While a solid social media following may help promote your brand and positive reviews can lead to a boost in sales, a fully-fledged website can immediately help legitimize your company on the web. A good website builder can help you carve out a piece of the internet for your business so you don't need the knowledge to build one from scratch.
In the past, the idea of creating an eye-catching website meant having to learn a coding language or hiring an expensive professional. These days, all you need is a computer or mobile device, an internet connection, and an account with an online website builder. Thanks to the ongoing transition to Web 2.0 and a growing focus on user-generated content, even a technically challenged person can start a blog or create a digital storefront.
To help you find the best website builder for your business, we reviewed nearly two dozen solutions before paring the list down to the final six. Read on to learn more about the best website builders we researched and what plans, aesthetic options, and quality-of-life features you can expect from each.
Best Overall : Wix
We chose Wix as the best overall website builder because of their extremely intuitive design capabilities, their library of more than 800 available templates, and exceptional 24/7 customer service.
User-friendly website builder
Extensive template library
Supports eCommerce or personal use
Comparatively limited storage
Templates aren't mobile responsive
Slightly more expensive
Since its launch in 2006, Wix has become an industry leader among online website builders. Touting a drag-and-drop editing interface, you can use Wix to completely customize your blog or ecommerce website. In addition to letting you get hands on with hundreds of available templates, Wix also offers "artificial design intelligence" (ADI) tool that builds a site for you based on how you answer a handful of questions. Every Wix account has access to more than 250 professional app integrations and comes equipped with a robust security suite.
One area that Wix disappointed was in its mobile web support. With a large portion of web traffic stemming from Android and iOS, it's important that your site work on those devices. While other providers offer themes that automatically shift your content and layout to accommodate those screens, Wix requires its users to manually build their mobile sites. While that may provide an added layer of customization, it's a step that could easily be overlooked.
Though its features are impressive, we should note that you will pay a premium for them. Compared to the other solutions we tested, Wix had some of the highest costs and lowest storage limits associated with their plans. The following rates are based on an annual subscription:
- Website Combo: $14 per month for 3GB of storage
- Website Unlimted: $18 per month for 10GB of storage
- Website Pro: $23 per month for 20GB of storage
- Website VIP: $39 per month for 35GB of storage
- Business Basic: $23 per month for 20GB of storage
- Business Unlimited: $27 per month for 35GB of storage
- Business VIP: $49 per month for 50GB of storage
In addition to the paid service tiers, Wix offers a free version, though it is stifled by low bandwidth and storage limits. Business accounts can utilize any major payment service and can do so without having to pay an additional transaction fee.
When it comes to customer service, every plan has access to an extensive knowledge base and 24/7 customer service.
Best for Blogs : Wordpress.com
When it comes to blogging platforms, few are as widely regarded for their ubiquity and flexibility as WordPress.com. Built on an open-source foundation, WordPress provides the tools to create whatever website you want while granting access to countless plugins and themes, and offering a level of freedom to grow your site along with your following.
Directly tailored to blogs
Deep customization options
More powerful features require some additional learning
Many features require special plugins to work
Maintenance is up to the user
For more than 15 years, WordPress.com has been an affordable blogging solution. Thanks to the Jetpack Essential Features suite, every site gets access to performance optimization tools, added security measures, and built-in search engine optimization (SEO) programs.
WordPress.com offers multiple web hosting options and an easy setup. While the free version only allows users to host their site on a subdomain of WordPress.com, paid accounts can use their own custom domain or purchase one as they sign up. Using its Block Editor, WordPress.com lets you drag-and-drop page elements and customize how they look. While its website editor may be quaint compared to other solutions, WordPress's real strength lies in its open-source nature. As such, power users can make substantial changes by directly altering code. As a result, your site can become a powerhouse—if you know what you're doing.
There are five service plans on offer at WordPress.com, each with hosting included and up to 200GB of storage space.
- Free: Comes with 3GB per month
- Personal: $4 per month for 6GB of storage
- Premium: $8 per month for 13GB of storage
- Business: $25 per month for 200GB of storage
- eCommerce: $45 per month for 200GB of storage and the complete suite of features
The fact that WordPress.com is open-source is also its weakness. You'll need to know how to edit CSS code or install specialized plugins if you want more robust features. While each plan comes with free platform updates, any plugins or themes you install may require manual updates, which could lead to potential security liabilities.
Still, if you run into trouble, WordPress.com provides unlimited 24/7 email customer support to all its paid subscription tiers, with better support provided for the more expensive accounts.
Best for eCommerce : BigCommerce
Whether your business is just starting out or looking to shake up an already established online store, BigCommerce is the best ecommerce website builder to sell items through nearly any sales channel on the internet.
Supports multiple selling platforms
Unlimited bandwidth and storage
Zero transaction fees
Pricier than other solutions
Limited number of free themes
Costs go up the more you sell
As a business owner, you understand the importance of being able to pivot to where the sales are. To that end, BigCommerce is a prime location for your business's website, since it's one of the few options we found that supports as many sales channels for ecommerce. Not only does it support selling on eBay, Amazon, and Google Shopping, BigCommerce's website builder also supports social media sales channels through Facebook and Instagram integrations.
In addition to its multi-channel sales capabilities, BigCommerce's website builder can facilitate more than 65 payment gateways, with international payments supported and zero transaction fees. Built-in marketing tools help follow up with potential customers and automatic promotions can be set when a visitor does something on your site. Other features that aim to enhance the customer experience include real-time shipping quotes, support for Google Reviews, and a simplified checkout process.
BigCommerce has four paid subscription tiers, with a free 15-day trial available. Each plan has an annual sales limit, which if exceeded will result in your plan getting automatically upgraded to the next tier. The plans, which we found to be pricier than others, are as follows:
- Standard: $29.95 per month for up to $50,000 in online sales per year
- Plus: $79.95 per month for up to $180,000 in online sales per year
- Pro: $299.99 per month for up to $180,000 in online sales per year
- Enterprise: Aimed at much larger online businesses, this service tier is negotiated with the BigCommerce sales team to accommodate a larger sales volume.
BigCommerce provides all service tiers with access to their 24/7 customer service via live chat, email, and telephone. A knowledge base covering a range of topics is also available on the company's site.
Best for Prepackaged Designs : Squarespace
When it comes to website builders, Squarespace stands out for its modern aesthetic and dogged pursuit of an easy way to get started on the web. Thanks to its functional website builder and accompanying mobile apps, Squarespace can leverage its library of professionally designed templates to make any site look great.
Great looking modern designs
Exhaustive list of app integrations
Native support for mobile devices
Ecommerce functionality needs work
Doesn't autosave changes as they happen
Interface isn't the smoothest we examined
As one of the most flexible website builders in our list of providers, Squarespace is a prime location to build and host a website. It doesn't matter if you plan on utilizing the company's strong blogging features for a business blog or aim to create a flashy new home for your online shop, Squarespace can adapt to your style.
Though its drag-and-drop style isn't as freewheeling as other providers, Squarespace's block editing style allows you to add entire sections and pages to your site. If you're not happy with the website template you selected, it's easy to change on the fly. For users with a little more experience coding websites, Squarespace also lets you access and alter a website template's code. It should also be said that although overall usability is fine, some features of Squarespace's website builder feel more clunky than they do at other providers.
While Squarespace's library of more than 100 professionally crafted templates aren't as voluminous as other provider's lists, the ones on offer are instantly eye-grabbing. Each offering has a modern feel to it, with an effort to let you mix their style with your substance.
Every account with Squarespace comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, automatic mobile optimization, an SSL security certificate, and built-in SEO tools, Squarespace also offers apps for iOS and Android devices that let you edit your site and its content on the go. There are four main subscription plans:
- Personal: $12 per month
- Business: $18 per month
- Basic Commerce: $26 per month
- Advanced Commerce: $40 per month
Though Squarespace offers a Business tier, we were surprised to learn that it's the only account type with a 3% transaction fee while the two higher Commerce tiers don't have a transaction fee. Serious online businesses will want to invest in either of the Commerce tiers, since they come with additional features like a secure checkout page on a custom domain, support for multiple currencies, and abandoned cart recovery.
Every Squarespace account has access to the company's highly touted 24/7 email customer support, with additional help available through the company's live chat functionality Mondays through Fridays from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.
Best User Interface : GoDaddy
GoDaddy became our pick for best user interface after spending time with their website builder's drag-and-drop interface, wide range of professionally designed templates, and customer support. The company's offering stands out as an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a hassle-free website builder.
Immediately understandable website builder
Free eCommerce tools for all plans
Excellent 24/7 customer support
Can't migrate to other services if Website Builder is used
No CSS or HTML editing
Limited eCommerce options
Through its block-style website editor, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing allows you to drag entire sections of your website other locations on the page. Though this type of website editor may not have as much granular control as other providers, it enables you to quickly and easily rearrange where certain pieces of content are displayed, which we found can be less overwhelming for a beginner. After answering a couple questions about your page, you are instantly taken to the builder itself, where any changes are immediately displayed and options are easily determined on the screen.
While other providers tout their massive list of app integrations, GoDaddy instead bakes its integrations into specific sections. Adding a video section includes YouTube and Vimeo integrations, while a calendar section lets you import a Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook or 365 calendar, or Yahoo Calendar. It's an elegant solution compared to the massive app marketplaces that other vendors offer.
All four of GoDaddy's paid website builder subscription levels come with a free SSL certificate, mobile editing, and social media marketing tools. Those service tiers come with the following price tags:
- Basic: $9.99 per month
- Standard: $14.99 per month
- Premium: $19.99 per month
- Ecommerce: $24.99 per month
GoDaddy offers a free plan to those that want it, though it's limited to a single website and has reduced marketing tools. Users can upgrade to a paid service, but they can't go back to a free plan once that change is made. Restrictions also exist when it comes to ecommerce, since you can only list, sell, and receive payment for products in the most expensive service tier. Furthermore, you can't migrate your Websites + Marketing site to another service, nor can you use the website builder to import a WordPress blog, though GoDaddy has specific hosting plans for those.
As for customer service options, GoDaddy provides 24/7 coverage to all account types, including free users. Users can find answers to their questions either by calling customer support, reaching out via live chat, or consulting GoDaddy's knowledge base.
Best Free Option : Weebly
If you're looking for a free option to build your business's website and don't mind missing out on some of the more attractive aspects of premium website builders, Weebly is for you. Thanks to its unlimited web hosting storage, highly customizable templates, and more than 300 app integrations, Weebly can help anyone kickstart their online presence.
Good slate of free ecommerce features
27/7 customer support
Lacking some important integrations
Limited customer support for free plan
Can't use a custom domain
When it comes to website builders, the free option always comes up lacking some key features. And while that's certainly true with Weebly's free plan compared to its paid offerings, what it brings to the table is commendable. Websites constructed under a free plan get a free SSL security certificate, the ability to embed third party code, for starters, and access to dozens of free templates.
In addition to the free plan, Weebly has three paid solutions that come with a slew of added features. As your company and website grows, you can move up the ladder to a premium plan. The costs associated with each premium plan are as follows:
- Personal: $6 per month
- Professional: $12 per month
- Performance: $26 per month
Hosting is included in each account, but the amount of storage available for your website is limited based on the service tier you choose. Unlimited storage is only available with the Professional and Performance account types.
All Weebly users have access to 24/7 email and chat support as well as a community forum. Phone support, however, is only available for the Professional and Performance tiers.
The right website builder for you will be easy to use, highly customizable, and scalable to fit your situation. Most solutions offer very similar features, and regardless of which service you choose, you can rest easy knowing your site will come with an SSL certificate and have additional web security measures in place. You can expect that nearly any website builder will have some way to make it easier to build your own site, whether it's through a drag-and-drop interface or an automated method.
We found that Wix was our choice for the best overall website builder. Not only does it offer a simple drag-and-drop interface, but Wix was one of the few solutions we found to offer an automated website creator that builds a new website based on a series of questions answered by the user. With built-in SEO tools and the ability to incorporate a wide range of app integrations, Wix makes it easier to start and maintain a website.
|Company||Why We Picked It||Top Features|
|Wix||Best Overall||Hundreds of free templates; versatile uses; understandable interface|
|Wordpress||Best for Blogs||Built for blogs; extremely customizable; highly scalable|
|BigCommerce||Best for eCommerce||Multi-channel sales opportunities; no transaction fees|
|Squarespace||Best for Prepackaged Designs||Highly aesthetic; large template library; unlimited bandwidth and storage|
|GoDaddy||Best User Interface||Intuitive block-style editor; excellent customer support; simple app integrations|
|Weebly||Best Free Option||Included SSL certificate; free marketing and eCommerce tools; intuitive website builder|
What Is a Website Builder?
A website builder is an online platform that allows users of all skill levels to quickly set up and create their own sites. Though each platform is unique and provide different features at varying price points, nearly every one includes the following:
- Free SSL certificates for better protection
- Mobile responsive templates to facilitate smartphones and tablets
- Included hosting for your website, though how much storage and bandwidth will vary
- Access to free and paid templates or other customization options
Does Google Have a Free Website Builder?
Back in 2017, the search engine turned tech giant launched Google My Business, a free tool to help businesses promote themselves through Google Search and Maps. Though the free service predominantly focused on helping businesses get searchable business profiles, it also offered a free website builder to help entrepreneurs create a simple website.
Google's website builder extracts information from a company's Google Business profile to automatically generate a page. Once complete, you can customize what's on the page, including the entire template. Needless to say, this option isn't as robust as the other services listed above, but it remains a viable option if you don't need more than a simple business website or landing page.
Should I Build My Own Website or Pay Someone?
If you choose to pay someone to build your site, be prepared to pay a fair amount of money if you want to utilize a freelance web designer's specialized set of skills. According to FreshBooks, a freelance web designer typically charges $75 per hour, with a good business website coming in anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000.
Are Website Builders Worth It?
Whether or not a website builder is worthwhile depends on how much you're willing to spend, how soon you need your website to go live, and how hands-on you want to be throughout the entire process. If your time is valuable as a business owner and you don't want to pay a premium for a custom-built website, then a website builder may be worth it to you.
Luckily, many website builders offer a slate of features that not only make the entire process easier but allow for greater customization and scalability. If you decide to use a website builder, you can rest easy knowing that you're not necessarily tied down to that vendor's system.
How Scalable Are Website Builders?
In our research, we found some website builders were more scalable than others. In some cases, we found instances where the highest-paid subscription tier that wasn't an enterprise subscription didn't come with a large storage limit, which would prove to be a problem for certain businesses that sell digital downloads, for instance. Other website builders imposed limits on how much bandwidth a site could use in a month so that if a site were to suddenly become popular, it could experience service issues or be removed from the hosting service altogether.
The best solutions for scalability tend to offer unlimited storage and bandwidth, have low or non-existent transaction fees, and provide the tools needed to keep building on top of your existing site as your needs grow.
How We Chose the Best Website Builders
We researched 22 web hosting services with an included online website builder by collecting information from their websites, seeking out customer reviews, and spending some time with the free version whenever possible. Each one was evaluated based on several factors, including how easy the website builder is to use, available design options, and its suitability for businesses, leading to the eventual selection of the final six. Each criterion was weighted differently based on the category. For example, a website builder's transaction fees mattered more in the e-commerce section, while the number of templates and web design options carried more weight in the prepackaged designs category.