Weebly, Squarespace is known for its extremely attractive, professionally designed templates. Although its template library is quite small compared to platforms like Wix, the designs tend to be extremely attractive and targeted at specific uses.
Another standout is Squarespace’s excellent blogging features. For example, you can add multiple authors, schedule posts, and create content on the go from your mobile device. And many of the templates are targeted at those who want to create a new blog site.
Other impressive features include Squarespace’s e-commerce integrations, search engine optimization tools, and advanced analytics portal.
On the other side of the equation, the Squarespace editor could certainly be better. It can be quite confusing to navigate and use, especially for beginners. We even have trouble from time to time, and we’ve used it numerous times in the past.
Meanwhile, there isn’t any free forever plan available. But each of the four paid plans comes with a 14-day free trial, as well as a free domain for the first year, unmetered bandwidth and storage, built-in SSL security, and more. Prices range from $12 per month for an annual Personal subscription to $40 per month if you go for the Advanced Commerce plan.
Empowering more than 1 million merchants across 175 different countries, Shopify is the ultimate e-commerce platform. While you can expect some e-commerce features from website builders like Wix and Weebly, they all pale in comparison to Shopify.
Shopify helps you create an online store in a matter of minutes. You get to take advantage of its extensive collection of third-party apps, all of which add new features and functionality to your online store. This helps the website builder stay clutter-free while also allowing you to opt for the specific features your online store needs.
Shopify comes with a built-in shopping cart and checkout manager, and offers excellent tools for marketing and security. Cybersecurity is one of the biggest concerns with online shopping, but Shopify is Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, making it extremely safe both for you and your customers.
If you’re looking to build a traditional website or blog with Shopify, you are out of luck, though. And while the platform is excellent for small businesses, larger e-commerce stores may want more dedicated solutions like WooCommerce or BigCommerce. A 2.4%–2.6% transaction fee is applicable on each purchase made through Shopify, which might be a turn-off for some.
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Hostgator is a popular provider of web hosting services. Its site-building solution—Gator Website Builder—uses a drag-and-drop interface to help you generate simple websites.
The drag-and-drop site builder lets you easily combine simple elements like columns, text boxes, images, and videos to create mobile-friendly websites. There are more than 200 templates to choose from. Each template is completely customizable from the ground up, thus allowing for endless personalization.
There’s a built-in library of stock photographs that come packaged with the site builder. There’s also a handy series of video tutorials if you need a helping hand, plus premium customer support via phone and chat that comes packaged with the hosting plan. Free analytics is also available, which small businesses will find especially useful.
Advanced users, on the other hand, may find the lack of specialized tools annoying. There are no dedicated email marketing tools at hand, while blogging tools are relatively basic. Ultimately, Gator Website Builder is a good choice for small businesses, but not so much for bigger corporations.
Read our full Hostgator review.
GoDaddy, much like Hostgator, has a built-in website creator that it ships to users along with its hosting services. The site builder is simple and easy to use, with no third-party app market or add-ons to choose from. While that may be a bummer for some, others will appreciate the lack of clutter.
GoDaddy’s website builder boasts excellent support and powerful analytics, two must-have essentials for any growing website. The site builder is a little barebones compared to other competitors, but the lack of interface clutter means novices can focus on the important stuff.
With GoDaddy, you’ll have access to a decent drag-and-drop interface that lets you configure your website to your liking, as well as pre-built templates to choose from if you want to get started quickly. There are extensive tutorials available for new users as well as a live chat support system for technical problems.
GoDaddy doesn’t offer an app market to users, which has been the cause of some annoyance among users. However, this means that all features are built in-house, ensuring complete compatibility and greater security. It’s also worth noting that the base plan doesn’t include marketing or analytics. Those are paid addons that require a separate plan.
Read our full GoDaddy review.
1&1 IONOS was founded in Germany in 1988. It’s one of the largest providers of web hosting services in Europe and currently hosts a total of 20 million websites. Its website creator features an array of templates and great functionality for businesses of all sizes.
For $10/month and $15/month, you get to choose between two yearly plans: MyWebsite Now and MyWebsite Creator. While the former comes with a free domain name and email address, the latter offers more advanced customizability for pro users. Using this website builder requires absolutely no coding knowledge—the drag-and-drop site editor allows you to make any changes you need.
1&1 IONOS has a huge collection of themes and templates, with each template categorized neatly by industry and genre. Whether you are a real-estate developer or a travel agency, you’re bound to find something here. The built-in targeted content system even allows you to display specific messages to specific visitor demographics.
The drawback here is the lack of a free plan, although a paid trial is available for new users for a period of one month. Another thing worth considering is that some themes may not be responsive to screen size.
Read our full 1&1 IONONS MyWebsite review.
Founded in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu, Zoho has its headquarters in India and data centers in the US, UK, and China. It’s mostly famous for its all-in-one productivity suite, à la Microsoft Office, but its website building software is just as efficient and powerful.
Zoho Sites features over 190 templates. There’s even a code editor for those who like to get down and dirty with their website’s backend. The interface is surprisingly user-friendly and therefore easy for newbies to access. There’s also a good deal of in-house add-ons for marketing and customer management, which businesses will appreciate.
While there’s no forever free plan with Zoho Sites, the subscription tiers are reasonably priced with a lot of scope for scaling. There are also paid add-ons that can be purchased as your company expands with more members, authors, and visitors. Users will also be able to take advantage of the entirety of Zoho’s massive productivity suite, including its project management and database creation software.
Unfortunately, Zoho Sites also comes with a few downsides, especially in terms of compatibility, and there isn’t a lot of support for third-party applications. Thankfully, Zoho’s in-house productivity suite is able to fill a lot of these holes with equally good alternatives.
How to choose the best website builder for you?
Choosing the right website builder can be hard, especially as there are a lot of factors to take into account. The most important consideration is, of course, the learning curve. Most people who opt for website builders do so because content management systems are too complex or time-intensive for them. With a site builder, you can efficiently launch your own website, blog, or e-commerce store within moments.
The best website builder is one that isn’t too difficult to use and helps users build stunning websites in minutes. It won’t do to compromise quality for the sake of ease of use, which is why an ideal site builder will also feature a good collection of templates and a powerful drag-and-drop editor.
After-sales support is yet another concern, as business owners from non-technical backgrounds might find it especially difficult to diagnose issues as they arise. This is why you should also look for good live chat and phone support, which ensures you’ll be able to bounce back quickly if there’s an issue.
Ultimately, you have to consider the specific nature of your business and the industry within which you operate, then decide if the prospective website builder has all the features you need for your website, blog, or online store.