Top 5 Website Builders in the UK 2020

Best website builder UK

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 30 November 2020

We’ve selected the best website builders and ecommerce platforms in the UK, but which is right for you?


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the best way to communicate with your audience is online. Whether you want to sell products or services, display your work, or advertise your company’s details, you’ll need to set up a website.

Don’t fancy yourself a web designer? Don’t worry, website builders are really easy to use. They’re also relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the fees you’d pay an expert designer.

Drawing from our extensive research and web design experience, we’ve selected the best website builders and ecommerce platforms and pitched them against each other, comparing them in categories such as price, ease of use, features, customer support, and more.

Tight on time? Then check out our quickfire website builder comparison.


The 5 best UK website builders

We’ve tried and tested many website builders and ecommerce platforms in our time. As of 2020, the best platforms are Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify, and BigCommerce. Read on to find out what makes them so good…

Wix

Would suit your business if you need a brilliant website built quickly and easily

Wix has over 154 million users in 190 different countries, enabling you to build a professional-looking website within a matter of hours, having picked from 510+ templates and getting creative with its drag-and-drop design tools. It’s also great value for money, offering seven paid plans and one free plan.

Better yet, Wix ADI (artificial design intelligence) can generate a brand new website for you in minutes, after you’ve answered a few questions about the type of site you want.

On the downside, Wix doesn’t allow you to switch templates once you publish your website, which can be quite restrictive. Also, you might find the sheer choice of tools, apps, and features on offer overwhelming at first. But that’s about all in the negative department.

Read full Wix review

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Excellent value for money
  • Helpful customer support features

X Cons:

  • Cannot switch templates after publishing
  • The costs of adding apps to your site can add up

How much does Wix cost?

Wix has four plans that are designed for building non-ecommerce websites, starting from just £3 per month. It also offers three plans that allow you to sell products and accept payments online, starting from £13 per month.

Wix has a free plan, but we wouldn’t recommend using it to build your business website. This plan comes with Wix adverts on every page, plus a ‘.wix.com’ subdomain, which will both make your site look unprofessional. The premium plans are pretty cheap, though, so don’t worry. See our tables below for more detail…

Wix’s non-ecommerce price plans

Plan Cost Best for What you’ll get
Connect Domain £3/month Very basic websites

1GB bandwidth

500MB storage

Connect your own domain name

Combo £6/month Personal use

2GB bandwidth

3GB storage

Remove Wix ads

Free domain for one year

£75 Google Ads voucher

Unlimited (most popular) £8.50/month Entrepreneurs and Freelancers Unlimited bandwidth

10GB storage

Site Booster app (worth £45)

Visitor Analytics app (worth £45)

VIP £18/month Small to medium businesses

20GB storage

Professional logo designed for you (worth £38)

VIP support

Wix’s ecommerce price plans

Plan Cost Best for What you’ll get
Business Basic £13/month Small businesses looking to sell online

Accept online payments

Unlimited bandwidth

20GB storage

Free domain for one year

Upload up to 5 hours of video

Site Booster app

Visitor Analytics app

£75 Google Ads voucher

Sales analytics and reports

Business Unlimited £16/month Growing businesses 35GB storage

Upload up to 10 hours of video

Professional logo

Pro ecommerce features such as automated tax sales

Business VIP £22/month Medium to large businesses

50GB storage

Unlimited video hours

Priority response on Wix Answers page

VIP support

Does Wix sound like the best builder for your business? Try Wix Free

Squarespace

Would suit your business if you want a stunning website

Building a website on Squarespace is the closest you’ll get to professional web designer quality, offering the best-designed templates on the market. It also offers powerful design tools that grant you plenty of creative wiggle room.

Due to this creative complexity, Squarespace is harder to use than Weebly or Wix. If you struggle with tech or have little interest in spending hours or days designing your website, then you should try Wix or Weebly instead. That said, you’ll end up with a beautiful website if you stick it out with Squarespace.

Pros:

  • Best-designed templates on the market
  • Lots of creative control
  • Solid ecommerce features

X Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve than on Wix
  • No app store

How much does Squarespace cost?

Plan Cost Best for What you’ll get
Personal £10/month Personal use

Free custom domain

Unlimited bandwidth and storage

24/7 customer support

Business £15/month Small businesses looking to sell a few products online

Professional Google account

Up to £75 Google Ads credit

Sell unlimited number of products

Sell gift cards

3% transaction fee

Basic Commerce £20/month SMBs looking to sell online

Point of Sale app to help you sell in-person

Sell on Instagram

Limited availability labels

0% transaction fees

Advanced Commerce £30/month Medium-sized ecommerce businesses

Abandoned cart recovery

Sell subscriptions

Advanced shipping features (real-time cost calculator etc)

Like the sound of Squarespace's sleek designs? Try Squarespace Free

Weebly

Would suit your business if you want to grow your small operations

Like Wix, Weebly is another popular drag-and-drop website builder, meaning you can place elements wherever you like on each page. It has a free plan and offers plenty of apps to help you grow your business, plus strong SEO features to help your business rank higher on the search engine results pages.

However, Weebly can’t match Wix for creative freedom, and it doesn’t have an ADI option like Wix does. Weebly’s templates are less impressive than those offered by Squarespace, but it is a good option for small business owners without much technical skill.

Read full Weebly review

Pros:

  • Useful SEO guides and tips
  • Large app market

X Cons:

  • Lacks the creative freedom found on Wix
  • No ADI feature

How much does Weebly cost?

Plan Cost Best for What you’ll get
Connect £4/month Personal sites

Free SSL security

500MB storage

Connect a custom domain

Chat and email support

Pro £9/month Groups and organisations

Unlimited storage

Remove Weebly ads

Site search bar

Accept payments

Phone support

£75 Google Ads credit

Business £18/month Small businesses and stores

Coupon codes

Shipping cost calculator

Automatic tax calculator

Pop-up notifications

Business Plus £28/month Large online stores

Abandoned cart emails

Real-time shipping costs

Email marketing feature (worth £72)

Keen to grow your business online with Weebly? Try Weebly free

Shopify

Would suit your business if you want to sell lots of products online

Shopify is an excellent ecommerce platform. The platform itself is very solid, but you can sell products through Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay as well.

Shopify offers 1,200 apps to help bolster your site in all the important areas of ecommerce, from social media marketing to shipping. However, searching through the extensive app market can be time consuming if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

On the downside, it's the only platform in this article to impose its own transaction fees on top of the credit card fees. That’s unless you use its own payment gateway, Shopify Payments.

While there isn’t a free plan, Shopify does offer a 14-day free trial.

Pros:

  • Multichannel selling on Facebook, Instagram, and more
  • 1,200+ apps to choose from
  • Excellent customer support

X Cons:

  • Forced to use Shopify Payments in order to avoid extra transaction fees
  • Content won’t reformat if you switch templates

How much does Shopify cost?

Shopify has three core price plans, all set in US dollars (but don’t worry, Shopify is still available to UK businesses):

Plan Cost Best for What you’ll get
Basic Shopify $26/month Starting a small online store

Sell an unlimited number of products

24/7 support

2.2% + 20p credit card rates

Sell in 133 currencies

Shopify $79/month Growing your business

Gift cards

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Five staff accounts

1.9% + 20p credit card rates

Advanced Shopify $299/month Large online stores

Third party calculated shipping rates

15 staff accounts

Sell in five languages

1.6% + 20p credit card rates

Naturally, you’ll get a more comprehensive selection of sales tools on the higher price plans. Remember, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, too.

When it comes to online selling, there are always some transaction fees to think about. With Shopify, all transaction fees are waived on their end if you’re using Shopify Payments. This means you’ll only pay the standard credit card rate of 2.2% + 20p per transaction on the Basic plan.

But do note that you’ll have to pay transaction fees on top of the credit card fees if you use an alternative payment gateway, such as Stripe or PayPal.

Shopify is the best ecommerce platform around, but is it right for you? Try Shopify free

BigCommerce

Would suit your business if you want to build an ecommerce empire

If you’re looking to build an ecommerce empire quickly, this is the platform for you. We love the sheer number of built-in features on BigCommerce, which can help your business to reach new, dizzying heights.

Unlike Shopify, everything you need for growing a business is already there – there’s no need to search for and install apps, and it doesn’t impose any transaction fees on any of its plans.

However, BigCommerce drops points due to its intuitiveness – or lack thereof. In contrast to Shopify, BigCommerce is tricky to use, and has no mobile app to help you sell on the go.

That said, after the initial learning curve, we’re sure you'll enjoy the platform’s powerful tools. It even offers a 15-day free trial period.

Pros:

  • Brilliant built-in features
  • Sell on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Pinterest, and eBay
  • Supports lots of payment gateways

X Cons:

  • Harder to use than Shopify
  • No mobile app

How much does BigCommerce cost?

Similarly to Shopify, BigCommerce has three core price plans that are all set in US dollars:

Plan Cost Best for What you’ll get
Standard $29.95/month Starting a small or medium-sized online store

Sell an unlimited number of products

Multichannel selling

Coupon creation

Reporting tools

Plus $79.95/month Growing your online store

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Customer loyalty programmes

Store credit card payment details

Pro $299.95/month Scaling your business to new heights

Filter products through size and colour variants

Dedicated SSL security

Google reviews

One thing to be aware of is that you’ll need to upgrade to a higher plan if your annual sales exceed a certain amount.

For example, if you’re on the Standard plan and your annual sales exceed $50,000, you’ll have to upgrade to the Plus plan, which has a limit of $150,000. The Pro limit is $400,000, and after this, you’ll need to pay an extra $150 per month for each additional $200K in online sales.

Does your business have big ambitions? BigCommerce could be the best choice… Try BigCommerce Free

Expert verdict

We’ve taken you through the five best website builders and ecommerce platforms, and you now know which one is right for your business. Let’s quickly run through our recommendations…

Wix is the best overall website builder on the market, ticking all of our boxes in categories including ease of use, design tools, and value for money. It takes top spot.

Squarespace is a close second. It’s a little trickier to use than Wix, but it will produce a website that will definitely impress your customers. It’s ideal for businesses in the creative industry.

If your brick and mortar store is moving online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or for any other reason, we recommend using Shopify. It’s the best ecommerce-specific platform available, and scored top marks in our ecommerce platform research.


FAQs

What’s the difference between website builders and ecommerce platforms?

Ecommerce platforms are used specifically for building online stores, providing lots of tools designed to help you sell products online. Website builders are for creating non-ecommerce websites such as business sites and portfolios. Most website builders come with ecommerce functions, but these tools aren’t quite as sophisticated as those on ecommerce platforms.

Should I use Shopify or BigCommerce for my online store?

We nearly always recommend using Shopify – whether you want to build an online presence for your high street shop, or sell products from your medium-sized enterprise. However, BigCommerce is a great option for large businesses, or those with ambitions of growing into an ecommerce empire. It has all the built-in features to help you reach those heights.

What is the easiest website builder to use?

Wix is the most user-friendly website builder. Thanks to its drag-and-drop tool, there are very few limitations as to what you can create. It also offers an ADI option (artificial design intelligence) which can generate three new website options for you to choose from in a matter of minutes, after you’ve answered a few questions about what you want from your new website.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a writer for Expert Market, specialising in a range of cool topics. He loves web design and all things UX, but also the hardware stuff like postage metres and photocopiers.

Now Read