Website Developer & Designer.

Been involved with website development since 2004.

Website builders use drag and dropLast update: October 9th, 2018.

Until now, I had never used a website builder before…

Having developed websites for a while, I’d rather dive straight into coding HTML, CSS and PHP. And avoid those drag-and-drop functions that website builders have.

I was pretty skeptical.

However, I was positively surprised by the ease-of-use and customization options that some of these website builders have.

Especially for the cost. Unfortunately, I also ended up trying website builders that were just outdated or used sketchy billing strategies (hint: #10).

Website builders vs. hiring a web developer?

A good custom website could easily cost $2000 (on the low end). Making changes could still require a freelance designer and developer to help you continually update your site (additional $$$).

Yet, for only a few dollars each month, some of these website builders below could give you almost everything you’d ever want at less than 1% of the cost.

Not to mention, you can easily login yourself and change copy, upload images, or add new pages within seconds (all without calling for tech support).

Website builders for Who?

Website builders are the perfect solution for individuals or small businesses with low budgets. Just to name few of them:

  • small business owners
  • writers
  • musicians
  • artists
  • photographers
  • wedding planners
  • and so on…

Here’s What I Did To Uncover Website Builders:

Website Builders testUnlike many other blogs you might read on this same topic, I really spent some money and signed up with each one – so you’ll be able to see the “test sites” I made.

My goal is to provide a review, by actually going through each product in detail, to help you make the best decision.

Here’s the process I took:

1. I signed up with the top 10 website builders (I paid for them).

I searched on Google until I had a list of 10 most popular website builders on the market.

2. Setup a simple ‘5-minute’ test website.

After signing up with them, I decided to make a quick ‘5-minute’ website on my own domain name, like websitesetup-wix.com and websitesetup-yola.com etc.

3. Monitored each site’s uptime and page load times (1-12 months, ongoing).

Over a period of 1 to 12 months (still ongoing), I monitored my websites uptime and page load times via Pingdom.com. Some of my sites had more than 24 hours of downtime…(!)

4. Uncovered the TRUE cost of each website builder.

Many of these website builders trick you with their low introductory prices, like letting you set up a website for free. But once you want to launch it, you’ll need to pay. That’s why it’s VERY important to check the pricing before you set up a website with them.

This last point is especially important because most website builders will claim to be ‘free’ even though you’re gonna be forced to take out that credit card at some point.

So before we dive into the detailed review of the top ten website builders, here are the gory pricing details.

Read why...

Best Website Builders 2019 (Review)

Keep in mind that the usability is the most important factor of a website builder. Second is uptime, third is speed, and the least important factor (for me) is the price.

Full disclosure: I earn a commission if you end up purchasing a SiteBuilder, Site123 or Wix through my referral links in this review. This is how I keep WebsiteSetup.org up and running and there are no extra costs to you at all. Regardless, I only recommend website builders that I’ve personally used and found reliable and simple.

 WEBSITE BUILDER PRICE  SPEED  UPTIME  USABILITY  MY RATING
SiteBuilder $3.84 701ms 99.99% BEST ★★★★★
Site123 $10.80 777ms 99.99% GOOD ★★★★
Wix $5.00 613ms 99.93% GOOD ★★★★
Jimdo $7.50 404ms 99.96% AVERAGE ★★★
GoDaddy Website Builder $5.99 260ms 99.99% AVERAGE ★★★
WordPress.com $4.00 373ms 100% TOO LIMITED ★★
Squarespace $12.00 403ms 99.99% AVERAGE
Weebly $8.00 947ms 99.64% TERRIBLE
Webs $5.99 551ms 99.47% TERRIBLE
Web.com BAD BILLING

Without further ado, let’s dive into a detailed review of each website builder. Starting with the best, narrowing it down until we reach the ones to avoid.

1. SiteBuilder (www.SiteBuilder.com)

Best “All Around” Website Builder

SiteBuilder review
Visit SiteBuilder.com

CONS of SiteBuilder Website Builder

#1. Emails cost extra at $5/monthly through Google’s GSuite. (You’ll notice that this is a pretty common tactic across nearly every website builder on this list.)

#2. Ecommerce plans are only available on the most expensive plan. HOWEVER, that plan is currently only priced at $9.22/month. It’s promotional for the first year (about 50% what it usually is), but it’s easily the cheapest ecommerce option available here.

PROS of SiteBuilder Website Builder

#1. SiteBuilder is a very reputable option with over 200,000 users.

#2. With over 1,200 template options, I honestly don’t think you’ll find more design options to pick from.

#3. As mentioned, they boast an awesome (and affordable) e-commerce product to build a fully-functioning online store. Each template is extremely easy to customize as well. Just point, click and adjust.

SiteBuilder Usability

#4. SiteBuilder gives its users a free domain name for the first year, and not forcing any ads on your site under any plan, either.

#5. My test site saw excellent uptime over the last six months, only going down for about two minutes across two outages. That’s almost as good as it gets over 99.99%.

SiteBuilder Uptime
Sitebuilder average uptime and speed (last 6 months)

#6. SiteBuilder’s friendly support rep hopped on our live chat session within seconds. They were helpful throughout, answering my (many) questions with personal detail. They didn’t just link out to a bunch of support docs and force me to manually comb through, looking for a needle in a haystack. Very positive experience!

SiteBuilder Live Chat

 

They are also currently running a massive 50% discount. So if you purchase a 12 or 24-month plan, you’ll not only get a free domain but lock-in a lot of savings, too.

For example, I paid $143.76 for two full years. The $16 domain was free as well.

Sitebuilder pricing in 2018

Just keep in mind that renewal prices will adjust back to the normal rate. That means you’ll often lose the initial discount.

You’ll notice below that pretty much all website builders do this. So try to lock in a longer term if possible to save the most.

Do I recommend it? YES.

SiteBuilder is at the top of my list.

There are tons and tons and tons of theme options that can be easily modified by dragging and dropping sections.

The current promotions they’re running right now are awesome, too. You get a free domain name for the entire first year. And, the e-commerce plan is significantly less than any other website builder on this list.

All of those reasons, plus near-flawless uptime, make it an excellent place to start.

Very easy to use, professional and reliable website builder (out of 10 I’ve used).

Visit SiteBuilder.com

Here’s my 5-minute test site. (Bet you can do better in 5 minutes.)

2. Site123 (www.Site123.com)

Very Simple and Straightforward Website Builder

Site123 review
Visit Site123.com

CONS of Site123 Website Builder

#1. I found customer service to be a little lacking.

For example, I tried asking about how many users they have, how many template options, etc. Yet, they wouldn’t be transparent and answer anything, instead of responding with, “In our webtool support department we do not have access to information concerning how many clients we have.”

Site123 Customer Service

Seems more like they just didn’t feel like finding the answer for me.

And when I asked a few other standard questions, they would just give me a link to the answer.

#2. Standard pricing is pretty good, but the bigger plans get really expensive quickly.

For example, the Gold and Professional plans range from $22.80 – 28.80 per month paid annually.

Site123 Pricing

PROS of Site123 Website Builder

#1. Emails are thrown in on three out of four plans. Hooray!

#2. Ecommerce is heavily supported with a huge, dedicated help section.

#3. From what I can tell (they wouldn’t confirm), there are at least a few hundred design templates to choose from. They’re both visually pleasing easy to navigate!

You can reorder pages or posts in minutes by clicking and dragging in place:

Site123 usability

#4. Site123 is another website builder that delivers strong uptime at 99.99%, going down slightly more than SiteBuilder.

Site123 Uptime
Last month Site123 performance stats

#5. Basic plan pricing is good if you only need a simple, content-driven site or blog. I only paid $129.60 for the year, which also included the domain name.

Site123 Invoice

Do I recommend it? YES.

Overall, I definitely recommend it for relatively simple sites.

There are a lot of design template choices, uptime was great, and you even get a few emails without having to pay a ton extra! Customer support and the editor were a little lacking, though.

You can use it for bigger, more complicated ones. But it also gets expensive in a hurry.

So it might be a good alternative vs. getting a custom site built out. Just be ready to spend a decent amount over the course of a year if that’s the route you’re going.

Visit Site123.com

Here’s my 5-minute test site. (Looks good to me…)

3. Wix Website Builder (www.Wix.com)

Most Popular and Easy to Use

Wix review
Visit Wix.com

CONS of Wix Website Builder

#1. Wix partners with Google’s GSuite to offer email accounts for $5 each. Notice a trend, here?

#2. Ecommerce and online stores are only available on more expensive plans, starting at $20/month.

PROS of Wix Website Builder

#1. Wix is legit, hosting more than 100 million users worldwide. There’s a reason so many people use it.

#2. Wix is also an excellent option for ecommerce stores. This includes everything from simple products to even bookings and registration for events.

#3. Wix has one of the biggest libraries of site templates, boasting over 500 “designer-made” options. They’re also good for any level, whether you’re a beginner or pro.

This site builder might just be my favorite. The customization options are almost endless. And you can tweak your site in a matter of seconds.

Wix builder usability

#4. You can build just about any site imaginable with Wix. That includes typical ecommerce features to handle online payments, but it also includes a customizable music player, video uploads to the media gallery, events with invitations and bookings, even online ordering for restaurants!

#5. I submitted a support ticket with a few questions for their customer service department and received this thorough reply about 12 hours later. Pretty good overall!

Wix Live Chat

#6. Our Wix test site has seen decent uptime over the last nine months at 99.93% (and solid speed at ~600ms).

Wix uptime and speed statistics
Wix website builder speed and uptime

#7. Wix also offers long-term discounts. The longer you prepay, the less per month it comes out.

I opted for the annual plan and got a free domain in the process, paying just $132.00 for both.

Wix cost

You can also purchase two or even three years plans to save as much as $216!

Do I recommend it? YES.

Yes, I do.

Wix was one of the easiest site builders I used.

There are so many themes to choose from. They’re all well designed, too. The extra features that Wix sites include mean you can basically use it for any purpose, from a simple blog to an advanced restaurant site or ecommerce store.

Plus, the budget-friendly pricing is perfect for even your personal or hobby site. Highly recommended.

Visit Wix.com

Here’s my 5 minute test site. (Not too bad, huh?)

4. Jimdo (www.Jimdo.com)

Website Builder With Best Performance (Speed)

Jimdo website builder review

CONS of Jimdo Website Builder:

#1. Jimdo comes with ONLY 17 themes. Yup, you need to pay $90/year to get access to ONLY 17 themes!

#2. You can easily change the color and add text or images. Anything more sophisticated than that is difficult. Otherwise, the templates themselves are fairly rigid, making it difficult to make large-scale changes.

#3. If you’d like unlimited eCommerce product options, be prepared to pay $20/month (or $240/year).

PROS of Jimdo Website Builder:

#1. Pricing was advertised as $7.50/month and I paid exactly $90 for one year.Jimdo pricing

#2. Up-and-running in 30 minutes. Not bad!

#3. Best speed performance. Just take a look at the graph below (fast & stable loading times with over 99.96% uptime)

Jimdo performance review

Do I recommend it?

Yes and no…

The initial design is very clean and neat, making it appear more contemporary than some of the ones we’ve already reviewed here.

I’m even OK with one email account and 15 eCommerce product limitation in the short-term. But it worries me that they only have 17 templates and your customization options are limited to only relatively basic changes.

Great for a one-page-website. Need something bigger? You’d be better off with SiteBuilder.

Visit Jimdo.com

Check out my 5-minute test site.

5. GoDaddy Website Builder (www.GoDaddy.com)

GoDaddy website builder review

CONS of GoDaddy Website Builder

#1. Emails can get pretty expensive. And this time, they don’t integrate with Google but with Microsoft Office. So that could go either way, depending on which you prefer.

#2. I’ve previously had pretty good customer service from GoDaddy. However, this last experience was a complete nightmare.

GoDaddy Customer Service

I tried to quickly get some questions answered on their live chat. I logged on, and the estimated wait time was 35 minutes! Really? For “live” chat?

By this point in time, I had already been able to research everything on their site to be able to answer my questions. But I didn’t want to give up just yet.

So a rep finally connected, and they immediately said, “To access your account I will need your 4 digit support PIN. Please provide your PIN with this secure form I am sending you.”

But… what if I didn’t have an account? What if I was just looking to buy and had a few simple questions?

Not great, to be honest.

#3. Ecommerce plans are more expensive, starting at $19.99 per month, paid annually (which means you’re looking at $239.88/year on the low end).

GoDaddy Website Builder Pricing

PROS of GoDaddy Website Builder

#1. GoDaddy offers hundreds of different design templates, all broken down into categories based on the site you want to create.

#2. All of the templates feature the same drag-and-drop interface that most website builders now offer. GoDaddy’s isn’t quite as intuitive as Wix, but it’s still decent.

GoDaddy builder usability

#3. Ecommerce is fully supported, as is a handy scheduling feature. This might be perfect for coaches who want to bill for their time and help clients schedule themselves into their calendar.

#4. GoDaddy might be one of the only site builders that offers a free month trial. That’s a good deal, allowing you to test things out before getting locked into a much bigger annual commitment.

#5. I’ve been pleasantly blown away by how solid the performance for each site builder has been. GoDaddy offers another 99.99% uptime, only going down once for two minutes.

GoDaddy Uptime
Last 30 days uptime and speed data for GoDaddy website builder

#6. GoDaddy is slightly more expensive than the other alternatives we’ve seen so far. I paid $143.86 for the year, but no free domain is included. So that cost another $14.60. including tax.

GoDaddy invoice

Do I recommend it? YES.

Yes and no.

GoDaddy’s website builder isn’t terrible. But it’s not great, either.

I found the others on this list, like Wix, Gator by HostGator, and SiteBuilder, to be much stronger overall.

In addition, the ecommerce plans were expensive and I can’t overlook the half-hour live chat session, either.

Visit GoDaddy Website Builder

Here’s my 5-minute test site.

6. WordPress (www.WordPress.com)

Not a “True” Website Builder

WordPress builder review

CONS of WordPress Website Builder

#1. WordPress is not a true website builder like the others on this list. Don’t get me wrong — it’s good. But it also requires a lot more work and technical skill. So while more advanced users will like that, beginners won’t.

#2. Email accounts are you going to run you around $50 per user per year. On par with all of the other options listed here.

If you’re slightly advanced, you can edit your domains MX records to get around paying extra for email accounts. But, it’ll require some work.

#3. WordPress has both free and paid options. But the free one doesn’t really come with any support to speak of. So you’re going to have to upgrade to get help.

#4. All (good) WordPress themes (not templates) are paid. Yes, they have free ones. But the quality is usually lacking, both in terms of how it looks and how it’s supported (including continuous updates to keep up with constant updates and security).

So you’ll also need to pay extra, here, for something that looks half-decent.

PROS of WordPress Website Builder

#1. WordPress might not be as user-friendly as some of the other website builders on this list. However, that apparently hasn’t hurt its popularity.

There are over 75 million websites using WordPress, with about 35 million hosted on WordPress.com.

There is no more popular content management system (CMS) than WordPress.

#2. As long as you’re OK with a little heavy lifting, WordPress is an excellent ecommerce option.

Adding an online store to your site will cost you extra on pretty much all site builders. However, it’s free on WordPress with WooCommerce.

#3. WordPress is an open-source technology, meaning anyone, anywhere can build stuff for it. So there are tens of thousands of site themes available (if not more). Their official page has over 290 just by themselves.

As mentioned, you’ll probably want to go the paid route. But there are still thousands of free ones, too.

#4. Many of these good things are extremely well designed, too. There are a few built with drag-and-drop editors as well, which kinda mimics the experience you’ll find here. (Although, still not as user-friendly as a Wix, for example.)

GoDaddy Website Builder Usability

#5. WordPress had a chat-with-us form (for paid users). And a rep connected within three minutes.

WordPress Live Chat

The rep was more than helpful, ready to help fix my problem (as opposed to just sending us a how-to link).

#6. If you don’t want to set up your own hosting account, you can pay for it through WordPress directly. The Personal plan for most sites is pretty affordable at only $48/year.

WordPress Pricing

And that’s exactly what I ended up paying:

WordPress invoice

WordPress might not be as user-friendly for amateurs. But it will be a little less expensive overall.

#7. And the last bit of good news is that WordPress obviously knows how to host a site, delivering an untouchable 100% uptime.

WordPress.com builder Uptime

Do I recommend it?

Yes and no.

WordPress is perfect for advanced users who want more control, and are willing to handle the workload.

It’s a good ‘next step’ beyond a typical website builder. But it requires a lot more maintenance.

Beginners, or even people who just don’t want to have to do all the upkeep on a WordPress site, should probably stick to a more traditional website builder.

Visit WordPress Builder

Here’s my 5-minute test site.

7. Squarespace (www.SquareSpace.com)

Very Expensive, But Good Design Options

Squarespace review

CONS of Squarespace Website Builder

#1. The biggest drawback of Squarespace is the overall cost.

A standard website starts between $12-18/month, with online stores increasing to $26-40/month. And these include the discount for paying annually.

Squarespace pricing

So not only are they more expensive on average. But the high-end ecommerce price is the most expensive, too.

Luckily, I paid as much as stated on their website and not a penny more:

Squarespace ecommerce plans

#2. Unfortunately, these high prices don’t include email accounts. Those will still set you back an extra $5/month for each one.

#3. The live chat option is only available from 4 am-8 pm EST. Good for those on EST. Not so good for those in the U.K., Europe, Asia, or Africa.

#4. My Squarespace experience was not great. There are tons of resources available, but that’s also kinda the problem. There’s too much stuff and it’s not easy to find your way. I went looking for the live chat option, and unfortunately, that wasn’t much better.

Squarespace live chat

In order to reach the live chat, I had to fill out three drop-down boxes regarding my issue. Then, it still tries to send you over to an article or email. This repeated multiple times while I was waiting in the queue. They kept trying to send me articles, instead.

Finally, I got on with an agent. But even that was slow. The entire process took around twenty minutes to get a simple answer to my question.

And then, how did the support rep help? By sending me another link to a how-to article! Geez.

PROS of Squarespace Website Builder

#1. Despite the high price, Squarespace still has over 45,000 users.

#2. Squarespace’s hundreds of design templates look good. Really good. They might be the most ‘professional’ looking options out there.

Squarespace sites almost look and feel custom. But they still have the same intuitive editor that allows you to customize things in seconds.

Squarespace website builder usability

#3. The ecommerce features, while pretty pricey, are also excellent. Seriously, you might not find a more beautiful store option

#4. Squarespace doesn’t drop the ball on performance, either. The 99.99% uptime over the past few months is as good as I’ve seen.

Squarespace uptime and speed

Do I recommend it?

Yes and no. If you’re starting a site in a design-centric niche (think: fashion), it might be worth springing a few extra bucks for Squarespace.

Otherwise, for the vast majority of other people, it’s probably not worth the high price tag when you can get similar features for significantly less.

Visit Squarespace

Here is my 5-minute test site.

8. Weebly (www.Weebly.com)

Issues with Uptime and Speed

weebly review

CONS of Weebly Website Builder

#1. Weebly has partnered with GSuite to offer emails at $5 a pop. Surprise, surprise!

#2. Ecommerce plans are customarily more expensive, ranging from $8 – 38/month, paid annually. Not cheap!

#3. Weebly, unfortunately, came in last for site performance. Over the last few months, I only saw an uptime of 99.64% — well short of the 99.99% and even 100% from the others.

This disappointing performance equates to 16 hours of downtime!

Weebly issues with speed and uptime
Weebly has issues with speed and uptime

PROS of Weebly Website Builder

#1. Weebly is one of the bigger website builders with over 40 million users.

#2. One potential reason why? They offer a limited free plan! So you can try it out on a small scale before paying.

#3. If that’s not good enough, they also offer a 15-day free trial.

#4. Weebly includes hundreds of great templates organized by type, including drag-and-drop options for ecommerce, too.

#5. My favorite Weebly feature was the intuitive editor. It was very easy to create and customize site options.

Weebly Usability

#6. And while their ecommerce prices are high, the regular site prices are right around average from what I’ve seen.

The site cost $115.20 for the year, along with $29.94 for the domain (in year two).

Weebly Billing

There’s another three-part form before I can get on live chat. But this time, the agent was quick and helped provide answers to all of my questions… without sending an article link. Very efficient.

Weebly Live Chat

Do I recommend it? YES.

Not really.

Weebly isn’t bad by any stretch. In fact, I really like a few features (like that editor).

But between the high ecommerce cost and spotty site performance, there are just much better options on this list.

Visit Weebly

Here’s my 5-minute test site.

9. Webs Builder (www.Webs.com)

Too Expensive For The Value You Get

webs.com website builder review

CONS of Webs Website Builder

#1. Email plans are extra on the cheapest option (but included on the others).

#2. Compared to others on this list, Webs design templates did seem a touch outdated. It also wasn’t as easy to edit.

Webs usability
#3. Different site builder, same story. Ecommerce plans are more expensive, starting at $22.99/month paid annually.

And while the cheapest Starter plan pricing isn’t bad, the Enhanced option still seems pretty expensive for what you get.

Webs Pricing

My receipt…

Webs Receipt

This is a perfect example of what happens when discounts expire.

I’ve had this test site for a few years now. And you’ll see in the image above that years two and three were more expensive. That’s because the new customer discount expired.

So if you see a website builder offering two or 3-year terms, you’re better off paying for it to save as much as possible with new customer pricing.

#4. Webs performance let me down a little. The uptime was only 99.47% over the past few months, meaning my site has spent a full day complete down.

Webs Uptime and Speed statistics

PROS of Webs Website Builder

#1. Webs hosts over 55 million sites.

#2. They provide A TON of design templates — around 2,500!

#3. Webs also provided a good customer service experience. Live chat only takes a few seconds to get started, and the agent was very helpful.

Webs live chat

Do I recommend it? No.

No, I do not.

Webs builder is fine. But way behind most of the other options on this list.

The templates are a little outdated. The performance hasn’t been very good. And the pricing seems kinda high based on what I’ve seen.

Visit Webs

Here’s my 5-minute test site.

10. WEB Builder (www.Web.com)

Bad billing practices, difficult to cancel

Web.com Homepage

I wanted to review Web.com. I see them, everywhere online, so they must be doing a ton of promotion.

But I didn’t actually sign up and pay for them.

❌ First and foremost, the entire billing process seemed shady. I couldn’t believe how many upsells there were. And the only way to cancel your plan — in 2018 going on 2019 — is to CALL them.

Crazy, right?

❌ The other problem I ran into was that they don’t actually tell you what you’re getting. The ‘Do It Yourself plan, for example, is incredibly vague.

❌ Even though they have around 2,500, almost all of them look bad. Not only does the design leave a lot to be desired, but the actual format and layouts are outdated, too.

❌ There doesn’t seem to be any drag-and-drop editor. Instead, all you can do is change basic things without actually customizing the site.

❌ Their other reviews online from previous customers are worrying. Check out this one:

“How do I get any Senior Executive at web.com to figure out what is going on with my website? It has been down for more than 2 weeks. 31 trouble tickets. Simple domain name changes and now no website, and apparently no archive, cache, or even record that I have been a customer since 2001!”

❌ I’ve saved the best part for last. Web.com starts at $22.00/month! That makes a ‘basic’ site through them more expensive than Wix, SiteBuilder, and even Squarespace!

So I couldn’t bring myself to sign up and pay them money for this headache.

Do I recommend it?

No way! Steer clear.

Website Builders Conclusion

Phew. Made it to the end!

Time for a quick recap.

Overall, website builders are great for beginners or small businesses looking to get a professional (and affordable) option off the ground in a matter of days (instead of the weeks or months it would take for a custom site).

While there are a ton of good (SiteBuilder, Wix and Site123), reputable options out there to choose from, there are also a ton of terrible ones too.

I put this review together to provide an unbiased look at what your best options are. I signed up for each of the most popular ones, paying for annual accounts in most cases while setting up a test site to try out the service and monitor its performance over the course of a few months.

So which website builder is your best bet? 

Best all around option? Go with SiteBuilder or Site123 and you won’t be disappointed (or overpay).

The best option for Beginners or those needing eCommerce? Wix is probably your best bet.

Best for photographers, designers, or other visual businesses? Chances are you’ll love SiteBuilder’s beautiful templates.


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  1. Thanks for the review – this really helps. I’m currently in a situation where there’s so many different website builders out there, yet which one is the best – hard to tell.

    After reading your review, I think I’ll go with Wix, but might try Boldgrid as well.

    Anyways, huge thanks for putting this together.

  2. This is a very useful read Robert, thank you for the exhaustive post!

    Have you tried XPRS? How about SwiftySite, a plugin to build WordPress sites?

    Also, do these sites fare well in Google speed testing tools?

    • Hey Victor,

      I haven’t tried those as BoldGrid is slightly more user-frienldy for the end user.
      About Google Speed Testing Tool – sure, it’s worth to check them. Might make a small addition to the post, but I’ll surely keep them all online (test sites).

  3. Thanks for a great review! My only “con” would be that you didn’t included customer service. But I understand the work it would have involved. I LOVE WIX. I have been with them since they started. But their customer service stinks. I don’t like having to search through a database of questions other users have submitted to find an answer to my problem. They make it hard to find a phone number. Otherwise, besides a few technical beefs I have, it is a great option.

    • Hi Rob,

      I haven’t heard about PageCloud before – thanks for letting me know. I might review them in near future. Thanks.

  4. Hi Robert,

    I’m currently searching for a website builder to help me make a site for my husband’s small business (plumber) and am very glad I found your article.

    I’ve run into Wix before but have been put off by many people claiming that it’s hard to get a Wix site listed high on Google as Google doesn’t like the technology it used.

    I really like Wix mainly because of the ready to go templates, but it seems a little pointless using Wix if potential customers can’t find the site in search engine.

    I do understand that all websites need “optimizing” and I’ve purchased a course to help me achieve this.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this given your experience.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Google actually promotes WIX, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t rank them. Then again this comment was made a year ago, so it might have changed since then.

      In Google’s support page they are offering several choices for domain service and WIX is one of them.

  5. This is a great review post on website builders. I have tried some of them myself but most of them were hard on the budget and too clunky for me to actually use. Weebly and Squarespace did have what I was looking for but decided to abandon them for lack of time. The customer service on most of these is pretty bad (except the top3). I was actually going to do a review on most of these website builders myself but you’ve done a good job here.

  6. I rarely comment on these sorts of reviews, but after reading your clearly unbiased and in depth review I felt it necessary to thank you. I already have a boldgrid website and domain and wanted to understand more about the limitations of that vs it’s competitors, a LOT of other articles on the subjects are clearly shills for one of the companies, it’s refreshing to see such an honest and thorough review, thanks again!

  7. Thanks, Robert. I guess it is what you get used to. I went to Weebly several years ago from both Yola and Wix. At the time they were the only one that could easily do drop down menus which was important to me. Also have found them very innovative and have rarely suffered any downtime. Their tech support is excellent. While their selection of templates may be limited, they work closely with another company, Baamboo Studios who produce impressive templates for their users.

    Have just started to use their e-commerce features and agree they are awesome. By comparison I have just built an e-commerce site using BigCommerce and it has been a chore using their site builder. Also have a Shopify site on standby, but I think Weebly will end up being my site of choice, mainly because the guys listen and make every effort to accommodate the users.

    While I can’t argue with your 4th placing I was surprised.

    Great article.

  8. Hey Robert,

    Thanks for your work here, it has really helped me in deciding which site builder to use. (I like how you write too, keeps the reader interested).
    keep up the good work!

    • Hello Robert. Thanks for the write up – you exfoliated the competition out there. Yet I am poor at developing and building sites.
      Do you ave your own design studio? If you do and if you do not cost an arm and a leg I would love to work with you. Is it possible that you could send me your price chart for site from one-page crowdfunding type site up to e-commerce?
      I am a writer with many project I could have up on the page but held up by my inability to be comfortable with mastering web building. Having a reliable specialist like you or associates that work for you, who is agile with affordable prices will give me a good, long collaboration.

  9. Thank you so much – your evaluations will save my artist group members so much time and frustration. Wix and Weebly were my short list too. I recommended Weebly to them last year, as most members are not tech-literate and Weebly seemed the least frustrating for a first timer. Also, fewer and simpler templates were a plus in this case, rather than a problem. I will have another look at Wix now to see if the issues I had in my test site have been fixed. I agree with your comment on the Weebly statistics (e.g. it counted my edit tweeks as hits) and the constant upsell ads. As noted here by others, Weebly’s support by phone or online chat are excellent. I will have another look at Wix now and see if that might work better for us now that more members have some online experience. Thank you again for your excellent and well-written research.

  10. Robert,

    I just wanted to thank you for your reviews. As a new business owner, I was looking at serval of these sites and I will take your advise. Thank you again for saving me from making a poor, uneducated decision.

  11. Thanks for this thorough investigation. We’ve added a link to this article on our writers’ resource site, WinningWriters.com, under Business & Technical Resources. One of our subscribers recommended the article to us.

  12. Thanks so much for this review. Really helpful and very detailed. A lot of work for free. I was just curious about Shopify As I was about to sign up with them until I read your reviews. If you have any insight into those folks would be greatful. At this point however I’m leaning towards Wix. Thanks!

  13. Thanks so much for this information… am a visual artist but do not know how to code so I was looking at site builder options. This was very helpful.

    Thanks!

  14. I’ve always been curious about building my own website for personal use. I see commercials and banners saying how “THEY” are ‘free’ or ‘are easy to use’ or ‘best web builder around’, etc, etc. Not knowing who to believe, I, like many others, used the best resource that money can buy… i Googled! Your site was one of the links that I decided to explore and was impressed off the back. I liked your unbiased thoughts and personal 10+ experience in the field so you know what you’re talking about. So thank you for making our research, any potential pitfalls, future headache, possible regrets that we could’ve suffered by making the the selfless sacrifice by exploring these website building companies for the masses.

    Are any of the top three you recommended, also viable for non commercial use, i.e. personal use? Just looking to share information with friends and family, or would you recommend that one take web development classes at a local community collage?

    Thank You, in advance!

  15. Hi there – thank you for your recommendations. I found this very useful. The fact that you took the trouble to actually sign up for each of this and detail out the findings in an unbiased manner speaks for itself. Thanks! – nc

  16. This was great! Thanks for taking the time and great research. I’m just getting starting with a new site and doing some research myself. I really want to get what’s best for the ladies and viewer that visit.
    This will definitely help me decide
    Great job!

  17. Thank you for your review!! It was very helpful!! I’m looking at the ones you reviewed and also Dudamobile. Have you tried or reviewed that site?

  18. Very helpful! My son is also a web designer and now too busy to update my 2005 custom built site. Time for mom to venture out and create her own. Thank you for taking the time to put this info together.

  19. Hello Robert, thank you for the comprehensive review. I would really appreciate your recommendation for my specific case (I have studied your review carefully and still I’m not sure). I am an artist and want to build a website showcasing my paintings (photographed high resolution), and an online store selling paintings. It is essential that I can add items to the store on weekly basis. It is also essential the site loads quickly to get high google ranking. Cost is an issue, and I don’t mind a learning curve. I want a clear and clean website, no confusion / getting lost elements. Would you recommend Bold Grid?

  20. You rock. This whole website has extremely useful. I call myself a professional dabbler in that I have dabbled in many things, not proficient in any of them. I have been asked to redesign my company website (I think I can I think I can) and you have made this whole process so much easier. Thanks again!

  21. Have you tried Vista Print? If so, what do you think? I have a small business and can’t afford to pay a web designer to make simple changes all the time.

  22. Thank you so much for your reviews. I needed a little help, because I need to have simple professional website made, but didn’t know the best options. Thanks to your review site. I make decisive choice now.

    Best Wishes
    Edward Williams
    [email protected]

  23. Hello pal, you should have mentioned that some builders charged developers fee while some doesn’t, I am so glad I have found your website though, I really appreciate it.

  24. That had to be one of the most comprehensive reviews I have ever read. Thanks so much spending your own money to help save someone, liked me, from wasting mine.

  25. WOW! Very in depth review of all the website builders. Thank you! I have been building in Weebly and found it to be easier than Wix – so maybe I can try Wix out again sometime. I am definitely interested in Sitebuilder now! Thank you for taking all the time to share this valuable info!

    • Hey I saw a lot of websites who offering free website builder website, some of my friends suggested me many websites, but I found one who provides best templates webgen.com & also saw Wix, Weebly, could anyone suggested me which one is best.

    • FREE Wix website is more limited and they’ll place ads on your website. If you’re serious about your website, it’s important go with the paid version.

  26. What is your opinion on Clickfunnels verses traditional websites-esp. for small business sites?

    BTW: I really appreciate your review. I refer to it every time any discussion about site-building comes up.

    Thanks again for providing such an invaluable reference source!

  27. Hi Robert,
    I am kinds of confused on what you mentioned website builders (above) and what you said website setup using bluehost and wordpress? Are they the same things?
    Thanks,

    Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      No, they’re not the same things. WebsiteSetup is built on WordPress (using Bluehost hosting). Website Builders are products/services that allow you to create a website using their software (in this case, you don’t need to buy hosting or use WordPress).

      WordPress is more flexible, but is more difficult for complete beginners.

  28. This is awesome and very helpful for a novice. It helped me narrow down my choices clearly. This is a confusing arena for a newcomer and this article spells it out thoroughly and quickly.
    Much appreciated.

  29. Why wasn’t 1and1’s in there? the were rated 31 by SMB trust & Consumer Reports. I love mine. The have loads of templates, & comes with literally everything. SSL Cert, 200 emails, SEO tool, Newsletter tool,Numerous payment and delivery methods, Site Analytics, mobile optimized all for less than $15 a month. 3 other things I love are they the have 24/7 US hosted Tech support, they don’t post any ads on my site and the don’t take a penny when i sell items!!

  30. This seems really helpful, I’m glad I found this. I’m working on making a new website for my families business and I’ve been having a hard time reviewing all my options and deciding on the best ones. This will definitely help me, thanks!

  31. One question do any of them allow for advertising?

    Secondly should your business grow enough that you can spend the money to build a “real” site how easy is it to port it over.

    • All of them allow advertising. Moving from one to another is complex, though. It’s better to hire a web developer for that.

  32. Chiyoka E. Ajimoto

    This is one of the most informative and analytical articles I have encountered upon my research. I got an answer for what I was looking for. I’m taking your recommendation. Thank you! -from Kyoto Japan

  33. I find it odd that Webflow wasn’t included. From what I’ve been tell is appears to best all the top products you mentioned in terms of features. Interestingly, a number of sites that purport to review and test site building platforms have omitted Webflow. Is there a reason?

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve currently reviewed only 10 most popular website builders. Hence the reason WebFlow isn’t added (yet).

  34. Being able to look at your test sites in addition to reading the text content of your article was extremely helpful. Thank you for such high quality (and helpful!) content.

  35. HI Robert,
    I have been looking for a review on website builders and just came across yours!
    i think your reviews are brilliant as i was in two minds which to use.
    After checking out your “5” minute websites i was impressed totally, as i am resident in the UK and Southern Spain i need to set up a site for property sales, lettings and information site i need to not only add and remove properties but a good quality enquiry page.
    Thanks again for the amazing reviews and i am setting up with WIX as i believe best site for me.
    thanks

    Steve

  36. Thank you so much, Mr. Robert, for this review article. I’m just now getting started with a new Entrepreneurship, as an Author & illustrator, Speaker, and Podcaster. And I think it’s a good idea for me to get my own website. I didn’t need to read any further than your 1st review (of Sitebuilder), then I skipped to your conclusion section. I’ve had some experience with both blogging and with web design, and it sounds like Sitebuilder has everything that I’m looking for. So, I’m going to give it a try. It might be a day or two before I will have the time for it, but I’ll be sure to save this page so I can return to it and use your link for my purchase and set up, in support of your venue, as a small token of my appreciation for your sharing of this helpful information. Again, thank you very much for the help, Udi DarkChild

  37. I AM NOT A FAN of the WWW, the Internet, the Web, or whatever else it is called.

    However, your presentation of Comparative Web Builders was absolutely, totally and altogether superb! It was the essence of distilled intelligence, of simplifying a complex mess, of bringing flawless order out of scuzzy chaos. I congratulate you on possessing an unusual and unique skill and talent. I am a writer and inventor, and nothing turns me on intellectually more than seeing someone do what you did! Your work is stunning.

    If only others had your insight, and foresight, to provide the classically beautiful and easily understandable order that you revealed, I might actually BECOME A FAN of technology! You stand alone with your masterpiece! You have no equal! I salute you. Marala

  38. Fabulous, informative and useful comparisons and reviews. Thank you.

    Can you please tell me, are these Website Builders also all Website Hosters? I assume so as you have shown Uptime rates. Or, does this Uptime (Downtime) refer the time that Builder is not available for editing?

    Once again, BIG thank you. A great help

    • Hi! Yes, all of these website builders have their own hosting built-in so you don’t have to sign up for a hosting plan separately like with WordPress.

  39. Michael Fitzgerald

    I just wanted to thank you for your execellant review of the web builders. I am a professional Art Director who at my clients requests, needs to start building sites for them. I started a site for a film Director last year who wanted to feature his personal photography. So at the time, I used Square Space which seemed to be very versitle, however, I was never able to finish the site due to other job commitments. I have now been hired to design/build a site for a wonderful luthier. So I think I am going to go with WIX per your review. (Unless you think SP would be better.) please let me know and thanks again!!!!

    • Hi Michael,

      Sounds like you can’t really go wrong with either one for this but Wix is more affordable of the two so it would be my recommendation.

  40. I am a non-techical person who wants to build a simple, straight-forward website. Your review and attention to detail are greatly appreciated. Are there any tricks to building a website so it will be pulled up by Google, etc. ahead of other similar websites?

    Thanks again for your help.

  41. Thanks, Robert,
    Thank you for the work you shared. Hope you are having fun.
    I clicked on WIX and plan on giving it a whirl!

  42. Thanks for the info. Are you familiar with Adobe Muse.?? Do you know of any applications similar to Adobe muse? Adobe is jumping ship on Muse in 2020

    • Hi Gloria,

      It depends on the level of customization you’re looking for, when it comes to simpler sites, builders listed in the article like Wix are great alternatives as the process for building a site is more or less similar. Another good alternative is Webflow as it is highly similar to Muse.

  43. Looking at the list above i cannot find wordpress. I just need help with explaining an clarifying:
    1. What wordpress can do? ( Does it create blogs only or it can build a website with a blog also)
    and
    2. If i am to choose which option is best for me between wix and word press to build a website with a blog at a low price which one is the best?

    I just read ´´10 best blogging sites´´ on this site and it included wordpress.org. I understood that using wordpress.org one can build a website (not only a blog) just like wix does, except wix uses the drag and drop feature. Its just that with wordpress.org you will need a host and a domain.

    • Hi Spiwe,

      Technically WordPress.org isn’t a website builder but a CMS (Content Management System) which is a step up from website builders in terms of customization options. You can use it to build either a website or a blog, you can even have both at the same time (a website with a blogging page).

      When pricing is a priority then I’d go with WordPress, that way the only necessary cost would be for the web hosting and you can get that for a few dollars per month. Website builders would be easier to get started with but their plans tend to be more expensive.

  44. When it comes to these websites (top 3), how do I know which ones will allow me to sell ads (down the road)? These might be ads in the integrated blogs on the websites, or on the websites themselves. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Cole, pretty much all of them will allow you to sell ads, though if you’re not sure about a platform you can check the knowledgebase on their site and see what their advertisement policy is or get in touch with their customer service.

      • Just found out after 9 years that my website builder and email addresses were tied together with my “Daddy” site. For $120 they’ll give back my email for a year. Time for a change I guess. Anyway with me having a site up and running can I bring in what I have from there or will a fresh start need to be done? Thanks for your very in depth research which I would think is current because the last update was May 2018.

        • Hi Tim, sounds like a fresh start would be needed as far as building a new site goes. But you should still be able to recover your domain name and transfer it to your new web host.

  45. Thank you so much for this article! I stumbled across it while looking into getting my own website to sell my handmade crafts. This is truly not in my wheelhouse so I can’t thank you enough for the information.

  46. Nice web site evaluations. Thanks!
    Bob

    P.S. Have you heard of Andys site builder? I have seen a couple of spots for it on the web.

  47. Hello. Just wondering why you didn’t include Shopify. It was recommended to me. But I haven’t tried it yet. I have tried WIX.COM and it was ok until I lost everything in my website and I could not get it back anymore. I am a novice in this field so it was really hard for me to lose everything. It seems like tech support is not very good either since it is hard to contact them.

    • Hi Karen, I love Shopify but it’s only for building online stores whereas this list is about general purpose website builders that you can use for all sorts of sites. Sorry to hear about losing your site :/ How did it happen?

  48. Great review, Robert! I was wondering what’s your opinion about SitePad website builder? I’m thinking of creating a website for my restaurant and I saw that this website builder is included in the web hosting plans by BGOcloud, which I will opt for. Have you tried SitePad? If yes, can you say whether it is relatively easy-to-use? Thanks in advance!