2018 Reviews

Best Website Builders - 2018 Reviews

Last updated Apr 4, 2018
  • BigCommerce

    Comprehensive, e-commerce website builder, no transaction fees, built-in blog

    • $29.95 - $249.95/mo.
    • 15-day free trial
    Made for:

    Businesses looking to expand to e-commerce and mobile commerce, unlimited merchandise options

    Not for:

    Selling high volumes of low price merchandise, users who don't want to code at all

  • Shopify

    Robust, e-commerce focused; check out in over 50 languages

    • $29 - $229/mo.
    • 14-day free trial
    Made for:

    Managing online stores from a mobile app, social selling and mobile e-commerce

    Not for:

    Customizing websites without coding, low transaction fees or low monthly sales volume

  • Wix

    Pure drag and drop builder; various template design options; custom mobile site

    • $5 - $25/mo.
    • 14-day money back guarantee
    Made for:

    Quick, easy setup; creating separate, customizable mobile and desktop sites

    Not for:

    Advanced e-commerce functionality, changing templates/designs after original setup, editing the website's source code

  • Squarespace

    Extensive, customizable designs; complex, easy to use editor; built-in analytics

    • $16 - $46/mo.
    • 14-day free trial
    Made for:

    Portfolios, designers and artists, restaurants and events websites; SEO-focused users

    Not for:

    Bloggers; integrating with multiple pricing processors including PayPal, or extensive marketing

  • Weebly

    Intuitive UI; customizable pre-designed page layouts; auto-save edits

    • $0 - $38/mo.
    • Free version
    Made for:

    Small businesses, artists, personal websites and simple online stores; scheduling blog posts; site editing with an iPad app

    Not for:

    Extensive template customization or photo editing; e-commerce focused or multilingual sites

  • Jimdo

    iOS and Android apps provide full site editing capabilities; online SEO tutorial

    • $0 - $20/mo.
    • Free version
    Made for:

    Small businesses looking to build an online presence or setting up websites in various languages with extensive code customization

    Not for:

    Personal websites or user accounts; website or content backup

  • eHost

    Simple solution for setting up and maintaining online presence

    • $2.75/mo.
    • 45-day money back guarantee
    Made for:

    Simple setup with free domain, hosting, and e-mail integrations

    Not for:

    Business-class solutions, extensive support or those seeking secure unshared servers

  • Wordpress.com

    Moderate learning curve; Shopify integration

    • $0 - $24.92/mo.
    • Free version
    Made for:

    Bloggers, Wordpress.org CMS, Woocommerce or Jetpack users

    Not for:

    Extensive customization, newsletters, e-commerce or restaurant sites

  • GoDaddy Website Builder

    Simple editor, audio player creates playlists; collects email addresses

    • $6 - $30/mo
    • 1st month free
    Made for:

    Extensive support and creating multiple backup copies of your website

    Not for:

    Restaurants, blogging; responsive, or multilingual websites

  • QuickSilk

    Secure, Standards-Based, SaaS CMS for SMBs, Non-Profits & Digital Agencies

    • From $100/mo
    • 14-day free trial
    Made for:

    SMBs, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, and other SEO-focused users looking to build an online presence, simply and safely, without requiring code

    Not for:

    Editing source code

  • Duda

    Dedicated to mobile responsiveness and feature-driven eCommerce options

    • $0 - $46/mo.
    • Free version
    Made for:

    Customizable setup, transparent eCommerce functionality, and mobile-only websites.

    Not for:

    Online stability and customer support.

  • Zoho Site Builder

    Makes the most of Zoho CRM add-on options

    • $0 - $48/mo.
    • Free version
    Made for:

    Zoho CRM users that want a basic online presence to integrate with their CRM

    Not for:

    All inclusive product suite

  • WebStarts

    Built by a small team but packing a lot of custom widgets

    • $0 - $20/mo.
    • Free version
    Made for:

    People looking for individualized support

    Not for:

    The most modern of designs; ecommerce

  • Getsocio

    An easy-to-use website builder for creating customizable online stores.

    • $15 - $2000/month
    • 14-day free trial
    Made for:

    Quick online store setup with extensive developer support

    Not for:

    Large sales volumes

  • Vistaprint

    From the promotion giant comes digital branding services

    • $5 - $25/mo.
    • Free 30-day trial
    Made for:

    High-touch support; putting simple business presence online

    Not for:

    Ecommerce; customized page layouts; highly variable content types

  • Sitelio

    Also marketed as SiteBuilder, WebsiteBuilder or Sitey; Ecwid integration

    • $6 - $12/mo.
    • 14-day free trial
    Made for:

    Bloggers, and users seeking to create image galleries

    Not for:

    Extensive support during setup, mobile editing, social media integration, or SEO-focused websites

  • Web.com

    Simple, shared hosting plans; mobile site separate

    • $25 - $46/mo.
    • Teaser intro rate
    Made for:

    Quick setup and uptime without any coding

    Not for:

    Setting up mobile websites, or dedicated hosting

  • Voog

    Multilingual content focus; responsive

    • $8, $14 or $40/mo.
    • 30-day free trial
    Made for:

    Multlingual websites or multilingual staff

    Not for:

    Modern designs, heavy engagement or tool integration

  • Simbla

    Quick drag and drop set up; Google Maps integration

    • $6 - $48/mo.
    • Free version
    Made for:

    Setting up websites without any coding knowledge, and automatically optimizing sites across all devices

    Not for:

    Mobile editing, e-commerce-based businesses, or blogging

  • Dex

    Copywriters create your site content

    • $199 - $399/mo.
    • $149 start fee
    Made for:

    Users looking for a company to set up their website for them

    Not for:

    Quick, easy editing

Expert Interviews
"Some of the bigger differences between WordPress and Drupal are pliability and the number of community modules...Both platforms can be administrated by an end-user without any coding knowledge, which is the beauty of them. For an organization without a large budget, that is looking to be more flexible with its development, I would probably recommend WordPress, mainly because the community modules and other plug-and-play elements are easier to work with in that system, and they’re easier to integrate by individuals. On the other side, the user is generally locked into what’s already built for the community and the greater use case. If the client has a larger budget or if they’re looking for something more specific, Drupal is probably going to be the better option. We can technically do anything on it that we can do in WordPress, and vice versa, it’s just a matter of how much tearing down and rebuilding or building from scratch is done in one platform versus another. Project-wise, we find WordPress easier to work with than Drupal, and we generally recommend it for more simplistic projects in terms of functionality."
Scott Greenwell
COO, Unleashed Technologies
"Really the biggest pro for WooCommerce is that it’s open source and you can make it do whatever you need it to do. You also have the legacy of WordPress behind it, so most developers can easily improve security by doing things like moving the login screen to a unique URL to make brute force attacks less likely. There are many extensions and plugins that can be used with WooCommerce, in order to expand the functionality of a website or e-commerce store. With Shopify, the developer community is slowly getting there, and building a lot of supportive applications. One thing I’ve noticed is there are fewer payment gateways to use with Shopify compared to WooCommerce. With Shopify, customers have expressed their frustrations with the credit-card processing fees required by the platform. There is also a flat fee of several cents, in addition to a percentage of the transaction. Those can add up. We used to recommend Braintree as a great third party payment gateway because they waived their processing fee for the first forty-thousand dollars in transactions, but that deal went away after their Paypal acquisition. Now, it’s pretty comparable across all providers on both Shopify and WooCommerce."
Ran Craycraft & Kevin Ng
Managing Partner & CTO, Wildebeest
"One of our most important responsibilities when making technology recommendations is ensuring that our client won’t find themselves cornered by it down the road. There are many terrific platforms out their, but if it becomes hard to find a developer or if it becomes inordinately expensive to maintain — or get out of — it’s not in our client’s best interest. So for this reason, it’s not surprising that our instinct is to recommend the most mainstream solutions available. In most cases, that’s WordPress...WordPress is an open-source publishing tool for the web, which began as a blog-publishing tool. Because of its ease of use and other factors, it experienced an ever-increasing rate of acquisition, and this resulted in a network effect, whereby a large userbase and programming scene grew around it. It’s an open-source platform that quickly evolved into the world’s most popular CMS. As a result of so many people contributing to it, there has been a network effect that has resulted into WordPress’ vast plug-in technology. It went from being a blog-publishing tool to an enterprise-level CMS. There has been some misunderstanding around this, with people thinking that WordPress is just for blogs, and that it can’t be used to build elaborate websites."
Joe Egan
Founder, Transfuture
Well, this goes for any enterprise CMS, but I would urge people to resist the temptation to hire a “jack of all trades” and expect them to do an excellent job at designing and implementing a complex solution on an enterprise CMS. Many companies are starting to realize that it’s no longer safe to assume that hiring a one-stop-shop and having “one throat to choke” is a safe bet and will be the easiest way to manage outcomes. When you hire a jack of all trades, they always have a core competency and the rest of what they offer will be pretty mediocre, so you better know what their core competency is, and be willing to settle for the B team on one major aspect of your project. Also, it’s impossible for a one-stop-shop to avoid their own conflict of interest– meaning that if you’re giving them free reign and guaranteeing that they will get paid to implement anything they design, then therein lies the temptation to create work for yourself. Design agencies are famous for this. The problem is that this “make work” approach can end up completely defeating the purpose of investing in an enterprise CMS like Sitecore. The whole idea is to create the greatest economy of scale you can, by designing a few layouts and modules as possible and reusing them across all of your sites. You will be hard-pressed to find a design agency that will think like this without any incentive or form accountability. Separating design and development keeps both parties accountable and honest.
Jason Perry
CEO, Engagency
"In a nutshell, Umbraco and Sitecore are CMS’s. They allow users to manage the inceptions of pages within the websites themselves, without having to approach an agency for simple text and image changes. Umbraco is an open-source platform, which means that all of its source code is freely available. Users can go in and make changes and add feature improvements...Sitecore is a licensed CMS. It takes CMS functionality to the next level, including a high personalization of content, using the content the user has looked at as a basis for what they will see. Overall, someone venturing down a CMS avenue should consider what level of control they want. It’s very easy for clients to say that they want the ability to control everything, only to ultimately end up making the site look not quite as good as it should. This is done by either entering too much content or having too much content that can be changed in terms of color schemes. This is a boundary that needs to be found through a requirements-gathering session."
Martin Blackwell
Systems Architect
"The first main point is making sure that we have a roadmap of the site spelled out. We have to make sure we’ve documented a very clear set of features and functionalities. Future roadmaps are also important to use for vetting the platform, making sure that it will support the company as it grows. It’s also important to be realistic about the internal staff that will be working on the website. There are platforms that require more internal support than others. Having a realistic sense of internal resources is a big factor....One thing I’ve noticed from doing this for as long as I have been is that if the client is clear about their needs, the platform choice—at least between Shopify and Magento—ends up being an easy one to make. It becomes clear quickly which clients belong on which platform. It gets trickier when choosing between platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify, ones that are more similar in nature, and that have one or two distinguishing features that really make them different from one another. When it comes to choosing between Magento and Shopify, it’s not that difficult for us to help diagnose which is a better fit quickly."
Sara Bacon
Founder, Command C
"For a small business or an entrepreneur in need of an impressive marketing website, Squarespace is the easiest option. They may have a lot of branding done already, along with custom or stock photography. The platform can deliver fantastic value in a short amount of time for people whose main business is not web design...Squarespace eliminates the need to spend time and money on security updates and custom templates. It can get someone’s site on the internet so that it can start generating leads. If a business is putting content on the internet, WordPress is a great solution. We run the Atomic Object blog on WordPress, using a custom template and plug-ins for different functionalities...It has performed well, and we’ve never had a problem with it...Again, our use for WordPress is putting content on the internet in a simple way. The monthly cost of Squarespace can be too much for people like teachers showing their students how to build a site. In this case, Wix may be the way to go. It’s a good solution for people who don’t care about the branding being put online, and only want to post content on the internet. It’s a user-friendly solution that can’t be broken by users. At the same time, there are constraints with what can be done with it."
Jonah Bailey
Managing Partner, Atomic Object
"WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. Given that WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, even though adding e-commerce to it may seem crazy, it makes a lot of sense. It’s a platform that people are comfortable with. WooCommerce is open source, which makes it highly customizable and flexible. Compared to software like Magento, it’s also quite lean, without a lot of technical debt. Magento is very good, and it has a lot of functionality out of the box, but there are many improvements and fixes in its backlog. WooCommerce doesn’t have much of that. It may not have many capabilities out of the box, but this can be a good thing—it’s not a bloated software stack, and we can add things to it as we need them. It’s still a young platform—having been released in 2011—but it’s already a massive part of the e-commerce market. More than 30% of all e-commerce sites are using WooCommerce."
Mitchell Callahan
CEO, SAU/CAL
"The ideal client for Shopify has rather simple variations on a product, not really something which would require a lot of customization. Historically, Shopify has been a simple, streamlined platform for simple products. Anything “way out there” may not be a good fit. Customizations come at a cost. In order to make it work, you may have to invest in custom scripts and apps. The app store is fantastic, and there are many apps within it, but most have additional costs as well. It’s not that anyone would necessarily be a bad fit, but it depends on how much they are willing to invest to make it come together. Shopify helps get a business up-and-running quickly, with an intuitive interface allowing users to add products and do everything else needed for a simple e-commerce store. Anything beyond this takes some coordination and consulting. Something which oftentimes frustrates me, but is actually impressive, is that, even though they’ve evolved over time, they ultimately refuse to clutter the platform with features which are going to go unused by most customers. "
Rob Alan
Founder, Monumental
"The great thing about Shopify being a fully-hosted solution is that they have a proprietary database on which all customer data is stored. Merchants themselves don’t even get access to it, which may sound limiting, but is actually great. It means not waking up in a cold sweat, thinking about whether data has been compromised. Once again, this would be a Shopify-wide problem, unlike with on-premises solutions like Magento or WooCommerce, where we have to lock down credit card information, either on our own servers or by using something like Stripe Checkout. With Shopify, there is so much included from a security perspective—like SSL for all sites—that things become inherently easier to manage...The platform has added features around their payment system, including Shopify Pay, by which customers with Shopify accounts can log in with a single click, get a verification code sent to their mobile devices, and not have to log in again on another site. This makes a quick checkout possible, even if someone hasn’t been to the store before."
Chad Fisher
CEO, BTown Web
"It certainly hasn’t happened overnight, but, over the last five to six years, the web has transformed, making a big shift from information sharing, which used to be key, to true interactions. Users now expect companies to interact with them, whether that be through social channels, tools like chat capabilities, good, dynamic FAQs, or the way in which the information is brought to bear. Being able to bring the right ideas to the table and combining them with data-driven KPIs and insights is something difficult to do, especially if they’re not exposed daily to the changing market and user expectations. This is often an area for which people come to us seeking help."
Steve Hamilton
SVP of Engagement Delivery, agencyQ
"The size of a page in physical kilobytes is something which a lot of web designers or web developers tend to forget about. Speed is of the essence of website delivery. It always has been, actually. You could argue that it’s less so today because of the speeds of access and speeds of computing. But what’s happened is, because speeds of access have increased, the capability of our interfaces with websites and web servers has increased, people have given carte blanche to increase the sizes of the website pages with very, very large imagery, complex coding, video and other multimedia that are running on the site. That’s all embedded into a single webpage which results in several hundred kilobytes of data that has to be loaded, in most cases, before the website page will display. That’s unacceptable and should be considered by every developer but often is not. We regularly have to rebuild clients websites when they have been developed elsewhere and they have come to us, for say, SEO services.
Clickingmad Ltd
Managing Director, Production Manager, & Lead Developer
"An often-overlooked part of it is making sure, no matter what CMS you pick and what design you pick, it’s mobile responsive. It’s almost a no-brainer in 2017. I’ve seen more and more websites designed to look good only on the computer. But they never bother to check it on tablet and on a cell phone. Cell phone searches and cell phone traffic is now surpassing desktop. Most of the categories we work in, traffic from mobile devices is now double that of a desktop. That makes sense. If you come home from work and you see your sink is leaking and you need a plumber, you’re not going to go upstairs, boot up your computer, and look for a plumber. You pull out your cell phone and search. Make sure to treat mobile as a top priority no matter what CMS you choose. In 2017, it’s no longer that you design your site and make sure it works on mobile. It should be a mobile-first philosophy. That’s how behavior is driving the use of websites."
Alex Melen
Co-Founder, SmartSites
"Drupal is one of the 2 large opensource projects, the other being WordPress. The main contrast that we’ve seen is WordPress is great for the lower end of the market. It’s very opinionated in terms of how it works and what you can do with it. One of the things we say in the sales process is if you can do it in WordPress, you probably should. But for most of our clients, there’s something more complex that they need. Drupal is great because it gives you a lot of functionality out of the box, the core functionality that’s been built by thousands of developers over time. It’s really solid, tested, and secure. The modules that are created by the community are really where the power comes and where it stands out."
Jeff Calderone
CEO, Elevated Third
"The ecosystem is much more developed today than it was seven or eight years ago. People have many options to choose from and one of the important things to consider, depending on where someone is within their business process, is doing upfront research on each platform. There are hosted solutions like Shopify, which is a great option for many people, but doesn’t offer the level of customization which some companies need down the road. So, if someone starts a store, they need to think about where they will be in a year, three years and then five years and make decisions today, which will set them up for success in the long run."
Jonathan Martin
CEO, coolblueweb
"If possible, customers should know the tool’s capabilities out-of-the-box, and look at how they’re hoping to manage their needs in the future, whether outsourced or in-house—what the delta between the current level of comfort and what would be needed to truly carry out the vision is, and what the level of comfort with the incumbent team is, at the moment. It’s also important to consider that since the functionality is open source, it is possible that over time, maintenance would cease or wane for specific functionality, and they may not have the support of the maintainer for free anymore. This is normally because there was a reduced need. It’s effectively crowd behavior, so, if there are a number of use cases for a bunch of customers which need such a thing, it will normally be well-maintained, while a small need will most likely fall off the radar screen of the maintainer, being eclipsed by more current ones. Therein lies the reality which people have to incorporate into their strategy."
Chris McGrath
Founder, Celebrate Drupal
"It’s very important that the agency or individual you’re working with doesn’t hardcode the code inside of the editor, or in a way where you have to edit the code to edit your website. Everything should be very user-friendly. If you’re a restaurant like a burger shop, you can flip burgers really well. Your job is a chef. You know what to do, what temp it should be, etc. You shouldn’t have to have any web knowledge because you’re paying a professional to have that knowledge for you. I don’t like going into a restaurant and telling the chef how to do their job, and we shouldn’t as web developers have to tell the customer how to do our job. It’s important when you’re developing a site to make sure it’s extremely editable."
Blake George
Founder, BMG Media
"The whole point of using a CMS like WordPress or Drupal is to make it easy for site owners to keep their content up-to-date...These platforms are used by millions of websites and like any other computer software, they have bugs which can be attacked...I hope people are coming to realize that leaving sites unpatched is like leaving your front door wide open – someone will come in and take over, use the website to attack other websites, consumers, DNS servers, or simply use the site’s resources to mine Bitcoins, and so on. Instead of having a website that supports the business, the website becomes a part of a much bigger problem—it may be controlled by malicious actors who are attacking other people, whether or not it interferes with the business directly."
John Locke
Founder, Freelock
"I think there is a tendency to be excited about the platform, when starting a web project—Drupal versus WordPress, and the feature sets associated with each. Clients can sometimes forget the main objective, after becoming enticed by the different things they can do. It’s important to be focused on that, and we don’t always need complicated solutions. Simple things can work as well, and can be easier to maintain in the long run, as long as they accomplish the project objectives...No matter how great a platform or beautiful the template is, if the content doesn’t convey the message, getting people to buy the new product a business may be offering, or to change their points of view, or to provide answers for a problem, the website platform itself can’t help with that."
Abhijeet Chavan
CTO, Urban Insight
"We can do the most with them, since they’ve been around for a long time. WordPress is used for 60-70% of the published web, and it’s open-source, which means there are multiple plugins available. A lot of people have added to the capabilities of this platform, and it’s all available for others to use. There are also robust CMS communities in place for support, whether it’s WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. A CMS-based website can be easy to get up-and-running for anyone with a bit of web development experience, but the challenge is that there are so many plug-ins. It can be a challenge to find the right one, and make sure that it’s the best choice. You don’t really need to worry about malicious plug-ins, but it’s important to find the ones which will actually do the right job."
Jill Starett
Design Strategist, Fresh Tilled Soil