Best website builders of 2021

The best website builders simplify and speed up the process of building a website. You can build a website that allows you unlimited flexibility and customizable elements, or one that’s done in next to no time and requires little advance knowledge.

Drag-and-drop editors allow you to create visual, attractive sites in hours, and for all site types including ecommerce, small business, free blogs; even sites for photographers and musicians. With so many different platforms and types, it can be a challenge to choose just one of the best website builders, however.

Our recommendation is to consider integral elements, such as your site’s intended purpose; the editor’s ease of use; whether any future scalability might be required; and what level of customer support you’ll need. Options open to the more technically experienced include the best web hosting services, or a content management system (CMS) like WordPress via WordPress hosting and a website builder plugin.

We analyzed the best website builders against those key factors, main features, and pricing plans, in order to help you select the right service for your needs.

What is a website builder?

A website builder offers end-to-end site creation, via a selection of templates, a visual editor, and extra advanced tools. They are generally extremely beginner-friendly, with many providing a drag-and-drop editing interface.

No prior coding or technical experience is required, and they’re a great option if you want to create a simple site quickly. Some offer significantly more design flexibility, and can even provide coding access for advanced editing.

You’ll also need to bear in mind registering a domain name: our guide on how to choose a domain name outlines step-by-step how you can do this.


The top 3 best website builders right now

1. Wix: the best all-round choice
The best website builder available, Wix has hundreds of templates, a flexible editor, and a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. The full website builder is included with its free package, while its fairly-priced paid plans have a 14-day money-back guarantee, an ad-free experience, and extra features.
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What are the best website builders?

Wix is our choice of the best website builders. its top features include drag-and-drop customization, artificial intelligence design technology, the largest template library available in the market, a built-in image editor, and third-party app integration. Excellent options are available across a fair pricing structure, with free domain registration and advertising credit, while a detailed free plan broadens its appeal.

Squarespace’s highly intuitive editor and responsive, excellently-designed templates justify its higher prices, while GoDaddy’s in-house optimized creator is user-friendly, and comes packed with analytics, strong support, and a library of own-brand apps. 

Shopify and Weebly’s ecommerce proficiency set a high bar, while web hosts 1&1 IONOS’ and HostGator’s built-in builders are impressive. In turn, online productivity suite Zoho’s competitive Sites builder is relatively new, but well worth considering.

Our pick of the best website builders, compared
Website builder Lowest pricing plan Storage Bandwidth Ecommerce features?
Wix $5 a month (Connect Domain) From 3GB From 2GB a month Yes
Squarespace $12 a month (Personal) Unlimited Unlimited Yes
GoDaddy $6.99 a month (Basic) Unlimited Unlimited Yes
Shopify $29.99 a month (Basic Shopify) Unlimited Unlimited Yes
Weebly $6 a month (Personal) Unlimited Unlimited Yes
1&1 IONOS MyWebsite $1 a month (Starter) Unlimited Unlimited Yes
Zoho Sites $4 a month (Starter) 500MB 10GB Yes
HostGator $3.84 a month (Express Start) Unlimited Unlimited Yes

The best website builders you can buy today

Wix logo

(Image credit: Wix)

1. Wix

The best all-round builder

Specifications

Price: From $5 a month

Storage: From 3GB

Bandwidth: From 2GB a month

Ecommerce: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Huge template library+Extremely powerful drag-and-drop editor+Extensive app market

Reasons to avoid

Editor can be confusing for beginnersVery average customer support

Wix is rightly regularly considered the best of the best website builders. With over 500 attractive templates, an extremely powerful editor, and various other features, it brings plenty to the table. In particular, its Wix Editor stands out as arguably the most advanced available.

The drag-and-drop interface enables you to place elements in pixel-perfect positions. Personalizing colors, fonts, and other content is extremely straightforward, and designs will really only be limited by imagination. You can also use the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) for a more straightforward experience.

After answering a few quick questions, Wix will select a custom template, which you can populate and publish online in just hours. Should you want to make changes outside of the template model, Wix offers Velo Dev Mode too, which allows you to add features that usually require a developer, including custom forms, dynamic pages, and databases. 

Wix also provides ecommerce tools for those looking to create an online store. You’ll find virtually everything you need to get started, including powerful inventory management tools, multi-channel selling, and subscription and digital product support. 

The full website builder is included within the excellent free package, while each paid plan has a 14-day money-back guarantee. Bear in mind that the free plan’s limitations include advertisements on your site and other restrictions: but it allows you to try Wix out before you pay for a subscription.

It is a little expensive, however. Pricing starts with the cheapest Connect Domain plan at $5 a month, but this 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 Unlimited ($18 a month), Pro ($23 a month), or VIP ($39 a month) subscriptions for more server resources and additional tools. Finally, to access even more business and online store features, there are three Business and Ecommerce plans (ranging from $23 to $49 a month). 

Read our detailed Wix review to learn more, as well as our feature pitting WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace, and our guide on how to build a website with Wix.

Squarespace logo

(Image credit: Squarespace)

2. Squarespace

Brilliant website templates to start your first site

Specifications

Price: From $12 a month

Storage: Unlimited

Bandwidth: Unlimited

Ecommerce: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Very attractive modern templates+Excellent customer support+Mobile management available

Reasons to avoid

No free forever planLimited add-ons and third-party extensions

Squarespace is known for extremely attractive, professionally designed templates, and although its library is quite small compared to Wix, designs tend to be visually appealing, as well as specifically targeted. 

Another standout is its excellent blogging features, such as adding multiple authors, scheduling posts, and creating content from mobile devices, while many templates are targeted at users looking to create a blog. Other impressive elements include ecommerce integrations, search engine optimization tools, and an advanced analytics portal.

However, Squarespace’s editor could certainly be better. It can be quite confusing to use and to navigate, especially for beginners, and even we have trouble from time to time, despite having used it numerous times before. On the cost side, there also isn’t any free forever plan. 

Despite this, 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 with the Advanced Commerce plan.

Read our full Squarespace review, our Wix vs Squarespace builder comparison, and our guide on how to build a website with Squarespace for more information.

GoDaddy logo

(Image credit: GoDaddy)

3. GoDaddy

In-house drag-and-drop site builder

Specifications

Price: From $9.99 a month

Storage: Unlimited

Bandwidth: Unlimited

Ecommerce: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Simple and easy to use+Great support+Excellent analytics

Reasons to avoid

Limited editing featuresSmall template library

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

The builder boasts excellent support and powerful analytics, two must-have essentials for any growing site. While it’s a little barebones compared to competitors, this streamlined approach means novices can focus on the important things. 

The GoDaddy builder’s decent drag-and-drop interface lets you configure your site to your liking, with 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.

While GoDaddy doesn’t offer an app market, this means 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, and our comparison feature pitting GoDaddy vs Wix, to find out more, and if you go with GoDaddy, follow our walkthrough on how to build a website with GoDaddy.

Shopify logo

(Image credit: Shopify)

4. Shopify

Premium ecommerce hosting

Specifications

Price: From $29 a month

Storage: Unlimited

Bandwidth: Unlimited

Ecommerce: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Beginner-friendly and easy to use+Packed full of advanced ecommerce features+Top security features as standard

Reasons to avoid

Will be too expensive for some usersLimited blogging and content management tools

Shopify is the ultimate ecommerce platform, with over one million merchants using its services across 175 countries, While you can expect ecommerce features from builders such as Wix and Weebly, these pale in comparison to Shopify’s. 

Its builder helps create an online store in a matter of minutes, and you can take advantage of an extensive collection of third-party apps for new features and functionality. This helps the builder stay clutter-free, while allowing you to opt for specific features your store requires. Pricing starts at a relatively expensive $29 a month, and ranges up to $299 a month across three plans.

Excellent additional elements include a built-in shopping cart and checkout manager, and marketing and security tools. With cybersecurity one of the biggest concerns for online shopping, Shopify is Level 1 PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant, meaning it’s extremely safe for you and your customers.

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

You can read our full Shopify review to learn more, and our feature pitting Wix vs Shopify. If you go ahead with Shopify, read our step-by-step guide on how to build a website with Shopify.

Weebly logo

(Image credit: Weebly)

5. Weebly

An excellent choice for ecommerce

Specifications

Price: From $6 a month

Storage: Unlimited

Bandwidth: Unlimited

Ecommerce: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Attractive, professionally designed templates+Foolproof editing interface+Impressive ecommerce tools

Reasons to avoid

Limited design flexibilityNo global undo buttonAverage customer service

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 extremely attractive templates and excellent ecommerce elements, the latter thanks to its acquisition by ecommerce giant Square Online.

Ecommerce is probably Weebly’s largest selling point, with much of its site builder dedicated to creating an online store. A large percentage of available designs include some sort of store, which means that getting started can be as easy as adding content and hitting publish. 

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

When it comes to pricing, there are seven plans. The free forever plan enables you to create a site 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, while the Professional ($12 a month) and Performance ($26 a month) plans offer even more powerful ecommerce features. 

Read our full Weebly review for more, and our feature comparing Wix vs Squarespace vs Weebly.

1&1 IONOS MyWebsite

(Image credit: 1&1 IONOS)

6. 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite

Leading web host’s competitive website builder

Specifications

Price: From $1 a month

Storage: Unlimited

Bandwidth: Unlimited

Ecommerce: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Beginner-friendly editing interface+Industry-specific templates+Very competitive prices

Reasons to avoid

Overly simplistic editorNo live chat or email support

1&1 IONOS is one of the largest web hosting providers in Europe, hosting 20 million sites, and its website builder features an array of templates and great functionalities for businesses of all sizes.

Its huge collection of themes are categorized neatly by industry and genre, so whether you’re a real-estate developer or a travel agency, you’re bound to find something for your needs. The built-in targeted content system even allows you to display specific messages to different visitor demographics.

Using this builder requires absolutely no coding knowledge—the drag-and-drop editor allows you to make any changes you need. There are eight plans available across different site types: three for basic builders, ranging from $1 a month (the Starter plan) to $10 a month (the Pro plan), with pricing options within these for sites with or without ecommerce functionality (ranging from $1 to $25 a month).

1&1 IONOS also offers three plans that offer design advice and consultation, ranging from $30 to $60 a month, alongside MyWebsite Now and Creator, two plans that offer a website builder packaged with marketing tools. These begin for free for the first month, increasing to $17 and $23 respectively thereafter, but offer a free domain for a year, a free SSL certificate, and emails.

The drawback is the lack of a free plan, although a paid trial is available for new users for one month. Another factor worth considering is that some themes may not be responsive to screen size. Read our 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite website builder review to find out more, and our feature comparing HostGator vs IONOs vs GoDaddy.

Zoho logo

(Image credit: Zoho)

7. Zoho Sites

Scalable site builder for businesses

Specifications

Price: From $4 a month

Storage: 500MB

Bandwidth: 10GB

Ecommerce: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Simple interface+Easy to customize pages+Cost-effective

Reasons to avoid

Limited number of pre-designed templatesIntegrates mainly with other Zoho software

Zoho is famous for its all-in-one productivity suite, much like Microsoft 365, and its website builder—Zoho Sites—is efficient and powerful, offering over 190 templates and a code editor for those with the knowledge to get stuck in behind the scenes.

The interface is surprisingly user-friendly, and therefore easy for newbies to access. There are 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, subscription tiers are reasonably priced, with a lot of scope for scaling via paid add-ons as your site expands. 

You can also take advantage of the entire Zoho office suite, including project management and database creation software. There are a few downsides, especially when it comes to compatibility, however, as there isn’t a lot of support for third-party applications. 

Thankfully, Zoho’s office applications are able to plug many of these holes with equally good alternatives. Read our Zoho Sites review for more information.

HostGator logo

(Image credit: HostGator)

8. HostGator

Good for static websites

Specifications

Price: From $3.84 a month

Storage: Unlimited

Bandwidth: Unlimited

Ecommerce: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Excellent website builder+Competitive pricing+Comprehensive video tutorials

Reasons to avoid

Basic blogging and email featuresLack of specialized functions

HostGator is a popular web host, and its Gator Website Builder uses a drag-and-drop interface to help generate simple sites. You can easily combine columns, text boxes, images, videos and other simple elements to create mobile-friendly websites. 

There are more than 200 templates to choose from, with each one completely customizable and allowing for endless personalization. There’s a built-in library of stock photographs included too, as well as a series of video tutorials if you need a step-by-step guide. It offers three plans, namely Express Start, Express Site, and Express Store, ranging from $3.84 a month to $9.22 a month.

Premium customer support via phone and chat comes with hosting plans, while free analytics are also available, which will be particularly useful for smaller businesses. Advanced users, conversely, may find the lack of specialized tools irritating. There are no dedicated email marketing tools, while blogging tools are relatively basic. 

Ultimately, Gator Website Builder is a good choice for small businesses, but not for bigger companies. To learn more, read our HostGator review and our guide on how to create a website with the HostGator website builder.


Which online website builder is best?

Wix is the best website builder available. As well as being extremely popular, its huge template library of over 500 designs offers excellent design flexibility. New users have the choice of the Wix Editor or the Wix ADI building interfaces, providing a scale between more complex drag-and-drop customizability and an extremely straightforward, artificial intelligence-led service.

What is the best cheap website builder? 

The best cheap website builder is HostGator’s Gator Builder. Backed by one of the most popular web hosting services, it offers top design flexibility, basic ecommerce tools, a great stock photo library, and a suite of helpful tutorials for beginners, starting at a very affordable $3.84 a month. 

Unmetered bandwidth and unlimited storage are available with all plans, although the lack of specialized features limits its usefulness for larger businesses.


What’s the difference between a website builder and web hosting?

Traditionally, web developers had to create code for a new site from scratch. This would then be uploaded to a web host’s servers, and then delivered to visitors. The same basic principles still apply, and many high-end sites are still built like this.

However, the vast majority of the best website builders offer all-in-one website creation solutions that simplify things significantly. They come with various site creation tools, an editor of sorts, and web hosting is also included.

WordPress vs website builders: which is better?

WordPress and website builders design, create, and publish sites. Builders offer all-in-one site creation, technical management, hosting, security and a domain. You only have to worry about design and maintenance.

Most require no coding knowledge, and are designed to be used by those with limited technical knowledge. Easy website builders offer the fastest option, and are ideal for cheap, simple online presences.

WordPress can’t be used without a third-party hosting provider, as it’s an open-source CMS. It provides more technical freedom though, and effectively gives you control over every aspect, though its complexity can mean common mistakes are made.

In general, you should use a website builder if you’re thinking about putting together your own site.

How to choose and buy the best website builder for you

With many factors to consider, choosing the best website builder can be difficult. The learning curve is key, and most opt for builders because CMSs are too complex or time-intensive. We recommend developing a clear plan of your site’s look, purpose, and budget. 

Most builders offer free trials or free plans, which makes it easy to test them. Pay careful attention to tools: look for strong ecommerce support for an online store. Similarly, a portfolio site means paying attention to templates. If you’re on a tight budget, our best cheap website builder deals are updated monthly.

Don’t compromise on quality for ease of use: the best builders have strong template collections and powerful drag-and-drop editors. After-sales support is key, as non-technical users might find it difficult to diagnose and fix issues. Look out for good live chat and phone support, to ensure you’ll bounce back quickly.

Ultimately, consider the specific nature of your business: a small business website builder might be what you’re looking for, or an enterprise website. You can then decide which providers are the best website builders for the site you want.

How we review the best website builders

When reviewing website builders, we test the editor to make sure it’s not too complicated or overly simplistic. Via trials, we test out builders from top to bottom, looking at features included and trialling support response times. 

We also establish how pricing works out, as initial monthly costs can increase after your first term, and test builders against one another to better compare them in this crowded marketplace.

Should I use a free website builder? 

If you’re wondering how much it costs to build a website, or whether to choose a free website builder, in our view a premium plan is best to unlock ecommerce or marketing tools. However, a free builder will be more than good enough for most simpler sites. 

Wix’s free-forever plan, for example, provides access to the entire website builder, so you can create a site without spending a cent. However, limitations include ads, the inability to connect a custom domain name, and restricted storage and bandwidth. 

This is a great example of the contrast when it comes to free website builders vs paid, and the bottom line is that a free builder will often be good enough for small personal projects, but business users should seriously consider paying for a premium subscription. 

Learn more about website builders

If you’re looking to find out more about the differences between web hosting, website builders, and WordPress, read our feature pitting Web hosting vs WordPress vs website builders, and our WordPress review. 

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