WordPress vs Website Builders (Which One Should Beginners Choose?)

Written by

Our content is reader-supported. If you click on our links, we may earn a commission. How we review.

Choosing the right platform to build your website can be a daunting task. In this WordPress vs Website Builders comparison, we’ll cut through the jargon and focus on the key differences between WordPress and other website builders.

From $16 per month

Try Wix for FREE. No credit card required

You’ve decided you need a website, but right now, you don’t know which direction to turn.

Of course, you’ve heard great things about WordPress. After all, it’s the best, right? But do you really need it? Or will a website builder do the job just as well?

Maybe you’ve got your head in a spin and can’t determine why WordPress is different from website builders. Or is it simply the same thing?

If you’ve asked any of these questions recently, I feel your pain. Website building is confusing.

And it doesn’t help that there are a bazillion platforms out there claiming to produce a shiny, professional website for you in moments.

So, if you’re a beginner and want a website, start here. 

In this article, I’ll make sure you understand the difference between WordPress and website builders, plus make some recommendations for which platform to choose.

TL;DR: Website builders are certainly easier to master, but WordPress gives you full control over everything you do. Here are my top recommendations for both:

Best website builders:

  • 1. Wix: Best overall website builder in 2023
  • 2. Squarespace: The best variety of templates
  • 3. Shopify: Best for e-commerce
  • 4. Site123: Cheapest option

Best hosting providers for WordPress:

Website Builders and WordPress: Are They the Same Thing?

Website Builders and WordPress: Are They the Same Thing?

This is where a lot of people get confused, and it’s easy to see why.

Website builders and WordPress both create websites. So on the surface, they are the same thing, but they both operate very differently.

Essentially, website builders let you do one thing – build a website. WordPress, on the other hand, is an entire content management system with much more flexibility.

To explain this better, I have an analogy for you.

Let’s say you want to build a new bed. Now, you can either go to a certain blue and yellow furniture store and purchase a package containing all the necessary bits to make your bed.

Or, you can go to the hardware store and browse the different materials and purchase whatever you want to create your bed.

Heading to the furniture store is easier because you don’t need the technical skills to actually create each piece – it’s already done for you. You simply purchase the package and follow the instructions. This is how it is with website builders.

WordPress, on the other hand, is like visiting the hardware store and building a bed from scratch. The software is open source and provides a robust platform upon which to build your site. Then you have endless themes and plugins to customize it.

Just like you’d need technical skills to build a bed from raw materials, you need a bit more technical knowledge to use WordPress.

What is a Website Builder?

What is a Website Builder?

A website builder does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a software tool used solely for the purpose of creating websites. 

The whole idea behind these platforms is to allow someone to build and launch a website without requiring any coding skills or technical know-how. 

As such, these tools typically feature easy-to-use interfaces such as drag-and-drop editing tools and will usually have a set of tutorials or walkthrough guides to help you through the website-building process.

What Features Does a Website Builder Have?

Website builders come in all shapes and sizes. Some are basic, some are feature-rich, some are for blogs, others for e-commerce, and so on. But no matter its purpose, each web-building platform generally includes the following features:

  • Templates or Themes: A must-have for building your first website. A template is an “out-of-the-box” site that you can customize. 
  • Drag-and-drop interface: All good website builders will have a drag-and-drop interface to allow for easy editing.
  • Customization: Website builders will allow you to customize most aspects of a website, such as colors, fonts, layout, elements, etc. However, this feature is more limited on basic website builders.
  • Custom domains: A domain is the “www” address you type into the search bar to get the website up on the screen. All website builders will allow you to use one you’ve purchased elsewhere.
  • Dynamic content: This is fun stuff like parallax scrolling, animations, and page movements (very basic website builders may not have this feature).
  • Device optimization: Websites look different depending on whether you’re using a desktop or a mobile. Decent website builders will include optimization tools to ensure it looks great on all screens.
  • SEO tools: Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must if you want your website to appear in search results.
  • Analytics: Most site builders will have at least basic analytics that shows you traffic and performance stats.

The Benefits of Website Builders

The Benefits of Website Builders

There are loads of great benefits to using website builders:

  • The software is ideal for beginners and those with little or no technical knowledge
  • They’re very affordable
  • The platform also typically includes website hosting as part of the package
  • You get lots of templates to choose from
  • Usually, you can get a website up and running within a few hours
  • Decent platforms have tutorials to teach you how to use all the tools
  • Customer support tends to be good

What is WordPress?

What is WordPress?

WordPress is content management software (CMS) and was originally created as a blogging platform. It grew exponentially and is now responsible for 40% of websites worldwide.

The software is open-source. What this means is that its source code is available to everyone, and anyone can modify it.

Because of its open-source setup, there is a huge range of themes and plugins that you can use to customize each website:

  • Themes essentially act like website templates and are responsible for the appearance and layout of a website. You cannot have a WordPress site without using a theme.
  • Plugins add functionality to the site, such as SEO, security, better speeds, and more. For example, an E-commerce site will have plugins for product listings, inventory management, and checkout.

Because of its high customization capabilities, WordPress requires more technical skills than a website builder. That said, it doesn’t actually require you to know coding languages. But its interface can be complex to navigate, and it’s tough to understand which plugins you do – and don’t – need.

WordPress is self-hosted, which means you have the freedom to choose which hosting provider you use for your WordPress sites.

The Difference Between Wordpress.com and WordPress.org

The Difference Between Wordpress.com and WordPress.org

Those with keen eyes will have noticed that there is a WordPress.org and a WordPress.com in existence. 

  • WordPress.org is the self-hosted, open-source software that you use to build your website. However, to use it, you need a domain name and a hosting server. Additionally, site installation, maintenance, and security are your responsibility to deal with.
  • WordPress.com is a hosting provider and provides a platform where you can use WordPress.org. Here, installation, maintenance, and security are taken care of by WordPress.com.

Importantly, you don’t need WordPress.com to use WordPress.org. You can take your pick of hosting providers (SiteGround, Bluehost, etc.) and find one that matches your need.

What Features Does WordPress Have?

What Features Does WordPress Have?

Here’s why you would want to use WordPress.org in place of a website builder:

  • Content Management: The software provides a user-friendly interface for creating, editing, and managing all your website content.
  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor: This is a type of editing tool that allows you to see the changes as you make them. 
  • Themes: Themes act as templates and therefore determine the appearance and layout of your website. Both free and payable themes are available.
  • Plugins: Plugins enhance the functionality of your website. There are thousands of free and premium plugins available to add features to your website.
  • Customization: WordPress.org offers limitless freedom to customize your site, including modifying the PHP code and database directly.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: WordPress can handle websites of any size, type, and complexity. As you scale and evolve your business, your WordPress site can be molded to fit your needs.
  • SEO Optimization: Since WordPress is well-known, Google identifies it as a trusted source and thus places WordPress sites higher in search results. Additionally, WordPress has excellent SEO features allowing you to optimize your website fully.

The Benefits of WordPress

Lots of benefits to be had from WordPress.org. Here are the key advantages:

  • WordPress.org is free to use
  • The platform is highly robust and world-class
  • You get 100% control over every single aspect of your site
  • The customization options are endless
  • The SEO for WordPress is better than that of Website Builders
  • WordPress has a highly active and vibrant community you can engage with

WordPress vs Website Builders: Pros and Cons

WordPress100% control over every aspect
Infinite scaling possibilities.

Can use it for free.

Choice of who you want to use for hosting.

Can be used for any type of website.

Active WordPress support community.
Requires technical knowledge.

Big learning curve to learn WordPress.

It’s easy to “break” your WordPress site.

The interface is not the most user friendly.

Hard to understand which plugins you need.
Website BuildersEasy “out-of-the-box”solution.


Tonnes of templates.


Lots of support and customer service.

Fast and convenient.
Features and customization may be limited.

SEO is not rated as highly as WordPress.

Limits to how large you can scale.

You don’t have full control over your site.

The Best Website Builders for Beginners

1. Wix: Best Overall Website Builder 2023

wix homepage

Wix is a long-standing website builder that has been around since 2006. It used to be pretty naff, but it has managed to catch up with the times and is now a really solid choice in the website-building world.

Featuring over 800 templates for all kinds of purposes, Wix provides you with the blueprint to get your website up and running fast. Additionally, you get a tonne of features and tools that you can use to tweak and perfect your site until its fit for your requirements.

Whether you’re looking for a solution to create a blog, a business, or a full-scale E-commerce site, Wix has plans to suit all levels right up to enterprise scale.

With a 99.9% uptime guarantee and data backup service, Wix also provides reliable hosting infrastructure to ensure the smooth running of your site.

Wix Features at a Glance

  • Limited free plan available
  • Seven paid plans available costing from $16/month plus bespoke enterprise plans
  • Free custom domain (first year only)
  • Free Google Ad vouchers
  • Free site booster, visitor analytics, and calendar apps (first year only)
  • 14-day money-back guarantee
  • Full E-commerce capabilities
  • Beginner-friendly
  • User-friendly interface
  • 800+ templates
  • Drag-and-drop editing tool
  • Comprehensive help center and guides
  • 24/7 live chat customer care

Check out Wix’s plans here. I also have a full Wix review available to read.

2. Squarespace: Best Modern Templates

squarespace homepage

Squarespace is the other big name in website builders and offers the full package. Although it doesn’t have as many templates as Wix, it has ensured that they are all extremely high-quality and visually appealing. As such, this is a great platform for any designers or creatives that need to make an impact.

You get a decent range of features – particularly where e-commerce is concerned – and your website is quickly built using the intuitive interface and drag-and-drop tool.

There are four plans on offer, from personal to advanced e-commerce giving you a wide scope for scaling your business. 

Disappointingly, a free plan is not available, but you do have a 14-day trial to see if you like the software.

Squarespace Features at a Glance

  • 14-day free trial
  • Four plans available costing from $16/month
  • Free custom domain (first year only)
  • Free professional Gmail (first year only)
  • 14-day money-back guarantee 
  • 100+ templates 
  • Drag-and-drop editing tool
  • Video maker templates
  • Full E-commerce capabilities
  • Geared towards designers and creatives
  • Excellent help section and community support
  • 24/7 social media chat and email ticketing support. 
  • Live chat available Monday – Friday

Give the free trial on Squarespace a go here, or my full Squarespace review has plenty of information to help you decide.

3. Shopify: Best for e-commerce

shopify homepage

Shopify is the Mommy/Daddy of e-commerce and the platform to choose if you want to craft a stunning online shop and scale it to the limit. The giant commands a 26% share of E-commerce sites, so you know you’re in good hands.

The platform is massive, and it has endless features and tools, including a whole load of automation capabilities. As such, there is a learning curve to it, and it may not be the best choice for those less technically inclined. 

That said, if you want the option to scale your online shop without a hitch, Shopify is going to be the best choice (aside from WooCommerce – WordPress’ E-commerce offering).

Shopify provides opportunities to sell via a multitude of channels, such as social media and online advertising, and has templates for all types of online stores.

While there is no free plan, Shopify offers a very generous introductory offer allowing you to try out the platform for over two months for just $1.

Shopify Features at a Glance

  • Start a free trial & get three months for $1/mo
  • Four plans available from $29/month plus bespoke options
  • A very basic plan is available for $5/month, but this is for selling on social media only
  • 30-day money-back guarantee 
  • No free domain, but you can connect a custom one
  • 12 free themes (templates) plus paid ones available
  • Suitable for E-commerce only
  • Drag-and-drop builder
  • Has its own checkout facility
  • Can automate most admin tasks
  • The learning center is vast but is not user-friendly at all
  • 24/7 live chat, email ticketing, and phone calls

Click here for your Shopify free trial, and check out my full Shopify review here.

4. Site123: Best for Hobbyists

site123 homepage

Sometimes you just want to dip your toe into the water without any (or very little) financial commitment. This is where Site123 is a great choice.

It has a full free plan, while the platforms’ one paid plan is very affordable. However, you’re not going to get a world of features for this price. Therefore, it is a good option for technophobes or those who just want a basic option.

Site123 does have E-commerce solutions, and they’re perfectly adequate for selling a handful of products. But if you want to scale, you’re going to get stuck and will find it too limited overall.

All-in-all, this is a super easy platform to grasp and use. And despite being the most basic of all options in this article, it performs surprisingly well and provides site visitors with a smooth and fast experience.

Site123 Features at a Glance

  • Free plan available 
  • The paid plan costs $12.80/month
  • 14-day money-back guarantee 
  • Free custom domain (first year only)
  • Free templates
  • Drag-and-drop editing tool
  • E-commerce tools included
  • Decent help center and guides
  • 24/7 live chat support

Sign up here to use Site123 for free. Don’t forget to read my full Site123 review too!

Best WordPress Hosting for Beginners

1. SiteGround: Best WordPress Hosting Overall

siteground homepage

SiteGround is an exceptionally good value hosting provider and offers a number of hosting solutions, including WordPress and WooCommerce. 

Its WordPress hosting is managed, meaning security, maintenance, and updates are all taken care of, removing the requirement for you to do it yourself.

SiteGround’s infrastructure is particularly excellent and makes use of the Google Cloud platform. Plus, it has a number of proprietary performance technologies, including the SuperCacher, which ensures your WordPress site pages are served up as fast as possible. 

Additionally, you get two free WordPress plugins – one for optimization and one for security. 

Ultimately, SiteGround brings you a high-quality platform and service at one of the best prices available.

SiteGround Features at a Glance

  • Three plans are available, costing from $2.99/month
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Google Cloud infrastructure
  • Free WordPress installation and migration
  • Free SiteGRound WordPress optimizer plugin
  • Free WordPress security plugin
  • Automatic WordPress updates
  • Managed WordPress services
  • Free email migrator
  • Woo-Commerce enabled
  • Enhanced security
  • Daily backups
  • Advanced caching
  • 24/7 customer support

Take advantage of SiteGround’s excellent promotional rates here. Plus, you can read my comprehensive SiteGround review.

2. A2 Hosting: Best for Performance & Speed

a2 hosting homepage

A2 Hosting is a provider that offers a large range of hosting solutions. It takes care of its customers by providing top-class LiteSpeed infrastructure and caching. This results in blazing-fast speeds, top reliability, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

It has four different plans for managed WordPress services ranging from individual sites right up to large-scale WooCommerce stores, and each plan comes with a dedicated WordPress toolkit.

You get a tonne of hardening features to keep your site secure. WordPress sites can be installed with one click, or if you want to get more technical, you can opt for a customized installation.

The free A2 Optimized plugin ensures your site maintains an optimum level of operation and provides your visitors with an excellent browsing experience. Plus, the free Jetpack plugin will keep your site as secure as possible.

Although it’s not as cheap as SiteGround, you do get slightly more features and faster speeds.

A2 Hosting Features at a Glance

  • Four plans are available, costing from $2.99/month
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Turbo LiteSpeed web servers
  • Free WordPress installation and migration
  • Free A2 Optimized WordPress optimization plugin
  • Free JetPack plugin
  • Automatic WordPress updates
  • Managed WordPress patching
  • Plugin and theme management
  • Customizable WordPress installation
  • Unlimited email addresses
  • Woo-Commerce enabled
  • Enterprise-grade “Imunify360” security
  • Automated daily backups
  • LiteSpeed cache
  • 24/7 Guru Crew support

Visit A2 Hosting now. Plus, you can read my A2 Web Hosting review.

3. Hostinger: Cheapest Overall Web Host

hostinger homepage

Hostinger is yet another highly respected platform that provides its customers with a big ole’ bundle of features. WordPress users are exceptionally fortunate as there are plenty of extra goodies to enjoy.

However, many of the best WordPress features are only available on the higher-tier plans. That said, it still is a great option for WordPress hosting and is actually the cheapest overall when you look at the standard prices. Therefore, it’s a solid option if budget is a concern, but you still want to give WordPress a go (plus, you can always upgrade your plan when needed).

Hostinger has a fully managed WordPress package, including its own speed acceleration plugin to bring your users a sleek experience. Additionally, WordPress multisite is supported, and updates are automatic. 

Hostinger Features at a Glance

  • Four plans are available from $1.99/month
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free domain (first year only)
  • Free WordPress migration
  • Free email
  • Free WordPress speed acceleration plugin
  • Managed WordPress service
  • Automatic WordPress updates
  • WordPress multisite
  • WordPress staging tool and object cache
  • Cloudflare security
  • Weekly or daily backups
  • Custom caching
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 24/7 live support

Sign up for Hostinger here or get the lowdown on the platform by checking out my full Hostinger.com review.

4. Bluehost: Best for Custom Themes


Bluehost is a respected platform that delivers reliable performance and speeds for a variety of hosting solutions. It provides a robust network of servers, including Cloudflare CDN – a best-in-class technology that ensures site speeds are, well, speedy, and reliable.

Bluehost is seamlessly integrated with WordPress (in fact, WordPress itself endorses Bluehost), and it’s got a really neat drag-and-drop building tool that makes creating your WordPress site extra easy.

On top of that, you get a range of custom themes to choose from (paid and free), making this one of the best hosting providers to make a beautiful-looking WordPress site with the least amount of technical knowledge.

Bluehost Features at a Glance

  • Recommended by WordPress.org
  • Four plans available costing from $2.95/month
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free domain (first year only)
  • Free SSL certificates
  • Custom WordPress themes
  • Automatic WordPress installation
  • WooCommerce enabled
  • Drag-and-drop WordPress site builder
  • Automatic WordPress updates
  • Secure WordPress login credentials
  • SiteLock security features
  • Cloudflare CDN
  • 24/7 hosting support

Take up BlueHost’s offer here. Check out my full Bluehost.com review here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I build my website with WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

Depending on your needs, WordPress.org or WordPress.com will be more suitable. Choose WordPress.org if you want to have a choice in where your website is hosted. Choose WordPress.com if you want an all-in-one website building and hosting solution.

Are website builders worth it?

Website builders are a great choice if you want a simple yet effective solution that doesn’t require any technical skills or coding knowledge. They’re a convenient, affordable, and time-saving option for website creation.

Is WordPress worth it?

WordPress is definitely worth it if you’re willing to put the time into learning how it works. Once you have mastered it, your website will have superior features and functionality over a site created with a website builder.

Can a beginner build a website with WordPress?

A beginner can build a website with WordPress. However, since the software has a sharp learning curve and requires some technical skill, it is not a “quick-fix” solution. Learning the software is advantageous in the long run, though, as you will end up with a high-quality site customized entirely to fit your needs.

Why use WordPress and not website builders?

WordPress gives you complete control over every single aspect and detail of your website and is capable of infinite scaling. Website builders, on the other hand, tend to have fewer features, fewer customization options, and capped plan limits.

Summary – WordPress vs Website Builders Comparison 2023

There’s a lot to take in here, and it can be overwhelming for the beginner user. However, it’s important to take the time to understand the information so you can make an informed choice.

What do I recommend overall?

Well, it really depends on how much time you want to dedicate to website building and what purpose you want your site for. Ultimately:

  • Choose a website builder like Wix.com if you aren’t technically minded and want the fastest way to get your new site up and running. Ideal for hobbyists, freelancers, and small businesses.
  • Choose a WordPress host like SiteGround.com if customization, control, and flexibility are essential to you and you don’t mind the learning curve. Ideal for web designers and businesses planning to scale.

Stay informed! Join our newsletter
Subscribe now and get free access to subscriber-only guides, tools, and resources.
You can unsubscribe at any time. Your data is safe.
Stay informed! Join our newsletter
Subscribe now and get free access to subscriber-only guides, tools, and resources.
You can unsubscribe at any time. Your data is safe.
Stay informed! Join our newsletter!
Subscribe now and get free access to subscriber-only guides, tools, and resources.
Stay Up-to Date! Join our Newsletter
You can unsubscribe at any time. Your data is safe.
My Company
Stay Up-to Date! Join our Newsletter
🙌 You are (almost) subscribed!
Head over to your email inbox, and open the email I sent you to confirm your email address.
My Company
You are Subscribed!
Thank You for your subscription. We send out newsletter with insightful data every Monday.