Website builders provide an easy-to-use – often drag and drop – interface that enables you to create your website without having to hire a web designer or developer. Site builders can be proprietary platforms only available through a specific web host, built into a site template, or a plugin that you can install after you have set up your site. While a site builder can be added to almost any site on a popular CMS like WordPress, the following hosts offer plans with built-in site builders, sortable by popular brands or cheapest offerings.

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The Differences Between Site Builders And CMS Platforms

While a site builder can be added to or may use a CMS platform, site builders are focused on adding visual and design elements to your website. A CMS may allow you to change many things about your website and how it looks, but its primary focus is on its content, structure, and capabilities.

Different Types Of Site Builders Available

All site builders do the same thing: They allow you to change
and customize your site to meet most of your needs. They add click and drag
elements and menus so you can rapidly build your site. Site builders generally
fall into one of three categories:

  1. Platforms: these site builders are baked into the platform itself that you use to create your website. These are usually exclusive to the host and cannot be transferred to another host or platform.
  2. Templates: these site builders use powerful, feature-rich templates that can be purchased and added to a popular CMS.
  3. Plugins: theses site builders are added by installing a plugin on your site through a CMS platform. The features here are generally layered onto of the CMS features.

The Best Free Website Builders

Website builders – whether they are free or paid – have similar
advantages and limitations. Any builder that you use will eventually run into
an issue where you want to create or add something that the interface is not
designed for.

While it is hard to quantify what is best when it comes to site builders, there is an important consideration: whether your site is on a proprietary platform or not. There are several services that operate as a site building platform first and include hosting as a part of their plans. While they have their merits, the downside to such services is that you are locked to that platform. If you decide to move your site elsewhere, you will have to build it all over again.

The Easiest Website Builder For Beginners

All site builders are built with ease of use in mind and are
targeted towards beginners. Most site builders use drag and drop features to
let users add, move, and change design elements on their site. You will also
frequently find tutorials and help documents integrated, or at least linked to,
within the builder environment.

Site builders are designed so that users are not required to
know web design and development concepts and coding. However, they do let users
add CSS or JavaScript to customize their website even more. While it is not
required, having a basic understanding of these two languages can help your
site stand out from the crowd and looking too much like a “template” website.

Limitations Of Using A Site Builder

Generally speaking, the more robust a site builder is, the
more limitations it has should you decide to move your site elsewhere. Site
builders based on entire platforms generally prevent you from migrating your
site to a new host without having to completely rebuild it. Some hosts do use
the same platform though, making the move possible.

Site builders that use templates are host-agnostic but still
require you to use the same template. Fortunately, most templates provide
enough options to prevent your site from looking like too many other websites
out there. Plugin-based site builder are usually the least powerful, but they
also have the least limitations placed on your site.

A site builder will always be cheaper than using a web
designer to create your site. That said, while many of them are powerful, you
will eventually run into something you cannot accomplish through the builder.
Most site builders are robust enough to add further customizations – but you
will have to invest the time needed to understand and implement the addition
correctly. Site builders may also slow down websites with large amounts of content.

Further Reading