WordPress vs. Website Builders: Which Option is Better? (Explained 2021)

If you are considering setting up a new website – be that for a business, a personal blog, or any other purpose – you’ll have lots of options to decide upon. For those who wish to set up a blog for themselves, and who have little or no budget to spend, they might consider researching the best free blog website builder to use. For others who are hoping to create a compelling and engaging business website, they may wish to look for a platform that offers more complex additional features and functionalities.

For many, one of the most important decisions to make is whether to use a content management system such as WordPress to build their site, or to opt for a website builder. To understand what’s right for you, make sure you investigate a little further and understand the critical differences between the two, as well as have a clear purpose in mind for your site and the essential elements necessary to achieve what you want.

Which is better WordPress or a website builder?

So what are the crucial differences between WordPress and Website Builders?

WordPress is a content management system based on PHP and MySQL that is usually used with the MySQL or MariaDB database servers but can also use the SQLite database engine. WordPress is used by more than 60 million websites, including 33.6% of the top 10 million websites as of April 2020. Via: Wikipedia

Website builders are tools that typically allow the construction of websites without manual code editing. They fall into two categories:

  • online proprietary tools provided by web hosting These are typically intended for users to build their private site. Some companies allow the site owner to install alternative tools (commercial or open-source) — the more complex of these may also be described as content management systems.
  • offline software that runs on a computer, creating pages and which can then publish these pages on any host. (These are often considered to be “website design software”, rather than “website builders”.) via: Wikipedia

WordPress is a content management system (CMS)— not a website builder. CMS’s are flexible but have a learning curve. Website builders are less flexible but easier to use.

Ease of use

A website builder tends to be the system of choice for those who feel overwhelmed by the idea of creating their own website with minimal assistance. Website builders are often very intuitive and are designed to make the process of creating a website as simple as possible.

On the other hand, WordPress is a little more complex to understand, but the upside of this is that it tends to be more flexible and has better options. So if you want to have more control over your site and a more diverse range of features, WordPress might become more appealing.

Editing your website

A typical website builder has a drag and drop function to create the layout of new pages on a website. This makes it super easy for the editor to drag in a text or image box and build up their pages and other elements around the site, as well as reposition them as they see fit.

A CMS system such as WordPress works a little differently. The editor tool with which you create your page doesn’t necessarily reflect what the live page will look like. This can be more troublesome for novice users.

Usability

For less technical people, WordPress can quickly become somewhat confusing to get right. If you are trying to achieve a particular look, however, tweaks in the theme code allow you to make a site that is more bespoke to you, as well as enable specific plugins to function correctly.

However, without a basic understanding of coding, and the technical knowledge that is required to make the site as slick and smart as you’d like, this may become quickly overwhelming. Using a web builder means you shouldn’t have to tweak the code which can be a relief for the less tech-savvy amongst us!

Flexibility

WordPress offers a whole host of plugins (software components that allow additional features to be added to the website). Because of this, there is a great deal more flexibility and room for creativity if choosing to use WordPress as your CMS. However, it is essential to note that not all plugins will be compatible with your selected WordPress theme, and some tweaking of the theme code may be required. This can be tricky, particularly for beginners.

A web builder still offers a number of additional plugins (none of which should require any coding). However, the range is much more limited, and therefore those using a website builder may find that they are limited in terms of the features they can add to their site.

Hosting your website

Those choosing a web builder don’t have to worry about finding a separate host for the site as it is included in the web builder you select. This can make everything much simpler and less stressful. By purchasing your domain name alongside your website builder, everything just works.

Those using WordPress, however, will also have to find a PHP & MySQL host. This adds another element of decision making and research to getting your website up and running. It can also be confusing for less technically-minded people.

On the other hand, by choosing a separate host to upload your WordPress site onto, you have the option of moving to another host if there is a reason for you to do so. This is not possible for those who use a website builder as they are essentially ‘stuck’ with their host. Should they decide to move, they would have to build an entirely new site from the ground up.

WordPress vs Website builder tool

Features Website Builder WordPress
Flexibility  As compared to its WordPress, Website Builders are less flexible. They can manage personal or small websites, but have some limits when it comes to full-fledged website management. Being an open-source website creation and management tool, it has a lot of themes and plugins that give you complete freedom to create/modify your website.
Ease of Use Most of the website builders have drag-and-drop features which make them very easy to use. Thus, you actually don’t need any technical knowledge to manage your site content. It is not a drag-and-drop editor. You have to work a little using the WYSIWYG editor to modify the layouts or format of your content.
User Support Website builders are though very easy to use, yet you can find a lot of documental support with regards to their usage. WordPress has a big community when it comes to help and support.  You can read and participate in their forums, post direct questions, and get all sorts of queries resolved.
Layouts & themes They have built-in templates that can be directly used to design your site’s layout. WordPress offers thousands of templates – both free and paid, per the requirement of the users.
Pricing Most of the web hosting providers give easy website builder tools as a part of their hosting. The pricing depends on the WordPress plan you take, the very basic plan is free, but buying a WordPress hosting however, is more beneficial.

Choosing between WordPress or a website builder can be tricky, and there are pros and cons for each. Figure out what you need, be honest about your technical abilities, and use the above as a guide, and you are sure to make the best decision.

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