The 10 Best Website Builders in 2019
There are thousands of ways to build a website.
There are hundreds of good website builders to help you do that.
But there is only one that is the best website builder for you.
We are here to help you find the perfect website builder, the one that will let you create a functional website with minimum effort and maximum impact.
We subscribed and tested all the online website builders reviewed here. We examined their interface, pricing structure, support, features and integrations, sheer performance, and more.
We found out:
- The best site builder for blogs
- The best ecommerce site builder
- The site builder easiest to use
- The website builder with the best support
10 Best Website Builders in 2018
- 1. WiX
- 2. Shopify Review
- 3. Site123 Review
- 4. Ucraft Review
- 5. Strikingly Review
- 6. Weebly Review
- 7. Squarespace Review
- 8. Duda Review
- 9. Jimdo Review
- 10. Enjin Review
- Review Methodology – Comprehensive and Exhaustive Analysis
- How to Choose the Best Website Builderfor You?
- What Is a Website Builder, Exactly?
- Are Website Builders Better than WordPress?
- Easy and intuitive to use
- Huge number of highly customizable templates
- Extensive knowledge base and good support
- Below average page speed
- Can’t always change the design template after publishing the website
WiX is a name that must come up when talking about website builders.
The company surfaced in 2006, and in 2007 it offered a Flash-based platform for building websites. This angers many SEO experts to this day.
Luckily, the days when WiX ran on Adobe Flash are long behind us. Today, WiX is the easiest to use website builder, and it boasts 100 million satisfied users.
But enough with the introduction. Let’s get down to brass tacks and answer the question:
Is wix.com the best website builder?
For starters, the out of the box functions, like creating a blog or integrating social media, managing email campaigns, or creating analytics reports, are high-quality and useful for any website or e-store.
One of the noteworthy features of WiX is the SEO tool.
The SEO tool is unique because it goes beyond helping you set up meta descriptions and alt image text. It also explains each step and why it is important. It is ideal for learning the basics of SEO, and first-time website owners will adore it.
For any other functionalities, the app market offers over 250 extensions. You can find practically anything you need there.
Ease of Use
First-timers are bound to fall in love with WiX because it is the easiest website builder to use.
Thanks to ADI, or Artificial Design Intelligence, you can answer a few simple questions and get a basic website set up automatically.
From there, ADI helps build pages. You can drag and drop page elements based on pre-made section templates. Creating pages takes a few mouse clicks.
Even a complete newbie can master the drag and drop feature after a few minutes of practice.
Regarding ease of use, WiX is definitely one of the best website builders.
WiX guarantees 99.8% uptime. This is not ideal, but it’s not too horrible either.
With website speed, though, WiX could do better. WiX pages take 8 seconds to load. This can cause significant SEO and bouncing issues as your website grows.
It is not an enormous issue for smaller sites, but the load times could use improvement.
As for support, WiX offers a vast knowledge base. Also, the admin dashboard provides suggestions for what steps to take to improve your website.
If you need help, you can either submit an email ticket or request phone support.
In my experience, the WiX support team is fast, even without priority support. The replies themselves are a bit heavy with links to the knowledge base, but the support agents are knowledgeable and easily resolve any issues.
WiX has 500+ free templates—considerably more than many other website creators.
Categories make it easier to find the right template. For instance, creative arts templates have three subcategories—performing, literary, and visual arts.
Of course, sheer numbers aren’t enough to make your website unique. To really make these templates your own, WiX offers a free image library and direct access to Shutterstock.
You can also try to use WiX editor to manually change the page layout. Using the editor means sacrificing some ease of use for far more control, though. While WiX Editor makes it impossible to change the template after publishing the site, the customizability is often worth it.
If you’re looking for a free website builder, WiX offers a free plan. You can also pay $4.50 to connect a domain name. For premium plans, pricing starts at $8.50 per month for regular websites and at $17 for ecommerce ones.
Note – all companies in our website builder reviews offer either a free plan or a trial period, but the free plans are often very basic. We mainly list the annual prices. Most website builders also offer monthly, biannual, biennial, or triennial payments, with different pricing.
2. Shopify Review
- Insanely powerful
- Easy to use
- Among the fastest website builders
- Transaction fees
- Important features only available through apps
Widely hailed as one of the strongest players in the website builder game, Shopify powers 800,000+ stores and sees billions in transactions each year. Let’s see if it’s up to snuff, shall we?
Shopify is a tool for ecommerce website creation. As such, most of its features are geared towards online retail.
For example, there are over a hundred payment gateways to choose from, including Shopify’s own gateway called Shopify Payments.
Other useful features include multiple sales channels, automated shopping cart recovery, simplified dropshipping, automatic VAT calculation, and many others.
An interesting one is Shopify Point of Sale. POS integrates Shopify with traditional stores, letting brick-and-mortar retailers enjoy all the benefits of secure payments and inventory tracking.
To top it off, Shopify has one of the most comprehensive app stores out there.
While this is a plus, we feel Shopify relies on the store too much. Some important functionalities, like AMP support, are only available through paid apps, while they could easily be in the core version.
Nonetheless, the numerous high-quality features make Shopify the most powerful ecommerce website builder.
Ease of Use
Shopify is pretty straightforward.
You assemble pages by adding sections, then you customize the sections or change their position. Everything happens in a few clicks.
Now, is Shopify the easiest website maker to use? No. That honor should go to either WiX or Weebly.
However, that doesn’t make Shopify difficult. The interface is intuitive, and each setting has a clear explanation. There’s no proverbial hand holding, true, but most people take less than a day to get comfortable with using Shopify.
While ease of use is important, Shopify’s priority is functionality. It might not be the simplest, but it is the most powerful ecommerce builder on this list.
As expected from the ecommerce top dog, Shopify passes the performance test with flying colors.
99.98% uptime is nothing to sneeze at, and the speed is even better. Basic Shopify pages take between 1.3 and 2 seconds to load, which is twice as fast as most website builders.
If you want a fast and reliable store, Shopify is the best website builder on the market.
Here’s the deal. Shopify support is good, great even. There’s an enormous knowledge base, and the team is available 24/7 by email, phone, or chat.
One caveat is that you must reach the contact form first. Getting there involves navigating through at least a few knowledge base suggestions. Sometimes, you even have to talk to another person before being rerouted to a company representative.
It’s not a deal breaker, but it is frustrating. One of the best website builders should make it easier to get a hold of customer support.
Perhaps a bit surprisingly, Shopify offers fewer templates than most. There are 72 templates in the theme store —only 10 free and 62 paid – each available in several variants.
A redeeming feature is that the available templates showcase true quality. All 72 are smooth, fully responsive, and absolutely gorgeous.
It seems that, for Shopify, quality is more important than quantity. Still, you must get creative with the web page builder and use lots of images to make your website truly unique.
Shopify comes with four plans—Basic Shopify for $29/month, Shopify for $79/month, Advanced Shopify for $299/month, and Shopify Plus for around $2,000/month. There is also Shopify Lite for $9/month which allows you to sell products online but doesn’t give you your own website.
Mind that Shopify charges a transaction fee for payment gateways other than Shopify Payments. The fee starts at 2% and goes down for more expensive plans.
3. Site123 Review
- Easy to use and beginner-friendly
- Affordable with the discount
- Great performance
- Poor customization options
- Only one support channel
A charmingly simple website builder, Site123 is a great option for first-time website owners.
Site 123 offers overall decent features.
A basic SEO tool is available to free plan users. As for more advanced SEO and Analytics, premium plan users can choose from a number of apps.
Ecommerce and blogging features are also solid.
There are just three online payment methods, but buyers can also pay by wire transfer. You can manage taxes, categorize products based on multiple features, set up coupons, etc.
You get all the tools to set up a basic blog, schedule posts, auto-confirm or manually confirm comments, and set up an RSS feed.
The multilanguage feature is nifty. Unlike with other website creators, the tool automatically translates the header and footer content for you. You can edit the translations manually, of course.
Another cool feature is choosing between a single-page or a multipage website. A single-page site lets visitors open links on the homepage in sliding windows. It’s a neat design for smaller sites.
Ease of Use
Site123 got its name because it makes creating a website as easy as one-two-three. You choose a template, add content, and publish the site.
It really is as simple as that.
And as if the dashboard weren’t simple enough, you get a short tour explaining all the functions. Everything about Site123 was designed for simplicity.
All in all, Site123 is an astonishingly straightforward solution, perfect for first-time website owners.
Site123 has 99.97% uptime, which is pretty good.
Basic pages load in 1.5 seconds. As long as you observe good website speed practices, you’ll have no problems.
Site123 is one of the top performers here. If you want a compact and fast website, this is the best website maker for you.
We have no complaints about the Site123 knowledge base. It contains answers to all the important questions.
The support team offers speedy and accurate answers, but you can only contact them via chat.
The live chat is available 24/7, and you can access it directly from the dashboard. It’s always nice when you don’t have to go through the knowledge base to contact support.
Unfortunately, Site123 sometimes sends offers and promotions via live chat. And by “sometimes,” we mean all the time. We won’t complain too much, but suffice it to say it can get a bit spammy.
If you go through the Site123 template directory, you’ll notice that all the templates look similar. You could really call them variations on a theme.
Don’t get us wrong, the themes are responsive and visually appealing – but not unique.
More creative users will be disappointed by the limited customization options. There’s no drag and drop, so you can only change parts of a page based on predefined structures and text layouts.
There’s also no option to access the source code.
It’s a shame about limited customization. If not for that, Site123 would certainly be in the run for the best website builder software. As things stand, they’ll have to follow Weebly’s example and update their template directory and work on their customizability.
Pricing starts at $10.80/month, but you’ll need at least the $16.80/month plan to remove the Site123.com footer tag.
A thing you can do is start out with a free plan. You’ll immediately get an email offering a 40% discount on all plans if you pay annually, biennially, or triennially.
4. Ucraft Review
- Easy page creation
- Knowledgeable support
- Fair pricing model
- Not enough features
- Poor knowledge base
- Only one support channel
Established in 2014, Ucraft is a newcomer to the website builder business. Let’s see if the underdog has what it takes to play with the big boys.
For a relatively new website builder, Ucraft has decent features.
Unfortunately, Ucraft doesn’t have enough in the feature department to compete with the likes of Shopify and WiX. Many of the available tools are clunky, and the app store does not offer nearly enough integrations to match the functionality of the top website builders.
Ucraft simply needs time to catch up with the functionality of established builders.
Ease of Use
Here, Ucraft performs better.
There is no ADI to take care of things, but getting through the initial steps takes only a few minutes. After that, Ucraft provides a long checklist to help set everything up.
Clicking each item on the checklist either takes you to the relevant page or displays an animation explaining what to do. It’s a charming feature, and beginners find it a great help.
The drag and drop feature is also easy to get the hang of. It’s different than with any other website builder—it relies on assembling your own section layout. Although unusual, it’s suitable for beginners.
In all honesty, the navigation in the dashboard could be simpler. Still, after a few “Aha!” moments you’ll have an easy time getting around.
While Ucraft is quirky and perhaps not 100% straightforward, it’s still a beginner-friendly and easy website builder.
At the beginning of July, Ucraft’s uptime went down to 99.66% because of a Google Cloud outage. This is bad, but we should note their uptime was above 99.9% before the incident.
As for speed, the situation is better. The pages and page sections are image-heavy by default, so even basic pages take between 5 and 7.5 seconds to load. There is a built-in function to lazy load images and videos, though, so you can easily bring this down below 2.5 seconds.
Apart from the outage, Ucraft is doing great in the performance department.
There’s not much to say about the knowledge base other than it’s not too extensive. You need to take up most issues with the support.
There is only one channel for contacting support—the live chat. This is bound to annoy many users.
What’s more, response times are not great. Chats usually mean near-instant response, but when querying Ucraft support, the chatbot tells you to wait a few hours.
It’s not all bad, though. When the support answered, the replies were helpful and to the point. To our delight, there were no obligatory links to the knowledge base (probably because there wasn’t much to link to).
Also, you don’t have to jump through hoops to contact the support as with some website builders. The live chat is always available in the bottom right corner of your dashboard.
All Ucraft templates are responsive, which is a plus. Due to the nature of the page creator, though, they don’t do anything dramatic—they’re basically a collection of preassembled boxes.
Sure, the design looks nice, but many users will prefer starting with a blank template and designing everything from scratch. The page creator makes the process easy, and Ucraft is advertised as a platform for creators, after all.
We can mention that Ucraft is, in a sense, the cheapest website builder, although its starter plan isn’t the most affordable one.
To clarify – many website builders lock important features behind more expensive plans. This way, they twist your arm into paying more.
Ucraft doesn’t do this. All the most important features (except coupons) come with the $10/month plan. More expensive plans chiefly provide more resources. With Ucraft, you get quality at the best price.
All things considered, it’s unfortunate that Ucraft does not offer better features. They are a company to look out for. They are not in the run for the best website builder in 2019, but a few improvements could get them there in a year or two.
5. Strikingly Review
- Delightfully simple interface
- Awesome designs
- Hard-working support team
- Only good for small websites
- Few customization options
Strikingly might be two years older than Ucraft, but it’s still among the youngsters of the bunch. Let’s see how it fares against its older comrades.
When it comes to quickly building small-scale websites, Strikingly is the king of website builder systems. If you want a website with up to 20 pages or a store with up to 300-500 products, Strikingly is for you.
If you need anything bigger, we recommend going with one of the other builders.
Now, Strikingly is designed primarily for one-page websites—think portfolios, business cards, wedding announcements, product launches. It can handle bigger websites—up to 20 pages—but the results are often subpar.
It comes with a built-in SEO tool, analytics, mailing tool, blogging tool, two payment gateways, and a bunch of integrations like Google Forms, Maps, MailChimp, etc. Plus, you get a code editor.
The features are not fancy, but they’re enough to get a small site up and running.
Ease of Use
We can safely categorize Strikingly as an easy website builder. You choose a template, get a tour of the dashboard, and then add, remove, or edit page elements.
As we’ve said, Strikingly offers perfect features to accommodate a small website. Since the options aren’t too advanced or overwhelming, Strikingly is easy to master.
One feature we could mention here is connecting LinkedIn. Namely, if your business is on LinkedIn, you can paste the URL into Strikingly. Strikingly then generates a basic website based on your LinkedIn profile. You’ll have to do some customization, but it’s still a cool feature.
In simple terms, when it comes to easy website builder software, Strikingly is one of the top solutions.
Strikingly offers no uptime guarantees but, according to our testing, it meets the industry standard of 99.9%.
The pages aren’t extremely bulky by default, but the load time for one-page sites usually falls between four and five seconds.
GZIP compression can improve this. We’ve discussed it with customer support, and Strikingly developers can enable GZIP for you. You just need to ask.
Even without GZIP, four to five seconds aren’t a tragedy for smaller sites. Just don’t go overboard with features or the load times might drag out.
Strikingly has a strong knowledge base and an active community forum. Users can find solutions to most issues there.
The support team is available via email ticket, live chat, or phone—the last only available to VIP users. Strikingly, like several others, are nice enough to include the live chat in the dashboard.
With tickets, the automated answer guarantees a reply within 24 hours.
As for the answers, the support went above and beyond to resolve our issues. Working with them was a delight.
The number of templates is neither impressive nor disappointing—40 in all.
What is remarkable is that all the templates are very different. This is great, as it essentially saves you time on web page building and customization.
In our view, even 20 templates that have variety are better than 200 similar ones. We’re looking at you, Site123.
Strikingly relies on large high-res images and fancy CSS, much like Squarespace. The result is universally a beautiful website.
Unlike with Squarespace, the customization is stiff. With Strikingly, you’re trading off customizability for ease of use. It’s great for people who value aesthetically pleasing websites but don’t have the time to customize every nook and cranny to perfection.
In short, if you don’t mind giving up control, Strikingly is the simplest website builder for creating small yet stunning websites.
There are three paid plans—Limited for $8/month, Pro for $16/month, and VIP for $49/month.
You can try out any plan for 14 days, but you must enter your credit card info. Make sure you cancel the plan before the trial period is up, or you will be charged.
6. Weebly Review
- Incredibly beginner-friendly
- Great knowledge base and helpful automated tips
- Good performance
- Lacks advanced features
- App prices can stack up
- Site restore needs to be done by the support team
Weebly is not only loved by its community but is also an objectively strong contender for the title of the easiest website builder. Let’s see what exactly it has to offer.
All website builders on this list are simple and user-friendly. However, Weebly caters to beginners more than it does to experts.
That’s why, although Weebly has no groundbreaking features, everything is designed to ease those first moments of website ownership.
The creator masterfully guides you through the initial steps of assembling your first few pages, connecting a domain name, setting up a payment system, etc.
After that, you get a box with suggestions on how to improve your site. This is extremely helpful for beginners.
Other features include tools for SEO, Marketing, and Analytics. While they might lack advanced features, the tools are more than enough for first-time users.
There is also an inbuilt code editor. It’s not too fancy, but it makes Weebly a great website creator for learning HTML and CSS.
One complaint about Weebly is that the app store is too thin. Many features are only available with paid apps. Get too many apps, and it can take a toll on your wallet.
Ease of Use
There’s not much to say here; the drag and drop page editor, intuitive interface, and helpful suggestions make Weebly extremely easy to use.
The question is, though, whether it is the easiest.
Indubitably, many Weebly fans would say yes.
If we were to make a side-by-side website builder comparison, however, we would have to give WiX the edge, if only by a small margin.
This is because of some annoying Weebly features, like not having a media library. If Weebly fixed this and included an ADI, they would certainly give WiX a run for their money.
Of course, we’re nitpicking here. You could choose WiX or Weebly, and you’d surely end up with one of the easiest website builders on the market.
Weebly has good uptime—99.96%.
The load times are good, too, falling somewhere between two and three seconds. All in all, Weebly sports great performance.
You should keep in mind that Weebly works best with smaller stores and websites. If you tried to run a 500-page website, you wouldn’t get such speed.
Weebly has one of the best knowledge bases out of all website builders. Numerous tutorials provide the perfect environment for new website owners to get familiar with creating a website.
Support is available through email tickets, live chat, and, for paid users, phone. As with WiX, the support team were a bit too eager to link to the knowledge base but gave straightforward and helpful answers when prompted.
Weebly’s offer of themes used to be slim. Luckily, they’re putting a lot of resources into producing new ones. Right now, they have about 70 fresh themes.
Weebly’s themes are responsive and look rather good. Unfortunately, Weebly’s web page builder doesn’t offer the same customizability as WiX’s.
Trying to customize a theme can yield odd results. You could change the color of one element and see something completely unrelated change color, too.
If you truly want to personalize the theme, the code editor is unavoidable.
Weebly has three plans. The Pro plan starts at $12/month. The Business plan costs $25/month, and the Business Plus $35/month.
7. Squarespace Review
- Beautiful template designs
- Extensive customization features
- Great blogging and image management tools
- Images and videos can compromise performance
- No app store
If you want to quickly build a gorgeous website, all you need is Squarespace. Let’s see how the website builder aimed at creatives fares against the competition.
One of the best Squarespace features is its appearance. You can choose from over 1,600 fonts, integrate video backgrounds, set focal points for images, create cover pages, and make your website visually perfect in myriad other ways.
Various tools make Squarespace arguably the best website builder for blogs. They include scheduled posts, a multi-author feature, connectivity to 20+ social media platforms, and AMP for blog posts.
One blogging feature Squarespace could use is autosave. You’d better get used to saving your posts often because you might just start pulling your hair out if the editor crashes minutes before you finish a post.
Unfortunately, the ecommerce features are not as good. There are only two payment gateways—Stripe and PayPal. And before you ask, no, there isn’t an app store to help you out. You can sell a few products, but there are better platforms if you want a larger e-store.
Ease of Use
Squarespace is straightforward, and it takes all of a few minutes to design a basic website.
While Squarespace is advertised as a drag and drop website builder, it’s different from WiX’s drag and drop. It’s closer to Shopify’s section-based builder where you can move around and customize parts of a page.
Most users figure out all the important functions on their own and don’t need to refer to the knowledge base.
Having said that, Squarespace is aimed at creative types—that is, users who don’t mind spending a few extra minutes making sure their website is perfect.
Consequently, Squarespace is not as straightforward as WiX or Weebly. Users might take longer to test out all the functions before they can use Squarespace confidently.
While Squarespace doesn’t provide any uptime guarantees, its uptime stays upwards of 99.9%, which warrants no complaints.
The load times on basic pages are decent—about 3 seconds to fully load. Keep in mind that Squarespace websites rely heavily on images and videos, which slows them down.
If you don’t mind dabbling with code, you can enable lazy loading. Many users opt for this, but it somewhat defeats the purpose of using a website builder.
Squarespace has a decent knowledge base and even offers a few free webinars for beginners.
You can contact the support team 24/7 by email or by live chat. Unfortunately, the live chat isn’t always available during specified hours. The support team is professional, though, and provides decent answers to queries.
If there were an award for best website builder templates, Squarespace would be the clear winner.
As we’ve said, Squarespace is geared towards creative types and lets you create gorgeous websites. This is all thanks to the 92 templates, all fully responsive and amazing-looking.
Combine these with high-res images for maximum effect. If you don’t have any, Squarespace offers direct access to Unsplash and Getty Images.
Add Squarespace’s customization options, and it’s easy to see why this website builder effortlessly brings you closest to professional website design. If you want to dazzle visitors with a beautiful website, Squarespace is the best website builder for you.
Squarespace pricing starts at $12/month for the personal plan and goes up to $18 for the business plan. If you want to sell products, there are the $26/month basic plan and the $40/month advanced plan.
8. Duda Review
- Great out of the box features
- Fast and easy
- Top-notch performance
- No app store
- Not the safest choice for everyone
Duda is a website creator intended for agencies, digital publishers, and hosting companies. It offers some great features that other website builders lack. Let’s see what they are.
Compared even to the top website builders, Duda has an unrivaled set of in-built functions.
There is a plethora of widgets, an obligatory SEO tool, analytics tool, backup tool, and the option to enable a cookie banner, lazy image loading, include a blog, a store with up to 2500 products, and more.
One of the unique features is making rules for website behavior. You can display a “welcome back” message to recurring visitors, show a click to call button to visitors on mobile devices, or create events for special occasions and holidays.
Another unique feature is to turn your site into a progressive web app. Users get much quicker and easier access to your site.
We might mention the reason for so many out of the box features is probably the lack of the app store. No matter how many features Duda has, it will have a hard time competing with the functionality of builders with apps.
Ease of Use
Duda doesn’t offer to-do lists or suggestions for new users, but it’s still among the easiest website builders to get the hang of.
The section-based drag and drop tool doesn’t give as much customizability as a true drag and drop, but it makes assembling pages extremely simple.
All features are appropriately labeled, so new users won’t get overwhelmed.
We don’t have much to discuss here. Duda simply offers one of the most effortless experiences among website builders.
We might mention that Duda runs on AWS. This allows them to guarantee 99.99% uptime. Duda is among the best website builders for those who value availability.
Duda also has great load times, usually between two and three seconds.
One thing to remember is that Duda doesn’t optimize images. You should compress images manually before uploading them for best results.
Still, it has great performance by default.
Duda has an average knowledge base. Customer support is available via email, live chat, and phone.
Duda’s support is standard. It’s nothing to get overly excited about, but nothing to complain about either. They’ll do a decent job resolving most queries.
If you’re looking for a variety of website builder themes, Duda will impress you. You can find something for just about any purpose, from running a portfolio site to setting up a webinar.
The templates are responsive and attractive. The builder doesn’t give you absolute freedom, but it’s relatively easy to give your website that unique appearance.
If you dabble in HTML and CSS, you can use the in-built code editor. All in all, you have plenty of ways to give your website the appearance you desire.
Duda plans are pricey compared to the competition. They start at $14/month for the basic plan. Duda draws you in with a 50% discount on the Team plan, but the plan will cost $22/month if you renew it.
Many experts have expressed a concern about Duda we’d like to reiterate.
Namely, Duda’s target audience are agencies, digital publishers, and hosting companies. However, they are trying to expand their customer base, so they are currently catering to everyone.
That means Duda might eventually drop a part of its client base and start exclusively offering features suitable for its target audience. This is a risk you take when starting out with their builder.
It’s a shame Duda looks towards a small group of users. In our opinion, an app store would give them great potential to become the best website builder for small businesses. We just have to wait and see which path they choose.
For now, if you want a website for a one-time occasion or for a short-term project, Duda is an awesome solution. If you want a long-term site, you might want to go with one of the safer choices like WiX, Weebly, or Shopify.
9. Jimdo Review
- Fastest website creation
- Creates lean pages
- Few features on Jimdo Dolphin
- Restrictive templates and layouts
- Slow in some regions
No builder handles website building faster than Jimdo. Let’s take a closer look at it.
Jimdo offers standard features for handling websites with up to 50 pages.
There are comprehensive blogging and e-store tools, a decent SEO tool, emailing, analytic, and business listing tools, a cookie banner integration, plus third-party apps.
On a side note, Jimdo Dolphin has way fewer features than Jimdo Creator (the former is an ADI, while the latter lets you design everything by yourself.) For example, Jimdo Dolphin has no blogging tool.
One outstanding feature of Jimdo is the Jimdo Creator app. Again, it doesn’t work with Dolphin, but it is amazing. If you want to manage your website on the go, definitely go with this option.
We should also mention that, although the most expensive Jimdo plan lets you create “unlimited pages,” Jimdo isn’t suitable for enormous websites. We recommend keeping it under 50 pages, regardless of the plan.
Ease of Use
The first steps with Jimdo are child’s play. You first choose between Jimdo Creator and Jimdo Dolphin. If you choose Dolphin, you answer a few questions. You can even link to your Facebook page or Instagram profile, and Dolphin can take info and images from there.
Based on this, the ADI designs the homepage and three extra pages for you. You get three different designs to choose from.
After that, you can customize everything and build the rest of the website yourself. Jimdo doesn’t have the elegance of a drag and drop website creator like WiX, but it’s easy enough.
You even get a set of tips on designing your website and improving SEO. These make it so much easier for beginners to handle those first steps in creating a website.
Jimdo Creator is similar. You sacrifice a little ease of use for a little functionality and control.
The bottom line is Jimdo offers terrific ease of use – but at a cost to functionality.
Jimdo has 99.84% uptime, which is subpar. It won’t break your website, but other website builders do much better.
The pages created with Jimdo are lean, and all the speed optimization is on point.
Having said that, we should add that your page load times depend heavily on the geographical location of the visitor.
The company behind Jimdo is based in Germany, as are its servers. Consequently, the pages load in around 2 seconds for European users. Users in the Americas need to wait about 5 seconds.
A content delivery network would improve this, but Jimdo doesn’t offer one. Still, if the majority of your audience is in Europe, Jimdo might be the website creator for you.
Jimdo is one of those website builders that have good support but make you jump through hoops to contact them. What’s worse, Jimdo Creator and Jimdo Dolphin have different ways to contact support.
This was a problem for so many users, there is a knowledge base section titled “How do I contact support?”
The page explains that you can contact support from the menu of the admin dashboard. This is only the case for Jimdo Creator. Unfortunately, the menu doesn’t display for all users.
Jimdo Dolphin users are luckier. They can open the assistant in the bottom right corner and click “leave a message” twice to contact support.
Jimdo templates are good, but customization is stiff. With the sacrifice of functionality, we were hoping for the customizability of WiX. Unfortunately, the section-based web page editor offers few options.
And here’s the part that will infuriate creative types: Jimdo Dolphin doesn’t allow you to change templates. All you can change from the dashboard are the colors. If you want a different layout, you must delete everything and insert all the sections manually.
It’s not a desirable feature when you’re aiming for the best ease of use. And you can’t switch from Dolphin to Creator or vice-versa.
Jimdo plans start at $9/month. There are also $15/month, $19/month, and $39/month plans. Note that there’s no option to pay monthly as with most website builders. You can only pay annually or biennially.
10. Enjin Review
- Many unique gaming features
- Superb support
- Cool design
- Takes time to familiarize yourself with the interface
- Little room for unique appearance
Enjin will awaken your inner gamer. Let us show you how.
Let’s preface this section by saying that Enjin is a website maker that caters to gamers and gaming communities. Everything about it reflects that.
Therefore, in addition to the standard features like an SEO and analytics tool, social sharing, and payment gateways, you’ll find a set of funky features you don’t see in your run-of-the-mill website builder.
For instance, Enjin lets you import and display game data from servers for various games, including Minecraft, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and Arma 3.
Also, Enjin has its own cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency wallet.
Website admins and moderators get funny abilities like awards for good users or punishments for unruly ones (believe it or not, the ultimate plan enables designing 100 custom punishments).
There are too many features to list here, but we can guarantee no video game enthusiast will be disappointed.
Ease of Use
Gamers are basically amazing problem solvers with powerful computers. Consequently, Enjin doesn’t hold your hand. It presents you with all the functions and assumes you’ll figure out what is what.
Yet, Enjin’s creators are amazing problem solvers as well. They did a splendid job putting together a website building software that is easy to navigate.
Indeed, it might not be immediately obvious what the “Modules Discovery” or “Modules Bin” tabs do. Once you do a bit of testing, though, navigating all the options feels natural.
And don’t worry about those “module” tabs; they are basically apps.
Enjin offers no uptime guarantee, but their uptime is steady at 99.98%. It’s not known if the entire platform runs on AWS, but some features do, and that alone warrants reliability.
The load times largely depend on the number of page elements. Your homepage is typically slower than the rest, but you can expect loading to last somewhere between three and seven seconds.
It’s far from perfect, but it shouldn’t inhibit you from running a gaming community.
As expected of a gaming website builder program, Enjin has a good knowledge base and an active community forum.
You can contact the support team through email tickets or a Slack channel. There is no live chat or phone support.
All we can say about the support team is that they are fantastic problem solvers, too. They resolved all our issues efficiently and did their best to ensure our Enjin experience went without a hitch.
Enjin offers a variety of templates. The caveat is that their layouts are similar. The web page creator lets you manage page elements, but it all comes down to a similar design.
Everything has a retro look, and we actually like it. If you’re looking for a more modern design, well, we hate to say it, but you’re out of luck.
All jokes aside, the templates get no points for uniqueness. Yet, you can see how the old school appearance would trigger nostalgia in its target audience. We’ll give Enjin points for that.
There are only two paid plans – Advanced at $8.99/month and Ultimate at $29.99/month.
Let’s face it, we can’t rate Enjin too highly, as the purpose of these website builder reviews is to find the best website builder overall, and Enjin targets a very narrow audience.
Yet, it deserves recognition, as it’s perfect for its target audience. While we can’t recommend Enjin to most users, we are certain any gamer would love it. Moving forward, we hope to see more of specialized website builders like Enjin.
Review Methodology – Comprehensive and Exhaustive Analysis
Here at Hosting Tribunal, we use our love of web technology to create honest, detailed web hosting and website builder reviews. But our research doesn’t rely on passion alone.
Our unbiased reviews use real-time data and study:
There’s no way around it – speed and uptime are crucial for any online venture. All our test sites undergo regular benchmark testing for speed and responsiveness.
We measure uptime constantly. The moment we create a website, the domain name is listed for uptime monitoring over at StatusCake.
Uptime is one of the two vital characteristics of a good hosting service. It matters even more for website builders than for self-hosted services because you cannot transfer away from a website built with website builder software so easily. In the case of WordPress hosting, moving a site from one provider to another is often seamless and free of charge.
Loading speed is another determining factor because users don’t like slow websites. I don’t need to tell you a page that takes 10 seconds sucks. Staring at the screen while it slowly renders images and text is frustrating, and waiting for a page to react after a click is very detrimental to the overall experience.
Unsurprisingly, statistics show that slow web pages see low conversion and very high bounce rates. Such behavior tells search engines that visitors didn’t find what they were looking for, that the site didn’t provide what it promised. Consequently, slow sites are penalized with lower ranking because search engines want to return only relevant, valuable results.
4. Features analysis
Site builders have different scope and tools. Our reviews discuss them in detail. We check the number and functionality of core features but also the number and quality of third-party integrations.
Today, you can easily find a website creator that provides the full package – blog, e-store, login area – the works. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is equally good across the board, though.
At first, every website builder is designed for a certain purpose. Whether it is a small business store, a professional photo gallery, or an online portfolio, each platform aims to address a specific problem.
When its user base grows and the demand for functionality multiplies, the developers start adding features, tweaks to the core code, and third-party apps.
These secondary and tertiary levels of development deserve respect, but their innate limitations must be recognized. Rarely can a general-purpose site builder compete with a dedicated ecommerce platform when it comes down to selling online.
For example, WiX is a fantastic builder that can create any site with minimal effort. It also has a dedicated ecommerce plan, and it is a reasonably good offering. The WiX templates get regular updates and are very functional.
All the same, even the smallest BigCommerce plan trumps it fair and square. Right off the bat, the latter puts in your hands powerful ecommerce tools that can grow the reach of your shop easily.
On the other hand, WiX is infinitely better for blogging than BigCommerce.
That’s why we carefully examined the features and purpose of every website builder.
The design options each website builder provides are essential for fleshing out your site. We are after modern templates with responsive design, regular updates, and impeccable functionality.
Well-crafted website themes are not that easy to come by.
First, they must work flawlessly. Scrolling, navigation, and other elements must be glitch-free. This is on the front-end side of things and concerns the site users. Everything should be smooth on the backend, too, where the actual website design happens.
Customizing elements should happen easily and without delays.
Second, the desired levels of functionality should be created with lean coding. Bloated code tends to be more insecure and hampers functionality. Consequently, it may have a negative impact on SEO.
Inexperienced users find this hard to assess, and that is why we are here to help.
Lastly, the templates must look good. Aesthetics are a subjective thing, but certain design principles are proven to increase end-user satisfaction and overall appreciation of the site.
Oh, and each template must be mobile-friendly.
6. Ease of use
Generally, website creators are very easy to use; still, some are easier than others.
Ease of use is the main reason why we have so many good website builders.
Easy doesn’t mean no learning time whatsoever, though. It is only natural to have to navigate your way through a learning curve when dealing with a new software application. However small it may be, the curve is present across the board.
We assessed it and reported how difficult it would be for a complete novice to create a decent website from start to finish.
There is one caveat in this part of our review process, though. We are experienced users ourselves, and what we consider an easy website builder is hardly universally true.
That’s why the user reviews we collect have a specific metric for the ease of use. The more people rate a website builder, the more objective our reviews become.
Practically all online website builder platforms provide the full package – site building tools, web hosting, and technical support. Having helpful tech support is a massive benefit.
The technical support team is the face of any online service. These are the people who will help you set up your account, publish your first site, sort out any billing issues, implement third-party apps for you, and so forth.
They must be knowledgeable, courteous, available, and eager to help.
Most website makers have free plans and premium subscriptions but also free and paid templates and integrations. All these can inflate your monthly hosting expenses considerably if not accounted for.
There is not much to elaborate here: the monthly fees matter. Building a website is an investment, and knowing what fees to expect helps with creating realistic expectations, adequate budget, and long-term planning.
These are the main axes of interest. In our in-depth reviews, each website maker is examined in even greater detail so that you can find the one that suits your needs best.
However, before checking out WiX or Squarespace, consider your personal needs. If you don’t know what you need, no site building software will seem adequate.
How to Choose the Best Website Builderfor You?
You must take care of several prerequisites before reading your first website builder review.
The most important step is to take some time to conceptualize your future website.
Here is a checklist to guide you through several key points that will turn a fuzzy idea into a roadmap, a conceptual guide that will help you build a meaningful online presence.
- What type of website are you building? – Blogs and sales sites are radically different. News sites and social networks have nothing in common. Still, a blog could sell a product or two, and a web store usually would sport a blog. Confused yet?
- Monetization – Online stores have a direct way of making money, but sites that don’t sell products have different strategies. Will you use direct advertisement or affiliate programs? Or will you resort to selling digital goods like music or e-books?
- Budget– Calculate roughly how much money you are willing to invest in your online venture. This will weed out some website building platforms right away.
- Time and effort– How much time and effort will you be able to put into building and maintaining your website? Often, ease of use and functionality are mutually contradictory notions. Spending the time to learn and master a platform inevitably pays off in the long run, but do you have the time and desire to delve into technicalities?
What Is a Website Builder, Exactly?
Website builders are online software products that allow you to create and host a website in exchange for a monthly fee.
These online platforms function as “software as a service” or SaaS. All site makers provide access to certain software without granting ownership over it.
The monthly fee includes website building tools, web hosting, and technical support, so you get several services bundled up.
Once you create a site, you can publish it for the world to see. This site will be hosted on the servers of the website builder, which is responsible for keeping your web pages up and running.
Lastly, any technical issues are also handled by the support team of the site builder of choice.
One fee to cover it all.
Other than that, their most distinctive characteristic is that site builders are easy to use.
Still, for complete novices, the biggest hurdle with a new website builder is the interface and it’s functionality. There are many drag and drop website builders. But while at its core, moving elements around is the same, there are some palpable differences.
Menus, editing elements, aligning them, choosing a theme, and installing third-party extensions can differ noticeably from one platform to another.
All the same, learning your way around is easy.
In general, the website makers have trial periods or completely free accounts, so testing them is easy.
Opening an account with the likes of WiX takes minutes. Learning how to use a website creator well requires several hours of focused effort and is valuable knowledge you can benefit from all your life.
Nothing can match this accessibility.
What Are Website Builders Good for?
Website builders are excellent for people with limited time and no technical knowledge who want to create and manage their own website.
They are very easy to master, cost a few dollars per month, and require absolutely no technical knowledge. There is no need to learn how to use FTP and to write or edit code.
On top of that, website building platforms are considerably cheaper than hiring a developer. A custom-built website usually costs several thousand dollars, whereas the lower-end website builder plans are less than $10 per month and give you all the tools needed to craft a nice web presence.
The costs are beyond comparison because a custom-built website is not that easy to maintain if you know no coding. And if you pay your developer to do maintenance and updates, to create the additional section or page when needed, the investment will grow considerably.
One potential advantage of a good developer is that he or she should be able to create anything you ask for, whereas a site builder might not provide similar functional capabilities.
However, this is already part of the ease of use discussion.
Because negotiating with a developer and passing across your ideas is usually not all that easy, either. Designers and developers often have their own views on how things should be and might discard your idea, especially if you explain it poorly. And by poorly I mean not using their technical jargon.
Finding a developer you understand and trust takes time and effort. Finding the best website builder for your needs also requires some review reading and testing, but once you get it, you’ll have considerable creative power literally at your fingertips.
Don’t get me wrong.
If you can afford a great designer who will also be available in the future, go for it. If your site is going to be big and requires a lot of custom functions, hiring a developer will probably be the only way.
Website building platforms are excellent for small and medium sites with limited resources and tight development timeframes. They are all-in-one solutions that concede a certain degree of control to gain unmatched ease of use and utility.
Are Website Builders Better than WordPress?
Note: What follows is a discussion of WordPress.org or self-hosted WordPress. WordPress.com is another SaaS website builder with spectacular functionality.
The perennial question is whether a website creator is better than popular content management systems like WordPress and Joomla.
Many WordPress reviews speak about its prodigious ease of use, but, honestly, that is not the main distinction between classic site makers and the popular CMS.
There are two main advantages WordPress sports, neither of which happens to be greater ease of use.
Indeed, there are WordPress site builders that are extremely user-friendly, probably on a par with WiX and Weebly. However, getting started with WordPress is not nearly as simple as it is with the majority of quality site creators.
After all, WordPress is a self-hosted solution. That means that you, the site owner, must find a hosting provider for WordPress. There are many quality hosting companies that cater specifically to WordPress users, but that doesn’t mean that choosing the right one for your needs is very easy.
Here at Hosting Tribunal we have an entire section dedicated to WordPress for a reason.
After you find a host and have the CMS configured, you must install the WordPress site builder you wish to use. Provided you have found it already, that is.
It is obvious that the initial setup is considerably more complicated. With website builders, you simply create an account, purchase the plan you wish to use, and off you go to create catchy web pages.
Wait, Isn’t WordPress Free?
You might hear the mantra that WordPress is free. At its core, it totally is. You can run a WordPress site from your personal computer and pay nothing. You could deploy it on a free hosting package and pay nothing.
However, if you want quality site building tools, a nicely optimized theme, and plugins that are secure and updated regularly, you’ll probably have to pay. Many of the free WP themes available are excellent, but their premium counterparts are even better.
It is the same with free website builder software – it costs nothing, but the premium option is often better.
The main difference between WordPress and website builders is not the price but the scope and functionality. WordPress excels at functionality, largely thanks to its 50,000+ plugins. Without a doubt, it can do more things than the SaaS website builders.
The question is whether you are going to utilize this vast potential. In the majority of cases, you don’t need your site to do everything there is to be done online. Quite the contrary, you should start with a concept and build from there. Find the functionality you need, polish it, and thrive.
Limitless possibilities require time to understand how to use everything properly; not all WordPress plugins and themes are compatible with one another.
Overall, website builders are much easier to use than WordPress and present far fewer technical challenges.
DYI site builders can often compete with self-hosted WordPress in terms of price, too. Inevitably, building a site is an investment of time, effort, and often money. It is easy to create a free website but hard to make any meaningful impact with it.
Transferring Sites Between Website Builders Is Tricky
Apart from functionality, the second real advantage WordPress has over website building platforms is ownership. Since SaaS site makers provide the full package – site building software, support, and hosting – you are not in complete control of your website.
It resides on the site builder’s servers, and you cannot really move it away if you decide to. Currently, very few website builders have the technical capability to allow realistic, trouble-free migrations.
In other words, website builders bind you for life. Or for as long as you are unwilling to start from scratch elsewhere.
WordPress sites can move from one web hosting provider to another without a problem.
So, there you have it.
If you’ve made it this far, you already know what a website builder is, how it works, and which the top choices are.
All that is left to do is read our impartial reviews, find the best website builder 2018 has to offer, and start crafting your digital place.
Also, check the FAQ section below for some common misconceptions about website builders.
Q: Which is the easiest website builder?
A:Many user reviews favor WiX. Weebly fans might disagree, but the combination of more responsive templates and third-party integrations leaves little doubt. WiX is the easiest website builder to learn and master. The ease of use doesn’t compromise the functionality this platform provides in the slightest.
Q: Which free website builder is best?
A:The best free website builder would be WiX. Its free plan provides an excellent selection of tools and the adverts WiX displays on the free sites are not as intrusive as in some other builders. Of course, free website building platforms impose certain limitations by default. Check the next question to find out more.
Q: Are free website makers any good?
A: Most free website building options are reasonable, but they cannot realistically compete with premium solutions. This is by design. Free plans are excellent for testing a website building solution or trying out some design ideas to see how you feel about them. For anything more serious, purchasing a paid plan makes much more sense. Creating websites is easy; making them work for you is the tough part.
Q: What is the best do it yourself website builder?
A: That depends on your needs. If you are after a small online shop, the best DIY website builder is probably Shopify. For photographers and people who want to have a visually-loaded but extremely slick website, Squarespace would be the obvious favorite. For big shops, BigCommerce would be highly recommendable. For bloggers and service sites, WiX could grab the crown easily.
Q: What is the best small business website builder?
A: A small business that doesn’t sell goods online (or sells very few) could go with WiX. The WiX themes are diverse and numerous and can accommodate different types of sites with ease. It also has ecommerce capabilities. However, if your small business sells online, Shopify is the obvious choice. Indeed, Shopify prices might seem a bit steep at first, but this website builder is ideal for small shops.
Squarespace is another strong contender, especially if you want a site with many slick visuals. But to find the best website builder for a small business, you must know intimately what the business actually needs.
Q: Can I fix design errors with a website builder?
A: Most website builders have the undo option. There’s going to be a certain amount of trial and error when you’re building your website, so the ability to “undo” or go back to get rid of mistakes and things you don’t like is crucial.
Weebly is king in this category. Not only can you just use the keyboard shortcut for undo (Ctrl+Z) to go back on your latest action, but you can also restore deleted blocks, pages, blog posts, and even an entire site. This essentially works like the recycle bin in Windows. Site123, XPRS, and Squarespace are similar, but the last one only stores pages in the bin for 30 days.
Q: Is the site you create accessible from all devices?
A: In today’s world of smartphones and mobile devices there’s no excuse for not having a site that can be accessed by and is fully functional on all major devices. We tested each website builder’s ability to accomplish this. All of the others created functional, mobile-friendly pages by default that worked on mobiles at 320–374px, 375–424px, 425–767px, and on tablets at 768–1024px. The only possible exception was Weebly, which we failed to test using every testing device, but their promotional material and other reviewers assure readers it’s mobile ready.
Q: How easy is a website builder to use and how long does it take to build a medium-sized website?
A: The easier a builder is to use, the faster you can make your site. However, building a site quickly is meaningless if there aren’t many options and the result is subpar. Strikingly fell under this latter category, and we advise using it only if this is your first site and you’re not looking for anything advanced.
All other builders can range between a few hours (if you stick to the base templates) to a few days, depending on how much you wish to change, how many features you want to add, and the overall scope of the project. WiX, Weebly, and Squarespace offer the best overall experience in terms of ease of use, while also maintaining enough features to create most types of websites efficiently.
Q: How well optimized for search engines are the website builders?
A: No matter how good your site is, if it’s not optimized for search engines, it’s not going to get the amount of organic traffic it deserves. WiX, Weebly, and Strikingly offer the most in the SEO category, allowing you to customize URLs with your keywords and titles, edit meta tags, and edit the alt description tag for images. It was this latter option where the others missed the boat and might cause you to lose traffic from image search results.
Q: Are website builders bad for SEO?
A: This is one of the myths you hear the most when it comes to website builders. Indeed, most of them lack the spectacular SEO capabilities of WordPress plugins like Yoast, but they provide more than adequate tools to optimize your content. Ultimately, it is content quality and backlinks that determine search engine ranking, and this is something no plugin can give you.
Q: What is the best site builder for blogging and how advanced is it?
A: If you want to create regular content, you could, in theory, keep on adding new pages. But blogging has a distinct format that includes the author’s name and the date the post was published, and it’s often separate from the site’s other pages.
We checked our website builders (all of which had dedicated blogging solutions) for the ability to schedule posts and have them go live at a set time, the option of sending a newsletter to blog followers, and whether there were different levels of editing (i.e., admin and contributor). WiX, Squarespace, and Weebly passed with flying colors, while Yola, Strikingly, and XPRS could only accomplish the newsletter; Duda could schedule and edit; Voog could send a newsletter and edit; and Site123 could only schedule posts.
Q: How fast are the sites built with website builders? Do they perform well under the pressure of multiple users?
A: To give a little insight into the performance of each service, we tested websites that were built with them via a common speed-analysis service. The fastest of the bunch was a site made with Voog (2.8 seconds), and the slowest was made with WiX (18.6 seconds). However, due to various factors (size of page) and the limited nature of testing (small sample size), we don’t believe any service was so slow that it should be written off completely. With the help of user reviews, we are building a more respectable sample-size.
Q: How much do website builders cost?
A: The prices vary. Generally, ecommerce site builders are more expensive. But if you get your hands on, say, a Shopify promo code, you might end up with a very good deal. Site building solutions provided by website hosting companies also are cheaper, on average. The GoDaddy website builder is available in all shared plans of the company, which is well known for offering excellent deals.
Q: What type of website can website builders create and how many can you host?
A: WiX, XPRS, and Site123 stand out because not only do they support various types of sites from a functional standpoint, but they also have multiple themes that aesthetically appeal to certain industries (health, fashion, education, etc.). We give WiX the edge here. We consider it the best website builder because it has the widest selection of themes, and it also has functional solutions for blogging, ecommerce, and creative portfolios. Of course, the crucial thing is how all of this applies to your project.