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.
In 1996, Flash (originally known as FutureSplash) was developed. At the time, the Flash content development tool was relatively simple compared to now, using basic layout and drawing tools, a limited precursor to ActionScript, and a timeline, but it enabled web designers to go beyond the point of HTML, animated GIFs and JavaScript. However, because Flash required a plug-in, many web developers avoided using it for fear of limiting their market share due to lack of compatibility. Instead, designers reverted to gif animations (if they didn't forego using motion graphics altogether) and JavaScript for widgets. But the benefits of Flash made it popular enough among specific target markets to eventually work its way to the vast majority of browsers, and powerful enough to be used to develop entire sites.[6]
Thanks for the write-up Nash! This looks like a very comprehensive list. I feel these site builders are great for individuals just starting out, as it does get them started online. Being in the website development space, we find many of the clients that come to us have previously started in this direction, and are now looking to take their business to the next level. While these tools are great for building… Without the knowledge of design, layout and general website design principles, these can often leave the site much less effective in conveying the brands messaging, telling the proper story and converting visitors into customers. The other main issue we see is the time that it takes for a new business owner to create a sub par site when they should be focusing on other aspects of their business.
"I am very happy that you guys released this, not only it is a great idea it was executed properly. I will use this to build a basic AMP site for a customer. i looked at the video and demo sites and was very happy with what could be done. I would really like for Mobirise team to add more widgets to your free website design software. I am confident that you will be at the top of the market if you add more functionality without loosing intuitiveness! What makes products like this great is many features but so easy to use Thanks!"
Weebly is a great software. The high rating says that other people are also satisfied with it which is always nice. I have a free account there and I like creating websites with it. I’m still considering upgrading to a premium package. However, I’m still not sure how I’ll create my site – I might use a blank template. About WordPress and other CMS options, I think that browsing through the hundreds, upon thousands of available themes could is very time consuming, and results in failure of finding the right theme for a certain subject, which leads to confusion. Getting started with a service just makes you take action, it surely helped me.

Top article Jeremy ! I own a cosmetics company, pre start up and I am looking at a web presence. I want to keep costs down but quality very high due to the nature of my business, lipbalm. Can I run my own video ad on a homepage of any of the drag and drop site s? I will be creating one for initial social media marketing campaigns) I want it to start playing as soon as someone lands on the homepage. And are they mobile / cell friendly ? Thanks Paul


Hi Kahil, I think it will be challenging to find a free website builder that will allow you to connect your own domain name to the website. All of the good website builders I know of, such as Wix or Weebly, even though they allow you to build websites for free, they do require you to upgrade to at least their lowest plan before you can connect your own domain to the website. I suppose this is just a trade off - they can brand their names on your free website, in return for allowing you to build a website for free. If you want the ability for each customer to log in to view his/her own specific / individual pricing, it's not a feature that most website builders have. Builders such as Wix and Weebly has membership functions, but they just protect pages behind a membership gateway, where all members can access the same pages. So you can't set pages up that each member has his/her own unique pages, if you know what I mean. If you want that function, I think you'll have to use a more powerful membership software. Perhaps WordPress has a plugin for that, but I'm not familiar with one. Jeremy
There are lots of different ways to get a website online. Some of them require technical expertise and experience in things link HTML, CSS, and other coding languages. But there are also ways to build a website without any of those skills – the easiest to use is a website builder. Website builders are suitable for anyone with a basic understanding of technology – if you can post photos or videos to Facebook then you meet the requirements to create a site using a website builder tool.
Just found out after 9 years that my website builder and email addresses were tied together with my “Daddy” site. For $120 they’ll give back my email for a year. Time for a change I guess. Anyway with me having a site up and running can I bring in what I have from there or will a fresh start need to be done? Thanks for your very in depth research which I would think is current because the last update was May 2018.
Excellent article! After surfing the Internet and reading many websites on how to create a website, I can honestly say that it is the most complete and easy to understand, for a complete beginner! Your step by step guide is comprehensive and very informative and has given me the confidence to move forward and try to set up my own commercial website ... A big thank you!
Ever been on a live chat with tech support talking about how you need to update your DNS when you don’t even know what the heck a DNS is? Not fun. When you hire a professional, those problems go away, and you get to pick up the phone and talk to a human being who will solve those problems for you without being made to feel like a simpleton because you don’t understand tech jargon.
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There are two primary jobs involved in creating a website: the web designer and web developer, who often work closely together on a website.[30] The web designers are responsible for the visual aspect, which includes the layout, coloring and typography of a web page. Web designers will also have a working knowledge of markup languages such as HTML and CSS, although the extent of their knowledge will differ from one web designer to another. Particularly in smaller organizations one person will need the necessary skills for designing and programming the full web page, while larger organizations may have a web designer responsible for the visual aspect alone.[31]
Kevin, With website builders like Wix or Weebly, you can use them for free and there isn't a time limit. However, with the free plans, you won't be able to connect your own domain name to the website, and you will be limited to certain functions. But you can definitely publish a website. Further, all hosting services are provided by the website builders listed above. So you don't have to get your own hosting services. Jeremy
Website uptime is a measure how often your website is available to everyone on the internet.  Ideally we are striving for 100%.  Websites are loaded from what’s basically a big computer called a server, and since it’s a computer it occasionally needs to be restarted, updated, etc. in order to continue to function well.  Because of this maintenance 100% uptime isn’t realistic, but somewhere in the 99% or greater range is.  What we are basically looking for here is any red flags where the site is not working for long periods.
Top tip: Don’t just test your website yourself. You will be blind to some of its faults. Plus, you know how your site is supposed to work, so while you might find navigating it easy that’s not to say a stranger will. Get a fresh perspective. Ask family members and friends to test your site and give feedback. If they’re anything like our family and friends they won’t be afraid of offering criticism.
Fluid layouts increased in popularity around 2000 as an alternative to HTML-table-based layouts and grid-based design in both page layout design principle and in coding technique, but were very slow to be adopted.[note 1] This was due to considerations of screen reading devices and varying windows sizes which designers have no control over. Accordingly, a design may be broken down into units (sidebars, content blocks, embedded advertising areas, navigation areas) that are sent to the browser and which will be fitted into the display window by the browser, as best it can. As the browser does recognize the details of the reader's screen (window size, font size relative to window etc.) the browser can make user-specific layout adjustments to fluid layouts, but not fixed-width layouts. Although such a display may often change the relative position of major content units, sidebars may be displaced below body text rather than to the side of it. This is a more flexible display than a hard-coded grid-based layout that doesn't fit the device window. In particular, the relative position of content blocks may change while leaving the content within the block unaffected. This also minimizes the user's need to horizontally scroll the page.
DoodleKit offers some of the best editing functionality of any free website builder. Although its free version is limited, it does enable you to create a site up to five pages in under five minutes. You can also take advantage of the site’s free blogging platform, which is an immensely useful tool in order to expand your brand’s digital profile. DoodleKit includes a range of great design templates and hosts a useful forum that can help to inspire you when constructing your own site.
Hey Jeremy, Awesome article. I especially like the flow and the logical approach that you took to educate people. This is the article I point clients to, to get them up to speed before starting projects. I think it's important for them to know how their products work. While they aren't making their own sites, it definitely still fits the bill. Also, I'm curious as to what you think about WooCommerce these days. I didn't seem them on the list in the other article you wrote "Best Ecommerce Software". Anyways, I've been sending my clients here for a while now and just want to give you a shout out at a job well done! If you are able to send me an email, I do have a question I'd like to ask if you have the time.
Hey Jeremy, Awesome article. I especially like the flow and the logical approach that you took to educate people. This is the article I point clients to, to get them up to speed before starting projects. I think it's important for them to know how their products work. While they aren't making their own sites, it definitely still fits the bill. Also, I'm curious as to what you think about WooCommerce these days. I didn't seem them on the list in the other article you wrote "Best Ecommerce Software". Anyways, I've been sending my clients here for a while now and just want to give you a shout out at a job well done! If you are able to send me an email, I do have a question I'd like to ask if you have the time.
I want to create a website that promotes a drugless, non-surgical service for patients in pain and weekend warriors. I want my site to have video testimonials, information about services, inquiries for consultations and possibly the ability to schedule appointment for service. Essentially we need a web presence for this service that drives traffic to us, demands them to take action to increase sales (who doesn’t, right?) Recommendations? Thanks.
A website for a photographer or musician will usually require less than an eCommerce site. You may focus on a landing page about your photography services and prices or your band’s upcoming shows. An eCommerce site may need multiple product categories, purchasing abilities, or intricate social capabilities. You can avoid these time and cost requirements with a site builder.
"I am really impressed with the work put into creating Mobirise. I love the ease with which Websites can be built in a few minutes using this awesome product. I like the intuitive drag and drop process and the mobile-first approach. I love this product, but it seems incapable of creating corporate Websites, because of the simple designs. Generally, I want to commend you for your work. The product is awesome. With more block options, increased flexibility, Mobirise would favorably compete with the top free website builders - wix, weebly, squarespace. I'll be standing by. Your product has great potential. Keep working." 
Hello Danny, I definitely agree with your thoughts on Weebly, it really is a very easy-to-use platform if you're new to website building. Weebly have made a great effort to ensure the platform (and especially their editor) are as user friendly as possible, which really does make it easier to build a great-looking site without any technical skills! If you feel like your technical skills are up to the challenge then WordPress is definitely worth trying out. Give it a test and see how you get on. Thanks for reading, - Tom
Hey David, I think that IM Creator is a pretty good website builder, especially if you want to build a very basic website really quickly. Their tools are not he most comprehensive, but in a way that reduces confusion and allows you to focus on the basics which work really well in way. If you haven't seen our review on IM Creator yet, check it out. You can also take a look at our website builder comparison chart here to get a high level overview of who are some of the leading platforms available today. If you want great looking templates, definitely take a look at Squarespace. As for great quality stock images, see our resources guide here. Hope this helps! - Jeremy
Hi Jeremy, Thanks for your article. I have a question I am hoping you can help me with. The original site I started was a free blog through wordpress website. I then decided to go towards an actual site with a blog attached, I made the switch to Hostgator. During this switch Hostgator took our domain name and is requesting $700 to get it back even though we paid the yearly fee. They are now saying they will not release our domain name until May. Does this seem correct? Thanks Kate
Things to look as you vet hosts for ecommerce include drag-and-drop store builders, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) software for safeguarding financial transactions, and email marketing plug-ins, so that you don't have to work with an outside vendor to promote your business. There's nothing wrong per se with using an unconnected marketing service, but anything that adds convenience means more time to spend on the rest of your business. For more in-depth advice on getting started selling online, you should consider our story on the 6 Factors Companies Need to Consider When Choosing a Web Host.
Do you have a new business or unfunded startup? You should probably just start with an affordable website builder. You have yet to prove the concept, and you are better off just getting your idea out into the world to see if there is even a market for it. Once you have an established customer base and are generating revenue, then you should probably look into upgrading your site with a professional design.
There are limitations with a website builder though. A basic hosting subscription may limit the number of web pages you can create. And depending on the template you select, some of the major design elements will not be customizable. Websites built with a website builder are also not as scalable as websites built using other platforms, although this will only be an issue if your website gets significant volumes of traffic.

December 24, 2018 Hugo 0.53: Faster, config dir support, new unmarshal func, global site var, and more … November 28, 2018 Configurable file caches, inline shortcodes, and more … November 7, 2018 Bug fixes, new template functions and more error improvements. October 29, 2018 Errors with full filename and line and column number, shown in browser. And improved Fast Render…
DoodleKit offers some of the best editing functionality of any free website builder. Although its free version is limited, it does enable you to create a site up to five pages in under five minutes. You can also take advantage of the site’s free blogging platform, which is an immensely useful tool in order to expand your brand’s digital profile. DoodleKit includes a range of great design templates and hosts a useful forum that can help to inspire you when constructing your own site.
Hi Jeremy. Superb article, which I would also use to describe the other articles and reviews you have created for building a web site. I've understand that Shopify is your primary recommendation for an ECommerce site. I'd like to see the capability of various vendors availing of our site's services to post and sell their products. Can Shopify handle this as well? Thanks for helping a lot of people! Wishing you more success. JP

Both of these approaches have now been supplanted for many websites by higher-level application-focused tools such as content management systems. These build on top of general purpose coding platforms and assume that a website exists to offer content according to one of several well recognised models, such as a time-sequenced blog, a thematic magazine or news site, a wiki or a user forum. These tools make the implementation of such a site very easy, and a purely organisational and design-based task, without requiring any coding.


Before committing to a website builder, you should always do your homework. After all, no two businesses are alike, and so you’ve got to come up with an idea of what it is you’re after in a website. But once you’ve figured that out, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re operating in or how comfortable you are with the Web.  There’s definitely a website builder out there that’s perfect for you and your small business.
After all the work you put into it, I feel not a little stupid, in need to ask you anything else. The truth is I am a slightly long in the tooth septuagenarian with about as much nous as someone dropping in on a day trip from the fourteenth century. I want to promote (tell as many people as possible) about my new book, and hopefully, sell one or two.

Hello Kate, Based on your comment, that doesn't sound right at all! Did you give you a very detailed and sensible reason of why they are requesting the $700? Normally, domain names cost about $12 - $15 to renew on an annual basis. You can see more discussions about domain names that we've put together here. You should definitely demand a reasonable and detailed explanation. Good luck with that. Jeremy
I am currently looking at setting up a blog for the area I specialise in. I am aware of wordpress.org but have been a bit daunted by the number of webhosts out there offering this and that. One particular issue is that I use macs and I was wondering whether bluehost is compatible with the mac, and whether there are any other extra steps I have to take when using a mac over windows. Would it be as simple as registering with a webhost then clicking one-step installation on a mac?

Weebly has been around for a while, and so it’s definitely one of the most popular website builders out there. There are no hidden costs involved in constructing a new website — and although premium and ecommerce versions do exist, a vast majority of small businesses are unlikely to need them. Weebly’s top feature is its intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that makes Web creation dead simple for even the most IT-challenged individuals.
From those “elsewhre”, the first one was Webstarts. Great designs – really great to my taste and needs, easy designing tools – all of the best for a mere user. However: there was a time that my sites (had 3) just… disappeared. When inquired about why, no answer was ever received, even after multiple reminders, though someone signed as Adam was constantly sending me eamils about upgrading.. Until one day a new email came from them signed by a new name. This new name was real, there was a person behind it, very quick and eficiente. He explained that the reason was a supposed inactivity of my sites. Gee! Those were my sites not blogues, for God’s sake! Why should one be fiddling with the sites if there was nothing new to tell? It seems they understand “activity” as upgrading only. Well, this new guy fixed everything quickly, I thanked him… and seveeral months and several emails insisting on na upgrade later, my sites disappeared again. They proved themselves to be simply not reliable.
Things to look as you vet hosts for ecommerce include drag-and-drop store builders, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) software for safeguarding financial transactions, and email marketing plug-ins, so that you don't have to work with an outside vendor to promote your business. There's nothing wrong per se with using an unconnected marketing service, but anything that adds convenience means more time to spend on the rest of your business. For more in-depth advice on getting started selling online, you should consider our story on the 6 Factors Companies Need to Consider When Choosing a Web Host.

Customers choose 1&1 IONOS because unlike free website builders, MyWebsite is built to be unique. It's a flexible website builder that doesn't require any special skills, but is also fully customizable, so you aren't limited to just a handful of designs. Without a hefty time and money commitment, you can create a one-of-a-kind site that your visitors will love.


Hi Billy, Great to hear you found the article so helpful! There's no reason at all why you can't use a website builder to create a website for yourself, even a blog style site. I'd recommend having a look at our website builder comparison chart as this is a good jumping off point and will give you some ideas of where to start. Off the top of my head, I know that Wix launched a new version of their blogging tool, which is really easy to use and can be integrated as part of a wider site (thankfully Wix is also super easy to use so it's great for newcomers to web design like yourself!) Hope that helps, - Tom
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