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The Best Website Builders (2019)


Gary Stevens —

Last updated:

đź—Ł “Don’t use a website builder! Use WordPress! Learn to code!…”

Sound familiar? If you’re like anyone who’s ever tried to build a website, then you’ve probably heard this kind of advice before, usually given by web developers.

…But here’s a secret that most developers don’t want you to know: a lot of website builders are really effective for creating websites, especially for beginners.

đź—Ł “But…but… WordPress! CSS! HTML!”

Enough already! 🙉

Okay… now that Mr. Web Developer has finally shut up, let’s talk about website builders.

The great thing about the best website builders is that you don’t have to deal with or pay website developers (the average cost per site design is more than $2000)… You don’t even have to deal with the confusion that is hosting and using WordPress as a beginner.

All you have to do is sign up for one of the options below, think super hard about the website you want, and then build that website.

These platforms are so simple to use, you could have a new website up and running in less than 30 minutes.

TLDR;

I don’t always want to read everything I write either. I understand.

wix.com logoOne of the best things about website builders are the options. There are a lot of great ones. If we decide to spend time using a website builder – we generally use Wix for our own sites.

If you’re looking for mass customization to build a beautiful website without coding and extra headaches then try Wix.

Wix offers a free version of their software which is perfect for testing out their builder to see if you like it.

What is Our Review Process Like?


Here’s the process I used to  ensure that I’m bringing you the best and most unbiased information possible.

  1. I narrowed down my options (because there are a LOT of them) to only 10 of the best website builders.
  2. I opened up an account with each site builder and actually played around with the software to build a quick website.
  3. I tested each site’s loading speed.

Check Our Handy Website Builder Comparison

Wix SquarespaceSiteGroundWebSelfBoldGridWeeblyJimdoDoodlekitWebsYolaWeb
Easy to Use
Overtly Customizable
Beautiful End Product
Thriving Community
Great Support
Recommended

Best Website Builders for Canadians


1. WIX – King of the Canadian Website Builders

Easiest to Use + Most Online Resources


The reason Wix is the top choice is because it inhabits a slightly wacky zone of website builders.

Not only is it a drag-and-drop functional website builder – you can also place any element anywhere and do almost whatever you want.

No preset grids or anything like that. Wix said we can let you do anything – and then they kind of did.

Wix powers more than 20 million websites on the internet today.

The Good

The best thing about Wix is the possibilities. They offer their users the tools and power to build whatever they want to build. There is a reason Wix leads the website builder industry, and is one of our favorite software applications.

  • 300+ quality templates
  • Absurd amount of elements
  • Extensive FAQ and knowledge base
  • Reasonable Pricing
  • Free version
  • Responsive and helpful support
  • Intuitive and beginner friendly
  • Mobile optimization
  • Artificial Design Intelligence

Offering an option such as Artificial Design Intelligence – where Wix asks you questions and then gives you a headstart on the building process – are something you don’t expect from a software application that builds websites.

Allowing a complete beginner either start from scratch or get a leg up on the building process are the precise reasons why Wix is the best website builder. The company understands their users and strives to help them.

The Bad

With the numerous options and many attention grabbing features the easy solution for website building can be a tad overwhelming.

Who Wix is actually for

You should use Wix if you want to drag-and-drop but you also have a little bit of patience to take the time to master the functionality of Wix. Once Wix is mastered it is a powerful tool that will allow you to turn a blank canvas into a work of art.

Read our full Wix Review. 

2. SQUARESPACE – 2nd Best Website Builder in Canada

Design Beautiful Websites in Minutes


Squarespace is the next best website builder on this list after our grand champion, Wix.

The two builders compare equally and there is a large part of the population that would actually be better suited to use Squarespace.

The Good

The best thing about Squarespace is how easy it is to use. Using Squarespace is the easiest way to build a professional and beautiful website.

  • The best site builder for visual businesses
  • Dozens of high quality templates
  • Great live chat and 24/7 support
  • Super simple to use and master

What you’re really paying for in Squarespace is the drag-and-drop software paired with their amazing templates. These two features combined just make websites that look good.

The Bad

The worst thing about Squarespace is the inability to customize. With the greatness of the template comes the curse of the template. I might copyright the Curse of the Template – it sounds cool.

With a template you can only put certain elements in certain places. Going beyond the template is ill-advised.

The only other truly noteworthy aspect that is negative is that Squarespace is a little pricier than competitors and their annual vs. monthly pricing model is rough. You get a steep discount annually but if you want to pay monthly you will be paying a premium.

Who Should Use Squarespace?

You should use Squarespace if you want to drag-and-drop but you also want your website built quickly. You want everything to look sleek, professional, and uniform and you don’t want to fiddle around with a bunch of settings to make it look that way.

At the end of the day if you don’t care about customizing every aspect of your website your one goal is just to make a website that looks amazing, then Squarespace is a great option for you.

For a more detailed guide, check out our Squarespace review. 

3. SiteGround – A Newcomer to the Site Building Arena

Best Uptime and Speed and Free Add Ons


SiteGround is known for their hosting more than anything else. Don’t let that think that they’re bad at everything else though, because that’s absolutely not the case.

Another impressive feature is a solid website builder, specially with the release of their WordPress Starter tool. As the name would imply, WordPress Starter is specific to WordPress websites only and uses the Elementor Page Builder plus a selection of free themes and an array of the most recommended plugins.

If SEO is your bread and butter, then SiteGround may very well be the coffee to your perfect breakfast.

The Good

The positives encompassing SiteGround cater more towards someone who is more concerned with uptime and loading speeds than the building of their website.

  • Consistent uptime and page speeds
  • Free email account
  • Over 1,200 templates
  • Great features and functionality
  • Only $80/year

Paying for hosting on SiteGround is cheap compared to other website builders. You’re basically paying for hosting and getting a solid website builder along with it.

The Bad

The website builder on SiteGround is not as intuitive or easy to use as Squarespace and Wix.

That isn’t to say you can’t build a beautiful website on SiteGround – but it won’t be as easy as dragging elements and dropping them in place. The features and options that you get on another website builder would make it hard to rationalize using this website builder.

Who Should Use SiteGround?

Ultimately, SiteGround is for those of us that don’t mind using a more difficult website builder as a sacrifice for the best uptime and website speed—that is, unless your site is a WordPress site, in which case, you will find that the experiemce is much more enjoyable than you might think.

If you’d like to know more, check out our epic SiteGround review. 

4. WebSelf – The Best French Website Builder

Easiest to Use Site Builder


Not many Canadians may have heard of WebSelf. Our readers from Quebec might be the only exception since WebSelf is our pick for the best French website builder. 

WebSelf has been around since 2009 and is, by far, the best french website builder and used throughout France and Quebec. In case you’re wondering, they have English, Spanish and even a Portugese version.

The best thing about WebSelf is that it allows you to use almost any aspect of their website builder in their free version. That means that you can try it out completely free for as long as you want. I tend to lean towards using these types of services as the creators clearly want you actually try out and use the software before paying for it.

It shows a lot of confidence in the product.

The Good

The positives encompassing WebSelf are more for the type of person who wants a website built in a simpler and faster way than Squarespace. We laud Squarespace for its simplicity but WebSelf has it beat. 

Some of the positive aspects of WebSelf are:

  • Fantastic free version
  • French company for good French customer support
  • Free website designs
  • Great features and functionality
  • The paid plans aren’t too pricey

Most website builders charge insane amounts in their higher tiers but WebSelf takes a different approach. Their most expensive plan is still under €20 which comes out to just under $30 at the moment.

The other big pro is if you speak French then the customer support will be able to help you more than other website builder companies.

The Bad

The website builder on WebSelf isn’t going to create beautiful works of art like Wix can. It goes right into the Squarespace category where you can create a great website quickly but the templates and designs aren’t quite to the Squarespace level. 

You can still build a great website and do it super easily with dragging and dropping different elements. The features for customization just aren’t as fleshed out.

Who Should Use WebSelf?

WebSelf is for those of us that speak French and just want French help. There’s nothing wrong with that. The other type of person that would use WebSelf is one that doesn’t want an excessive amount of customization. They just want to pick a design, move some things around, and throw their website up on the internet.

5. BOLDGRID

Like Using WordPress Without Being Confused


I know I told Mr. Website Developer to shut up about WordPress at the beginning of this whole thing – but – WordPress is actually pretty awesome. There’s a reason WordPress powers 30% of the internet as we know it today.

Even though WordPress is king it isn’t perfect. There is a relatively large learning curve and can be difficult to use for beginners.

Who opens the door and walks in? You guessed it – BoldGrid. What BoldGrid did was take all the best aspects of WordPress and made it easy to use without having to worry about hosting and getting everything set up.

The Good

All the great things about BoldGrid are the great things about WordPress. You can do whatever you want with it.

On top of that BoldGrid, made it even easier to use so you don’t have to worry about all of the complicated stuff.

  • If you can dream it you can build it
  • There are thousands of themes to choose from
  • The price
  • FREE domain, email, and eCommerce
The Bad

BoldGrid works – I’ve used it. With that being said the hosting that the service is built on isn’t great.

There are a lot of complaints about slow load times all over the internet. I did experience a bit of that myself when using the program as well.

The builder is not as easy to use as Wix and Squarespace. It’s the same experience as using WordPress without having to research themes and plugins.

If I were somebody who was thinking about using BoldGrid I probably would just do more research and jump fully into WordPress.

Who Should Use BoldGrid?

You should use BoldGrid if you want to listen to Mr. Web Developer while also kind of cheating a little bit.

BoldGrid is a fantastic way to learn how WordPress works in general without having to worry about hosting and doing research for different themes and plugins.

6. Weebly – Easy to Use But Fewer Options

Best Name and Easiest To Use


Weebly! Say it with me – “Weebly! Weeeeebly!”

They definitely have the best name. I just love saying it. This website builder is often mentioned alongside Squarespace and Wix. While not as feature rich Weebly is still comparable.

The Good

Besides being the most fun to say Weebly offers a variety of positives. Weebly is as easy as Squarespace to use – in fact it might be easier. There aren’t many distractions on Weebly to stop you from building your website quickly.

  • Easy to use
  • You get a free email address when you sign up
  • Great support
  • Solid Pricing

Weebly thrives when speed is of the utmost importance.

The Bad

Weebly competes directly with Squarespace and Wix. Yet – you are down here on your computer screen reading about Weebly and have to scroll up a ways to read about Squarespace and Wix again.

Weebly is so simple that it is missing a lot of the features Squarespace and Wix have. I touted Squarespace for its simplicity as well but I also talked about how beautiful and professional the finished product would be.

The finished product of Weebly isn’t as nice as Squarespace and ease-of-use isn’t that much greater to make up for it. You can still make a great website it just isn’t quite as aesthetically pleasing.

Who Weebly is for

Use Weebly if you’re not great with computers but still want a website. It is the easiest to use website builder and even the most technologically illiterate of us should be able to create a polished finished product.

For more detailed info, check out detailed Weebly review. 

7. JIMDO

Best Website Builder App on a Tablet


Like the other builders on this list, Jimdo lets you create a website from your browser. But where it really shines is on mobile: smartphones and tablets.

The Good

Jimdo is another example of easy-to-use site building software. The mobile app that it offers is ideal if you plan on building a site from your tablet.

  • Ease of Use
  • SEO
  • Mobile App
  • Great Support
  • Email included

Jimdo also offers the most control over SEO features when it comes to website builders.

The Bad

Jimdo isn’t the most modern solution. The flexibility of the templates leave a lot to be desired and can leave your website looking a bit dated.

The lack of themes is also a concern as they only have 17 options.

Who Should Use Jimdo?

I would recommend giving Jimdo a try for building a website on a tablet or phone. Also, if you don’t mind a more dated feel to your website then Jimdo is a simple solution for building your website.

8. DoodleKit


Doodlekit has been around for a long time now and can help you build a basic website to showcase your company’s information.

The Good

Doodlekit allows you to fully customize their themes with colors, header images, and background styles.

  • Solid feature set
  • Easy to navigate control panel
  • Themes are customizable and plentiful
  • Solid knowledge base
  • Free plan

Starting off with Doodlekit has no downside because there is a free plan available.

The Bad

The company doesn’t answer tickets with blazing speeds and most of the website is outdated.

The interface besides the control panel is a bit confusing as well. It seems as if Doodlekit is an option that has kind of fallen by the wayside of time.

Who Doodlekit is for

I would not recommend Doodlekit to someone building a website. There is value in the way a website can look that was built on Doodlekit but the other options out there make it hard to choose Doodlekit.

If you built a website on Doodlekit in the early 2000’s and are feeling a bit nostalgic the option is always there.

9. Webs


Just based on the name you can tell Webs has been around a while. Web.com was probably taken and they just decided to throw an s on the end of the name.

The Good

We have gotten to the part of the list where the positives are harder to find. With that being said there are pros when it comes to Webs.com

  • Pricing is comparable to other website builders
  • Domain name and email accounts include
  • Intuitive design
  • 500 themes to choose from

The features that are there are relatively easy to use.

The Bad

It seems like Webs.com just exists for customers that signed up years ago and are servicing them until the profits go away.

There aren’t any noteworthy features and the whole service just feels like the bare minimum for a website builder… and they haven’t made a serious software upgrade in years.

Who Webs is for

I wouldn’t recommend Webs.com.

10. Yola


Yola brings me back to 2012 when YOLO was a thing. You only live a… I don’t know. Something with an A.

This website builder specializes in truly great uptimes and impressive speed.

The Good

The Yola Silver plan lets you have up to 25 websites. No other website builder allows that.

  • Great Uptimes
  • Free plan
  • Cheap plan for 25 websites
  • Intuitive editor

The editor is well-organized and makes sense.

The Bad

Sadly, Yola does not allow you to blog. It also still has ads in the first tier of paid plans and the features on the site are not plentiful.

Who Yola is for

I wouldn’t recommend Yola.

11. Web.com


When Web.com was a freshly purchased domain name I bet the team celebrated. Seeing a name like that now remind people of the dot com bubble.

The Good

Web.com has one of the few uptime guarantees I’ve ever seen for a website builder.

  • Has an uptime guarantee
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Solid basic templates
The Bad

There isn’t much praise to heap on Web.com besides the awesome early domain name get. All the moms on TV used to tell me when I don’t have anything nice to say it’s better to say nothing at all.

Who Yola is for

I wouldn’t recommend Web.com.

So What’s The Top Website Builder? – Few Things To Consider


There you have it folks. The 11 best website builders on the market.

If you want something affordable, effective, and easy to use, you’ll be hard pressed to find better options than Wix and Squarespace. If you’re a photographer, visual artist, or looking to keep things simple then SquareSpace is what you’re looking for.

If you like a challenge and crave the limitless options of WordPress’ CMS but don’t want to learn HTML or CSS BoldGrid is the droid you’re looking for. Check them out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Why You Should Choose a Website Builder over a CMS


coding hierarchyYou’re ready to build a website but find yourself moose-in-the-headlights frozen by indecision about whether to use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or a website builder like Wix or Squarespace.

Since you’re on a website builder review page right now, guess which we’re going to suggest?

Hold on – it isn’t that simple…

Five years ago, the answer would likely have been WordPress, even though it’s harder to learn, but today’s website builders are far more sophisticated and easier to use than earlier versions.

There isn’t a right or wrong choice here. I would suggest for complete beginners to check out website builders. With that being said – even being a beginner doesn’t mean you can’t figure out WordPress. There are just other options that work now.

Here are a handful of solid reasons to consider them.

#1. Visual Editor

A website builder interface is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) experience. That means that as you drag-and-drop elements around on the screen you see a representation of your website.

To the human brain, this visual aesthetic makes us feel happy and in control of our environment. With content management systems, you get what is called a form editor. It looks nothing like your website. It’s not naturally intuitive. Sometimes while using it, people get frustrated and throw things.

cms visual

#2. They’re Easy to Use

As great as WordPress and other similar software programs are, there is a learning curve attached.

Sometimes it is VERY steep. The fact is that website builders just aren’t that difficult to use. If you’ve used modern software you should be able to use a website builder.

#3. Built-In Hosting

Assuming you buy your domain through a website builder, you don’t have to figure out how to add it to a web hosting package and make everything play nice together. It just works.

If you couldn’t care less about about the technology that makes it all possible and just want to see results, use a website builder. It’ll make you happy. With WordPress (or similar CMSs like Joomla or Drupal), you’ll need to point the domain name servers to your hosting package and understand rigmarole like PHP, MySQL, and FTP. Who needs it?

No Longer the Ugly Cousin

Website builders used to be thought of as a last resort for those who didn’t know how to write code or hadn’t the patience to learn a CMS. Not any more!

Top of the line builders like Wix, Boldgrid, or Squarespace can stand toe-to-toe with anything WordPress creates and look great doing it.

More people are starting to realize they can have a professional looking site in a fraction of the time and at a modest cost by going the builder route.

Are Website Builders Secure?


Given the prevailing hack-a-thon climate online, you would be a smart cookie to wonder just how safe these builders are that we’re suggesting you create a website with.

When stories of billion dollar Canadian companies having their sites and information compromised are in the headlines daily, what chance does a DIY website builder have to keep you secure?

The truth is, you’re probably safer going the builder route than with a CMS. Here’s why. Let’s take Wix as an example.

wix private registration

When you create a website with Wix, hosting and ongoing maintenance is included in the monthly price.

That means the powers-that-be at the company have a vested interest in keeping customers happy. If sites created with their software tended to get hacked all the time, they wouldn’t have a business for long.

Considering that, you can stop worrying about almost (we’ll mention the exception in a minute) all security measures when you build a site with Wix or any of the others on our list.

Rest assured the company has a large, well-trained staff who do nothing all day but quality test and look for vulnerabilities, which will be fixed pronto when found.

Proprietary Code

One of the drawbacks to leading CMS platforms is that their source code is open to everyone — good guys and bad. The reason is to keep a larger (and presumably more talented) pool of people working to improve the product.

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that. The open source philosophy is a wonderful thing – but it does mean that the tools to create mischief through hacking are out there for anyone to use.

wodpress reasons for hacking

Wix and other website builders keep their code private, meaning that any potential cyber criminals have to work harder in order to penetrate a customer’s website. Additionally, when vulnerabilities are found and fixed, your website’s code is automatically updated whether you remember to do it or not.

CMS platforms have a reputation for being buggy, but at least some of the blame goes towards site owners who don’t install updates as soon as they become available.

Before we leave this section, let’s mention the one bit of site security that lies in your hands. That would be the password to log into your site. Just like with any CMS, it can be hacked by an automated bit of software that tries different passwords at hyperspeed.

The bottom line: you should create a strong password and change it often. Use at least eight characters that include capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

The Wix team will take care of the rest of your website’s online security but password duty is up to you.

Best Website Builders vs Hiring a Web Developer


ecommerce vectorIs a website builder your business partner? That’s one way to look at it. For those long on the entrepreneurial spirit but short on cash, a website and a good idea could be all you need to find small business success. We’re talking about ecommerce.

If you haven’t noticed, opening a cyber store can be a little less expensive than its real world counterpart. By the time you finish tallying the damage for space rental or purchase, remodeling, licenses, insurance, hiring employees, and stocking the shelves, there is a serious chunk of change involved.

Conversely, our favorite website builder, Wix, offers an ecommerce option that costs about $17 / month if you pay for it annually. That’s a pretty cheap ticket into the business world if you ask us.

Add-Ons and Upgrades


You don’t have to spend much time with the DIY website builder of your choice before you notice offers to add services like form-building, personalized email, and site-boosting. For an extra cost, of course.

Should you pull the trigger? We’ll answer that with a solid “maybe.” It depends on your website’s purpose.

website addons

Are you intending to operate a hobby site only or is this going to eventually serve as your full-time income? Obviously, it makes a difference.

To be taken seriously, you need a professional-looking email address, preferably one tied to your domain. While an @gmail is okay, you really should consider the upgrade, even if it costs an extra five bucks a month.

When it comes to form-building, do you really need one? It allows you to collect information in a more organized manner than just posting your email for people to respond to.

Are you noticing a pattern here? What we’re trying to say is that you might have a need for add-ons and you might not. Rest assured that the builders we recommend do not offer these upgrades as a scammy addition to their bottom line, though each is definitely a profit center in their overall business model.

FAQ


Is Wix better than WordPress?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that it can be. If you’re looking to highly customize your website without a solid learning curve then Wix is better than WordPress for you.

WordPress is a deep dive into website building whereas Wix is kind of like wading into the shallow end and flirting with the idea of swimming into the deep end.

Is a Wix website really free?

Wix has a free version but your domain name will have this format: username.wixsite.com/siteaddress. To use a custom domain and unlock a lot of feature you will have to select a paid plan.

How do I get a free domain name from Wix?

A free domain name is available after selecting a paid plan. You still have to pay for the Wix plan but they throw in a domain name for free – for a year.

How much is the Wix domain after the free year?

The domain name will cost you $14.95 for the year after your free year is up. That price is relatively competitive with other hosting platforms.

How secure is Squarespace and Wix?

Both hosting services include free SSL certificates when connected to their websites. All of your visitors can be ensured that every page has a secure connection on your website.

Is Squarespace owned by Square?

They do sound similar but the two companies are not related.

Can I use my own domain with Squarespace and Wix?

Yes, if you purchased a domain from a third-party provider you can connect your site by domain mapping. Both services have helpful knowledge base articles about accomplishing this and their customer support is there to help if you are confused.

What is the best website builder for beginners?

Squarespace is a great choice if you feel you are a beginner and have a bit of anxiety when it comes to building a website. Wix is a fantastic choice as well and should be used if you feel a little more confident in your abilities to learn the software.

Use Squarespace if you’re looking for the most simple approach to building a website.

Which is the easiest website builder?

Squarespace is definitely the easiest website builder that can build a beautiful website. There are alternatives that are a mix of easiness and customizability but as far as ease of use Squarespace wins.

Is Squarespace better than WordPress?

The short answer is no. The long answer is that it can be. See the above questions for reference.

Squarespace is much easier to use than WordPress and has about one-twentieth of the learning curve. As a beginner WordPress can be daunting.

Is Squarespace better than Wix?

Both options provide benefits. Squarespace is for people who want to build a beautiful website inside of a fantastic template whereas Wix is for people looking for more customizability.

How long does it take for Wix websites to go live?

It may take up to 48 hours for your website with your own domain to appear.

How much does it cost to publish a Wix website?

A website on Wix can be published for free under this naming format: username.wixsite.com/siteaddress. To use a custom domain and unlock a lot of feature you will have to select a paid plan. On average paid plans are $14 a month but can be as little as $5 a month and as much as $25 a month.

Can you edit your Wix site after you publish it?

Yes, you can edit your Wix website after you publish it and the changes will go live when you’re finished.

How is WordPress different from Wix?

The biggest difference between Wix and WordPress is that Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder software that handles all the backend aspects of your website and WordPress is standalone software that you install on the hosting platform you have selected. Wix is much easier to use while WordPress has a learning curve.

Which website builder is the best for blogging?

The best website builder for blogging outside of WordPress would be Wix due to it’s easy to use SEO options and blogging functionality.

Which website builder has the best SEO?

WordPress has the best SEO capabilities but as far as website builders look to Wix or Squarespace. Both have similar SEO functionality in 2019.

How much does it cost to hire someone to build a website?

It depends on what you are trying to do but it can cost anywhere from $1,500 for a bare minimum website from a beginner to thousands more for upgraded functionality.

If you found this article valuable, you may also like our report on the best web hosting services for Canadians. Once you’re comfortable building websites with Wix, you can “graduate” to more custom web design work by choosing your own web host.


References and image credits:

  • WildApricot.com
  • KimiWeb.com
  • SlideShare.net
  • Onliners-eg.com

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