Microsoft Website Builder – The 5 Top Options Right Now

microsoft-website-builder

Microsoft is a company that's had an impact on nearly every aspect of how we live our lives. If Bill Gates hadn't achieved his 1980 vision of "a computer on every desk and in every home", we'd be living in a very different world today.

However, since dropping the public website feature from SharePoint, one tech sphere that Microsoft has been noticeably absent from is website building software.

In fact, at the time of writing, there's no actively-maintained Microsoft website builder product.

But if you're a Windows fan, don't worry. There are still several Microsoft-backed or supported toolkits that you can use to create a great website.

Here are the five best Microsoft website builder options and alternatives:

1. Wix

Price from: free

Recommended for: those looking for up-to-date sites with included Office 365.

Microsoft Website Builder WixWix is a third-party website building platform and isn't a Microsoft product. So why does it deserve a place on this list?

Because Wix has a partnership with Microsoft. In fact, if you're a Microsoft Office 365 subscriber, you can use your Office 365 account to sign in to Wix today.

Compared to alternative legacy Microsoft applications on this list, Wix is an extremely modern website builder.

Thanks to a drag-and-drop design and wide selection of included templates, it's also very easy to use.

That's not to say it's limiting though. You can still modify small page details using the 'Wix Code' function. And the Wix page editor allows you to position content wherever you like.

To start creating an Office 365 Wix website, all you need to do is enter the 'Public Website' section of the Office 365 'Admin center' and follow the links to the Office 365 Wix sign in page.

Microsoft Website Builder Wix Office 365

PROS

  • Creates modern websites
  • Subscription included with Office 365
  • Great template selection
  • Simple drag-and-drop design

CONS

  • Not a Microsoft product
  • Not ideal for advanced developers

2. GoCentral

Price from: $5.99/month

Recommended for: those looking for an easy website builder with Office 365 included.

Microsoft Website Builder GoDaddyGoCentral isn't a Microsoft product either, but like Wix, it is partnered with Microsoft.

That's why GoCentral, the GoDaddy website building tool, is included with Office 365 subscriptions.

GoCentral is designed to allow you to build a website in 60 minutes or less. 

This makes it an ideal option to consider for Microsoft users who want to create a website in a hurry.

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to GoCentral's speed.

It restricts the amount of control you have over your website layout much more noticeably than other Microsoft website builders.

All the same, GoCentral is worth a look as it's a modern website builder that provides support for eCommerce websites and includes a range of different templates.

Microsoft Website Builder GoDaddy Sign In

PROS

  • Create websites quickly
  • Supports eCommerce sites
  • Modern templates

CONS

  • Not a Microsoft product
  • More restrictive than other options

3. WebMatrix 3

Price: free

Recommended for: users looking for free legacy website building software.

Microsoft Website Builder WebMatrixWebMatrix 3 is a Microsoft website builder application that was released in 2011. Support for the platform ended in 2017, but it's still worth considering if you need to work with older websites.

This is a firmly developer-oriented website building platform with support for numerous programming and style languages such as HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript.

If you don't have any coding experience, this isn't the right platform to use.

However, if you're willing to put in the work, you'll learn a lot about website development by building a site with WebMatrix. To get started, check out some WebMatrix tutorials.

WebMatrix is free to download and use on any Windows machine. It includes a mobile website simulator and several different templates to build off. For an up to date version, consider Visual Studio Code which is a source code editor and the WebMatrix replacement product.

Microsoft Website Builder VSC

PROS

  • Free to use
  • Runs locally

CONS

  • Not suitable for beginners
  • No longer supported by Microsoft

4. Microsoft Expression Web 4

Price: free

Recommended for: those looking for a free visual Microsoft website editor.

Microsoft Website Builder Expression WebMicrosoft Expression Web is another discontinued Microsoft website builder product. It was first released in 2006 and supported until 2012.

This is a platform worth checking out if you're a Microsoft developer because it's designed specifically to support development frameworks like Microsoft Silverlight and ASP.NET.

Like WebMatrix, Microsoft Expression Web allows you to directly edit your website code. However, the big advantage this platform has over WebMatrix is that it also includes a visual editor.

Web developers who want to add multimedia files to their sites should also consider this program. A unique Expression Web feature is the ability to embed Photoshop files and Silverlight videos on your pages. Microsoft made Expression Web free to use when support for it ended, which is good news if you're on a tight budget.

PROS

  • Great for working with specific multimedia formats
  • A good choice for developers using Microsoft Silverlight

CONS

  • Discontinued by Microsoft
  • Web pages look noticeably dated

5. Microsoft FrontPage

Price: free

Recommended for: users working with legacy web pages.

Microsoft Website Builder FrontPageBetween 1997 and 2003, the majority of the internet was powered by Microsoft FrontPage. In many respects, it's the original Microsoft website builder.

Microsoft FrontPage is an offline HTML editor and was one of the first website builders to offer a What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) design, allowing users to preview how sites would appear while editing them.

As this is really a piece of internet history, it isn't suitable for modern website building.

You can use Microsoft SharePoint though, which is the contemporary descendant of FrontPage.

Microsoft Website Builder SharePoint

As I mentioned above, SharePoint no longer supports the creation of public websites. However, you can still use it to create website HTML files that can be uploaded to a separate web hosting service.

SharePoint is also great for internal enterprise team sites. Effectively, if you want an exclusively Microsoft-made and currently supported website builder, SharePoint is your only option.

PROS

  • One of the original WYSIWYG website builders
  • Lives on in the form of Microsoft SharePoint

CONS

  • FrontPage is too out of date to build modern websites

Final Thoughts: Finding the Best Microsoft Website Builder

In the end, there's no single definitive Microsoft website builder. In the future, there's a good chance that Microsoft will introduce a new platform. However, for the time being, consider your personal needs when deciding if one of these options works for you:

  • Wix is excellent for creating modern, responsive websites.
  • GoCentral is extremely easy to use.
  • WebMatrix is a good choice for experienced developers.
  • Microsoft ExpressWeb is a visual webpage editor.
  • Microsoft FrontPage is an important legacy application.

Which is your favorite Microsoft website builder option? I'd love to hear your thoughts, so comment below!

An experienced content professional with a creative mind. If I'm not writing, you can probably find me in the backyard playing with dogs or at some weird art show.
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