I’ve spent a lot of time signing up for more than 20 website builders so I could experience them first hand – here is my honest guide to the 5 best website builders.
Pondering over the best website builders? Website builders are a great online tool to allow you to create your own website easily and usually without any coding knowledge.
Using a website builder is often more affordable than forking out in hiring a web designer and developer. It can also be less hassle as you know exactly what you want and don’t have to convey this to other people.
Better still, most website builders offer beautifully designed professional templates to work from.
In 2021 it’s more important than ever for individuals and businesses to have their own website, to display their work, information, CVs, and sell their products and services.
Everyone should be able to access the opportunity to create a website and build their online presence whether they are a complete newbie or seasoned professional.
To save you the daunting task of finding the best website builder, I’ve signed up to the top ones on the market to take the pressure off you.
Best overall website builder
Best website builder for templates
Best beginner-friendly website builder
Best for building one-page websites
Best builder for creating simple websites
Read my in-depth reviews of each website builder below to discover your ideal match. I’ve reviewed a range of builders suitable for beginners and experts.
Read on to find out more!
Inside This Article...
1. Wix (Best Website Builder)
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Wix is a great all-rounder and one of the best website builders which is incredibly easy to use. It’s suitable for beginners and advanced users because of its drag and drop functionality and ability to code behind the scenes.
It offers a wide range of features without making them confusing, as well as offering great performance and server response times.
Wix has hundreds of modern and fresh templates for you to sink your teeth into. Their templates are actually what drew me into using their platform in the first place, many moons ago.
You can easily search for templates or keywords to find the best design for you. Alternatively, there’s a simple categories filter which contains overall headings like business, online store, creative, etc. and sub-headings within them.
If you feel confident enough to create your website from scratch, but want the support of Wix’s platform, you can use a blank template. Another reason why I think Wix is so great is because of their flexibility. Beginners and experts can enjoy the tools available.
To preview a template, simply click on it and you can see what the template looks like on mobile and desktop. This is a handy feature as some templates just don’t look as they should on different devices. Thankfully all of Wix’s templates are mobile responsive.
If you want to use a template, all you have to do is select ‘edit this site’ and you can start creating your very own website.
Wix has four premium website pricing plans and four business and eCommerce plans. You can try any of Wix’s premium plans for free for 14 days.
Alternatively, you can sign up for free, with fewer benefits than Wix’s premium plans. Free plans include Wix adverts and Wix branding and you cannot connect your domain. I wouldn’t recommend Wix’s free plan if you want to grow your online presence.
Wix has plenty of features which admittedly can be a little overwhelming for beginners. However, these features are essential to creating a professional website with scalable options.
Wix’s editor is easy to use and offers drag and drop functionality. You can click on anything on your chosen template and change it. If you want to edit your mobile website, you can do this separately if you wish. Alternatively, you can leave everything as it is and publish your site.
Some of my favourite Wix features include:
- Advanced SEO: Their tools are really easy to use and are great for beginners
- App Market: Plenty of apps to enhance your website and take it further than their base templates
- Wix ADI: If you don’t want the hassle of editing or designing your own template, let Wix ask you a few questions and create your site for you
- Hosting & SSL: All plans include free web hosting a free SSL certificate
- Online Store: Wix Stores lets you create beautiful online stores with great features like coupons and discounts, abandoned cart recovery, etc.
2. SquareSpace (Best Website Builders Runner Up)
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SquareSpace is a website builder designed for professionalism, beauty, and sophistication. It has some of the best templates on the market. SquareSpace isn’t as easy to use in comparison to Wix, however, I find once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier to work with.
If you’re a creative person looking for the right tool to create your stunning website, I can highly recommend SquareSpace. On top of their awesome website builder, they also offer plenty of features which we’ll explore in more detail later on.
This is where SquareSpace really flexes its muscles. SquareSpace probably has the best templates on the market, if I do say so myself (and so do lots of other people).
Unlike Wix, you can’t search for a template, however, there are lots of categories to browse through. These include popular templates, online stores, photography, events, etc.
You can preview any of SquareSpace’s mobile-friendly templates by hovering over them and clicking preview. Much like Wix, you can view what each template would look like on multiple devices and view a demo version of a website with your selected template.
When you’re ready to start editing, select ‘start with this design’ to dive into SquareSpace’s editor. Here you’ll be able to add your own content, change the layout of your website, and show the world your beautiful creations.
SquareSpace’s pricing is very simple and competitive. Plans start from just $12 per month which will net you a free custom domain, free SSL certificate, unlimited bandwidth and storage, and SEO tools.
With SquareSpace, it’s cheaper if you pay annually, but if you’re not ready to commit straight away, they do offer a 14-day free trial similar to Wix.
Their plans are very scalable and offer the right amount of features for what they are designed for. For example, the Personal plan doesn’t include any marketing or eCommerce features, as it’s designed for a personal website.
SquareSpace aren’t just a pretty face, they have some awesome features to help build and grow your website. When I look for a website builder (and maybe this is the same for you), I try to look ahead to the future to see what’s on offer and how it will benefit my website.
Here is a glimpse of some of SquareSpace’s great features:
- Celebrity endorsements: SquareSpace is used by some pretty cool people including Winona Ryder, Altrock, Sadie Williams, and Oscar the Grouch.
- Online stores: SquareSpace’s pricing plans make it easy to choose the best plan to build an online store with. On top of this, they offer tools to help grow your business like marketing and SEO.
- Email campaigns: Email marketing is a great way to entice existing and potential customers to visit your website and get great discounts on your products and services.
- Support: SquareSpace’s 24/7 support is pretty damn awesome and is there whenever you need them.
3. Weebly (Best Website Builder for Simplicity)
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Weebly is a more simplistic website builder compared to SquareSpace and Wix, however, it still packs some powerful features, so don’t dismiss it just yet.
If you plan on creating an online store or a blog, Weebly is a great platform to do this with ease, and perhaps without the over-complication of overwhelming tools and features.
However, Weebly isn’t the best website builder if you’re looking for beautiful designs and customisation options. Their templates are good, but they’re not stunning like SquareSpace, and their customisation options are basic.
Weebly has lots of themes which are suitable for online stores, personal blogs, events, portfolios, and lots more. Unfortunately, there isn’t a search bar to use, as Wix has, but it’s easy enough to find what you’re looking for.
Weebly’s templates aren’t as stunning as SquareSpace’s, but they’ll certainly do the job and they’re not as outdated as some templates I’ve seen in my lifetime!
You view more information about each theme which will let you know which features it boasts, including whether it’s responsive, has CSS buttons, social media icons, etc.
Once you’re ready to start editing a theme, select ‘choose theme’, or if you want to preview it in action like a demo website, select ‘preview theme’. As I said, they’re not as beautiful as SquareSpace but they’re still good enough to work with.
Weebly’s pricing structure is probably the most simple out of all the website builders I’ve reviewed. There’s a free plan which is ideal for basic use, e.g. personal blogs and personal websites.
When you’re ready to upgrade to a premium plan, their personal plan starts at just $6 per month, offering a free SSL certificate, custom domain, shopping cart, and SEO.
I think their pricing is very reasonable offering plenty of features that other website builders also offer at a higher price. Similar to SquareSpace, if you pay annually with Weebly, you’ll save up to $4 per month.
I really do think Weebly is good value for money as they have great features and affordable pricing. However, they are a much more basic website builder in comparison to SquareSpace and Wix.
The features they offer reflect their pricing, so you won’t get as much as other website builders, but they’ll be enough to get you started on creating a professional website.
Check out what features Weebly has:
- Analytics: If you want to know where your website traffic is coming from, it’s important to view your analytics data to learn about your customers.
- Easy Builder: Weebly’s website builder is probably the easiest builder I’ve used. It promotes drag and drop functionality and has lots of tools like video backgrounds, galleries, and lots more.
- Mobile: Weebly’s mobile apps make it easy for you to manage your website on the go.
- Management: Weebly manages all the back-end stuff to make your life hassle-free, this includes web hosting, SSL certificates, security, updates, and domain management.
- Marketing: Weebly’s email marketing and digital marketing tools are a great source to advertise and grow your business.
4. Strikingly (Best for One-Page Websites)
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Strikingly is similar to Weebly in terms of its simplicity and beginner friendliness. If you want to create a one-page website or personal CV website, Strikingly is a good recommendation.
If you want to create a complex website or online store, I’d recommend looking at Wix, rather than Strikingly. But if you’re not sure, Strikingly do offer a free plan so you can always try them out before committing to buy into anything.
Strikingly has lots of beautiful templates, much like SquareSpace. There isn’t a way to search for templates, instead, you’ll need to filter by category like business, company, personal, and portfolio.
It might seem trivial, but one of the things I like about Strikingly’s templates is that they display real websites where the templates are used. You can view the actual template in action, as well as seeing the location of said template.
I find this really helpful as sometimes it’s hard to see beyond a template, to imagine what it would be like once published on the world wide web.
If you want to view the site template separately, you can do this too. I really do like Strikingly’s templates and actually enjoy browsing through their collection and getting inspiration from existing websites.
Strikingly has three premium pricing plans starting from $8 per month. You can try any of their plans for 14 days for free, so there’s no financial risk at all.
Their pricing plans are easy to grasp and offer a wide range of suitability across the board. Their Limited plan is ideal for personal websites or a very simple store, whereas the Pro plan is recommended for small to medium-sized websites or membership websites.
In comparison to other website builders, Strikingly is very affordable and competes well with Weebly. However, it is a much more simplified website builder so doesn’t offer as many features as Wix.
When you’re ready to sign up for Strikingly’s premium plans, you’ll unlock a bunch of new features. Firstly, you’ll get a free domain for 1 year to get you started, you can purchase extra domains from $24.95, or you can connect your own domain if you have one.
Strikingly does have some cool features like an online store, but I honestly wouldn’t recommend using them for eCommerce purposes as their tools are just a little too basic for my liking.
Some of the features I love about Strikingly include:
- App store: Strikingly’s app store has plenty of apps to enhance your websites, like social media integration, Google maps, HTML, and more.
- Stock images: Strikingly is all about presentation, so it’s no wonder they have a library packed full of high-resolution images for you to use for free.
- SEO: Strikingly’s SEO tools will help to get your website seen online, in search engines and beyond.
- Sliders: Sliders are the bane of my life, they’re a nightmare, but thankfully Strikingly makes this painful task easy, allowing you to create awesome sliders and backgrounds.
5. Site123 (Best for Budget)
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Site123 is a brilliant website builder for beginners but may seem very limited for advanced users due to its restrictive nature. That said, if you want a simple website, it’s a great tool to start or practice with.
For people looking for a basic website builder where you can get your website online and published quickly, Site123 could offer you the right options.
Their designs are by no means stunning, however, they are professional enough to get the job done, which is all some people need. Their free plan is enticing and offers a platform for beginners to experiment with, but doesn’t offer a future in terms of growth or scalability.
For a basic website builder, Site123 has plenty of templates to choose from. As I previously touched on, they aren’t going to WOW anyone anytime soon, but they are good enough to create a good-looking website that’s professional.
You can search through Site123’s templates via their category selection at the top which includes business, photography, online store, CVs, restaurants, and more.
Much the same as Wix and SquareSpace, you can view each template across multiple devices like desktop, mobile, and tablet. This gives a good idea as to whether a template will actually look good in the real world.
Once you’ve viewed and are happy with a template, you can either sign up and start editing it, or you can view more details about it which will reveal what tools the template uses.
I feel that Site123’s templates are quite basic in comparison to Wix and SquareSpace, but are probably a little more modern than Weebly’s. At least they are all mobile responsive, so if you aren’t too bothered about style and design, you’ll know that they will work well.
You won’t find much simpler pricing than you will with Site123, they have two plans; a free plan and a premium plan. As I said, they are great for beginners because they are simple and there’s not much choice which can often take the pressure off choosing the ‘best’ option.
Their free plan offers limited storage and bandwidth, whereas their premium plan doesn’t. The premium plan offers a free domain for 1 year, removes Site123 branding, and you can use their eCommerce tools.
They are a little more expensive than some of the website builders I’ve reviewed, but they’re also not the most expensive. I’d say they are quite middle of the road, but obviously there’s not as much choice.
Site123 boasts some good features, but in comparison to other website builders, they’re not as advanced. However, much like Strikingly, if you’re after a basic builder which will create a decent website, without much room to grow, then beginner builders are a suitable option.
Let’s take a look at some of Site123’s features:
- eCommerce: Site123’s eCommerce tools allow you to create an online store by adding products quickly that you can sell.
- Blog: Blogs are an important aspect of any website or business. They help to extend your reach to your customers, which you’ll be able to do with Site123’s blogging platform.
- Icons & Images: Site123 has a huge library of icons and images for you to use on your website, free of charge.
- Booking: Site123 has a tool that allows you to create bookings and appointments via your website, making it easier for your customers to schedule in those important dates.