Serving around 34% of the internet's websites, WordPress is by far the dominant force of the CMS and website building industry. In fact, the company also does web hosting too, allowing you to build, manage and host your site all in one place.
However, just because almost a third of the internet loves it, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the right solution for your website.
There are plenty of alternatives available, though, and some of them even suit certain websites better than WordPress does. You've just got to know where to look.
Fortunately, I've done the looking (and plenty of testing) to pick some great site builders and platforms.
Here are the 5 best WordPress alternatives right now:
- Wix - Best alternative to WordPress
- SITE123 - Easiest WordPress alternative
- Squarespace - Beautiful WordPress alternative
- Shopify - Most popular eCommerce provider
- Joomla - Powerful CMS with third-party extensions
Price: $0.00 - $35.00
Recommended for: those who are looking for a very easy and responsive builder
First up, it's Wix - an alternative similar to WordPress in that it offers a great selection of templates and it has a huge app market to help boost the performance of your website.
There are some significant differences too, the first and perhaps the most important of them all is that Wix websites are exclusive to Wix hosting, i.e you cannot transfer your Wix website to a different hosting provider.
On the other hand, a key positive difference is that Wix is generally much more customizable for beginners who don't know how to edit code, thanks to its user-friendly drag-and-drop functionality and focus on ease of use.
It even boasts the 'Wix ADI' feature, which pretty much builds a website for you - presuming you provide it with the necessary information it requires.
This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to create a simple website that still looks the part.
So, if you're looking for WordPress alternatives, I'm guessing you enjoy a blog post or two. Well, you're in luck, as Wix has a great blogging platform with enough features to manage a successful blog.
On another note: Wix offers phone support, while WordPress does not.
Wix Pricing Structure Isn't for Everyone
When it comes to pricing, there's one large downfall in the eyes of many users: Wix doesn't allow you to use a custom domain until you pay for the $5.00/month package, and even when you do, you're still faced with Wix ads being plastered across your website. You have to pay $11/month to free yourself of the Wix ads.
This certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea, as some will argue that WordPress.org can be used for free and you can find reliable hosting to go with it for less than $5/month. However, it's really the ease of use and lush Wix design that you're paying for here. It all depends on your own situation and perhaps your taste in design too.
These are the features that Wix uses to justify its pricing:
- App Market - Home to thousands of website boosting apps
- Wix Stores - Create stunning online stores
- Wix Code - Gives you complete creative freedom over the design of your website
- Wix Events - Easily get booked for your services and display a calendar of your events
- Wix Editor - Drag and drop feature and over 500 templates
And to be fair, there is a free version available for you to try out before you pay for anything. This way, you'll get a much clear idea of whether or not you prefer it over WordPress.
To conclude: If you're looking for as simple of an experience as possible while still achieving an attractive finished site, I would highly recommend taking Wix for a test spin.
- Drag and drop editor
- 500 templates to choose from
- Excellent blogging feature
- Free plan available
- Unlimited file size and speed
- Not as flexible as WordPress as it isn't open source
- Prices start from $11/month to have an ad-free website
- Your website will be exclusive to Wix hosting
Price: $0.00 - $15.48
Recommended for: those who are looking for a much easier WordPress alternative
SITE123 aims to provide the easiest user experience and it definitely achieves that. It's possible to create a website with this site builder in less than a day. Less than an hour to be honest.
And it's not stripped of functionality - both dozens of built-in features and third-party integrations are included - just like using WordPress.
But then again, the difference comes when comparing the ease of use. While WordPress does require lots of knowledge of the platform and even some coding skills - it's completely opposite with SITE123.
The platform is based on dozens of templates for various industries. However, you can mix and match certain details visually to create a unique look.
And lots of extra tools are included too - you get access to free image and icon galleries, logo builder, app integrations and more.
The professional fonts and color palettes are available as well. Editing is visual - you can see every change that you make live.
It's easy to achieve the same functionality as with WordPress. For example, eCommerce integration is just one click away and there are no commission fees.
Blogging features are powerful as well - you can integrate RSS feeds, schedule posts, use the commenting system, and more.
And the pricing for all the features is surprisingly affordable.
SITE123 has a free plan but just like all free hosting, it has a lot of limits - no custom domain, restricted bandwidth and disk space, ads, and more.
So the premium plans range from $6.48 to $17.28/month and a lot of features are included. That's a free domain, domain privacy, SSL certificate, Cloud hosting, and much much more.
So combining the pricing with all of the premium features makes SITE123 one of the best WordPress alternatives. Or the easiest one - at least.
- Intuitive and user-friendly
- Dozens of responsive templates
- Great third-party integrations
- eCommerce is commission-free
- 24/7 customer support
- Not as flexible as WordPress
- Free plan is very limiting
Price: $12.00 - $37.00
Recommended for: those who are looking for an amazing selection of unique templates
The main focus of Squarespace is its selection of sleek and modern templates, and it's those that make it a great alternative to WordPress.
The selection of templates is exceptional, and with price plans starting at $12.00 per month, this is by far the cheapest way to achieve a website that looks like it cost a thousand dollars. What's more, it requires little technical knowledge and skill.
Unlike WordPress which is open source and has endless customization options, Squarespace is fairly simple in this department. It uses a drag-and-drop editor to create pages, posts, and tweak the overall look of your website.
There are a number of impressive features for online stores too.
It has an eye-catching product catalog with no limit on the number of products.
You can also embed products into blog posts, and with abandoned checkout recovery - send email reminders for customers to complete the checkout.
And that's not all, there are tonnes more features including:
- Powerful integrations including Adobe Creative Suite and Google Drive
- Superior uptime and reliability
- Free, unlimited hosting with no cap on storage or bandwidth
- SSL certificate included
- Same price renewal rates
In the pricing department, Squarespace falls behind slightly due to its higher-priced starter plan at $12.00 per month. But to benefit from the online store features, you will need to upgrade your account further to the Basic plan priced at $26.00 per month.
- All-in-one platform
- Drag and drop builder
- Sleek and modern templates
- Free plan available
- Unlimited file size and speed
- Limited customization options
- Higher priced starter plan
Price: $29.00 - $299.00
Recommended for: professional online stores.
Shopify is the most popular eCommerce CMS provider out there, and provides you with all the necessary tools to set-up and sell. So, if you're looking for a WordPress (with its WooCommerce plugin) alternative that has a great blogging platform, a mobile app, and a web-based website builder with a selection of eye-catching templates - meet Shopify.
The first thing to note is the difference in price, as it's quite substantial. The cheapest Shopify package is $29.00 per month, which is a fair bit more than, for example, a WordPress hosting package with Bluehost that starts at $6.95 per month. So, for users who want a cheaper alternative to WordPress, this is important to note.
On the design front, Shopify is impressive too. There are over 100 templates to choose from, and it uses HTML and CSS to completely customize the appearance of your website.
There is also a full blogging platform with excellent variety and depth. It allows you to categorize articles, create lookbooks, encourage discussion and more.
And as for the hosting side of things, Shopify guarantees 99.98% uptime and 24/7 monitoring. As well as this, you can expect instant upgrades and unlimited bandwidth.
And believe it or not, there are even more features including:
- Over 80 payment gateways from bitcoin to Paypal to iDeal
- Google Analytics integration
- A mobile app that will automatically synch your data
- Abandoned checkout recovery
- Drag and drop store builder
- 24/7 email, live chat, and phone support
From left to right - Basic ($29.00), Shopify ($79.00), Advanced ($299.00)
Choosing the Shopify package which best suits your business depends on the scale at which it operates.
- Web-based website builder
- 24/7 customer support
- Shopify mobile-app
- Higher in price than WordPress (WooCommerce)
- Fewer templates
Price: $0.00 (premium themes and extensions are paid)
Recommended for: a user who wants a powerful CMS WordPress alternative.
Joomla is the second most popular CMS on the market - behind WordPress. It actually creates websites like WordPress and is quite similar to WordPress - they are both open source, free to use, and multi-purpose. But the similarities don't end there, as you're about to discover.
The first thing to look at is the Joomla design options, and because it's a CMS they are actually quite decent. A huge selection of templates is a good starting point for building your website (think of them as the backbone). And the components, modules (widgets), and plugins help to make up the content of your website.
In terms of complexity and ease of use, Joomla is more beginner-friendly than WordPress.
The installation process is fairly easy, and most hosting providers offer one-click installs for Joomla too.
It provides you with a graphic interface, where you can easily add or manage articles, change settings, add extensions etc.
And what's more, it offers one-click updates too.
Cost And Expenses
When you look at the costs and expenses of Joomla! compared to WordPress, there are both similarities and differences. The software itself is free, but the cost adds up when you purchase things like premium themes and extensions.
However, because Joomla is more complex, unless you are experienced, you are more than likely going to need professional help to build a website.
But for now, let's take a look at some of the other features that Joomla! has to offer:
- SEO tools built and ready right out of the box
- Free forever open source software
- Community support system and extensive documentation
- Extremely versatile and can be used for almost any type of website
- Plenty of features for creating an attractive blog
- Joomla Security Strike Team
Overall, Joomla offers an incredible amount of out the box functionality. And what's more, with its official hosting provider SiteGround, hosting prices start at just $3.95 per month.
- Open source software
- Powerful CMS platform
- Software is free to use
- No live chat support
- Steeper learning curve than most website builders
So, Which Is The Best WordPress Alternative?
Well, that really depends on the type of website you wish to create, and of course - your budget. All of the providers mentioned in this article offer unique features that will suit certain individuals and websites.
To help further your decision, though, I have decided to make a list of who 'I believe' each of them suits the best.
- Wix - Best suited for inexperienced users who want a large selection of modern and professional templates.
- SITE123 - The best alternative to WordPress if you are looking for an affordable and easy to use site builder.
- Squarespace - The best choice if you want the most advanced template designs.
- Shopify - Great WooCommerce alternative for building professional online stores.
- Joomla - A great CMS WordPress alternative for creating complex websites.
Joomla is the most like-for-like provider to WordPress, and makes for a great alternative for anybody who wants to create complex websites and wants the choice of thousands of extensions. On the other hand, Wix, SITE123, and Sqarespace are perfect for creating professional websites with minimal effort. This leaves Shopify - which is perfect for selling online.
How Did I Test These WordPress Competitors?
Prior to this review, I purchased each one of the providers and carried out a series of tests. My tests included things like ease-of-use, reliability, features, and helpfulness of customer support. The results of these tests proved these four options to be the very best WordPress alternatives.
However, do you think I missed out on an important provider you think is better than WordPress? If so, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box below!
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