There have never been so many options for starting a website or blog. Yes, hosting WordPress on your own server is not only the most popular way – it has been completely revolutionary.
As a free, open-source, community-maintained content management system – WordPress software has allowed millions of people to start & fully control their own website.
But what if you want an alternative to WordPress?
After all – WordPress has many issues with it as well. From code bloat to security problems WordPress can be difficult to manage. Especially if you lack the technical skills.
Website owners can not only forego a developer/designer – they can go right to the DIY setup that fits their needs, expertise, and focus.
In my career as a marketing consultant, I’ve been able to use and test a full range of website builders, software & platforms for both my in-house projects and client projects. While WordPress is great for most projects, I also thought it would be useful to have a list of WordPress alternatives along with what they do well & who they focus on.
Here’s a brief summary along with an extended explanation below.
Summary of WordPress Alternatives
|Wix||DIYers for a business or organizational website||Learn More|
|Weebly||Drag & drop features w/ hosted integrated features||Learn More|
|SITE123||Small and quick website design||Learn More|
|Squarespace||Design-focused w/ hosted platform||Learn More|
|Shopify||Full-featured hosted eCommerce platform||Learn More|
Read my full reviews of various website builders.
Guide to WordPress Alternatives
Here’s an extended guide to each, along with other WordPress alternatives for specific use cases.
With over 4.6 million installed users, Wix is the second most popular website builder.
Since Wix is a hosted-only solution, you don’t need to worry about anything technical. You just build your website and go. Wix has drag & drop design with many integrated features and I compared Wix to WordPress. If you are not sure about their service, they offer a free trial.
Read more about Wix with an in-depth review.
Weebly is known as a drag-and-drop website builder. It is a hosted platform, which means that you don’t have to worry about hosting, speed, or security like you do with self-hosted WordPress.
Like Wix, SITE123 is another Isreal based website builder. SITE123 focus is on allowing anyone with little technical understanding and quickly create a new website. You can build a website from a personal hobby blogger to a professional-looking business website.
I wrote a detailed SITE123 review you may want to check out as well.
Squarespace is a major brand in the website builder industry, thanks to their heavy ad spend on podcasts & Super Bowl ads. They do not have drag & drop but do offer a user-friendly platform with a focus on design. They are pricier than other options (and have inherent hosted platform limitations), but serve as an excellent name-brand, hosted WordPress alternative.
If you are looking to create an eCommerce storefront, then Shopify is a great alternative. Unlike WordPress – Shopify focuses exclusively on online storeowners. They offer drag and drop, along with templated designs in addition to features that fit all types of online stores.
Other WordPress Alternatives
There are, of course, tons of other alternatives including options that either have a specific use case, I haven’t used enough to fully judge, or don’t quite have features/benefits that the alternatives listed above already cover.
Joomla is the “3rd sister CMS” along with WordPress and Drupal. It has a new release due in 2017 but has been losing momentum for several years. That said, it has a devoted community with many strengths over WordPress. I personally don’t think it is as user-friendly but is a very interesting alternative.
Ghost is a rapidly growing WordPress alternative, that in some ways, actually started as a reaction to WordPress’ movement away from its publishing roots towards a general content management system. Ghost is lean, open-source, fast and focused on modern web publishers.
Jekyll is also a fast-growing alternative that has caught on as a reaction to WordPress’ recent product features. Jekyll is a “static website generator” – like the old-school Movable Type. This topic gets complicated, but basically, static website technology fell out of favor to database-driven software like WordPress due its lack of functionality and flexibility. But – due to speed & security concerns (and feature-bloat) – static website generators are coming back. Jekyll is one of many that is growing in popularity.
Lastly, here are some other options you may have not thought of:
- HTML/CSS – it’s OK not to use tools ! Sometimes you just need to write your own HTML and upload it to a server (or a cloud – which are near free nowadays). I love to look at onepagelove – where I got starter code to build this small project on Google’s Cloud . Bootstrap also has a whole suite of starter snippets for custom coded sites.
- GoDaddy GoCentral Website Builder – a pre-packaged website product from GoDaddy. Not nearly as flexible as WordPress, but very straightforward. I reviewed GoDaddy’s website builder here.
- BoldGrid – software offered by some hosting companies that installs with WordPress so that you get all the benefits of self-hosted WordPress in addition to drag & drop design and simplified setup.