Website builders help you create professional websites in minutes. They can be used to create blogs, business websites, resumes, online portfolios, eCommerce stores and more.
All you have to do is select a pre-made website design, move things around using a drag and drop page builder and then add your content. That’s all there is to it as the website building service takes care of hosting and all website maintenance. This simple approach to creating a website is why website building services are popular with beginners and experienced website owners alike.
In this article, I would like to share with you what I consider to be the best eleven website building services available online.
1. WordPress.com – FREE / $4+ Per Month
WordPress.com is the hosted version of the world’s most popular CMS. Dozens of responsive website designs are available free of charge, however there is also a large market for premium WordPress.com themes for customers.
The service offers a beautiful drag and drop visual editor, built-in stats, support for social media sharing and a host of desktop and mobile apps to help you update and maintain your website whilst on the move.
In many ways, the experience of creating a website using WordPress.com is better than the self-hosted version of the platform as it’s less bloated. Plus you don’t have to worry about as many website maintenance tasks as WordPress.com takes care of these for you.
The free version of WordPress.com comes with 3GB of storage, however this plan is supported by ads and all websites are hosted at a WordPress.com sub-domain. Their entry-level Personal plan costs an effective rate of $4 per month. Since all WordPress.com plans are charged annually, you will be charged $48 . It removes advertising, adds a free domain name, increases storage to 6GB and gives email support. It also allows you to take payments through your website and offer content and newsletters to paying subscribers.
The $8 per month Premium plan increases storage to 13GB and gives you access to unlimited premium WordPress themes. It also adds support for PayPal, Google Analytics and VideoPress. Business and eCommerce plans are also available at an effective rate of $25 and $45 per month, respectively. These plans increase storage to 200GB and give you access to WordPress plugins, SEO tools and automated backups. The more expensive eCommerce plan helps you sell an unlimited number of products and services around the world.
2. Webflow – $12+ Per Month
A large selection of SEO tools are built into Webflow and you can create an advanced eCommerce store that supports custom delivery options and payments from multiple payment processors. Whilst Webflow is a great option for shop owners, it is not a good choice for bloggers. The whole experience of writing in Webflow is frustrating and you are restricted to publishing 100 pages. Blog posts are categorised with other content as collections, however collection limits are thankfully higher.
Two websites can be created and staged in Webflow free of charge, but you will need to select a premium plan when you want to publish your website. Their Basic plan costs an effective rate of $12 per month if paid annually or $15 if you pay monthly. It supports custom domains and allows 100 pages, 500 form submissions, 25,000 monthly visitors and 50GB of CDN bandwidth.
The CMS plan costs an effective rate of $16 per month if paid annually or $20 if you pay monthly. It increases form submissions to 1,000, traffic to 100,000 monthly visitors and CDN bandwidth to 200GB. This plan also includes 2,000 collection items, three content editors and support for site search, which are features which are sorely missed from the Basic plan.
There’s also a Business plan that costs an effective rate of $36 per month if you pay annually or $45 if you pay monthly. This plan increases monthly visitors to 1,000,000 and increases collection and CDN bandwidth allocations too.
3. Squarespace – $12+ Per Month
Squarespace is one of the best website building services on the market and one of the oldest website building companies online, being launched in 2004 (a year before WordPress.com).
Their service has a huge collection of beautiful designs and a minimalistic website designer which has many options to help you publish portfolios, blogs and online shops. It supports dozens of content types and supports multiple user access levels, password protection, custom redirects, social media sharing, an image editor and advanced eCommerce support for selling products, services and subscriptions.
Squarespace also integrates with dozens of third-party products and services. This opens the doors to streamlining publication, email marketing, custom retention and more.
There are four plans available for Squarespace and all plans come with a free domain name and unlimited bandwidth and storage. The plans are Personal, Business, Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce. These retail at $16, $26, $30 and $46, per month, however if you pay annually, the effective monthly price reduces to $12, $18, $26 and $40.
The Personal plan gives you basic metrics and access to third-party extensions. If you move up to the Business plan, you unlock advanced analytics, a host of marketing tools and the option of building an eCommerce website. The Commerce plans reduce transaction fees from 3% to 0% and adds additional eCommerce analytics and features.
Be sure to take advantage of Squarespace’s 14 day free trial before selecting a premium plan for your website.
4. Duda – $14+ Per Month
Most website building companies put a lot of energy into attracting beginners to their service, however Duda was developed specifically for website agencies, SaaS platforms and hosting companies. Using its drag and drop website designer, you can create websites in seconds and scale them for customers.
Duda offers a large collection of website templates and pre-made sections as well as a large content library of images, galleries, icons, widgets and more. White labelling is available too and there’s a host of tools for collaborating with team members and managing clients.
Integrations are also available for marketing services, social media platforms and video websites such as YouTube and Vimeo.
A 14 day free trial of Duda is available to help you test their service. After which, you need to select one of three plans: Basic, Team or Agency. The plans retail at an effective monthly rate of $14, $22 and $44 per month, but are billed annually.
Each plan allows a limited number of websites, however additional websites can be added to your account for a fee. Ecommerce functionality is based upon how many products your store sells. It’s $7.25 per month for 100 products, $19.25 per month for 2,500 products and $39 per month for unlinted products.
The Basic plan allows one website and one team member. It is not a practical solution for most users as it restricts access to the content library and does not include website comments or website analytics. The Team plan allows one website and four team members and the Agency plan allows four websites and ten members. Both of these plans unlock collaboration and management features, though you will need to opt for the Agency plan to gain access to instant websites, website exporting and a widget builder.
5. Weebly – FREE / $6 Per Month
Weebly is a flexible website builder that lets you create traditional websites or online stores. It boasts a large collection of responsive website themes and a drag and drop website builder that supports custom fonts, video backgrounds, animation effects and image editing.
It has tools for blogging, SEO, social media, email marketing and website security. Detailed website analytics are provided too and there’s a Weebly mobile app that helps you manage your websites on the move.
Weebly offer a free website plan that has 500MB of storage. It stores your website at a mybusiness.com sub-domain and includes search engine optimisation, email lead captures and contact forms. The Personal plan costs an effective rate of $6 per month if paid annually or $9 per month if paid monthly. This plan gives you the same amount of website storage, but allows you to use your own custom domain
Weebly ads are understandably displayed on websites hosted on free plans, but they are also displayed on websites hosted on Personal plans. Although the Personal plan is cheap, it’s disappointing to see a premium plan display advertisements. On a positive note, users under the free plan also gain access to a support forum, chat support and email support.
The Professional plan costs an effective rate of $12 per month if paid annually or $16 per month if you pay monthly. This plan removes advertisements and adds website searching, advanced website statistics, shopping cart functionality and telephone support. The Performance plan costs an effective rate of $26 per month if paid annually or $29 per month if you pay monthly. It adds advanced website statistics and unlocks eCommerce functionality.
Annoyingly, Weebly separates their plan structure between regular websites and online stores, despite the fact the performance plan has eCommerce functionality. Even more confusing is the fact that Weebly calls their plans by different names in other regions. For example, in some countries, the Personal plan is called Connect, the Professional plan is called Pro and the Performance plan is called Business.
The top online store plan is called in Business Plus in most countries. Retailing at an effective rate of $38 per month if paid annually or $46 per month if paid monthly, it offers shipping discounts, abandoned cart emails and real-time shipping. Apart from the entry-level Personal (Connect) plan, all plans come packaged with a free domain name and $100 worth of Google Ads credit.
6. Ghost – $29 Per Month
Boasting a gorgeous editor that makes writing an absolute pleasure, Ghost is rightfully recognised by many as a fantastic platform blogging. I agree with this and would add that from a blogging perspective, Ghost is a better option than Medium as you will at least own your own content.
Ghost is not just for blogs though. It’s a true content management system that can be used to develop traditional websites.
It has a minimal user-interface that boasts a powerful editor, built-in content delivery network, email newsletter functionality, SEO tools and integration support for dozens of third-party products and services. As you would expect, users also gain access to a large collection of professional website designs too.
Ghost’s membership functionality can be used to sell premium content and build subscription-based membership websites and online courses.
A 14 day free trial is available to help you test Ghost. You will then need to select one of three plans. All plans give you access to the same features, however the top plan gives you a custom SSL certificate and lets you run Ghost on a sub-directory.
The Basic plan costs an effective rate of $29 per month if billed annually or $36 per month if you would prefer to pay monthly. It allows 100,000 monthly views, two staff users and 1,000 members. The Standard plan sells at an effective rate of $79 per month if paid annually or $99 per month if paid monthly. It increases your allocation to 500,000 monthly views, five staff users and 8,000 members.
The most expensive plan is the Business plan. Retailing at an effective rate of $199 per month if paid annually or $249 per month if paid monthly. It allows up to 1,000,000 views per month, 15 staff users and 35,000 members.
7. SITE123 – FREE / $12.80 Per Month
SITE123 is an affordable website building service that has a large collection of mobile-friendly website designs
When you create a new website, Site123 asks what type of website you want to build. 16 categories are available including business, online store, blog, photography, events and music. Once you have named your website, you will see Site123’s user-friendly drag and drop page builder. From here, you can add pages, add text, change colours, apply templates and more.
In comparison to other services, Site123’s page builder lacks the advanced settings that are found in other website builders, however I have no doubt that beginner’s will appreciate its simplicity.
Everyone will love the straightforward and affordable pricing policy that SITE123 have adopted too. There’s a free plan and one premium plan available. Given how confusing plan comparisons become with companies such as Weebly, it’s refreshing to see a company simplify the upgrade process.
Their free plan has 500MB of storage and 1GB of bandwidth. The main downside is that a SITE123 floating tag will be displayed on your website.
SITE123 Premium costs $12.80 per month and removes the floating tag, gives you a free website domain name for one year and lets you use your own custom domain name if you wish. It also increases your resource allocation to 10GB of storage and 5GB of bandwidth. Premium plan customers also gain access to eCommerce features and functionality.
Despite offering users a free plan, SITE123 still offer a 14 day money back guarantee to those who choose to upgrade to the premium plan.
8. Jimdo – FREE / $9+ Per Month
Jimdo is a website building service that helps you create business websites, blogs, portfolios and online stores. It features a modern drag and drop builder that supports layout designs using blocks.
The service offers many unique features for businesses including a GDPR-compliant legal text generator and an option to sync your website business listings on over ten platforms. Social media is supported too and all customers gain access to a large copyright-free image library.
Interestingly, if you build an online store with Jimdo, there are no transaction fees for the products you sell. Many payment options are available for your online stores and you can manage orders straight from your smartphone.
Three website plans are available for Jimdo: Play, Start and Grow. There are also three online store plans: Basic, Business and VIP. All plan prices are displayed on a monthly basis, however these are an effective rate as they are charged annually.
The ad-supported Play plan is free to use. It gives you a website at a jimdosite.com sub-domain, 500MB of storage, 2GB of bandwith and five website pages.
The $9 per month Start plan increases storage to 5GB, bandwidth to 10GB and website pages to ten. It also adds website statistics and SEO indexing, removes advertisements and lets you use your own custom domain name. The $15 per month Grow plan upgrades storage to 15GB, bandwidth to 20GB and website pages to 50. Support times are also improved from one to two days to within four hours.
The Basic online store plan costs $15 per month and gives basic shop features, 10GB of storage and ten website pages. The $19 per month Business plan increases storage to 15GB and pages to 50. It also adds additional product layouts.
The most expensive online plan is the $39 per month VIP plan. It offers unlimited storage and pages, support response times of less than an hour and additional features such as business listings.
9. Zyro – FREE / $1.99+ Per Month
Next up is the affordable website building solution Zyro. The service comes with a large collection of responsive website templates to help you build blogs, business websites, portfolios and online stores.
Once you have selected a website design, you can adjust your layout and change images, text, colours and backgrounds, using the Zyro drag and drop page builder. Zyro offers customers many additional tools too. This includes a logo maker, blog title generator, heatmap and an AI generator that automatically fills your website with content. You will find these tools elsewhere online, but it is good to see them included within the Zyro suite.
Zyro is undoubtedly one of the most affordable eCommerce solutions online, but it still has everything you need to sell products and services. It supports payments from multiple payment processors, is commission-free and supports unlimited products, discounts and gift codes.
It is difficult to pinpoint the usual price of Zyro as they always have sales on that discount prices by between 50% and 85%.
Their ad-supported Free plan allows 500MB of storage and 500MB of bandwidth. This is suitable for testing their platform and getting started, but with their premium plans costing so little, it makes sense to upgrade.
Four premium plans are available for Zyro: Basic, Unleashed, Ecommerce and Ecommerce+. At the time of writing, these plans retail at $1.99 per month, $2.99 per month, $8.99 per month and $13.99 per month, respectively.
All plans share a core set of features. This includes a 30-day money-back guarantee, removal of advertisements, use of a custom domain, ad-removal and access to all website templates. The Basic plan offers 1GB of storage and 3GB of bandwidth, but all other plans have unlimited storage and bandwith and the addition of a free domain.
The Unleashed plan builds upon the Basic plan by adding advanced features such as Google Analytics and social media integration. As the name suggests, the Ecommerce plan allows you to create an online store, but if you move up to the Ecommerce+ plan, you get additional features such as abandoned cart recovery, multiple languages, product filters and dedicated stores for Facebook, Instagram and Amazon.
10. Yola – FREE / $4.95+ Per Month
Yola is a stylish website builder that offers a modern drag and drop page builder and a large collection of mobile-friendly website templates.
The service offers support for multiple languages and lets you easily integrate contact forms, YouTube videos, Google Maps and more.
Yola have a free plan that hosts two websites and two pages on a Yola sub-domain. Not only are two languages and 1GB of storage are provided with this plan, no advertisements are displayed and you can also use your pla to create an online store free of charge.
Three premium plans are available: Bronze, Silver and Gold. These retail at $7.95 per month, $15.95 per month and $29.95 per month, however if you pay yearly you get two months of free service. This drops the effective monthly price to $4.95 per month, $11.95 per month and $23.95 per month, respectively. All premium plans come with a 30 day money back guarantee.
The Bronze plan allows five websites, 1,000 pages, two languages and 2GB of storage. It also lets you use your own custom domain name and features website analytics and customer support. Moving up to the Silver plan gives you an unlimited number of languages and increases your allocation to 25 websites and 5GB of storage. It also gives website backups and lets you remove Yopa branding and edit custom code. The Gold plan is similar to the Silver plan. It just adds unlimited storage and SEO monitoring.
You can launch an online store with any Yola plan, however there are three additional eCommerce addons for those who want to expand their online shop. Basic costs $12.50 per month, Professional costs $29.17 per month and Unlimited costs $82.50 per month. Each plan unlocks additional eCommerce features such as inventory tracking, gift cards, coupons and a product catalogue.
11. Webs – FREE / $5.99 Per Month
Webs is an affordable website building service that boasts an easy-to-use drag and drop page builder. It has a large number of customisable responsive templates, great social media support and features such as local listings, galleries and advanced analytics.
Webs can be used to create a membership website and supports password protection of pages and storage for files and videos. You can use Webs to create an online shop too. PayPal and Stripe are supported and there’s over 450 eCommerce shop templates to choose from.
A free plan for Webs hosts your website on a Webs sub-domain and is supported by advertising.
All Webs premium plans come allow you to use your own custom domain and remove all Webs branding. They all generously include an unlimited number of pages too. Unfortunately, the cost of Webs plans are all based on a two year subscription. If you want to pay monthly or annually, the cost is higher (although prices are still highly competitive).
The Webs Starter plan costs only $5.95 per month and offers 1GB of storage and basic statistics. Upgrading to the $12.99 Enhanced plan gives you 5GB of storage, advanced statistics, access to premium themes and custom email addresses.
The Pro plan costs $22.99 per month. It offers unlimited storage, unlimited web store items and improved SEO support.
Why Isn’t Wix Included?
If you are looked into website builders before, you may be wondering why Wix is not included in my article. The reason is simple: I cannot recommend them.
I dealt with the company as an affiliate many years ago and they were terrible to work with. Their customer service was awful and they have screwed website owers like myself over by not paying us.
If you look in the comment section of my video above, you will see many disgruntled Wix users who have had poor experiences with the company. Of course, if you dig deep enough and research any website building company, you will find complaints from current customers and former customers, however Wix are widely recognised as one of the worst website building services to deal with.
Obviously, you are free to choose any website builder you want and if you choose Wix, I hope your experience with them is better than mine, but it is not a service I can recommend.
As you can see, the market for website builders is competitive. There’s never been a better time to build a website for such little effort, time and money.
There are pros and cons to using each service, therefore I encourage you to test each service yourself to see if their features and functionality match your expectations. This is important to do as most website building companies charge annually for their services, therefore changing to another service could be costly. So be sure to take advantage of free plans and free trials wherever possible.
Every project is unique so you should be prepared to use different services for different projects too. For example, you may use Ghost for a blog, Squarespace for your online store and Jimdo for a client’s business website.
Here is a quick summary of all website builders that were featured in this article:
- WordPress.com – The hosted version of the most popular CMS on the internet
- Webflow – A user-friendly website builder, but bloggers should avoid this one
- Squarespace – A refined website building experience with beautiful website templates
- Duda – Helps agencies and hosting companies create and scale websites for clients
- Weebly – A versatile website building solution
- Ghost – Provides an amazing writing experience and lets you sell memberships
- SITE123 – A solid website building service with a sensible pricing policy
- Jimdo – A good choice for business owners
- Zyro – One of the most affordable website builders online
- Yola – A stylish solution with a free plan that has no advertisements and support for creating online shops
- Webs – A flexible solution that gives you a lot of bang for your buck
Thanks for reading.