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The best website builder services in 2021

Best website builders
(Image credit: Tranmautritam via Pexels)

Using the best website builders, you can make yourself a fantastic-looking website without needing to hire a dedicated web designer. And the best part is that you don't need to know anything about coding! Website builders are more intuitive than ever, and their easy-to-use interfaces mean that with a big of template selection and a bit of dragging and dropping, you can have a professional-looking website for whatever you're planning to show off.

Whether you want to show off photography, recipes, digital art or anything else, it's easy to use a website builder to get it up and online, often in less than an hour. But there are plenty of website builders to choose from, and they all come with different pricing plans. Which to choose? We've put together this guide to help you decide. 

If you want a functioning website then you not only need to design it, but also host it. Many of the website designers we've included here offer hosting packages too, but you can also check out our list of the  best web hosting services if you want to shop around. 

We've collected here the best general-purpose website builders –we also have guides to the best website builder for artists and the best website builder for photographers if these are specifically what you're looking for. Also, if you have no money whatsoever to spend on making your site (and are happy to accept some limitations), you can skip straight to the end of the guide below where we've compiled the best free website builders

Otherwise, see below for quick links to our top 3 picks for the best website builder available now, or continue reading for our full guide with more options.

The best website builders today: our top 3

The best website builder services in full

Best website builder services

The best website builder: Wix (Image credit: Wix/Future)

01. Wix

The best website builder overall

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: Yes
Templates: 800+
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Lots of templates+Free version
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks advanced developer tools 

Wix is the best website builder for the vast majority of users. It's a cinch to use, it's very affordable, and it very likely does everything you need it to. This earns it the #1 spot on our list.

The moment you boot up the Wix builder, you can tell that the top design goal was to make things super-simple. Even people who've never done anything similar to building a website before will find the template selection and drag-and-drop interface easy to pick up and use. With more than 800 templates to choose from, it also helps stave off the homogeneity of other website builders, where every user tends to choose one of the small number of most popular templates. 

Pricing of Wix varies depending on your needs. There is a free tier, but it is pretty heavily restricted; you only get 500MB storage space and 1GB bandwidth, which will visit the number of people who can visit your site. Then when they do, they'll find themselves seeing a lot of Wix ads on the site, plus the URL will be Wix-branded (meaning it will read something like username.wixsite.com/siteaddress). The free tier is fine for testing the water or demonstrating a proof of concept, but if you want a serious public-facing site, it's best to pay. 

Fortunately, Wix's paid plans are extremely reasonable. They allow you to customise your domain, remove the ads, increase your bandwidth and storage, and even add an online store. In short, this flexible web builder really does offer something for everyone, although if you are an experienced web designer or developer you'll probably prefer Wix's new Editor X platform, which has more advanced tools. 

See our Wix review for more info.

Best website builder services

The best website builder: Gator (Image credit: Hostgator/Future)

02. Gator

The best website builder for launching a basic site

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: No
Templates: 200
Reasons to buy
+Get sites live quickly+Good customer support
Reasons to avoid
-No free plan or trial-Limited blog features

Gator is one of the best options for getting online fast, especially if you don't need anything more than a basic website. Gator, specifically, is the website-building service offered by web hosting company HostGator, and it provides an intuitive drag-and-drop editor with a selection of 200 pre-made templates. Handily, it's also integrated with free stock photo library Unsplash, making it easy to populate your site with striking imagery.

Gator isn't the most sophisticated web builder on the list. It doesn't allow for scheduling blog posts or adding comment boxes for visitors. But as we mentioned, if all you need is a basic, straightforward website, it's a good choice, and you'll be able to put one together very quickly. 

There's no free tier, but the starter plan is very cheap. HostGator also offers an impressive range of help options in case you run into trouble. Customer support is available via live chat, email, or (unusually) on the phone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Overall, if it's a basic website you're after, this is the best website builder for your needs. 

For full details, see our Gator review.

Best website builder services

The best website builder: Squarespace (Image credit: Squarespace/Future)

03. Squarespace

The best website builder for creatives

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: No
Templates: 110
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful designs+Focus on creatives
Reasons to avoid
-No free plan-Not the cheapest

Squarespace has deservedly garnered a great reputation in the creative community for its stylish templates and easy-to-use interface. If you've spent any time around the internet you've almost certainly seen ads for it, and we're pleased to report that the hype is justified. It's definitely the best website builder for creatives. 

The templates offer acres of white space, making them perfect for hosting a portfolio and making it look professional. This isn't the only trick however, as Squarespace will also let you build a blog or an online shopfront or whatever else you might need. There are templates available for specific types of business, everything from wedding venues to clothing designers, and there are some handy SEO tools to help drive traffic to your site. 

The drag-and-drop interface generally works well, providing some handy prompts wherever you hover your mouse. It's not quite as smooth as Wix’s or Hostgator's, requiring a little more fiddling, but there's no denying that the templates are nicer looking, and you can customise them to a finer degree, so there is a payoff. The other thing to note is that Squarespace is also a little pricier, and there's no free plan, although there is a 14-day free trial.

For more info, see our Squarespace review and our Squarespace vs Wix comparison.

Best website builder services

The best website builder: Jimdo (Image credit: Jimdo/Future)

The best website builder for complete beginners

Specifications
Free trial: No
Free version: Yes
Templates: 100+
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Sites load quickly+Free plan
Reasons to avoid
-Limited customer support 

If you've already tried other website builders and found them tricky to use, Jimdo is well worth a look. It's a little short on features, but the plus side of that is that the interface is very simple to grasp. It's generally only useful for creating quite basic sites, but again that has its advantages since the site will generally load quickly for the user. 

There's a free plan that gives you all the basic features but also a lot of ads, and your site's URL will end in .jimdosite.com. A paid plan allows you to change that. One disadvantage, however, is that there’s no live chat or phone support, and unless you’re on the most expensive plan, you’ll have to wait up to two days for an email response. That aside, this is the best website builder for beginners who really want things to be as simple as possible. 

See our Jimdo review for more details.

Best website builder services

The best website builder: IONOS (Image credit: 1&1 IONOS/Future)

05. 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite Now

The best website builder for small businesses

Specifications
Free trial: 30 day money-back guarantee
Free version: No
Templates: 400
Reasons to buy
+Focus on small business+Good support+First six months free
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

1&1 is well known in the web hosting world, and its web builder, MyWebsite Now, is also very popular. Both services are squarely targeted small businesses. This becomes obvious when you see MyWebsite Now's 400 templates, most of which are focused on specific business types and can be searched by topic or keyword. 

What's great about this website builder's interface is that it has lots of options for customising your site, but they're cleverly hidden inside popups to keep the interface clear and uncluttered. It also offers 24/7 phone support with decent response times. While this service isn't super cheap, we'd recommend this as the best website builder for many businesses. 

For more details, read our 1&1 IONOS review.

Best website builder services

The best website builder: Voog (Image credit: Voog/Future)

06. Voog

The best website builder for more control

Specifications
Free trial: 30 days
Free version: No
Templates: 14
Reasons to buy
+Powerful controls+Good customisation options+Supports multiple languages
Reasons to avoid
-Limited number of templates

If you’ve got some website building experience and want finer control over the design of your site, Voog is a very good option. The platform was created by the two heads of a digital agency, who were frustrated by having to build a content management system (CMS) for every website they built for clients. They decided to create a universal CMS that anyone could use to create websites, and Voog is the result. 

We should clarify that Voog is not a good option for beginners, but it is an excellent choice for web designers or developers who want a high degree of customisation. There are only 14 templates available, but each one is very well designed, and there are good ecommerce and payment features. The blogging editor is particularly powerful and feature-rich.

Another highlight of Voog is its support for multiple languages. It takes just a few clicks to make your site available in, for example, English, French and German; this can be either be selected from the menu by your visitors, or the site can automatically change language based on their location. 

See our Voog review for more details.

Best website builder services

The best website builder: Weebly (Image credit: Weebly/Future)

07. Weebly

The best website builder for cheap ecommerce

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: Yes
Templates: 50+
Reasons to buy
+Low-cost ecommerce +Very easy to use+Limited support outside US
Reasons to avoid
-Limited payment options

Weebly is quite similar to Wix in terms of platform and pricing, and choosing between them comes down to the small details. For example, while Weebly's drag and drop interface is very easy to use like Wix's, it’s not quite as feature-rich. That's generally seen as a negative, but it does also mean that it offers a smaller learning curve. 

One clear plus, however, is that Weebly offers a cheaper and better ecommerce plan than Wix’s, although your options for taking payments are limited to Stripe, PayPal, and Square. If you're a US resident, you also get live chat and phone support (people outside the States have to rely on email).

You can access free images within the interface, and you can export your site to another platform by downloading it onto a zip file. However, do note that you can’t continuously save different versions of your site online like you can with Wix. 

For more details, see our full Weebly review.

Best website builder services

The best website builder: Duda (Image credit: Duda/Future)

08. Duda

The best website builder for a mobile focus

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: No
Templates: 100
Reasons to buy
+Generous free plan+Mobile-focused+Save site as a template
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

Founded in 2009 by two coders who saw the impact the iPhone was going to have on web browsing, Duda was specifically designed to make websites perform well on mobile. While all the best website builder platforms now promise this, it's baked into the DNA of Duda in a multitude of ways. For example, when you click on the thumbnail for a particular template, you can instantly preview how it looks on desktop, smartphone, and tablet. You get the same viewing options once you start building your site as well. 

On the whole, Duda offers a slick, quick and responsive way to build a cross-platform website. We especially like how you can duplicate a site you’ve created, or save it as a template. This would be particularly useful for commercial designers building multiple mini-sites for a brand, for example.

For more information, see our Duda review

The best free website builders

If you have no money at all to create your website, there are free options that you can consider, but note that they all come with significant limitations. Also note that Wix, Jimdo and Weebly mentioned above all offer free versions, so if you're not ready to start a paid builder yet but might want to upgrade your site in the future, it might be better to try one of those options.

Best website builder services

The best website builder: IM Creator (Image credit: IM Creator/Future)

01. IM Creator

A free website builder for students, artists and nonprofits

Reasons to buy
+Free, unlimited hosting for some+Good range of templates+Ecommerce functionality
Reasons to avoid
-Have to apply for free access

If you're a student, artist or work for a non-profit, you can apply for a free account with IM Creator. This isn't particularly easy: you have to provide written proof, and explain why you need a website. But if you succeed, you'll get a free website builder with unlimited hosting, no intrusive ads, and the option of adding online shopping features to your site.

IM Creator offers a massive range of website templates in categories ranging from art and design to health and wellness. And while its interface is not as user-friendly and easy-to use as, say, Wix or Hostgator, you can't really complain if it's costing you nothing at all.

To find out more, read our IM Creator review

Best website builder services

The best website builder: WordPress (Image credit: Wordpress/Future)

02. WordPress

The best open source website builder

Reasons to buy
+Good documentation+Fine control over your site
Reasons to avoid
-Big learning curve-Hosting isn't free

First launched in 2003, WordPress.org is open source software that's allowed generations of people to build websites for free. Note that it should not be confused with WordPress.com, which is a paid-for service (see our WordPress.com review for more on that).

Be aware that WordPress.org only gives you web builder software for free – you'll still need to pay for a domain name and web hosting. Also, the software is not the easiest to use. While it doesn't require coding knowledge, there's still a steep learning curve, requiring you to read a lot of documentation. 

On the upside, there are countless third-party templates (known as 'themes') to make things easier. This can give you a much finer degree of control over how your website looks and feels than most of the paid-for website builders on this list. You can get started by following our guide to WordPress for beginners and our introductory tutorial, How to make a website.

There's a big, lively community surrounding WordPress to provide help and support, not to mention a ton of tutorials online. Check out our guide to the best WordPress tutorials for more on that.  

Best website builder services

The best website builder: Joomla (Image credit: Joomla/Future)

03. Joomla!

Open source web builder platfom with free hosting

Reasons to buy
+Free hosting option+High level of control+Friendly community
Reasons to avoid
-Big learning curve

Joomla! is another open source provider of free software you can use to build your own website. And unlike WordPress, if you build your site via launch.joomla.org, you can even get free hosting, and a free domain (ending in joomla.com). Choosing this option means you don't have to download any software either.

Like WordPress, there is quite a steep learning curve, but you'll be able to customise your website to your heart's content. One drawback is that Joomla! isn't quite as popular as WordPress, so there'll be fewer articles and people to support your training. However, Joomla! fans will argue that smaller numbers are made up for by the passion, enthusiasm and friendliness surrounding this niche community.

See our Joomla review for more. 

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design, photography and tech. He is author of Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books. He has previously been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine.