Best website builder for makers, sellers and doers.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, giving you access to all of its world class sales tools and features before you spend a cent. To keep using the platform, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the three plans available, which cost between $29 and $299 per month. The highest plan is only recommended for companies with monthly revenues of more than $10,000.
Joomla is one of the more popular WordPress alternatives, and it’s easy to see why. The platform gives you a great deal of control over content workflows and template layouts, which dictate the appearance of your Joomla site in a similar fashion to WordPress themes. Another popular feature of Joomla is its built-in Access Control List (ACL), which makes site administration and granting contributor access an easy process.

Welcome to the CNET 2020 directory of web hosting services. In this directory, we'll look at a few of the best web hosting providers like Bluehost, A2Hosting, Hostinger, DreamHost, HostGator, InMotion Hosting and more. In this evaluation of the best web hosting providers, we're featuring commercial web hosting companies that offer WordPress, VPS, shared hosting and many more web hosting services, along with a variety of annual and monthly plans.     

I use ExpressionEngine for most of the professional sites I’ve developed over the past 10+ years or so (I think Craft is based off EE, or developed by one of the EE programmers — I forget the details). Started out with that one because it’s easy to create templates and you know exactly what’s going on under the hood. WP was not an option earlier because it was an easily hackable mess. I finally took another look at WP because 1) I’d seen so many complex, well-crafted sites and 2) ExpressionEngine got too pricy for many of my non-profit organization clients. I just wish WP code wasn’t so convoluted — it’s not elegant code, but any means, and there is way too much stuff loaded that doesn’t serve any purpose. I guess I just have to get used to it.
As an example, let’s consider Shopify – a premium eCommerce website builder. Over the years, Shopify has become quite a heavy and complicated e-store creator. Its focus on adding more technical capabilities has transformed the visual editor from something a beginner could use, to something that can intimidate a beginner. Today, nobody recommends Shopify as a relevant e-store builder for newbies.
I’ve never considered website builders as a website development tool, but now I want to try this. Definitely worth testing out a few free website platforms from your review. Perhaps this will be a good alternative for WordPress. In the last couple of years – it has created a lot of problems for me and I don’t mind to find an alternative to it.. more simple and less buggy, but the same free.

You can also host your website on WordPress.com, but that's different from the kind of hosting mentioned above. WordPress.com uses the same code from WordPress.org, but it hides the server code and handles the hosting for you. In that sense, it resembles entries in our online site builder roundup. It's a simpler but less flexible and customizable way to approach WordPress hosting. It's definitely easier, but if you want to tinker and adjust and optimize every aspect of your site, it might not be for you.
Wix is one of the oldest and widely used websites which is used to build sites. It was launched in 2006 and has been in the industry since then. One of the best catches of Wix is that it provides animation features that animate texts and other elements. It is one of the most intriguing factors of Wix. The latest ADI feature enables the user to add a website link so that the tool can help you in building the exact version of the site of which you can edit and customize it. Wix is extremely user-friendly and easy and that is the reason it attracts so many beginners to try it. It has an extensive market which helps in finding different extensions and helps the users out with it. The templates provided by it are very well designed and have a great range available. The post editor and dashboard of Wix are user-friendly.

If Wix does not make to your cut, then Weebly is also an awesome WordPress alternative for you. It is a fully hosted online site builder that enables the users to easily create and build the ideal site. Much like WordPress, Weebly also has a selection of tools built-in that helps with various features. However, where it differs is that while WordPress has a huge range of third-party software and plugins, Weebly is not as competent. However, it does make up for it with the stunning and excellent design structure. The Drag and Drop Page builder makes the process as easy as a breeze.


Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, giving you access to all of its world class sales tools and features before you spend a cent. To keep using the platform, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the three plans available, which cost between $29 and $299 per month. The highest plan is only recommended for companies with monthly revenues of more than $10,000.


If you don’t have a design muscle in your body, you might experience some difficulties making a Squarespace site look good (due to the platform’s reliance on good stock imagery to be part of your site’s final look). Also, Squarespace offers a good range of features from the get-go, but above that, there’s not much you can do when there’s a feature missing. Just like with Wix, if you want a site that can grow alongside your business, this might not be quite the solution you’re looking for.
WordPress is also teaming up with other platforms like BigCommerce to bring deeper e-commerce functionality to its offerings. 39% of e-commerce merchants reported they recently lost money due to performance or stability problems. Combining the front end functionality of WordPress with the backend power of an e-commerce platform is an excellent option for scaling growth.
Thanks for this informative article, but I am still a bit confused. I am a novice blogger but I would much rather do it right the first time…but what is right? I had my mind set on wordpres.com until I read various articles that compare wordpress.org and .com. I don’t want ads popping up on my blog unless i put them there and I don’t want the company to own my content. Ideally, I was going to purchase a theme that supports music, video, photos but now I don’t know what to do. Can someone please point me in the right direction?

Thanks, Jeremy, for your excellent article, but I still have a couple of questions. We use Dreamhost for our website, which was built in 1999 (seriously) and we keep it semi-current using SeaMonkey's editor. Last year we added an ECWID shopping cart to replace the really difficult to use PayPal shopping cart system, which has helped, but a replacement website that's easy to change is what we really need. It seems that all of these site builders want to host us, when what I need is a program I can use to create the new site and replace my existing one. Is there a standalone site building program you recommend? How about an easy to use interface to put between me and Wordpress? (That seems like it would be an excellent tool for someone to develop.) Or should I just buy a copy of Wordpress for Dummies and start fresh? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

I think you should consider mentioning some of the options available for the open source version of WordPress (WordPress.org). The most notable option we have now I think is the page builder plugin Elementor from Pojo. The free version has tons of widgets one could use to build a responsive website for free without touching a line of code. I believe the space in WordPress.org is no longer for just for Developers. Anyone in the beginner stage can build sites on WordPress with much more flexibility than anything like WIX could ever offer since they are a closed platform. Mathew from LaunchParty has provided an amazing FREE course that will guide you how to build amazing sites with WordPress and Elementor. And he even provides you with amazing Elementor templates that you can use. Lastly, please note that not every thing that is meant to be sustainable is truly free. Last time I checked, in order to have a proper website with WIX, it was only free when you use their domain extension. If you ever wanted to remove WIX from the domain name, then you would have to pay for that. On the other hand, WordPress.org is open source, meaning free. But hosting is not, neither is your own domain name. There are many WordPress plugins that are worth paying for as well, including Elementor as well as others that will handle other important features such security.	

Being extremely flexible as well as user-friendly, it enables any entrepreneurs to focus on their products and it’s promotion. It is relatively easy to manipulate and use and offers hundreds of free and premium themes to choose from. What’s great is that Shopify also offers the user the option to sell their products through social media, by integrating a Buy Now button or even using the POS system.
Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.
I don’t think you are being fair. The average small blogger on a shared host isn’t going to be an expert in PHP. Like the poster I have seen 4 wordpress sites hacked and have just switched hosts following 2 in a year. One of these did use an outdated commercial template, the other 3 used standard templates with no plugins supposedly automatically updated at every new release.. There are plenty of simple things that could be done to make WordPress more secure including the most simple one of notifying any changes to configuration files via basic checksum. PHP as a product may be very secure but the way it is implemented by shared hosts allows for multiple infections. Security and ease of maintenance should be number one on the list when looking for a blog if you don’t want to be monitoring round the clock. I’m looking for a simple occasional blog that I can configure without a computer science degree and hopefully tweak by looking through the code. Ghost seems interesting but my host doesn’t support NodeJS
These photography templates are professionally designed, and look excellent. Most have minimalist multiple gallery layouts with a focus on showcasing visuals. In my mind, Wix’s photography templates are the best among all website builders. Squarespace is the only other website builder that has better photography templates. But this is a premium website builder without a free plan.
Jekyll is a static-site generator, which lets you create your content as text files that can then be inserted into folders. Once your files are created, Jekyll enables you to build the shell of your site using the Liquid template language. Jekyll stitches your content with the shell, creating a static site that can be readily uploaded to all server types.
It is also much more flexible and extensible than WordPress. The best part is also that unlike WordPress with predefined content type, it allows the user to set up their own content type using 18 different types of field. But like we mentioned before, this is not the perfect place to start if you are looking for a simplistic website and are a beginner.
It is widely popular and the WordPress Gutenberg editor is also inspired by the Medium post editor. And if you are looking to reach out to a wider range of audience, then Medium wins it hands down. While WordPress has a large range of users overall, Medium has an average of 60 million blog readers per month. This alongside other awesome features makes it an awesome blogging alternative for WordPress.
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Students, artists, NGOs and charities can apply to use the premium IM Creator software for free by filling in this form. The community enrichment team will then review your application, normally within 72 hours. If approved, the license will then be added to the first site you publish, and will be ad-free. You’ll also be able to connect your own domain name.

Now, whether you choose to use a content management system like WordPress, a website builder tool like Weebly, or an e-commerce platform like Magento, you’ll need to install the software on your server. The same goes for other external applications you want to use for your website, but that aren’t inherently part of your chosen content management system.


The one thing you didn’t discuss much in your article is how easy for the client it is, using the CMS *after* the developer walks away. One reason I love WP is I can show you how to add a new blogpost in 10m flat, regardless of your tech ability – and barring that, set up an email drop so it’s even simpler. October fits the mold of Joomla, Drupal, and a few others with a learning curve that’ll be quite a bit steeper for some clients.
I don’t think you are being fair. The average small blogger on a shared host isn’t going to be an expert in PHP. Like the poster I have seen 4 wordpress sites hacked and have just switched hosts following 2 in a year. One of these did use an outdated commercial template, the other 3 used standard templates with no plugins supposedly automatically updated at every new release.. There are plenty of simple things that could be done to make WordPress more secure including the most simple one of notifying any changes to configuration files via basic checksum. PHP as a product may be very secure but the way it is implemented by shared hosts allows for multiple infections. Security and ease of maintenance should be number one on the list when looking for a blog if you don’t want to be monitoring round the clock. I’m looking for a simple occasional blog that I can configure without a computer science degree and hopefully tweak by looking through the code. Ghost seems interesting but my host doesn’t support NodeJS
Thanks for the comment. Yes, it is – people are always happy to get something for free. It’s right. But you need to understand that for free you always have to pay. Often not money, somehow differently, but have to. In the case of free website builders, such a fee is the availability of brand ads on the website. And in my opinion this is not a very high fee for a completely free website.
Hi Cedric, Have a look at this guide on mobile interfaces for drag and drop website builders. You can also build multiple sites within one user account. But if you want to subscribe to a paid plan, you will have to upgrade one website at a time. So for instance, you have 1 Wix account and within this account, you have 4 websites. You can upgrade each of the website one at a time. Jeremy	

Thx for your article Colin 🙂 As u said Joomla is great for an intranet-like web site. I made a lot of knowledge bases and a bunch of intranets with Joomla and since 1.6 version, new ACL Management helped a lot i must say. I found out very lately about WP and i think it’s like going Mac after a long period of Windows struggling (kind of). Anyway there is also a very good database based/self hosted CMS which deserves IMHO some interest: MODx. Not very well known but probably the most flexible CMS when it comes to templating. You literally design your website in Photoshop, export the HTML then put wherever you want some snippets and Boom! Incredible tool. Learning curve is however longer than Drupal, Joomla or WP obviously. WP ecosystem and simplicity out of the box + universality made it the winner. Just a thought 🙂 thx again for sharing.
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Jimdo delivers a way for you to build a beautiful website and have it optimized for the search engines. Your Jimdo experience starts by picking the design for your site; then you’re led through the process of having your site launched to the world. Jimdo is also a hosted solution, which means that they take care of the technical details and giving your site a home.


Comparatively not so advanced, Squarespace is ideal with the simplest method to build a basic website. Unlike traditional Page Builder, you do not need to sign up for hosting, purchase a domain or go through the extra hassle. Instead, you simply create an account on Squarespace and that’s about it. After answering a few more questions on your preference you end up with a working website in a matter of minutes. While it includes a drag and drop builder that you can use to add and customize the elements of the site, it does not provide much control to the users.
Although not so popular among the users, Craft CMS is an effective content management system. Some major examples of this are Netflix and Salesforce websites. It is a much more complex and developer friendly CMS platform that provides exclusive back-ends for your websites. Unlike WordPress, it does not provide front-end themes that you can use. Instead, you can use their templating system that is powered by Twig to design it yourself.
You can import your WordPress blog to Squarespace, which we like a lot. Nevertheless, we don’t recommend using Squarespace for blogging unless you don’t particularly care about SEO because page titles and meta descriptions can’t be adjusted for individual blog posts – which is very important for ranking with search engines. However, be aware that Squarespace is more difficult to use than Wix or Weebly due to its convoluted interface.
Arguably one of the most flexible and easy-to-use builders, Site123 lets you customize anything and offers a one-click installation wizard with graphics and templates. Site123 stands out as particularly helpful with its free images library, professional fonts to add visual elements to your site, and creative DIY plans for creating multiple pages (which are unlimited). Plus, since it offers web hosting domain registration, 500 MB storage space, Google Analytics, and is ad-free, you won't feel pressured to switch to a paid plan.
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