Technology

Best website builders of 2021

While creating a new website can be difficult, the best website builders can make the whole process much easier for you. Whether you’re planning to launch a new online business or create a web presence for a pre-existing venture, there are builder options for everyone, whatever your aims and needs.

The best website builders tend to be beginner-friendly, enabling users with less technical experience to create their own websites without coding or detailed tech knowledge. These services also allow you to get up and running in as little as a few hours, and provide a range of eye-catching templates for your new online presence.

An alternative approach – signing up for one of the best web hosting services and using a platform such as WordPress – can prove much more difficult, and often won’t be a good option for beginners without the requisite technical knowledge. 

In this guide, we’ve covered what we rate as the best website builders, discussing their pros and cons as well as their main features, prices, and more. While a number of popular options top out the list right now, there are numerous other recommended platforms to choose from.

The top 3 best website builders right now

1. Wix: the best all-round choice
This is our choice for the website builder that can cater for all use-cases. Wix has brilliant flexibility and hundreds of templates to choose from, and its drag-and-drop interface can be used by just about anyone with an inkling of computer literacy. Pricing options are fair too.
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2. Squarespace: the one for creative businesses
Any business can use Squarespace, but we found that it’s particularly suitable for creative businesses, with a choice of more than 500 professionally-designed templates and lots of customisation options. The library also includes designs for ecommerce, portfolios, blogs, and company websites.
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3. GoDaddy: user-friendly builder with excellent support
GoDaddy’s website creator, built-in alongside hosting services, is simple and easy to use, its in-house features providing compatibility and improved security. Boasting excellent support and powerful analytics, the decluttered builder’s drag-and-drop interface allows for personalization or pre-built templates.
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What are the best website builders?

Website builders come in different shapes and sizes. Some require more operational know-how, while others boast unique features that can give your website a competitive edge. They may be more geared towards ecommerce or online blogs, or work well across multiple industries. When choosing the best website builder for you or your business, you have to keep in mind various factors, such as purpose, ease of use, scalability, and after-sales support.

In our opinion, Wix is the best all-round website builder. It’s got the largest collection of pre-designed templates, a built-in image editor, drag-and-drop customization, the ability to connect with external apps, functional artificial intelligence technology for simple website creation, and more. Its prices are quite reasonable within the website building space, and it even offers free domain registration and advertising credit to premium customers. 

Following closely on Wix’s heels are Squarespace and GoDaddy. Squarespace is a highly intuitive website builder that features great design and responsive templates. It costs more than Wix, but the output makes it worth the price. GoDaddy’s website builder, packaged with the company’s web hosting service, offers a user-friendly, in-house optimized builder that provides strong support alongside analytics and own-brand apps.

These are only some builders among many, with various web hosting services also throwing their hats in the ring. HostGator, Weebly, and 1&1 IONOS all offer website building with their hosting plans. Zoho, an online productivity suite for businesses, also includes its own website builder as a part of its applications package. Read on to learn more about each of these platforms and their unique advantages and disadvantages.

The best website builders you can buy today

Best website builders - Wix's homepage

Wix is an extremely powerful and popular website builder (Image credit: Wix)

1. Wix

The best all-round builder

Price: From $14 a month | Storage: From 3GB | Bandwidth: From 2GB per month | Ecommerce: Yes

Huge template library

Extremely powerful drag-and-drop editor

Extensive app market

Editor can be confusing for beginners

Very average customer support

Wix is often touted as the best website builder in the world, and for good reason. With more than 500 attractive templates, an extremely powerful editor, and various other features, it brings a lot to the table. 

For one, the Wix Editor stands out as arguably the most advanced in the world. The drag-and-drop interface enables users to place website elements in pixel-perfect positions. Personalizing colors, fonts, and other content is extremely straightforward, and the overall design of your site will really only be limited by your imagination. 

Alternatively, you can use the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) for a more straightforward website building experience. Simply answer a few quick questions and Wix will select a custom template for your needs. Populate it with your own content and get online in just hours if you want to. 

What’s more, Wix provides a suite of ecommerce tools for those looking to create a new online store. You will find virtually everything you need to get started, including powerful inventory management tools, multi-channel selling, and subscription and digital product support. 

Unfortunately, Wix is a little expensive. The cheapest Connect Domain plan is limited to just 1GB of bandwidth and 500MB of storage. The Combo plan ($14) comes with a free domain for the first year, 3GB of storage, and 2GB of bandwidth. 

Upgrade to an Unlimited ($18 a month), Pro ($23 a month), or VIP ($39 a month) subscription for more server resources and additional tools and resources. Or, go for one of the three Business and ecommerce plans (from $23 to $49 a month) for access to even more business and online store features.

You can read our Wix website builder review to learn more about what we thought of the service.

Best website builders - Squarespace's homepage

Squarespace boasts a 14-day free trial on all plans (Image credit: Squarespace)

2. Squarespace

Brilliant website templates to start your first site

Price: From $12 a month | Storage: Unlimited | Bandwidth: Unlimited | Ecommerce: Yes

Very attractive modern templates

Excellent customer support

Mobile management available

No free forever plan

Limited add-ons and third-party extensions

Like Weebly, Squarespace is known for its extremely attractive, professionally designed templates. Although its template library is quite small compared to platforms like Wix, the designs tend to be extremely attractive and targeted at specific uses. 

Another standout is Squarespace’s excellent blogging features. For example, you can add multiple authors, schedule posts, and create content on the go from your mobile device. And many of the templates are targeted at those who want to create a new blog site. 

Other impressive features include Squarespace’s ecommerce integrations, search engine optimization tools, and advanced analytics portal. 

On the other side of the equation, the Squarespace editor could certainly be better. It can be quite confusing to navigate and use, especially for beginners. We even have trouble from time to time, and we’ve used it numerous times in the past. 

Meanwhile, there isn’t any free forever plan available. But each of the four paid plans comes with a 14-day free trial, as well as a free domain for the first year, unmetered bandwidth and storage, built-in SSL (secure sockets layer) security, and more. Prices range from $12 a month for an annual Personal subscription to $40 a month if you go for the Advanced Commerce plan.

Read our full Squarespace review for more information.

Best website builders - GoDaddy's homepage

GoDaddy is a web hosting service with its own site builder (Image credit: GoDaddy)

3. GoDaddy

In-house drag-and-drop site builder

Price: From $9.99 a month | Storage: Unmetered | Bandwidth: Unmetered | Ecommerce: Yes

Simple and easy to use

Great support

Excellent analytics

Limited editing features

Small template library

GoDaddy has a built-in website creator that it ships to users along with its hosting services. The site builder is simple and easy to use, with no third-party app market or add-ons to choose from. While that may be a bummer for some, others will appreciate the lack of clutter.

GoDaddy’s website builder boasts excellent support and powerful analytics, two must-have essentials for any growing website. The site builder is a little barebones compared to competitors, but the lack of interface clutter means novices can focus on the important stuff. 

With GoDaddy, you’ll have access to a decent drag-and-drop interface that lets you configure your website to your liking, as well as pre-built templates to choose from if you want to get started quickly. There are extensive tutorials available for new users, as well as a live chat support system for technical problems.

GoDaddy doesn’t offer an app market to users, which has been the cause of some annoyance. However, this means that all features are built in-house, ensuring complete compatibility and greater security. It’s also worth noting that the base plan doesn’t include marketing or analytics. Those are paid add-ons that require a separate plan.

Read our full GoDaddy website builder review.

Best website builders - Shopify's homepage

Shopify powers 1 million merchants across 175 different countries (Image credit: Shopify)

4. Shopify

Premium ecommerce hosting

Price: From $29 a month | Storage: Unmetered | Bandwidth: Unmetered | Ecommerce: Yes | :

Clutter-free builder

Top choice for ecommerce

Strong security features

Not as suitable for larger ecommerce

Lacks flexibility for blogging

Empowering more than 1 million merchants across 175 different countries, Shopify is the ultimate ecommerce platform. While you can expect some ecommerce features from builders like Wix and Weebly, they pale in comparison to Shopify. 

Shopify helps you create an online store in a matter of minutes. You get to take advantage of its extensive collection of third-party apps, all of which add new features and functionality to your online store. This helps the website builder stay clutter-free, while also allowing you to opt for the specific features your online store needs. 

Shopify comes with a built-in shopping cart and checkout manager, and offers excellent tools for marketing and security. Cybersecurity is one of the biggest concerns with online shopping, but Shopify is Level 1 PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant, making it extremely safe both for you and your customers.

If you’re looking to build a traditional website or blog with Shopify, you are out of luck, though. And while the platform is excellent for small businesses, larger ecommerce stores may want more dedicated solutions like WooCommerce or BigCommerce. A 2.4% to 2.6% transaction fee is applicable on each purchase made through Shopify, which might be a turn-off for some.

Best website builders - Weebly's homepage

Weebly is a great option for online stores and business websites alike (Image credit: Weebly)

5. Weebly

An excellent choice for ecommerce

Price: From $6 a month | Storage: Unlimited | Bandwidth: Unlimited | Ecommerce: Yes

Brilliant template library with professional designs

Quite competitively priced

Excellent ecommerce tools

Design flexibility is a little limited

Add-ons can get pricey

Alongside Wix, Weebly is probably the most widely recognized name in the website building space. It provides a range of site creation tools, and has become known for its extremely attractive templates and excellent ecommerce tools. 

This is probably Weebly’s largest selling point, with much of the company’s website dedicated to online store creation. A large percentage of the available designs include some sort of online store, which means that getting started can be as easy as adding your content and hitting the publish button. 

Unfortunately, though, Weebly’s editor is a little limited. It uses a drag-and-drop interface, but you will only be able to move elements into pre-coded positions. But if you’re not too fussy about pixel-perfect editing, this will help keep things simple across the board. 

There is a free forever plan that enables you to create a website and online store, but you won’t be able to connect your own domain. The cheapest Personal plan (from $6 a month) adds custom domain support and more advanced ecommerce tools. Or, go for either the Professional ($12 a month) or the Performance ($26 a month) plan for even more powerful tools.

Read our full Weebly website builder review.

Best website builders - IONOS' homepage

IONOS by 1&1 is a popular European web hosting company (Image credit: IONOS)

6. 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite

Europe’s finest web host and site builder

Price: From $7 a month | Storage: Unmetered | Bandwidth: Unmetered | Ecommerce: Yes

Beginner-friendly editing interface

Industry-specific templates

Very competitive prices

Overly simplistic editor

No live chat or email support

1&1 IONOS was founded in Germany in 1988. It’s one of the largest providers of web hosting services in Europe, and currently hosts a total of 20 million websites. Its website creator features an array of templates and great functionalities for businesses of all sizes.

For $7 a month and $13 a month, you get to choose between two yearly plans: MyWebsite Now and MyWebsite Creator. While the former comes with a free domain name and email address, the latter offers more advanced customizability for pro users. Using this website builder requires absolutely no coding knowledge—the drag-and-drop site editor allows you to make any changes you need. 

1&1 IONOS has a huge collection of themes and templates, with each template categorized neatly by industry and genre. Whether you are a real-estate developer or a travel agency, you’re bound to find something here. The built-in targeted content system even allows you to display specific messages to specific visitor demographics.

The drawback here is the lack of a free plan, although a paid trial is available for new users for a period of one month. Another thing worth considering is that some themes may not be responsive to screen size.

Read our full 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite website builder review.

Best website builders - Zoho Sites' homepage

Zoho Sites is the website builder from an India-based productivity software company (Image credit: Zoho Sites)

7. Zoho Sites

Scalable site builder for businesses

Price: From $4 a month | Storage: 500MB | Bandwidth: 10GB | Ecommerce: Yes

Simple interface

Easy to customize pages

Cost-effective

Limited number of pre-designed templates

Integrates mainly with other Zoho software

Founded in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu, Zoho has its headquarters in India and data centers in the US, UK, and China. It’s mostly famous for its all-in-one productivity suite, à la Microsoft Office, but its website building software is just as efficient and powerful.

Zoho Sites features over 190 templates. There’s even a code editor for those who like to get down and dirty with their website’s backend. The interface is surprisingly user-friendly and therefore easy for newbies to access. There’s also a good deal of in-house add-ons for marketing and customer management, which businesses will appreciate. 

While there’s no forever free plan with Zoho Sites, the subscription tiers are reasonably priced with a lot of scope for scaling. There are also paid add-ons that can be purchased as your company expands with more members, authors, and visitors. Users will also be able to take advantage of the entirety of Zoho’s massive productivity suite, including its project management and database creation software.

Unfortunately, Zoho Sites also comes with a few downsides, especially in terms of compatibility, and there isn’t a lot of support for third-party applications. Thankfully, Zoho’s in-house productivity suite is able to fill a lot of these holes with equally good alternatives.

Read our Zoho Sites review for more information.

Best website builders - HostGator's website builder pricing plans

HostGator provides web hosting services from Houston, Texas (Image credit: Hostgator)

8. HostGator

Price: From $3.84 a month | Storage: Unmetered | Bandwidth: Unmetered | Ecommerce: Yes

Excellent website builder

Competitive pricing

Comprehensive video tutorials

Basic blogging and email features

Lack of specialized functions

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, HostGator is a popular provider of web hosting services, like GoDaddy. Its site-building solution—Gator Website Builder—uses a drag-and-drop interface to help you generate simple websites.

The drag-and-drop site builder lets you easily combine simple elements like columns, text boxes, images, and videos to create mobile-friendly websites. There are more than 200 templates to choose from. Each template is completely customizable from the ground up, thus allowing for endless personalization. 

There’s a built-in library of stock photographs that come packaged with the site builder. There’s also a handy series of video tutorials if you need a helping hand, plus premium customer support via phone and chat that comes packaged with the hosting plan. Free analytics is also available, which small businesses will find especially useful.

Advanced users, on the other hand, may find the lack of specialized tools annoying. There are no dedicated email marketing tools at hand, while blogging tools are relatively basic. Ultimately, Gator Website Builder is a good choice for small businesses, but not so much for bigger corporations. 

To find out more about the company’s hosting capabilities, read our HostGator review.

How to choose the best website builder for you

Choosing one of the best website builders can be hard, especially as there are a lot of factors to take into account. The most important consideration is, of course, the learning curve. Most people who opt for website builders do so because content management systems are too complex or time-intensive for them. With a site builder, you can efficiently launch your own website, blog, or ecommerce store within moments. 

The best website builders are those that aren’t too difficult to use, and help users build stunning websites in minutes. It won’t do to compromise quality for the sake of ease of use, which is why an ideal builder will also feature a good collection of templates and a powerful drag-and-drop editor. 

After-sales support is another concern, as business owners from non-technical backgrounds might find it especially difficult to diagnose issues as they arise. This is why you should also look for good live chat and phone support, which ensures you’ll be able to bounce back quickly if there’s an issue.

Ultimately, you have to consider the specific nature of your business and the industry within which you operate, then decide which of these prospective providers are the best website builders for your website, blog, or online store.

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