Gone are the days where you need a professional to design your website. Here’s our list of free and paid website design software that’ll help you create your dream site. It’s never been easier to do it yourself. With a ton of options for website design software and tools, you can create a site regardless of your coding abilities.
Table of Contents
- What is website design software used for?
- Best website design software for 2019
- Online Website Builders
- Website design tools
What is website design software used for?
Website design software is beneficial for both newbies and advanced web designers. You can choose design software depending on the level of your expertise, how fast you need to see results and other criteria.
You will be able to develop a website even if you are a complete newbie. Intuitive drag and drop services have made it incredibly easy to create websites quickly and stress-free.
If you are interested in coding, read about the best HTML editors we selected.
Best website design software for 2019
Picking out website design software can get confusing. How do you know which choice is most suitable for you? This task becomes even harder if you are inexperienced in web design and don’t know where to start. Let’s discuss different design software, its pros, cons, and best features.
Ultimate control of your website with coding
Thousands of themes to choose from
Great customer support
Customization relies on code and themes
Harder to master for beginners
WordPress began as a blogging platform and grew to be one of the most beloved website builders out there. Today, WordPress powers around 28% of the entire web. That’s pretty impressive, right?
Technically, WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System), not a website builder. However, it is so powerful and comfortable to use, that millions of users worldwide use WordPress to design stunning and well-functioning sites.
Protip: You can install and utilize WordPress on 000webhost.com for free. No fuss, no muss.
The WordPress website design software itself is free, but if you want to create a professional looking site, you’ll have to buy a domain name and hosting services.
What is more, most of the professional WordPress themes are paid. So in order to make a great looking website and don’t want to code, you will have to invest.
When it comes to website building, WordPress has a steeper learning curve compared to other DIY design services. If you want to build a website in a few minutes, or an afternoon – WordPress might not be the best choice.
However, if you want to build a more prominent website and functionality is your priority – WordPress is a great option. You can create any kind of a site – an e-shop, a magazine, a portfolio — anything you need. Functionality, in WordPress, comes above everything else.
There’s a massive amount of pre-made WordPress themes that you can use for your website’s design. If you want to create a theme of your own, you can either code it or use builders like Beaver Builder and Elementor.
The best place to look for WordPress themes is the site itself. On your dashboard, simply go to Appearance » Themes and browse the thousands of options. The paid templates prices vary everywhere from a couple of bucks to a hundred dollars.
While installing a theme takes only a few seconds, customizing it and setting it up might be a bit tricky for a beginner. However, WordPress has dozens of helpful tutorials and fantastic customer service to help you out.
Even if you are a beginner, you can tailor WordPress to fit your abilities. It might take a little while to master it, but in the long run, you’ll do just fine.
Editing a theme on WordPress can be as hard, or as easy as you want it. If you have little to none knowledge, you can simply use the theme customization bar and make the edits needed.
You can change your featured image, background image, customize widgets, colors, menus, etc. If you want to have more freedom of customization, you can upgrade to the Premium plan.
If you have coding abilities, building a site on WordPress will not limit you. The possibilities are truly endless. You can develop your own theme and truly make your site reflect your personal style.
WordPress also offers an immense selection of great plugins.
A plugin is a little piece of code that “plugs” into your website to increase its functionality or customize how it works. Plugins are great for maximizing the limits of your site’s performance, ensuring extra security, optimizing SEO and so on.
Overall, WordPress popularity isn’t accidental. The available features and possibilities of building a website are truly incredible. Even if you have to pay for a theme or some plugins, you’ll end up with a site that’s worth way more than you paid.
Open source and free
Adobe Dreamweaver CC (From $20.99/mo)
Great built-in support
The vast choice of features can be overwhelming
Adobe Dreamweaver CC is a website design, publishing, and management tool, that combines visual and code editing.
It is the leader of all website design software. Adobe Dreamweaver has been around for a while and has improved so much, it’s close to being perfect. To this day, when it comes to professional website design, Adobe Dreamweaver has little to none serious competition.
You can use the application with a split screen – the coding part on one side and the WYSIWYG on the other. You can, however, chose to use only one of the options. It’s entirely up to you and your preference.
Even though it is a professional tool, Adobe Dreamweaver is suitable for all levels of expertise. This means that both experts and total beginners will be able to utilize this tool to the fullest.
When you first start using Dreamweaver, you can choose your level of expertise — beginner, intermediate, advanced. Your choice will determine how many functions you will see and use. This is excellent because the vast amount of functions offered, it can get confusing for a newbie.
Now, if you are an advanced user, you can utilize the Dreamweaver software to create a website from scratch. The software supports multiple coding languages and has dynamic and easy to use coding editor. Coding with Dreamweaver is a pleasure, not a task.
The Adobe Dreamweaver offers a vast amount of tutorials. You can learn about everything from the stages of web design, publishing and managing websites, and coding basics to the functions and features of the site itself.
The updated version of Adobe Dreamweaver has a new and improved CSS design tool. You can easily modify complex CSS code with the drag and drop feature. Curved corners, shadows, color variations – anything you need, you can change in real time.
The downside of the Adobe Dreamweaver CC is, of course, the price tag. If you’re not a professional web designer and only need a small website, you can find cheaper, easier to use software.
Quick CSS Editing
Online Website Builders
There are quite a few great options of browser (or Cloud) based web design services out there. They have quite a few advantages, as you don’t have to download any software to use it. All you have to do is register and start building your site.
Let’s review the best browser-based web design services
Loads of apps and tools
Smooth drag and drop feature
E-commerce is exclusive to the most expensive plan
With over 40 million powered websites, Weebly is one of the most popular website builders out there.
The developers of this service always focused more on improving the functionality of their product, rather than flashy marketing campaigns. And it really shows.
Weebly’s functionality, versatility and price balance made it one of the most popular website design services in use. Its creators made sure that anyone – and we mean anyone – can use it to create stunning websites.
While Wix is the more popular choice, Weebly is much easier to use. The navigation dashboard and the super intuitive interface have made sure, that even your grandma can design a website with no problem.
When setting up, you can choose from plenty of responsive themes, that you can edit and modify as you wish.
When it comes to Weebly’s navigation dashboard, we can’t stress enough just how simple it is to use. The design is customizable and clean. You can organize the categories as you wish, or you can leave them are they are.
On your left, you’ll see elements like Title, Text, Image, Gallery, Map, etc. To add any of these functions to your page, all you need to do is drag and drop.
To edit existing content, you just click on the element and choose what you want to change. You can easily modify the text, size of your elements, their placement, etc. Certain functions allow you to add in or edit code easily. So if you have good coding skills, you can create fantastic sites with Weebly.
What is more, Weebly offers hundreds of apps you can add to your website to increase its functionality. They work in a similar manner as WordPress’ plugins.
For example, you can install the Sales Pop app and track your sales. Or, you can utilize Mail Bot to improve how you sort your emails. Apps like Social Media Stream will quickly integrate all of your business’ social media streams to your site.
If you are on a budget, you can use the free Weebly version. It is more than enough for simple sites for small businesses. However, if you feel limited by the free version, you can pay a small monthly fee to upgrade to Weebly Pro.
Some of the more advanced, yet necessary options are only available on the paid plan. For example, if you’re setting up an e-shop, you won’t be able to set the shipping prices with the free version. So keep this in mind when making your choice.
By upgrading to the Premium plan, you will unlock great functions, that will take your site to the next level.
24/7 customer support
Easy to use
Fast website setup
Support available in nine languages
Modern and easy to use design
Only two levels of navigation
Email support only
Steep price tag
Jimdo is based on the idea, that every step of the web design process should be easy for all. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a professional developer or someone who wants to show off their knitting – you can master Jimdo in no time. Currently Jimdo powers over 20 million sites.
What attracts many users to Jimdo is the simplicity of its features. The developers made sure that regardless of the vast amount of different features to choose from Jimdo is still beginner friendly and easy to use.
One of the best features that this software has, is an easy to set up and use e-commerce function. You can set up your shop and get it running online in just a couple of simple steps.
When starting out with Jimdo, you can either choose to build a website from scratch or use the AI website builder. If you chose the second option, Jimdo will ask you a couple of questions to determine what kind of site you want to use.
The initial set up with the help of Jimdo AI takes no more than a few minutes.
The Jimbo user interface itself is intuitive and straightforward. If you want to edit an element on your site, all you need to do is hover over it and the customizable part will be highlighted. If you click on it, you’ll get to choose what exactly you want to edit.
The whole movement of editing and design is sleek and simple. Jimdo perfected its interface to a level of almost no complaints.
The Add Element function allows users to include different features on their site. You can add anything from a picture to an item for sale or a map. You can move objects around on your site by clicking and dragging. Couldn’t be easier, right?
All of your edits show up immediately due to the live preview function. This is perfect for someone who is inexperienced with web design. You can see your changes in real-time, thus any mistakes that pop up are easy and quick to fix.
When it comes to the price, the free version of Jimbo is powerful enough to create small, yet functional sites. And if you need a domain, email or just more features, you can upgrade to their Premium or Business plan.
One downside is that the paid versions are quite expensive therefore not as budget-friendly as Weebly or Wix.
Great storage and bandwidth
Squarespace (Free with premiums plans from $18/mo)
Custom code friendly
Great built-in e-commerce function
No long-term free plan available
A bit intimidating at first
If having an aesthetic website is your main goal – Squarespace is the tool you need to go for. The importance Squarespace puts on style is evident from the first glance you take at their homepage. Everything looks clean, crisp, modern and absolutely beautiful.
Squarespace’s marketing campaign aims to appeal to people who do creative work. Since the aesthetic components are highly prioritized, anyone who focuses their practice on visual products will definitely enjoy what Squarespace has to offer.
However, Squarespace isn’t limited to just looking pretty. The intuitive service will help you to create well functioning, user-friendly and highly-responsive sites.
Squarespace itself is template-based. This means you’ll have to pick from a list of various website themes, with different style and functionality. All the templates are truly gorgeous, functional and mobile-device friendly.
Protip: One thing to keep in mind – Squarespace templates are made to look their best with high-quality pictures. So when you replace the sample pictures with your own, do try and use excellent quality artwork.
One downside that Squarespace has is the need to create the site first, before making any changes to the template itself. Additionally, as intuitive as it is, the interface can be a little bit tricky to navigate.
When it comes to site customization, the Content Box is your primary tool. If you want, you can change everything from fonts, colors, and sizes of certain elements. In short, you can modify the theme to reflect your personal style.
To change any components on your site, all you have to do is click. The same goes for all content – text, pictures and so on. While navigating on your page, you will see grey bubbles pop up on specific areas. This is the indicator that you can add new elements to that part of the site.
Simply click it and choose the function you want. You can add in audio files, video files, photo galleries, social media blocks, contact forms, etc.
On Squarespace, you can customize your pages quite a lot. Squarespace offers well thought out SEO settings, that will help you optimize your site to the max.
Wide price selection
Easy to use
Ads in the free demo version
Can’t change your template after choosing it
Advertised by actors and models, Wix is the heavyweight champion of web design. The browser-based service powers over 110 million websites worldwide.
Wix is an excellent option for complete beginners. You don’t need any coding skills, nor do you need to download the actual software. All you have to do is register and start building.
Since Wix is completely template-based, you will choose your website theme when registering. There are over 500 professional templates of various formats.
When starting out with Wix, you will be given a questionnaire that might help you determine which website template is best for your business. What is great, all Wix templates are responsive to screen size and mobile-friendly.
Wix provides excellent templates for all kinds of different sites – everything from artists portfolios to e-shops and business websites. The templates categories have their own sub-categories, so we doubt you’ll face any problems when picking out a theme.
One downside of Wix is that when you pick a template – you’re stuck with it. Once you add content to your page, you can no longer change the template. So if along the way you want to change it, you have to start over and build your website from scratch.
Wix provides its users with plenty of useful tutorials. This means that you’ll be guided through every step of your web design journey. So if you are a bit nervous about starting your website design journey – Wix will help you out.
The Wix’s customization interface is simple and easy to use. Located on your left, the navigation bar has all the functions you need. If you want to add something, you just click the plus icon and choose the function you want to put on your site.
Since Wix is a WYSIWYG design service, all you have to do to make changes to your site is drop and drag elements of your choice. It has a preview mode that lets you view your site as if it was running.
When it comes to prices, Wix surely has its perks.
Wix has both free and paid versions. If you’re creating a simple site for a small business, the free version is undoubtedly more than enough. If you, however, need a domain, more bandwidth or just more functionality – you can choose between five paid plans.
Wix Logo Maker
Vector Art Images
Wix Seo Wiz
Drag and drop
Not very beginner friendly
Sluggish drag and drop
Webflow is a great, cloud-based WYSIWYG service. However, WebFlow is not as oriented towards beginners, as some other website builders mentioned in this article are.
The interface in WebFlow is quite simple and easy to navigate. You can choose the “I don’t have any coding knowledge” option and the automatization tool will create the needed HTML and CSS code for you.
However, WebFlow aims to fulfill the needs of already experienced web developers. This is not a quick fix, like Wix, Jimdo or Weebly. Building a site with WebFlow takes time and dedication.
When you register, you can choose between two options: you can either pick out a template and customize it, or you can choose to build your website from scratch.
If you decide to work with a theme, you’ll be able to customize all of the elements present. All you need to do to activate the customization bar is to click on the item you want to edit. The customization bar will pop up on the right side of your screen.
The customization bar looks a lot like the toolbar in Adobe Photoshop and similar software. It offers a lot of functions, but it can be a little too complicated to navigate for inexperienced users.
While working on your website design, you will be able to check out how your website looks on different formats. WebFlow’s themes are mobile device friendly and operate well on tablets as well as computer screens.
You can change the overall layout of the theme by repositioning items. To move around elements on your screen, WebFlow offers a run of the mill drag and drop function. It could run a little smoother, but overall it does the job.
Now, there are some themes and settings that are only available for paid users. Template prices range everywhere from 20 to 80 dollars.
You can also choose different paid plans, depending on your website design needs. The site offers various prices for site and account plans. This provides a lot of flexibility when choosing how much to invest.
However, the price tags on WebFlow’s services are a big downside. Compared to other, way easier to use software and faster software, WebFlow is quite expensive.
Responsive web design
Website design tools
Web design tools are made to really increase your productivity and creativity when making a website. While some are just picture banks or tools to jazz up your site, some are designed to help you make site mock-ups for clients and maximize your workflow.
Whatever you need to improve your work – the internet has your back.
Let’s run through a list of the best website design tools out there.
Unsplash is a free service, that provides you with ten high-quality images every ten days. All pictures in Unsplash are free to use and have the creative commons zero licenses. This means that you can use it however you want – modify it, reproduce it, put it on your site or social media.
Adobe Stock is an amazing sock image service. It is included in Adobe’s CC subscriber’s package, but you can also purchase it on its own.
There are over 50 million photos, videos, templates, illustrations and anything you might need for your site. All the products offer great quality, so you won’t end up with mediocre images on your site.
Regardless of the reason behind your picture hunt, Picjumbo won’t disappoint. It is a 100% free stock photo service that adds new pictures every day.
Users have access to more than 100 photo collections. You can sign up with your email address to receive free stock photos in your inbox. However, if you want access to their Premium line of images, you’ll have to pay a fee.
Pixeden has a great collection of freebies for your site. This site will help you out when you’re looking for design elements of any kind. Pixeden has everything from site mockups, templates to text effects, and etc. And all of them are free!
Anime is an easy to master animation building service. If you want a simple animation for your site, you don’t even need to have a lot of coding experience as it is very intuitive and easy to use.
However, keep in mind that adding animation to your site is quite controversial. It tends to bug a lot and doesn’t always look as good as you would hope.
Another service that offers you a vast amount of high-quality design elements. While some of the offered products in Pixel Buddha are free, most of them are paid. However, if you need great quality and have a budget for it – you won’t be disappointed.
If you are a professional web designer or want to be one, you’ll surely need to use a mockup service.
Creating a mockup of a site is like sketching out a painting. It gives the general idea of how the site is going to look. This is especially useful if you’re creating a site for a client.
Mockup Plus also has a feature for mobile App production, so you can try out your strengths there as well.
Canva is a free service that’s great for quick and easy design purposes. This service made it easy to create gorgeous banners, featured images, resumes, social media posts and so on.
You don’t have to have any design skills to produce stunning elements with Canva. It is very intuitive and offers loads of pre-made templates, design elements, fonts and etc.
While some of the elements of Canva are paid, they provide more than enough free options.
Adobe Photoshop is the top-tier selection among all design software. While it takes some time to master, Photoshop has endless design possibilities. This software is used by millions of professionals worldwide.
So if you are not looking for an easy fix and want to design everything yourself – Photoshop is your answer.
Newsletters are a necessary part of growing and maintaining your online business. MailChimp is one of the most popular services for creating and sending beautiful, well-designed newsletters.
Generally speaking, it is easy to master and use. And if you struggle, there is a great number of tutorials to help you get started. Overall, MailChimp is the champion of the newsletter business.
While back in the day designing a site was a huge task, nowadays it’s made available for all. You can design a website from scratch yourself.
Website design software saves you time and money.
Easy to use software like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace is a great option for those, who want to design a website for their small businesses.
Adobe Dreamweaver CC, WordPress, and WebFlow are perfectly suited for those, who already have some (or a lot) coding experience and aim for a bigger site with more functionality.
Functionality doesn’t necessarily have to come hard or be expensive.