Best website builder for makers, sellers and doers.

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.     
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.
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.	

WordPress is software designed for everyone, emphasizing accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use. We believe great software should work with minimum set up, so you can focus on sharing your story, product, or services freely. The basic WordPress software is simple and predictable so you can easily get started. It also offers powerful features for growth and success.
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.
Finally, I would like also to draw attention to another interesting CMS that I used a decade ago and really enjoyed using at the time: it was originally known as Article Manager, and its current incarnation is CMS Builder, from InteractiveTools (a company based in Vancouver). At the time I was using it, I remember that the developers were very helpful, and the forum was lively and helpful too. Now that I am using WP, I would not really consider moving to CMS Builder (although I own a license), since WP offers much more in my view. But some people might have reasons to prefer it. However, one should pay attention to the fact that some of the add-ons can make it more expensive than the initial $200 price for a single site.
The primary reason I’m looking for an alternative to WordPress is its reliance on PHP. A language so awful I wouldn’t let it anywhere near my computer if I didn’t rely on WordPress for my blogging. Using PHP as the substrate for your CMS/blogging platform guarantees you’ll have day one security problems. Just look at all of the WordPress plugins and themes that have horrible security flaws (e.g., revslider).
Amazon is known for being one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world, but were you aware that it offers one of the best web services in the world today? Well, Amazon Web Services is a secure cloud services platform that provides computing power and other functionalities to help businesses scale up. Out of all these services, we will be more interested in their hosting services and whether you can start hosting WordPress on AWS.
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.
Emit is right, there is no perfect plan or company. For instance, I park a handful of domains, one of which serves as a basis for all my personal emails. Additionally, I dabble... one or two WordPress websites. There is only one plan among the hundreds offered out there that really suits my needs. Most good deals are for 1 website, and if you need two they want you to pay for "unlimited". Here's the kicker, it looks cheap initially, but it won't be later on. It's the same game that the cable ISP providers play. I will not stay out of principle; don't play games with me. Another thing I consider, many of these hosting companies, are being managed in places like Lithuania, Cypress, somewhere in Eastern Europe. I'm old enough to plainly state that I am not a naive millennial. Am I supposed to all of a sudden trust these folks? Russia, Ukraine, Romania aren't those the places where the most vicious hacker thieves come from? I'm thinking, if I get screwed by a hosting company, why not El Segundo, California. If your host is based in Lithuania, and you suffer a loss as a result of their actions, or lack thereof, what recourse will you have? Disclaimer: There is always that possibility that I could be wrong, so bear in mind, that if you think I'm wrong, be advised that it doesn't matter.
Although Craft CMS is not that famous, it is extensively being used by Netflix and Salesforce websites. It is developer friendly due to its extensive back end features for your application. It does not provide any front-end themes. Unlike WordPress, it does not have a predefined content type and hence it allows the user to set up their own content by making use of 18 different types of fields. It provides user view to the admin console and also enables side by side changes that they can make. The admin can create groups that can help in restricting or enabling different users from accessing some specific features. It supports different environments which can help in creating site locally. It deploys to staging and then to production. The flexible fields can also help in creating perfect interfaces with complete developer control.
We believe in democratizing publishing and the freedoms that come with open source. Supporting this idea is a large community of people collaborating on and contributing to this project. The WordPress community is welcoming and inclusive. Our contributors’ passion drives the success of WordPress which, in turn, helps you reach your goals. More Info »
If you want to use a custom domain name (perhaps you already have your own domain) then you will need to purchase one of the premium plans. As a rule, the most basic paid plan for each free web creator will allow you, among other things, to use your custom domain name. In addition, Wix has a separate option – Connect Domain, which allows you to add your custom domain at a price half that of the base premium plan. But at the same time, this option does not remove Wix brand ads.
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.
Good to hear from you again. Of course – it’s possible and it’s very simple. Try to use free AI web builders. In this case, artificial iIntelligence will do everything for you – select the web template, color scheme, structure of the mockup, needed sections and more. All that is required of you is to answer questions – then everything will be done automatically according to your preferences.
The blog feature is the most flexible we’ve seen. You can create all sort of layouts and use all the available elements (e.g. galleries, contact forms, video integration, etc) and have blogging features (e.g. tags, categories, comments, etc), excellent for publishing posts. It also boasts an integrated video and audio player (Pro plan only). Check out our direct comparison: Weebly vs WordPress.
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.
Absolutely. You have the option to customize your website based on your business needs. You can add site content wherever you’d like in a variety of sections; from multiple site pages, to scrollable sections that you can add to each of those pages, to a gallery of images, menus and price lists, and YouTube or Vimeo videos. Each section in your website is customizable as well, from the name of the page, to your website’s navigation bar. You’ll also have the ability to change text colors, styles and font. It’s important to make a responsive website that is mobile and desktop friendly. With Website Builder you’ll be able to choose tablet and desktop layouts to give your visitors the experience you want them to have.
Hi Eric, Thanks so much for your comment! Wix and Weebly both have integrations with POS systems - but only if you're based in the US. However, you won't be able to use this on a free plan - you'll need an ecommerce plan, which lets you accept payments and orders through your website, or to connect a POS sytem as you said. On Wix, the cheapest option would be the $23 per month Business plan (billed annually), and on Weebly this would be the $12 per month Pro plan (also billed annually). If you're setting up a serious ecommerce business and you want more selling features to support you, I recommend checking out Shopify, as it's specifically designed to support online stores. I hope this has helped, and I'll link to some reviews I hope you find helpful too: - Wix eCommerce Review - Weebly Ecommerce Review- Shopify Review Many thanks for reading, and all the best! Lucy	

There are more than a hundred free website builders available online, and new ones keep popping up every year. According to my research, the percentage of sites developed using online website builders (including free ones) is catching up with the percentage of websites built using popular CMS with open code as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento and the like.
The best web hosts on the market include these web builders in their service offerings. Some include popular existing site builders like Weebly, while other hosting teams have engineered their own platforms for website design and development. For example, 1&1 has 1&1 MyWebsite, and InMotion’s BoldGrid sits atop WordPress for a more intuitive experience, whether you’re building your first site or your fourteenth.
You surely have heard the name before! Joomla is yet another powerful and popular name when it comes to CMS platforms. It is free, multi-purpose and is built on the model-view-controller web application framework. Already with millions of users by its side, it will be celebrating it’s 14th year of establishment this year! Although not as widely popular as WordPress, it is equally competitive and is a great alternative!
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.
Just because it's green doesn't mean it limits your power to do what you need with your websites. Rather surprisingly, its low-end account provides both SSH and WP-CLI (useful for WordPress websites and automated WordPress deployments) access, along with Git preinstalled. It's also possible to customize PHP and PHP.INI, a capability unheard of on a low-end plan.
Hi Mark, I'm sorry to hear you're unhappy with the free plans! However, I like to think we make it clear about the downsides to free plans, so that our readers know fully what to expect - from advertising to clunky domains. These plans are free in the sense you truly don't have to pay anything, but you're right in thinking they come at a different price - professionalism! It's why we always suggest starting out on the free plan, but upgrading when you want to share your site with others. Can I direct you to our Best Cheap Website Builders review instead? It might be more in-line with the sort of service you're looking for. I hope this has helped! Best, Lucy

It is preferably more simple, light-weight and is a clutter-free content management system. The flexibility is obviously not great as WordPress. But it is surely an amazing platform if you are willing to forgo the large but complex marketplace of WordPress. Best suited for beginners, bloggers or anyone looking to create a simple, elegant and easy-to-manage website, Ghost can be an awesome alternative for WordPress if you are looking for one!


Strikingly prides itself on helping its users build a website with no programming skills required. Thousands of sites have been launched through this website creator, and users can start designing their own by selecting from countless templates contributed by site owners around the world. You can find website designs suited for startups, ecommerce stores, blogs, events, product launches, and personal branding.
However, WordPress might not always be the right option for you. Although it is surely one of the most popular CMS platforms, there are certain circumstances where you want to see if there are better options for you out there! Especially if you are new to creating and running a website, it might take longer than you think to actually get things right at first. Although there are plenty of helpful tutorial sites like Beautiful Themes and WPBeginner dedicated especially for the purpose, sometimes it is a hassle.
With more than 11 million sites built on IM Creator, it's a popular option for a few reasons: there's an easy point-and-click interface, an extensive range of templates and images, and unlimited web hosting and domain services. Plus, the platform is scalable, and you can have either single or multipage layouts. This builder is unique for its built-in ecommerce tools, and offers SEO and Google Analytics to fully optimize your site for search engines.
Hi Gina, Thanks for your comment and sharing your thoughts. Hiring an expert developer is always good, but it does have its challenges. Financial investment is just one of them. It's not a big problem if a company is well established already and is cash flowing to re-invest its profits into technology. But not all companies have that level of budget to commit, and not all companies are well established (yet). A lot of users are just starting out and just don't have that level of resource to get their websites off the ground. In such circumstance, I think our list above makes a lot of sense. No doubt, your comment is also valid, but I think that's more applicable for well established businesses. We have a full discussion of the cost of building a website that compares the cost of hiring a developer versus using a DIY website builder such as the ones I suggested above. I also wrote an article about the idea of hiring a designer / developer - when it's appropriate, and when it isn't appropriate. It's just my own view and what I would advise my friends and family if they were to ask me. Of course, every single person that's looking to build a website has different needs, motivations and resources. Thanks for adding to this discussion! Jeremy
While WordPress is pretty much the preferred publishing platform for the mass all over the world, during the recent years, WordPress has become more than just a blogging platform. This is where the WordPress alternative Ghost comes into play. It is a NodeJS based blogging open-source platform that was designed especially for the purpose of online publishing for bloggers. Released not so long ago, this project has already achieved four times more than it originally aimed for. 
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.
Yes. Wix offers a few different ways to create your own free website, so you can choose the creation process that works best for you. Need to get online fast? Answer a few simple questions and Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) will build a professional website for you in under 10 minutes. If you want 100% design freedom, start from scratch and drag and drop the website design features you need in the Wix Editor.
Hi Henry, Glad you found the piece helpful! Good question. I'm not 100% sure which builder would be better for the kind of site you have in mind. I'd recommend using the free trials available to experiment first. Wix has a very useful guide on creating a one-page site here: https://support.wix.com/en/article/creating-a-one-page-site Hope this helps.
Patreon Alternatives on WordPress - GiveWP & WP Simple Pay plugins
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