10 Best Website Builders of 2021 (Reviewed + Pros & Cons)

With over 50+ different website builders, many of them sounding very similar, both in features and functionality it’s often hard to know which is best suited for your requirements so we decided to sign up, test and review the best website builders so you don’t have to…

If you are working on a budget why not take a look at our list of free website builders, many of which even come with free web hosting packages.

Website builders are perfect solutions for both individuals and small businesses; the ability to create a website in less than a day and have it visible online is pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?

Previously, if any of us wanted a website, we’d be looking at hiring a web developer for the cost of thousands.

The Best Website Builders of 2020

1. Wix: Best Overall Website Builder (£3/Month)

Wix’s website builder is probably one of the easiest and cleanest user experiences you’ll encounter. With revenue growth of 40% in 2019 alone, it’s one of the fastest-growing site builders out there.

Their drag and drop builder means you can literally build a site within minutes, easily moving and editing content and image blocks as you desire. Wix screams clean, modern, and professional, and that really comes through in their website templates (some fantastic templates).

Wix

Wix has over 500 free themes to choose from. All of their themes come mobile ready which means you don’t have to create a separate mobile version of your website. Wix also has an SEO wizard which I found really helpful (read my review of Wix for further information).

Pros:

Over 500 professional template designs organised into easy-to-use categories
Variable pricing options covering all types of users
Mobile device website builder included with all designs
Knowledgeable support agents who are on hand 24/7
Exciting ADI technology with access to the latest features and updates
Their innovative drag and drop builder makes them a great choice for beginners and pros alike.
The eCommerce functionality is impressive with a great range of sales and marketing apps

 

Cons:

eCommerce plans are available but come at a higher price

2. SITE123: Easiest Website Builder to Use (£10.37/Month)

SITE123 is a website builder designed for those of us who aren’t as tech-savvy as the rest. The aim of the game is to get you online as quickly as possible, having a website up and running fast, and I believe they achieve just that! As of April 2020, there are just under 10,000 live websites built with SITE123.

SITE123 is different from traditional drag and drop web builders, using an editor system that allows users to choose from many exciting templates and then modify them from the settings panel, empowering users to make websites even faster!

SITE123’s free plan (honestly, it’s actually free), comes with 500MB storage, 1GB bandwidth, and a subdomain. Though the features may not suit everyone, it’s a great choice even for small businesses, to begin with. Sometimes, and there’s no harm in doing so, people want to try a product before they buy it. Once you’ve decided that SITE123 is actually pretty awesome, their premium plan is only $10.80 per month. Now, that is more expensive than Wix’s recommended plan, but it still offers some pretty cool features.

There are hundreds of templates to look through too. Everything from a basic website to an art portfolio, cafes/restaurants to online shops. It’s a really clever platform and something that I will likely spend even more time experimenting with in the future.

After signing up for SITE123, I monitored my website’s performance. Using GTMetrix, I analysed my freshly built site without any optimisation. My site loaded in just 2.7 seconds (which is great considering I literally didn’t perform any kind of compression). Over 6 months, I had a 99.98% uptime record which is absolutely fantastic. There’s much more where that came from, so if you fancy learning more, check out my SITE123 review.

 

Pros:

Accessible customer support with helpful advisers, including instant 24/7 live chat
All templates are mobile friendly and fully responsive on all devices
SITE123 app market is super easy to use with tonnes of features
Design Assistance allows you to create a customised template without any technical or development knowledge
Constantly updated with new features and expanded capabilities

 

Cons:

Some features are streamlined and cannot be customized beyond a certain point

3. Weebly: Best for Customer Service (£4/Month)

Weebly is a website builder that truly brings all aspects of a website together. Integrating templates, eCommerce, and marketing, all of their functions work seamlessly side by side. With the wide range of pricing plans, you’ll struggle NOT to find something that suits you.

As you’ll see in my Weebly review, I like Weebly because they offer something for everyone. They’ve placed themselves snugly in the middle of the market; not too expensive, a wide range of features, and simple to get to grips with. 0.4% of all websites use Weebly, but to be honest I’d expect more.

Weebly has a selection of pricing plans to get your teeth sunken into. Like some website builders, they offer a free plan which includes Weebly branding. This means that you can build and host a free website with them but it won’t look very professional.

Weebly’s website builder is pretty easy to get the hang of. I found it to be quite intuitive and I was able to set up my website with just a few clicks. My main issue with Weebly’s builder was the fact it was really limited in comparison to other website builders.

For me, the best feature Weebly offers is quite a simple one. Weebly’s mobile app means you can edit and manage your site on the go. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wanted to edit my site on a bus, train, or even when I’m out for a meal (yes I know, it’s addictive).

Monitoring Weebly’s performance, my website achieved a total uptime of 99.97% over a 6 month period is something to be really proud of. 6 months equates to around 4380 hours of which my site was down for 2 of those hours.

Pros:

Plenty of support options including live chat with lightning speed response times
Free option available for those who don’t mind a subdomain
Partnered with SiteGround (one of our best web hosts)
App store with endless amounts of 3rd party apps to make your website entirely unique
On-boarding hints throughout, when you need them

 

Cons:

The all-inclusive approach may not be to every users’ liking
Lack of server file access can make adding custom tools more difficult

4. Squarespace: Best Design Orientated Website Builder (£10/Month)

Squarespace will undoubtedly catch your attention! Their slick drag and drop builder makes creating a website or online store look too easy, but the truth is, it is easy. As well as their stunning templates, you can edit the HTML and CSS of said templates to make them your own. Even if you’re not familiar with coding, this could be your chance to give it a go!

To further aid in customising your website, SquareSpace gives you access to over 1000 Typekit fonts, and over 600 Google fonts. This means you can really make your website stand out. I love playing around with different designs and fonts to create something truly unique.

Although Squarespace may be a little pricier than its competitors, I don’t feel this would put me off. Their easy to use platform makes creating a website an absolute joy, even if you have no coding experience. SquareSpace has 4 pricing plans on offer. 2 plans in their ‘websites’ category, and 2 plans in their ‘business’ category.

Comparing it to the likes of Wix and SiteBuilder which are very intuitive website builders, SquareSpace certainly lacks in this area. After around an hour of using SquareSpace, I got a little frustrated!  You may think at this point I had given up on SquareSpace because of the website builder tools, but their features are hard to come by.

SquareSpace lets their users dive into the actual code of the website, making for some exciting design work. If you’ve never used website code before, don’t worry, you don’t have to do this, it’s more experimental. In fact, I’d suggest building a test website and playing around with some of the features so you can see for yourself.

When I monitored my SquareSpace website, my uptime over a 6 month period resulted in 99.95% which really isn’t bad at all! I know that if I continue with SquareSpace, I’ll receive a reliable server where my site will experience very little downtime. This is essential for any website (especially those with lots of visitors like small businesses).

 

Pros:

Over 60 exquisite templates for free across all of Squarespace’s pricing plans
Access to 1000+ Typekit fonts and 600+ Google fonts to make your website stand out from the crowd
Advanced users can edit the HTML and CSS of some of the templates
Video background creation for a stunning landing page
Email and live chat support with friendly staff who are quick to answer questions

 

Cons:

Advanced users and eCommerce businesses may not benefit from the lack of a proper file management system and advanced features
Pricing is more in-line with Shopify and BigCommerce without all of the same tools

5. Strikingly: Best Website Builder for Blogging (£6.48/Month)

Diving deeper into one of the more niche markets, Strikingly is a website builder that focuses on one page websites, ideal for those with portfolios or CVs. The idea is that users, especially those on mobile, are able to access one page to gain all the information they need, making for better user experience.

I’d recommend Strikingly to those who are keen to get their website built in a matter of hours at an affordable cost. But, if you want a full-blown online store, this website builder won’t be suited to you. Strikingly have 4 main pricing plans. Their free plan is entirely FREE for life and contains the features to set up a very basic website and online store.

Strikingly is a simple and easy to use platform. You can view examples of as many templates you like. Once you’ve made your decision, simply click start editing to do just that! If you’ve never used Strikingly before, they give you the option to take a tour (which is their version of a tutorial) to get you started.

The website builder itself is very functional. Everything responds quickly and works as intended. You can add new sections like a blog with ease, or edit existing sections, styles, fonts, etc. This is great for beginners as well as experts who can sign up to the Pro plan and edit the CSS/HTML/JavaScript.

Strikingly don’t state what server specs they are using, or providing to it’s customers. They appear to use Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which is hosting from a company called Linode. This suggests they are providing a shared hosting level of resources to their customers. What this means is that you can expect reliable and stable uptime and response time from Strikingly, of which you can see more in-depth stats in my Strikingly review. However, don’t expect your site performance to be off the charts.

Pros:

14-day free trial to test Strikingly’s website builder
Ability to transfer templates and designs mid-build without losing any of your existing work
Custom HTML headers and footers can be implemented
Ideal for portfolios due to the photo-heavy nature of the templates available

 

Cons:

Not suitable for advanced users due to lack of flexibility and features
Not catered towards eCommerce, even with their Simple Store they only allow 300 products per site on their Pro plan

6. Shopify: Best Overall eCommerce Website Builder (£23.50/Month)

For those of you who are simply interested in creating an online store, you’ll see from my Shopify review that it is my recommended eCommerce website builder. It’s active user base of over 1 million displays a level of confidence in what it offers. Shopify is hassle-free and has all the features you’ll need to set up your online store. What’s more, you can integrate it with WordPress too – fancy!

Shopify offers 3 main pricing plans. Because Shopify is an eCommerce website builder, all plans include the ability to sell unlimited products online. Shopify offers a free 14-day trial on their products before committing to any particular plan.

Once you’ve signed up, Shopify will ask you whether you’re already using another platform to sell. They’ll also ask for your estimated revenue and whether you’re setting up a store for another person. Next up you’ll need to enter your personal details to verify you are who you say you are. This will enable Shopify to send payments to your account.

Adding products to your store is SUPER simple with Shopify. When I first started creating an online store, I was really worried I wouldn’t understand it. Shopify takes you through each step at a time and doesn’t require any coding knowledge to proceed.

There are literally hundreds of features that Shopify offer. I suggest you take a look at their website before making a decision. However, I am CONFIDENT you will love them. Creating an online store with Shopify is easy, simple, and frankly very exciting!

Shopify provides a 99.98% uptime guarantee. I wanted to put this to the test so I monitored my website with Shopify for 6+ months. During this period, I achieved a 99.99% uptime which is absolutely AMAZING! I only had 8 outages lasting a total of 27 minutes, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t much at all.

 

Pros:

Easy to use drag and drop interface
Great management system including inventory, shipping, and marketing tools
Integration with WordPress if you already have a WordPress website or plan to start one from scratch
Unlimited products meaning you’ll never be restricted to what you can sell
All-in-one solution so your web hosting and website is under one branch

 

Cons:

Expensive pricing starting from $29 per month
No website builder included, only an online store

7. Jimdo: (£9/Month)

Jimdo is a website builder, much like Wix, which has two options for creating a website. Jimdo Creator lets you build your website using your own creative flair and customisation, whereas Jimdo Dolphin uses ADI technology to make creating a website an absolute breeze!

My Jimdo review is based on Jimdo Creator, opening the doors to an in-depth look at all of its features and tools, allowing you to dive in with absolutely no coding knowledge required.

Jimdo isn’t going to blow you off your feet in terms of their templates, however, they are functional enough to create a professional website. What’s more, they offer a free plan (completely free, for life) if you want to experiment with their builder before committing to a premium plan.

All plans include an SSL certificate to continue to make your life easier. Their editor is simple to get the hang of, selecting elements and items to build into your chosen template, of which there’s over 100 to choose from.

 

Pros:

Free plan available if you want to test out its tools and features before committing to a premium plan
Easy-to-use editor with plenty of design elements and items
POWr plugins to enhance your website with third-party apps
eCommerce options available with free SSL on all plans

 

Cons:

Templates aren’t great compared to SquareSpace
Expensive pricing in comparison to other website builders

8. WordPress.com: Best Budget Option (It’s Free)

WordPress.com is essentially a web hosting service provided by WordPress. But, it uses the same WordPress software as you might be familiar with. Users have the option to choose from free or paid plans, with access to hundreds of popular WordPress themes.

Aside from their free plan, WordPress.com’s pricing starts from just £4 per month. One of the things that set WordPress apart (for me) from other CMS platforms is their themes and plugins. Unfortunately, premium themes aren’t available until you reach the Premium plan, and plugins can’t be installed until £20 per month.

WordPress is one of the easiest website builders to use (once you get the hang of it). Admittedly, at first, it can be quite daunting. There are SO many options to choose from, places to edit and customise your site, as well as plugins and themes.

What makes WordPress great is that you can customise it to make it suitable for you. For example, if you want to use a website builder plugin that enables drag and drop functionality, you can do. Most plugins are free, or at least free to use ‘x’ amount of features.

WordPress.com is different to WordPress.org – you can learn more about their differences in my WordPress review. Remember, WordPress.com provides web hosting for you, whereas WordPress.org is self-hosted. For this reason, it was important for me to check my site’s uptime and performance to see if WordPress.com could compete with other web hosts.

My WordPress.com site recorded 100% uptime across the last 24 hours, 7 days, and 30 days. There’s not really much else to say about the matter! WordPress.com has absolutely smashed the ball out of the park on this one.

 

Pros:

Free version available to those who want a more affordable option
Customisable designs allowing you to make your own stamp on your website with navigation menus and more
WordPress.com will automatically backup your website and keep your software updated without the need for any intervention

 

Cons:

Unlike WordPress.org, you can’t install custom plugins or themes unless you pay for a business plan
Lack of eCommerce features unless you upgrade to Business which costs $24 per month

9. Duda: (£11.24/Month)

Duda’s website builder has been designed to make the lives of freelancers and agencies much simpler. With Duda, you can manage and create multiple websites, and enjoy their awesome client management tool.

Unlike many other website builders, Duda doesn’t have a free pricing plan, and their SEO tools aren’t up to much against the likes of Wix and Weebly. I suggest taking a look at my Duda review to find out exactly what they offer in terms of tools and features.

On that note, Duda does have plenty of apps and widgets that you can use on your website to enhance it. Though there’s not as much on offer as WordPress, there’s definitely more there than I’ve seen with some of Duda’s competitors.

If you have clients that you need to create websites for and want to use a blank or pre-filled template in a matter of minutes, Duda is certainly worth considering.

Pros:

Simple website builder where you can create a website in less than an hour
Lots of apps and widgets to customise your website with
Suitable for beginners and advanced users

 

Cons:

Only really good for agencies and freelancers
No free plan

10. Constant Contact (£0.00/Month)

Constant Contact is well known for its effective email marketing. However, they also have a pretty cool website builder which is free to use. Their free website builder offers unlimited storage, an SSL certificate, basic website analytics, and a blog.

You can also set up a free online store with up to 3 products. Although you’re not going to get every feature under the sun with their free website builder, it’s a great tool to get started with if you’ve never used one before.

If you’re a beginner to website builders or don’t have much of a budget, I highly recommend Constant Contact. Their website builder is easy to use and gives you a taste of the bigger picture. If you’re not ready to invest a whole bunch of time and money into a paid website builder, this is a great choice, especially considering you can sell products and accept payments!

If you want to build a professional-looking website, you’re going to want to opt for their paid plan. The simple reason being is that this removes adverts and branding from your website and lets you connect your own domain. It doesn’t look very good if your website’s URL reads something like mywebsite.constantcontact.com 

I deem their free plan to be very generous. It’s clever because it gives you just enough tools and features to launch a website, but not enough that it makes you want to buy into their paid plans. Saying that their paid plans are very affordable too, starting from just £6 per month. You can read more about Constant Contact in my Constant Contact review, including an in-depth look at their pricing and features.

Pros:

Great for beginners
Offers a free plan with an online store
Good set of features with 24/7 live chat

 

Cons:

Free plan has branding and adverts
Features aren’t as in-depth as other website builders

How to pick the best website builder for you

Many website builders either offer a free trial or have a free plan you can use for life. My suggestion is to take advantage of those offers as you’ll be able to judge whether a website builder is right for you or not, without spending a penny.

Some of the main things to consider are:

  • Is the website builder easy to use?
  • How long does it take to sign up and edit a template?
  • Can you change templates one your site is live?
  • What aspects do you like or dislike?
  • Are you happy with the templates and designs?
  • Do the features match your requirements?

Even if you try a website builder and it seems great, try another one just to be sure! You’ll never know unless you try, so give them a go and don’t be afraid to compare them to each other.

A professionally designed and developed website can cost a lot so you need to assess how much you want to spend. Most people opt for website builders because they are more affordable than hiring a web designer, and they offer you more control. Each website builder tends to come with at least two pricing plans, which means you can assess which plan is best for your needs.

Whilst it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option to save money, you’ll want to consider which features each builder offers and whether they really are as good as they seem (that’s what I’m here for!).

Monthly prices tend to be more expensive but give you greater flexibility if you decide you wish to cancel. However, if you’re set on a website builder, signing up on an annual basis can definitely save you money.

Some people may have a design or idea in mind that they want to execute when they first sign up for a website builder. Others might not have a clue, but it’s important to get some idea of what you want your website to include.

I’ve mentioned it several times, but please don’t choose a website builder just because of the price. Hopefully, you’ve read this article and have a better idea of what things you should look for in a website builder, and which website builders are best for different industries and purposes. Also, consider that most of the best hosting companies we’ve reviewed do include one but in most cases, they will be an extra cost.

For example, if you want to create an online photography portfolio, SquareSpace is a fantastic option. If you are an agency or freelancer, Duda is your best choice. What I’m saying here is that it eliminates the need to look elsewhere – although other website builders have benefits, they may not be fit for your purpose.

Website Builder FAQs

Website builders have become a very popular choice of platform to create websites, without any coding knowledge. There are currently over 10 million websites powered by website builders, 321,000+ of which are in the U.K. Website builders are attractive due to their easy-to-use nature.

In my personal opinion, SquareSpace outranks other website builders in terms of design. Their templates are absolutely stunning, and they own 40% of the website builder market share, beating Wix to the top spot. Since 2011, SquareSpace have massively grown in popularity, with 1% of the top 1 million websites worldwide using SquareSpace.

Many website builders like Wix and Weebly offer free plans, meaning you can host and publish your website, free of charge. However, there are limitations, like you won’t be able to use your own domain and the companies will place adverts or branding on your website. Premium website builder plans generally start from around £4 and can go up to £30+ depending on your requirements.

Website builders are mainly aimed at individuals wanting to create a personal website or small businesses. For these purposes, website builders are scalable as you can upgrade your plan as your website or business grows. However, if you plan to sell products or services online, you’ll need to look for a website builder that offers eCommerce options, or an eCommerce builder like Shopify.

WordPress.com and WordPress.org are different entities of WordPress. Although neither are technically website builders (they are content management systems), WordPress.com is more similar to a website builder than WordPress.org. WordPress.org is far more advanced and used by developers as opposed to beginners.

Yes! In fact, this is often the most enjoyable part. Most website builders offer thousands of templates to choose from. They tend to categorise them into different industries, e.g. restaurants, online store, portfolio, non-profit, etc. The templates are often populated with dummy content which you can then edit to your heart’s content. You can edit text, images, features, etc. However, some website builders are more restrictive than others, so it may be difficult to reposition or re-design the layout.

Most web designers and developers will charge upwards of £1000+ for even the most basic of websites. Unless you have that kind of money to spend, a website builder is a wise choice. You won’t have to learn any code to get started, and they are often very affordable, and sometimes even free. Some of the biggest brands use website builders like Wix, so don’t be fooled into thinking they are only for beginners.

You may be wondering whether you even need a website builder. Although they’re very useful, the truth is they’re not recommended for everyone and that’s okay. Let me run you through the reasons why a web site builder would be suitable. If any of these points ring true with you, then I invite you to carry on reading:

  • You run or want to start a small business website
  • You have a personal blog or want to start on
  • You want to or already do sell products online

In honesty, that probably covers a lot of users, and that’s why I highly rate website builders. I think more and more people are starting their own small businesses now than they ever were before. Why? Most likely because they can start a small business without the worry of how much a website is going to cost to build or start.

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