With one of the best website builders, anyone — regardless of experience — can create a simple site. Whether you've got coding and graphical knowledge or not, as long as you’re keen to set aside the time to undertake the process, you can easily build a basic website over a weekend.
Until fairly recently, businesses or individuals looking to create new sites had to either pay web developers to build on, or spend hours learning to code one themselves. Website builders now allow users to create sites with relative ease, making a previously complex process simpler, quicker, and slicker.
As a result of the sector's success, the number of providers and the many various building options continue to expand, meaning that for many users it's tougher to find the best website builder for their business or needs.
When choosing a website builder, there are several key factors to keep in mind, including the site's purpose, scalability required, support needed pre and post-launch, and of course the ease of use or extra functionality desired for those wiht more experience.
Some website builders are aimed at ecommerce, others at blogging, and still more both of these options, while most will also provide extra, unique features that give their sites the edge over the competition.
We’ve put together the following guide to the best website builders available, in which you'll find options for all needs and uses — whether you're a complete novice or a skilled web developer.
The top 3 best website builders right now
1. Wix: the best all-round choice
Wix is our choice for the best website builder across all requirements, because it offers users a wide degree of flexibility and a choice of hundreds of website templates. In addition, its drag-and-drop interface is incredibly user-friendly, while its range of pricing options are fair as well.
2. HostGator: a powerful, affordable website builder
HostGator is predominantly known as a web host, but its Gator Website Builder is a powerful yet affordable builder, utilising a pixel-perfect drag-and-drop editor. Its features, including unlimited bandwidth and storage, a free domain name via a 12-month plan, and a free SSL certificate, are part of competitively priced plans.
3. Weebly: popular, easy-to-use builder with ecomm features
Weebly, another of the most well-known website builders, focuses on professional designs and high-quality ecommerce integrations. A top-notch template library, and some of the best online features available, allow users to create attractive ecommerce sites with little experience.
What are the best website builders?
Wix is the best all-round website builder, offering a wide range of attractive features. It boasts the largest collection of pre-designed templates, a built-in image editor, drag-and-drop customization, the ability to connect with external apps, and functional artificial intelligence technology.
Additionally, Wix's prices are reasonable, and free domain registration and advertising credit are available to its premium customers. Close behind are HostGator and Weebly, followed by Squarespace and GoDaddy. HostGator is the first of two web hosting services on our list, and its Gator Builder platform utilizes a drag-and-drop editor for pixel-perfect building.
Top features include unlimited bandwidth and storage, free SSL certificates and domain names, across competitively priced plans. Weebly's well known position within the builder sector gives it prominence, and its sharp focus on professional designs and high-quality ecommerce integrations — via Square Online — only add to its high-grade template library, and some of the best online features available.
Squarespace's highly intuitive builder provides responsive templates and excellent design, and while it costs more, its features and output make it worth the cost. Finally GoDaddy's user-friendly website builder — part of its web hosting packages — utilizes its own in-house optimized creator, as well as providing own-brand apps alongside strong support and analytics.
Keep reading to see why we rate these five companies as the best website builders available right now.
The best website builders you can buy today
Wix is one of the most popular website builders in the world, and for good reason. It comes with a choice of two different editors, Wix ADI and the Wix Editor, which are both powerful options for creating a new site.
If you use Wix ADI (artificial design intelligence), you will be guided through a short questionnaire asking about your long-term goals and what you hope to get out of your website. Then, you will be provided with a template that you will be able to edit as required.
On the other hand, the Wix Editor is much more flexible. Simply choose a starting design from Wix’s template library, which contains more than 500 attractive options. Then, you will be able to customize every aspect of your site through the powerful drag-and-drop editing interface.
The most noteworthy feature here is the pixel-perfect customizability that Wix offers, which essentially allows you to place elements wherever you want on your page.
Wix has a great free forever plan that you can use to create a simple site and test the platform out. However, it does have resource limitations and built-in advertising, and you won’t be able to connect a custom domain.
There are seven paid plans available, including four website-specific options ranging from $10 to $27 a month, and three ecommerce options costing $18 to $38 a month. All bar the cheapest plan include unlimited bandwidth, although you will have to put up with somewhat limited storage. All in all though, we found Wix to be the best website builder in a competitive market.
For more information on the builder and its hosting elements, read our Wix web hosting review.
If you’re looking for a powerful yet affordable builder, HostGator’s Gator Website Builder could be the perfect choice. Like Wix, it uses a pixel-perfect drag-and-drop editor, which allows you to position different design elements exactly where you want them.
You will also benefit from a huge range of included features, such as unlimited bandwidth and storage, a free domain name if you sign up for a 12-month plan, a free SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate, and much, much more.
Unfortunately, though, HostGator’s template library does let it down slightly. Although there are more than 200 mobile-optimized designs available, most of these are quite outdated and, in reality, not all that useful.
On top of this, the Gator Builder doesn’t have a free forever plan or even a free trial. It is extremely competitively priced, though, with the three plans ranging from $3.84 to $9.22 a month.
To learn more about the Gator Website Builder and HostGator's hosting services, read our HostGator web hosting review.
Weebly is one of the most popular website builders. It's easy to see why given its focus on professional designs and high-quality ecommerce integrations.
Firstly, the editor is “idiot-proof”, in that it’s quite hard to create a site that doesn’t look good, whatever your experience level. This does however present limitations: for example, Weebly doesn’t have the same number of editing features as Wix or the HostGator Gator Builder, and you can only place elements in pre-coded positions.
Fortunately, though, there are many positives. Weebly’s template library is one of the best we’ve seen, boasting attractive, professionally-designed themes for all needs and scenarios. Additionally, Weebly partners with Square to provide some of the best ecommerce features available, allowing you to sell through your site with minimal fuss.
There is also a great free plan available, although it is quite limited. Paid plans range from $6 to $26 a month (with annual billing), although it’s worth noting that the cheapest option offers little more than the free plan.
Read our Weebly web hosting review to learn more about this website builder and its web hosting services.
Squarespace focuses on providing a huge selection of native tools and features. Its great choice of extremely high-quality templates are regularly updated in line with modern industry trends. Notably, its ecommerce features rival Weebly, widely thought of as a leader in online store creation.
However, the editor is quite complicated, with an illogical layout that you will need to spend some time testing out if you want to build a decent website. It’s also somewhat limited, confining you to predefined layouts and restricting customizability.
And on top of this, Squarespace doesn’t have a free forever plan. Luckily, there is a 14-day free trial (no payment info required) that you can use to test it out. Paid plans range from $12 to $40 a month, but you can save up to 30% with an annual subscription.
To find out more about what we made of this website builder, read our Squarespace review.
Although it’s far from the most powerful website builder in the world, the GoDaddy builder is our top pick for beginners who want to create a basic site with the minimum amount of fuss. Its editor is extremely easy to use, it comes with enough tools to create an attractive site, and it even supports simple ecommerce.
In saying that, you need to be aware that the GoDaddy builder does have its limitations. Sure, it’s great if you want to get online quickly, but its editing features are quite basic. Similarly, while it offers ecommerce functionality, don’t expect to be able to create an enterprise-level store. The online selling tools simply aren’t advanced enough.
Luckily, there is a simple free forever plan available. Paid plans range from $9.99 to $24.99 a month with annual billing, although a monthly subscription will be more expensive.
Read our GoDaddy review to find out more about the website builder and the company's hosting services.
What is a website builder?
A website builder is a platform that providers users with start-to-finish website creation. Most builders in the market come equipped with a wide range of templates that you can then build your site around, in addition to a visual editor, and a range of extra tools and features allow for advanced functionalities that might be required.
The majority of the best website builders are extremely beginner-friendly, and generally provide a drag-and-drop editing interface. For novices, this means that using them requires no prior coding knowledge or technical experience, and makes them a great option for those wanting to get a simple site online with minimal fuss.
In turn, many of the platforms available offer significantly more design flexibility for those with technical knowledge, and some provide coding access for more advanced users who want to get stuck into the nuts-and-bolts of website editing.