☑︎ this guide has been updated in: July 2024

Before we dive in, here’s something for those who don’t want to spend time on our in-depth review and comparative analysis of the most popular website builders:

TL;DR – Site Builder Choice Wizard

We’ve created a simple interactive wizard-thing which can help choose the right site-building tool in a couple of seconds – just go through several simple questions and check out the resulting recommendation –

In case you’d like to learn more about the similarities and differences between the most popular brands such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and others, as well as compare features and offers side by side, continue reading for more site builder goodness:

Why Does the Choice Matter?

You need to create a website, and you need it now. Instead of spending days to understand DIY-style content management systems like WordPress or Drupal, which do not include many important bits like hosting or domains and require getting used to, you’ve (understandably) decided to go for an all-in-one solution: website builder software.

The benefits are obvious: in a single account, you get everything you need to start a full-sledged online project – from a domain name to a built-in visual content composer to integrated e-commerce capabilities. You’re also happy to know that they offer dedicated support, in contrast to peer-driven public forums which are not always responsive, helpful and to the point.

However, once you set your sights on the website builder option, you quickly realize that now you’re facing a problem of choice: out of the numerous available builders, how do you pick the one that’s just right for your project – and not overpriced at the same time? This is where this guide comes in: we’ve conducted a comprehensive analysis of the largest and most popular website building services along various important dimensions, such as ease of use, reliability, versatility, pricing structure, and much more. Our analysis is based on observations from using real accounts in each of the services, in order to avoid superficial statements and pure guesswork.

We’ll first present our results in a condensed format, as a table of the most important comparative features, then discuss each of the brands in more detail; after that we will present one-on-one comparisons in case you’re stuck with choosing between two particular brands, and finally provide practical recommendations for making the actual choice based on your project’s needs and resources. Let’s get started!

Comparison Table

The table below contains certain important features of each of the three most popular website building services; we intentionally did not include such items as “presence of an ad-free version” or “possibility to add your own domain name” because those have been industry standards for quite a while now and are naturally offered by all major site builder brands. In other words, the table only focuses on real distinguishing features that vary from product to product – to help you make a more informed decision afterwards:

Website Builder Wix Squarespace Weebly
Year founded 2006 2004 2006
Free version yes no yes
Storage space (free) 500 MB N/A 500 MB
Extensions yes no yes
Backups yes no yes
templates yes yes yes
start from scratch yes no no
analytics yes yes yes
SEO tools yes yes yes
e-commerce yes yes yes
multilingual yes yes via an app
email yes yes yes
Cheapest plan with:
adding own domains $5 $12 $8
ad-free website $10 $12 $8
online shop $17 $26 $8
Google Ads credit $10 $18 $8

While evaluating the dimensions which cannot be directly expressed as numbers or yes/no answers, such as “SEO toolbox” or “choice of templates”, we’ve aimed at being as objective as possible and using hard data where appropriate; still, those measures should be viewed on a relative scale used only to simplify comparison between the brands.

Now let’s dive deeper and look at each of the website builders separately, critically evaluating its pros and cons with respect to competition; after that we will compare each pair one on one to finally reveal the most worthy solutions.

Wix: the Veteran That Still Got It

Wix website builder, the most popular one on the market (based on self-claimed usage figures), has been around for more than a decade, which, in the fast-paced website creation market, is a lot. Surely enough to prove that their product is worth something. From its humble beginnings as a brainchild of three friends on the Israeli seaside, the company has grown to serve millions of users in 190+ countries and get listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Wix is a classic example of a website builder that uses a freemium service model: the basic features, like the visual “what you see is what you get” type editor, as well as access to the template library and the app market, are free for anyone. For those wishing to test their online presence this is perfectly sufficient for a full-fledged website, with zero coding or design skills required – however, if you want to use the features which are essential for any self-respecting web project, such as using your own custom domain name instead of using a subdomain of wix.com (i.e. example.wix.com) and removing the ads, you’ll need to purchase one of the paid plans.

When it comes to Wix pricing, there are five premium plans, ranging from the basic ““Connect Domain” ($5 per month with yearly subscription), which essentially only allows connecting a proper domain name like example.com instead of the awkward username.wixsite.com/sitename, to the feature-packed “VIP” ($25 per month). More useful and value-for-money, however, is the “Combo” plan ($10 per month), which allows both linking a domain AND removing the ads – the two minimum ingredients to make your website stop looking unprofessional.

“Combo” is a good place to start if you’re serious about your online endeavor, yet if it gains traction, sooner or later you’ll most probably need to upgrade to the mid-priced “Unlimited” plan ($14 per month), to remove the visitor traffic limitation: the 2 Gb included in the former will only enable a couple thousand visits per month, based on the average web page size today. On the positive side, at the time when you’re in that situation your website will be well worth the upgrade.

It seems that Wix realizes that, being one of the older website builders, it needs to keep pace with the ever-advancing state of the art in website design and management – one example of this is the WIX ADI, or Artificial Design Intelligence. If you look closely, it’s just a more user-friendly and slightly stripped-down wizard which takes your data and mixes it into a template (which, of course, you can easily do with the standard Wix editor as well) – but it’s still arguably a step in the right direction and an indication that the company is not afraid to experiment and take on new challenges.

It will still be some time before Wix (or any other “AI web builder”) is able to create a ready-to-use website for you without you even taking part in the process, but even the current state of the primary Wix product is as close as it gets to an easy and seamless website-building experience.

Create a free website with Wix ›

Advantages of Wix:
  • The widest choice of visual templates on the market
  • Own domain plan competitively priced
  • Large extensions market with both free and premium addons
  • Machine learning powered helper for quick prototyping
  • The free plan never expires
Weaker sides:
  • Not possible to switch to another template after you choose one

Weebly: Simplicity and Value for Money

Founded as a Silicon Valley startup by three university students, Weebly has managed to grow into one of the most popular website builders in the world during its 10-year history. Over the years, the tool has changed almost constantly to keep up with the developing standards and trends, both in terms of design and features. One of the primary distinguishing traits of Weebly is its more intense focus on marketing, giving users an all-round solution to their website needs (creating – managing – promoting).

After creating an account by filling three simple fields (quite an onboarding!), Weebly asks you right away whether you need an online store or just a website – this will affect how the builder’s functionality is presented, but you can of course always activate the online store features afterwards. Still, this is a rather noteworthy detail since it hints that Weebly puts a significant focus on e-commerce compared with competing tools.

Indeed, their online shop plans start from $8 per month, which can be considered an aggressive pricing policy compared to other site builders: it’s twice as low as the cheapest Wix plan with e-commerce, and three (!) times less expensive than the Squarespace offer. For this price, you’re getting full online store capability, including specialized templates, inventory tracking, secure checkout, coupons, abandoned cart retargeting, and many more features. The choice of payment methods is also a pleasant surprise – Weebly currently allows you to accept transactions via Square, Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net, which is significantly better than e.g. Squarespace.

The built-in marketing suite mentioned earlier is another example of Weebly taking a more diversified approach to the site builder experience: not only can you create email campaigns for the email lists captured with your website’s forms, you can also segment your audience, manage the acquired leads, and even create Facebook ads right inside the same interface after connecting your Facebook account.

Price-wise, Weebly can be considered one of the most affordable solutions among the market leaders: its cheapest plan that includes a custom domain costs $8 per month (with annual billing), which is more than the comparable Wix plan, until you consider that the former also includes $100 AdWords credit and removes all Weebly branding and ads – and you’ll have to upgrade to a $10 per month Wix plan to match those.

In summary, Weebly offers a great toolkit for anyone who values ease of use and doesn’t like to overpay (which is, supposedly, most of the people?) and at the same time those who dig the idea of having their website and most of their online marketing on the same convenient platform. The e-commerce solution is also worth considering, not only as a competitor of Wix or Squarespace, but also, more generally, as a worthy competitor even to such specialized suites as Shopify.

Create a free website with Weebly ›

Advantages of Weebly:
  • Competitive pricing for all categories of users
  • App market for additional functionality
  • Wide choice of payment options for online stores
  • Can change theme after creating the website
  • The free plan never expires
  • Integrated marketing capabilities
Weaker sides:
  • Template styling capabilities are rather basic

Squarespace: Minimalist to the Core

As one of the oldest website builders that are still thriving up to this day, Squarespace seems to know the secret to satisfying website owners around the world – be it sleek design, simplicity, or easy-to-understand pricing. Founded in 2004, this service has been steadily growing its user base (and fandom) ever since, having received numerous accolades as well as making it at #8 in last year’s Forbes Cloud 100 List.

Anyone signing up with Squarespace will get a full toolkit for creating and managing their website: from a free domain name and hosting, to a publishing engine and analytics suite. Most of these might not be as feature-rich or advanced as you might get by seeking services from separate, specialized providers – but the genius of Squarespace is exactly in stripping all that is less necessary and leaving in only the essentials, thereby making your entire website-building experience as smooth and seamless as possible. Less cognitive strain, more minimalism – that could be the motto of Squarespace.

Unlike most other website builders, this one does not offer a free version: you can try the service for 2 weeks (without entering your card details), but after that it’s pay to play. You can choose between two pricing plans: Personal, which will set you back $12 per month if billed annually ($16 for monthly billing) – and Business, which costs $18 per month ($26 with monthly billing). Most small online projects will do just fine with the Personal plan, as the only significant difference compared to the Business version are limitations on the number of static pages (20) and contributors (2), as well as a Gmail-powered branded email account (which in principle you can set up on your own).

The recently added e-commerce options are seen widely as a response to the growing number of competitive offers with built-in e-commerce capabilities; the Basic plan is priced at $26 per month ($30 with monthly billing) and includes everything from the above-mentioned Business plan, as well as all essentials for running an online store: order and inventory management, taxes, accounting, etc. The Advanced e-commerce plan ($40 per month or $46 with monthly billing) offers some nifty features, such as abandoned cart auto-recovery, checkouts on your own domain, as well as automatic discounts. Since all of these features are potentially significant money or time savers, it is sensible to switch to the Advanced plan as soon as you see at least some sales.

Squarespace is an example of a closed-ecosystem site builder – there is no extension community or an app marketplace; everything you need is built into the system, removing the need to search for, install and configure additional modules. While that is good news for the usability aspect, it also means that anyone requiring a specific new feature will need to rely solely on the discretion of the site builder itself to implement it.

Squarespace can be called a design-centric CMS: while other web builders have arrived at the importance of clean, streamlined, clutter-free visuals in the process of their evolution, Squarespace has embraced these guiding principles from day one. And at that time, it really, really did help stand out from the competition.

Nowadays, as the largest competitors have caught up with the design part and sometimes outstripped Squarespace in the features dimension, there’s not that much left to justify its premium pricing policy. Nevertheless, it’s still a beautiful website builder with timely minimalist templates and a wonderfully simple user interface – and as a creative type, do you really need anything else?

Create a website with Squarespace ›

Advantages of Squarespace:
  • Beautifully designed, minimalist templates
  • Advanced Style Editor with a vast choice of options
Weaker sides:
  • Free trial expires after 14 days
  • No extensions or apps
  • Only available in two languages
  • Higher transaction fees for the e-commerce

Head-to-Head Matchups

Each product described above can easily be called a full-fledged web presence management system in its own right. In other words, there is no sense in using two or three simultaneously, since their feature profiles largely overlap; with this in mind, the problem of choice becomes even more challenging once we take into account the fact that migrating between these platforms is almost impossible unless everything is transferred “by hand”, i.e. the entire website is re-created from scratch in the new platform.

So now that we’ve had a detailed look at each of the website builders, it’s time to compare them one on one to make sense of the available choices. Between the three of them, Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly form three pairs that can be contrasted in terms of available options, user experience, design quality, ecosystem size, and the general value for money. Let’s get started:

Wix vs Weebly

While being equally powerful site building toolkits, Weebly and Wix each have their individual differentiating points which can help choose among the two.

While Weebly’s focus on simplicity ensures a steep learning curve (i.e. fast learning) for any user of its drag-and-drop website editor, Wix offers more freedom for design-oriented users though more granular controls for each website element (fonts, colours, etc), while also allowing to start from a blank template and work your way up to a fully fleshed out website all by yourself if you don’t feel like using a pre-made template.

Wix also has a slight advantage in terms of the variety of templates and apps it offers, yet Weebly is very close with just marginally less choice in each of these categories. Given the sheer number of available alternatives in each cases (200+ apps and dozens of templates), the differences do not have a significant effect on the user experience or website’s capabilities whether you’re using Wix or Weebly.

Weebly, on the other hand, can boast a more comprehensive marketing toolkit built right into the platform: apart from emails and leads, at also allows segmenting your audience and creating targeted social media ads.

Both e-commerce solutions are quite potent and integrate beautifully into your website, while third-party apps and marketing tools can help boost sales and recover abandoning customers. It’s safe to say that this aspect is a close tie for Wix and Weebly.

In terms of price points, Weebly is slightly more competitive in this pair, since it offers a cheaper ad-free plan and more affordable advanced plans. There’s also the $100 Google AdWords credit bonus if you sign up for any of Weebly’s paid plans – Wix gives away the same coupon only starting with its second premium plan.

Winner: TIE (more details below)

Weebly vs Squarespace

As one of the more experienced market players, Squarespace has had plenty of time to perfect its design and layout engine, and it shows: the site-building part of the experience is superb, and can be said to surpass that of Weebly, which focuses more on simplicity and affordability.

The latter does win in terms of template variety, though – Weebly users can choose from hundreds of pre-designed layouts, and can switch between the themes after adding content to the website, which is not possible in Squarespace.

Weebly’s focus on marketing means more options for promoting your website right from the interface of your site builder, while Squarespace tends to concentrate on design and visuals. Some of the marketing features that are unique to Weebly in the context of this comparison are manual and automated mass email campaigns as well as Facebook ad engine that lets you create FB campaigns right inside the Weebly admin panel, tying them to the behaviour of your website’s visitors.

In addition to that, Weebly has a free version with no expiry date, and is priced considerably more affordably for almost any comparable feature set. The price advantage is especially evident for the e-commerce solutions, with Weebly’s being three times less expensive than the one from Squarespace.

Winner: WEEBLY

Wix vs Squarespace

If there’s one area where Squarespace can be considered almost unbeatable, it’s style and design: both the templates and the interface are sleek, minimalist, and well thought-though. It can be ideal for those who are planning to place a heavy emphasis on graphics and imagery, since most templates devote a significant part of their layout to photos. The pitfall here, though, is that your finished website won’t look nearly as sleek as the template demos if you don’t have access to extremely high-quality photography, or if you aren’t used to matching colours and shades.

Wix, on the other hand, wins in terms of template variety (almost twice as many available) as well as the editing capabilities: the sole fact that you can start from a blank canvas in Wix makes it a more flexible tool for a lot of potential users.

Another feature which is offered by Wix and is not currently present in Squarespace is site backups, which usually tends to stay underrated until one experiences a blackout or loses their website for one or another reason.

There’s also the App Market in Wix, an integrated extension marketplace allowing users to get free and paid plugins developed both in-house and by third parties. This creates an entire ecosystem around the core website builder, expanding the range of things your Wix-built website can do. While Squarespace does offer several pluggable modules with additional features, it’s nowhere near the diversity offered by Wix’s App Market.

Price-wise, Wix has the upper hand, both because all of its plans are less expensive than the comparable Squarespace plans, and because its free version, despite containing ads, does not expire after two weeks – there’s no time pressure to get everything ready for launch, and you can even stay on the free plan with Wix indefinitely, if you’re okay with the ads.

Winner: WIX

Other Notable Site Builders

There are many more website building toolkits on the market, of course – in this guide, we’ve focused on the most popular ones so far. However, it would be wrong not to mention other significant brands that offer good value for money along with some unique features and designs:

Zyro: the AI-Powered Site Builder

While the old guard like Wix are starting to flirt with Artificial Intelligence tech, newer brands like Zyro are fully invested in these trends, making then an integral part of their toolkit.

For example, every Zyro client can take advantage of the built-in Content Generator, which instantaneously creates unique paragraphs of text on a given topic (that actually make sense!). This seemingly magic widget is based on Open AI‘s latest language-processing models and can serve as a really quick way of seeding your website with initial content.

Zyro’s infrastructure is provided by Hostinger, one of the largest web hosting companies in the world (30M+ clients in 170 countries); for all Zyro-based websites, this implies stability and speed – both important for visitor satisfaction and search engine rankings.

In summary, Zyro is an interesting option for those who seek simplicity and value for money. It ticks all the boxes for a great site builder, while boasting extremely competitive pricing.

Site123: The No-Nonsense Builder

While some site builders keep increasing in complexity, others choose a different path – the one which focuses on speed and ease of use. This is exactly what Site123 does, with some impressive results. Let’s have a closer look.

The main difference between Site123 and other solutions described in this review is the central role of templates in the site building process: once you sign up and choose the website’s function, the system automatically generates a template and hands it over to you for customization.

It should be noted that Site123’s visual editor is not drag-and-drop: you are able to personalize each element, yet the process reminds more of the famous WordPress Customizer than other notable site builders. This doesn’t mean it’s less convenient, though: in fact, as your space of potential choices gets smartly limited to the most likely options, the cognitive strain of customizing your first website is significantly reduced.

Apart from the visuals, you can also add plugins, most of which require the Premium version to function (more on this later) – the only one that works out of the box is the Google Analytics tracking code. The premium integrations include several more analytics suites, live chats, social sharing and marketing automation.

Another notable feature of Site123 that helps it stand out is the multilingual option: you can easily choose the primary locale for your website as well as add any number of additional language versions with just a click. Definitely less clunky that most other site builders which focus on a single language for your website (I’m looking at you, Squarespace!).

Site123’s aim at simplicity is also clearly seen in its pricing strategy: just two plans – Free and Premium, the latter including all traditionally paid features such as the ability to deploy on your own custom domain instead of a subdomain of Site123, more bandwidth, no branding, and e-commerce functionality. The Premium version costs $9.80 per month, which is on par with the best value-for-money offers in the industry. Upgrading is a simple feat – clicking on the respective golden button at the bottom of your site editor’s left panel will initiate the payment sequence.

Overall, Site123 is a laid-back alternative for those seeking to minimize their site-building efforts through template-based customization. The premium plan includes all the features one would need for a fully functional small business / personal website, at a very reasonable price.

Jimdo: Simple, Stylish, Affordable

This is an interesting example of a site builder that started out as a classical hosting: the company had its first significant clientele back in 2009 when they accepted the former users of Yahoo’s discontinued GeoCities hosting service. Over time, Jimdo has aimed at providing the full spectrum of features a website owner needs, focusing more and more on the website building experience. The service currently hosts more than 20 million websites around the world.

Jimdo uses a freemium model similar to Wix and Weebly: there’s a permanently free version which displays branded ads and allows using a subdomain of the form example.jimdo.com for your website. The Pro and Business versions allow removing the ads and choosing your own custom domain name, which is already included in the price. It is worth noting that the basic e-commerce features are available starting with the Pro version, which, at $7.50, makes it the most affordable online store functionality among all existing website builders (cheaper even than Weebly).

The biggest advantages of Jimdo are its simplicity and pricing. The learning curve is extremely steep even for new users who have never seen a site builder before, while the $7.50 per month Pro plan includes all features that are usually priced considerably higher by other competing services like Wix and Squarespace.

When comparing Jimdo vs Wix, the templating system grabs attention: the former has made it very easy to not only choose a design from the pre-built library, but also edit the code of your template with a few clicks. In case of Jimdo vs Squarespace, the most important consideration is pricing: such features as adding own domain name, ad-free experience, and online sales are almost two times less expensive with the former. As for Jimdo vs Weebly, the former is still priced slightly more competitively – despite the difference being just $0.50, it can accrue to sizeable sums over time, e.g. the annual saving with Jimdo would be $6.

Sitebuilder: The Cheapest Option

When it comes to Sitebuilder.com, which is another tool closely resembling Wix, the most important aspect is its cost: it’s currently the most competitively priced website building tool out there. There is a (permanently) free and 3 primary premium plans, with the fourth, Personal, being a nice little marketing trick by Sitebuilder designed to make the more feature-rich AND cheaper Pro plan more attractive – which means we will disregard it for the purpose of clarity.

The free plan does not have an expiration term but is limited to 5 pages, which makes it less useful for any serious online project – it’s more like an advanced trial of the toolkit. The gem here is the Pro version: at $4.99 per month (billed annually) it offers a free domain name, free email and (more importantly) an ad-free experience, which means that in the Sitebuilder vs Wix comparison it is clearly a winner in terms of pricing. Even Weebly’s ad-free plan cannot compete with Sitebuilder’s Pro version: the annual savings on the former would be over $36.

In terms of features and usability, Sitebuilder.com is quite similar to Wix and Weebly; while the company boasts “over 10,000 templates” on its official homepage, the real amount is closer to 210+ when you are actually choosing one for your website inside your account. This discrepancy is most likely due to the fact that the company considers each template option and setting as a separate template, which, to our mind, is slightly misleading, to say the least; in any case, there’s plenty of templates to choose from, even given the two hundred real alternatives in the template library.

SEO settings and Analytics become available in the Pro version as well, while the e-commerce options are activated by upgrading to the eponymous plan (priced at $11.99 per month). This makes Sitebuilder one of the most affordable online shop toolkits from our comparison as well, beaten only by Weebly.

Overall, Sitebuilder.com is a rather powerful toolkit with a pleasant user experience and extremely competitive pricing for the first year of use.

uKit – the Up-and-Coming Contestant

Having evolved from uCoz, a free hosting with an integrated site builder, uKit is the modern iteration of that decade-old project. The new version offers extended features and options, including an online store and an automated tool that keeps track of the website’s “marketing-readiness”.

The visual builder has everything one could need for creating a clean-looking custom website: after choosing from over 300 available templates, the user can quickly define the structure, set up various elements, and tweak the design. There are no plugins or third-party apps to extend the functionality at the moment, yet all basic needs, including an online shop, are covered.

uKit does not offer a free version, only a 14-day trial (no credit card required) – after that you will need to choose one of its paid plans to continue managing the website. Pricing is extremely competitive, with the most affordable plan (uKit Premium) costing only $4 per month with annual billing. It is worth noting that, unlike with most other similar products, pricing here depends on the billing period, not unlike web hosting platforms: for example, the Premium+ plan can cost from $10 in the case of monthly payments to as low as $7 with biyearly billing.

In case you don’t want to allocate extra time for your website’s design or simply would like to have a professional do it for you, there’s a possibility to order a custom website from the uKit team for a $50 flat fee.

The combination of easy to use, basic functionality and aggressive pricing makes uKit a close competitor to Weebly and Jimdo. In a uKit vs Wix comparison the latter comes out a clear winner in terms of available features and design variety, yet the former offers an interesting alternative for the price-conscious cases without overly complex needs.

GoCentral – a Site Builder from the Domain Behemoth

Another worthy mention is GoCentral, offered by (surprise!) GoDaddy – one of the largest domain name registrars and hosting companies in the world. A site builder was arguably a very logical step in their path towards vertical integration which started with upselling hosting with domain names. In this case, we see a drag-and-drop visual composer bundled with a hosting, rather than the other way around found in all other site builders discussed in this review.

The slogans of the GoCentral, “Anyone can make a website now”, and “Build a better website in less than an hour” sound fair when applied to their product: the user interface is so simple it can be learned in minutes. All extras have been sacrificed in the name of ease of use – which allows putting together a basic website really quickly. There are 8 templates to choose from (by simply clicking through them you can preview each design instantly), each customized using color palettes. Each individual element, like buttons, images and text, can of course be edited on its own as well.

The best part of it all is pricing: the Personal plan costs only $5.99 per month and includes all necessary basics – significantly less expensive than even the most competitive classical site builder. Scaling up, there are Business ($9.99) and Business Plus ($14.99) plans, each unlocking more features like SSL, PayPal integration, and email marketing. The Online Store plan ($29.99) enables creating a fully functional ecommerce website, yet looks hardly competitive compared to similar offers from Wix, Weebly, or even Squarespace.

Overall, GoCentral might suit those who need a basic website quickly and with minimum hassle; the parent brand’s extensive hosting experience provides an additional guarantee of maximum uptime for the website.

Alright, we’ve now looked at the other widely used as well as up-and-coming site builders and compared them with Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. At this point in time, however, you might be asking:

What About WordPress?

Indeed, while reading this analysis you might have had a reasonable question – how does this popular site engine stack up against these website builders? You might even have used WP before and experienced its simplicity firsthand. The difficulty in comparing WP with any of the discussed brands like Wix or Weebly is that it is based on a different philosophy: a free, open system which can be used out of the box, but most of the time requires numerous external additions (domain, hosting, themes, plugins) to realize its full potential.

Since WordPress core is free, it does not include a domain and a hosting – those will need to be purchased separately. And while it is possible to find hosting offers from respectable providers which include domains for as low as $3.95 per month (see Bluehost’s Basic plan), a certain amount of time and effort will need to be invested from your side to set things up – install WordPress on the hosting, configure the WP admin panel, find and install the necessary plugins and a suitable theme. This is why, when comparing, it is important to take into account the fact that a typical site builder is a fully integrated system, entirely created (and supported) by the same team, which allows for maximum compatibility and a smoother experience, whereas WordPress is an open-source project with voluntary (read – unpaid) contributors and community support.

Wix vs WordPress

As the most popular site builder, Wix gets compared with WP more often than its competitors. In terms of user experience and learning curve, Wix wins as an integrated solution to site-building: to get a first draft of a website in Wix, you’ll need 5-10 minutes, while setting up WordPress properly will take at least several days, based on our clients’ experience. The one aspect where WP outperforms Wix is the choice of visual templates and functional extensions: the WordPress ecosystem contains thousands of themes and plugins to choose from; the catch here, however, is that Wix strictly controls the quality of each of its add-ons and maintains a uniform level of aesthetics throughout its template library, while in case of WordPres the quality varies a lot (and we mean a Lot!) since anyone can contribute their own.

Weebly vs WordPress

Weebly comes closest to WP in terms of price competitiveness: with its $8 per month plans, this site builder offers the most sensible trade-off between cost and quality. The possibility to change templates after adding content to a website is also a feature that allows Weebly to compete successfully with the fee CMS giant. What really sets Weebly apart, though, is its e-commerce capabilities, which allow turning it into a fully functional online shop in a matter of minutes – while WordPress will require you to install several additional plugins, make sure your chosen WP theme is compatible with those plugins, and then spend some more time setting everything up.

Squarespace vs WordPress

For the lovers of sleek design, Squarespace is the solution that trumps WP any time: in order to get a theme that is at least closely as good-looking as Squarespace, you will need to turn to the premium WP theme markets – the free themes just won’t cut it. And a premium theme might set you back anywhere from $30 to $80 – and you will still need to pay for the hosting. However, it should be noted that WP themes are getting better, and as more and more designers take interest in the platform, the overall visual standards are rising steadily, even for the free WordPres themes; and, given the fact that even a premium theme is a one-off payment, Squarespace might need to up its game if it wants to stay competitive in the future.

Another aspect where the community vs organization philosophy is easily noticeable is user support: while in Wix or Weebly you can approach the support team directly and expect a fast and precise answer (after all, you’re paying for the product), in case of WordPress you are left with public forums where users like you answer each other’s questions – which obviously is less efficient when solving specific and time-sensitive issues. In other words, while WordPress has a vast knowledge base in the form of Q/A forum threads, your questions get answered by other users – who are obviously less motivated to help or reply faster.

Which One Should You Choose?

As we’ve seen above, each of the website builders has both stronger and weaker sides, and is able to carve out a niche on the market for itself thanks to specific features that appeal to certain user groups. This is therefore also a good starting point for deciding which site builder will best suit your needs: if you’re looking for a quick test of your idea and don’t care if the website will display ads, Weebly is the recommended solution – it allows you to go online very rapidly and change templates at the click of a button. If you have a very specific design in mind and would like granular control over every visual element of the website, go for Wix. If you’d like to start designing your website from a blank canvas, Wix is again your go-to solution. If you’re planning to sell products online, then Weebly might offer some of the best combination of pricing and features.

The Best Free Website Builder

Since most of the site builders we’ve discussed in this guide have free versions, one might raise a logical question: which of them is the best tool for creating a free website?

It should be noted right away that you won’t be able to avoid ads or choose your own domain using any of the free plans, making such a website only a temporary option for any online project with serious intentions – yet as a proof of concept this might be indispensable; later on, as you see traction, you can always upgrade to a more comprehensive plan with no ads and more features.

Moreover, since site builders like Squarespace and GoCentral do not offer permanently free versions (instead, they have free trials which expire after a fixed period), they will not be considered for the title of the best free website builder. The candidates will thus include: Wix, Weebly, and Jimdo.

Website Builder Wix Weebly Jimdo
Permanently free version yes yes yes
Available in free version:
Visitor statistics no yes no
Email marketing tools no yes no
Bandwidth limit 1 Gb 2 Gb
Online store no no yes

Based on the availability of various features in the free version, Weebly stands out as the most flexible and feature-rich free website builder: unlike Wix and Jimdo, it doesn’t hide such useful items as visitor statistics and email marketing behind the paywall, while also imposing no limitations on the incoming bandwidth (Wix, for example, has a 1 Gb ceiling on the free plan).

Jimdo deserves an honorable mention as well, though, as a runner-up in our challenge – its 2 Gb traffic cap is quite enough for most new websites, and the online e-commerce capabilities in the free version are unique among other site builders.

WINNER: Weebly

The Easiest Website Builder

Creating a website might be a much easier task nowadays, thanks to the existence of the website building toolkits we’ve analysed in this review, yet user friendliness is still an important factor in how quickly you can master a particular site building tool. When talking about ease of use, it is worth looking at several broad areas: the onboarding process (i.e. creating an account and finding relevant information on the official website), the account admin panel, as well as the builder interface itself.

In terms of first-user experience, every major website builder’s homepage is quite well optimized: there’s a navigation menu with all necessary items such as pricing and features, as well as clearly distinguishable registration buttons on every page. Clicking on the latter opens a sign-up form which needs to be filled out; Jimdo is worth mentioning as the site builder having the simplest one (2 fields, while e.g. Weebly has 3 and Wix has 4, and Squarespace has 5).

As for the admin panel and the real-time website constructor, Jimdo doesn’t fare as well, though – the internal admin navigation tends to be either hidden or layered, while the editor tends to over-simplify things, hiding as much functionality as possible behind hovers and clicks. The real leader in these areas is Wix, which offers a logically organized and navigable admin panel, as well as a truly visual site editor with convenient settings overlays for each element and a host of quick links on the left side of the screen.


The Best Website Builder for Photographers

Another common question we’re getting is about the most suitable site builder for photography professionals – the specifics of this niche dictates certain must-haves, including, foremost, image presentation and management capabilities, as well as e-commerce for licensing and appointment bookings.

We should start with a suitable theme, though; from the most popular website builders, only Weebly does not offer specialized templates for photography websites, while Squarespace includes 10+ and Wix has more than 30. While themes from other categories can also be used, of course, the existence of pre-made designs tailored specifically to photographers can be a big plus for those who wish to go online as quickly as possible and with minimum hassle.

Once you’ve chosen your template, the issue of presenting and arranging your images comes into play; this is being addressed by specialized content blocks, such as galleries and carousels. Each major website builder offers gallery and slideshow tools that help create customized blocks in no time, yet Wix is worth a mention here as the one having over 40 different kinds of image representation formats, including 3D galleries – not even counting the specialized third-party apps you can install from the Wix App Market.

Regarding additional functionality, each site builder can boast a set of e-commerce features, which might be interesting to photographers who desire to sell their work online, yet Wix, again, goes several steps further by also including a booking engine for those who’d like to enable their prospective clients to make appointments right on the web page.

Overall, all three major site builder offer decent levels of support for photographer websites, Wix seems to consistently outperform in each considered dimension – its killer combination of template variety, image management options, as well as additional capabilities is a package that’s difficult to beat.


Best Restaurant Website Builder

By popular demand, here’s a discussion of which site builder is best suited for a foodservice/catering web presence. Apart from the usual things like ease of use, content management, and image features, there are several specialized items that a restaurant website should be able to handle; the most important are arguably the menu and the table booking engine – the former facilitates research and aligns customer expectations about the restaurant’s offer, while the latter allows increasing efficiency and securing a more stable customer flow.

Out of the largest site builders, Wix and Squarespace currently offer the above features, taking different approaches to their integration: while Squarespace has the “menu” block built directly into its Layout Engine and the “calendar” content type available with any template as a core CMS feature, Wix has specialized extensions in its App Market which perform these functions: Wix Reservations, Wix Restaurant Orders, and Wix Menus. The plugin approach allows Wix to pack more relevant niche features into each of the above items, making it more versatile and user-friendly at the same time while still allowing its use with any chosen template.

Speaking of templates, both Squarespace and Wix have pre-designed specialized themes for the foodservice industry, covering everything from coffeeshops to restaurants and bars. Squarespace’s library counts 15 of those, while Wix offers more than 40.

Many restaurants and cafes tend to offer parts of their menu or their special ingredients to the public in the form of packaged goods, which is where the e-commerce functionality comes in. While most website builders offer the possibility to set up an online shop, out of our pair of close contenders Wix has a pricing advantage.

Just like foodservice business itself, this site builder niche has some of the toughest competition, and it can be said with confidence that both Wix and Squarespace are very high on our shortlist. However, due to the more versatile set of specialized features (available through the extension store) and niche templates we will go with Wix on this one.


Apart from these niche analyses, you can try out our handy Website Builder Choice Wizard in the beginning of this review – just answer several simple questions, and the system will magically produce a recommendation tailored to your specific preferences.

Share Your Thoughts!

Got hands-on experience with any of the mentioned website builders that you’d like to share? Still have doubts about which one to choose? Want to recommend additions and improvements to this analysis? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section below:

Pour your heart out


when reading this analysis it occurred to me that there are no features the largest website builder doesn’t seem to have – when you’re a market leader like Wix, you’ve got more resources for adding more stuff indefinitely, so it seems natural for a site builder market to tend toward one omnipotent player and other niche/lesser offers.

where in the tech world does this NOT inevitably happen, eventually? :)

Amazon also used to sell only books, remember..

so many builders, so little time :D

What is the best site builder for a photographer’s portfolio? I need an image-heavy website with lots of visuals and almost no text. It should load quickly.

Hello Kally, thanks for the question! We’ve been getting a lot of similar requests, so we’ve decided to update the last part of the guide with a corresponding section. Hope it helps!

i would choose squarespace for pghoto website any time

do you know anything about the website builder which is called “Doodlekit”?? I would appreciate your opinion

Thanks for the idea, Bjorn! Doodlekit’s template designs look like they haven’t been updated in a while, yet we will look deeper into this builder kit and if it meets the quality standards for this review, we will include it as well.


is there a websitebuilder taht does not require paying at all? I.e. an open source builder or smth like that?

that wouldn’t make sense, since hosting still costs money, so either it will have lots of ads or it will have a paid subscription. If you look at any free hosting server, they’re all pretty crappy and with lost of ads, q.e.d.

this is the most comprehensive comparison i’ve seen so far thanks guys

Glad it’s helpful, Isaac!

wonder why u didnt include the Grid in your list of website builders its more innoivative than most if not all existing ones

Hey Agatha! Our decision to not include Grid was mainly based on the fact that the website builder is still very much in an alpha phase – i.e. the product is unpolished and lacks essential features in order to stand together with the most popular existing competitors.

my experience with Wix has bee great so cast my vote for it cheers!

I wanted to try Sitebuilder because of all the ads I’ve been seeing lately. While signing up took my time to read the fine print and turns out the prices quoted on the upgrade page are only valid for the first billing cycle, after that you get charged a significantly higher monthly price. This is a neat little marketing “trick” from the perspective of Sitebuilder, but a stupidly sneaky way of fooling customers from my point of view, as a client. Be careful when dealing with this tool!

hello do you know if it is possible to have a multilingual website with Jimdo and if yes how do I do it? I’ve searched everywhere for days and still no clue thank you!

Step 1: open Jimdo’s support center
Step 2: type “multilingual website” into the search field
Step 3: voila! ;)

that wasn’t awfully helpful )) but I catch your drift, alright will try it

I’m also curious how to achieve this!

hello satori are you plannig to cover ukit in your review and if yes when? i am very interested in this site builder but not sure should i pay

Hey Sadeq, indeed, uKit has been on our radars for a while now. We’ve finally gotten our hands on it and added a section to the current analysis detailing our findings and impressions. Cheers!

I’ve worked with uKit in the past. You shouldn’t pay for it :) there are much better alternatives for the money, uKit’s raw and edgy IMHO

Hello! What is the point of choosing between costly tools when I can make anything I want on WordPress for free

well not exactly for free, unless you’d want to use a free hsoting, which in most cases sucks big time ))

I can get shared hosting to host WP for much, much less than even the cheapest sitebuilder!

what about jimbo? I’ve heard both good and bad feedback, wonder which part of it is closer to reality

Thanks for the tip! We’ve added Jimdo to the comparison, check it out :)

thats jimDo btw [flies away]

Wix is more advanced than Jimdo imho the designs might be more “hipster” but the features are way less advanced

Wix WIx WIX is da best

Hey! What does N/A mean in the “storage space” row in the table for Squarespace??

That was meant to signify that Squarespace offers no permanently free version of its toolkit – for all paid versions of Squarespace, that would mean “unlimited storage”, though.