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Best Website Software Shortlist

Here are my top recommendations for website development software in 2023, with a few more options below:

  1. Webflow - Best for visually stunning and responsive websites
  2. WordPress - Best free and open-source CMS
  3. Wix - Best for non-technical users and small businesses
  4. Weebly - Best for beginners to create online stores
  5. Squarespace - Best for creative professionals
  6. Adobe Dreamweaver - Best for experienced developers and designers
  7. Shopify - Best for ecommerce entrepreneurs
  8. BigCommerce - Best scalable ecommerce solution for growing businesses
  9. HubSpot CMS - Best for integrated CRM and marketing automation
  10. Framer - Best for UI/UX and product designers
  11. Google Web Designer - Best for creating interactive web content
  12. Bootstrap - Best for front-end developers

Website development software is important to your business, but it can be a difficult task to find software that fits your specific needs. The software should be easy to use and secure while being able to scale to your needs without costing too much. To help you make the right choice, I have prepared this list of the top website development software, along with my insights on their ideal use cases.

What Is Website Development Software?

Website development software is a software solution that helps you create, design, and manage websites. These solutions include features like content management systems (CMS), landing page builders, code editors, online store builders, and search engine optimization (SEO) tools. These tools make it easy to build professional websites without extensive coding knowledge.

In this list, I have included all types of web design tools to give you a comprehensive idea of their features, ideal use cases, pros, and cons so you can make an informed choice.

Overviews of the 12 Best Website Development Software

Below is my assessment of the top web development platforms and why I think they’re the best at what they do:

1. Webflow - Best for visually stunning and responsive websites

Screenshot of Webflow startup kit
Template preview in the Webflow Design interface. (Source)

Webflow is a no-code website development platform to create visually stunning and responsive websites. It has a number of free and paid templates and comes with scalable hosting.

Why I picked Webflow: I think that Webflow offers the right balance of performance and design options to give it a strong edge over other website builders. It enables you to design a fully responsive website without worrying about the underlying infrastructure as you get scalable, secured, and managed hosting from Amazon Web Services (AWS) on its paid plans.

Webflow Standout Features and Integrations:

The most important feature of Webflow is the ability to customize every element on the page without touching the code. You can design rich animations and sequenced interactions in a visual way without code. I think this is the key to creating engaging experiences for online audiences.

Webflow offers pre-built integrations through Webflow apps like Printful, Smartarget Whatsapp, Xano, and WhaleSync.You can also find native integrations with Google Analytics and Google Fonts in the Webflow interface.

Pricing: From $14/month (billed annually)

Trial: Free plan available


  • Familiar design interface
  • Highly customizable
  • Built-in security features


  • Steep learning curve for non-designers
  • Can be expensive when compared to self-hosted solutions

2. WordPress - Best free and open-source CMS

Screenshot of Wordpress Gutenberg Editor
Gutenberg Editor on WordPress. (Source)

WordPress is an open-source CMS known for its flexibility, plugin ecosystem, and customizable features. It was originally designed as a tool to create blogs, but designers can use it to build more traditional websites like online stores.

Why I picked WordPress: I chose WordPress due to the sheer flexibility and customizations that can help you build any type of website you can imagine. It is the best free and open-source website software, and it has a large community and extensive support ecosystem.

WordPress Standout Features and Integrations:

I think the standout feature of WordPress is the availability of more than 55,000 plugins. This is what makes extensive customization possible, as these plugins add more functionality to your site. You can build any functionality or feature using plugins with the intuitive Gutenberg Editor to design custom pages without coding.

WordPress offers pre-built integrations through its extensive plugin library. Some of the popular WordPress integrations include Yoast SEO, Google Analytics, MailChimp, ConvertKit, and HubSpot CRM.

Pricing: Free and open-source

Trial: Free and open-source


  • Extremely flexible and customizable with plugins
  • Open source and free to use with an unmatched community support
  • Highly adaptable


  • Overuse of plugins can lead to bloated and slow websites
  • Requires active security checks and technical maintenance

3. Wix - Best for non-technical users and small businesses

Screenshot of Wix website features
Wix features and functionality. (Source)

Wix is an intuitive, drag-and-drop website builder perfect for small businesses. Along with 800+ templates, it offers branding tools, scheduling software, and Wix Owner App to help business owners manage and automate their business operations.

Why I picked Wix: I picked Wix because it offers more than just website design software. Along with its intuitive drag-and-drop website builder, you also get tools like Facebook & Instagram Ads, Google Ads, email marketing, scheduling software, a logo maker, and a centralized Wix Owner app for all business insights in one place.

Wix Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features of Wix include Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) and Wix Owner App. In my opinion, ADI does a perfect job for non-technical users to create a simple website in minutes based on answers to a few questions. I also found the Wix Owner App useful as it acts as a centralized platform for small business owners to track and manage their businesses.

Wix offers pre-built integrations through Wix apps for Klaviyo, Google Ads, Google Shopping, Mailchimp, Privy, QuickBooks, and Printful.

Pricing: From $16/month (billed annually)

Trial: 14-day money-back guarantee


  • Easy to use
  • Built-in features for marketing, branding, and business analytics
  • 800+ customizable templates


  • Can’t switch to a different template after publishing without losing content
  • Confusing pricing structure

4. Weebly - Best for beginners to create online stores

Screenshot of Weebly editor interface
Weebly website editor interface. (Source)

Weebly is a user-friendly website builder that emphasizes simplicity and ease of use. It allows you to create a professional website or an online store in a few clicks.

Why I picked Weebly: I picked Weebly because it offers ecommerce functionality and even inventory management in its free plan — something that most web development platforms don’t include. It’s the ideal platform if you want to build an online store without an upfront investment.

Weebly Standout Features and Integrations:

Weebly has features like gift cards, inventory management, coupons, unlimited items, and tax calculators in its free plan. Another standout feature of Weebly, in my opinion, is that it also offers free SSL security on both free and paid plans. So, even if you’re building a free store, you don’t have to compromise on security.

Wix has pre-built integrations for Google Ads, Privy, and Printful. You can find a few third-party tools to boost traffic, increase sales, and use social media to promote your business.

Pricing: From $10/month (billed annually)

Trial: Free plan available


  • User-friendly platform
  • Free forever plan that includes basic ecommerce functionalities
  • An affordable premium plan that includes customizable email templates


  • Very few templates
  • Platform can be confusing in the beginning due to its merger with the Square app

5. Squarespace - Best for creative professionals

Screenshot of Squarespace home page
Types of Squarespace templates. (Source)

Squarespace offers a range of templates for different industries to create visually appealing websites. It also offers built-in features such as blogging and portfolio management that make it easy for creative professionals to build their online presence.

Why I picked Squarespace: I think Squarespace is the most stylish website builder with its stunning templates, designer fonts, and color palettes. You can design an aesthetic, professional website with its drag-and-drop editor by customizing existing templates. This makes it an excellent choice for artists, photographers, and creative professionals who prioritize visual design and user experience.

Squarespace Standout Features and Integrations:

Some of the features I liked are the built-in scheduling tools to manage appointments and online community management to sell courses, memberships, and even paid newsletters. If you are a creator or an artist, these tools can help you turn your passion into a business.

Squarespace has pre-built integrations for platforms like Acuity Scheduling, MailChimp, Google Analytics, Dropbox, Unsplash, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Amazon.

Pricing: From $16/month (billed annually)

Trial: 14-day free trial


  • Extensive library of designer templates
  • Built-in tools to sell services, courses, memberships, or paid newsletters
  • Affordable add-on email marketing feature


  • Add-on features cost extra
  • Limited integrations

6. Adobe Dreamweaver - Best for experienced developers and designers

Adobe Dreamweaver coding interface
Dreamweaver coding engine for creating dynamic websites. (Source)

Adobe Dreamweaver is a web development tool for designers and developers. It offers easy integrations with the Adobe Creative Cloud with advanced features like multi-monitor support, a code editor, and GIT support.

Why I picked Adobe Dreamweaver: I chose Adobe Dreamweaver for its native integration with design products in the Adobe Creative Suite, which makes it easy for developers and designers to use their assets from Creative Cloud. Developers and designers can both benefit from Dreamweaver as it enables website design through coding in the code editor as well as through visual design, where the software automatically generates the underlying source code.

Adobe Dreamweaver Standout Features and Integrations:

Features of Adobe Dreamweaver include code highlighting, code hints, and code completions to speed up the development. I think it provides an ideal developer environment to make work easier with GIT support to manage the code.

Adobe Dreamweaver offers native integrations with other Adobe products like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Fireworks.

Pricing: From $20.99/month

Trial: 7-day free trial


  • Complete customization with code
  • Faster development with auto code completion and Live View editing
  • Starter templates for any type of web page


  • Steep learning curve
  • Expensive if you only need a simple website

7. Shopify - Best for ecommerce entrepreneurs

Screenshot of Shopify interface
Shopify’s theme editor gives you creative control over your site’s design. (Source)

Shopify simplifies the process of creating and managing online stores. It has a user-friendly interface powered by an extensive app ecosystem and built-in marketing tools to establish a professional online presence and drive sales.

Why I picked Shopify: I chose Shopify because it’s ideal if you want to start an ecommerce business without worrying about the right technology. It comes with multiple modern themes, a simple drag-and-drop builder, and built-in tools for back-office operations that make it easy for anyone to start selling online.

Shopify Standout Features and Integrations:

Some of the standout features of Shopify for me include the availability of more than 8,000 apps, 100+ themes, and built-in inventory and shipping management. You can also integrate your offline and online sales with Shopify POS for retail.

Shopify offers multiple third-party integrations via Shopify apps. Some popular pre-built integrations include Printful, TikTok, Klaviyo, Pinterest, and Pagefly.

Pricing: From $29/month (billed annually)

Trial: 3-day free trial


  • Beginner-friendly platform
  • 100+ themes to choose from
  • Native analytics dashboard to help understand the store performance


  • Need to pay a transaction fee unless you use Shopify Payments
  • Limited out-of-the-box features and over-dependence on apps to extend functionalities

8. BigCommerce - Best scalable ecommerce solution for growing businesses

Screenshot of BigCommerce website development software dashboard
BigCommerce’s control panel provides insights about your website. (Source)

BigCommerce caters to growing ecommerce businesses. It offers features such as multi-channel selling, secure checkout, SEO capabilities, and a variety of payment options that make it a robust and scalable online selling platform.

Why I picked BigCommerce: I chose BigCommerce because it offers a unique pricing structure that is ideal for large and growing ecommerce businesses. Its pricing depends on your business and the revenue instead of the features you want to use. For example, you can sell up to $50k online GMV per year under its Standard plan that costs $29/month (billed annually). The best part, in my opinion, is that BigCommerce does not charge extra transaction fees, which can lead to significant savings in the long term as you scale.

BigCommerce Standout Features and Integrations:

One of the main features of BigCommerce that I found helpful is the availability of 70+ discount options out-of-the-box and other promotional tools without any third-party app. It also supports payments in 100+ currencies through the gateway of your choice.

BigCommerce has native integrations with popular payment gateways like PayPal, Square, and Stripe. It also offers pre-built integrations with apps such as QuickBooks Online, Mailchimp, Google Shopping, Bolt, Amazon, eBay, Square, and Clover.

Pricing: From $29/month (billed annually)

Trial: 15-day free trial


  • No transaction fee to use leading payment gateways
  • Multiple free, out-of-the-box ecommerce features
  • Smooth multi-channel selling with native integrations with marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart


  • Revenue-led billing might not be suitable for businesses with low margins
  • Initial learning curve

9. HubSpot CMS - Best for integrated CRM and marketing automation

Screenshot of Hubspot website builder interface
Hubspot website page builder lets you create great sites. (Source)

HubSpot CMS combines website management with marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. It is an excellent choice for businesses and marketing agencies that want to streamline their website management, lead generation, and marketing efforts.

Why I picked HubSpot: I chose HubSpot due to its powerful marketing automation platform that can integrate with your website. It makes it easy to build a website around your marketing workflow to generate, nurture, and convert leads to customers. HubSpot also offers a number of free tools for sales, marketing, customer service, and operations which is ideal for individual freelancers and small agencies.

HubSpot Standout Features and Integrations:

In my opinion, features like forms to capture leads, list segmentation for smart communication, and different email templates make HubSpot an ideal choice for marketing automation. I also liked its ad management feature to control and manage paid ads on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google.

HubSpot has a large app marketplace that enables pre-built integrations with popular platforms like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads. It also offers native integrations with its other tools like HubSpot Sales Hub and HubSpot Marketing Hub.

Pricing: From $23/month

Trial: 14-day free trial (only for Professional and Enterprise plans)


  • Free tools to start with sales and marketing automation
  • Ideal for email marketing and lead generation
  • Integrated blogging support


  • Can get expensive with add-on Hubspot software
  • Confusing pricing structure

10. Framer - Best for UI/UX and product designers

Screenshot of Framer interface
Framer interface for designing responsive websites. (Source)

Framer is a website development software with rich prototyping and design features. It is ideal for UX/UI designers and product teams who want to prototype, design, and publish responsive websites directly from the canvas.

Why I picked Framer: I chose Framer because it is a mix of a design tool and a web builder that allows you to design websites on a visual canvas without any coding experience. You can create high-fidelity prototypes in Framer, collaborate with others for feedback, make changes, and publish your website in a few clicks.

Framer Standout Features and Integrations:

Some of the standout features of Framer, in my opinion, are its free-form canvas, ability to copy and paste designs from Figma to Framer, and Collections feature for managing and displaying content anywhere on the website without touching the design. It also provides built-in SEO capabilities and performance tools like analytics, Lighthouse scores, server-side rendering, and hosting.

Framer offers pre-built integrations with a few popular platforms like HubSpot, YouTube, Intercom, Mailchimp, Typeform, Lottie, and Google Optimize. It also has native integrations with design tools like Figma and Sketch and collaboration tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams that enable smooth collaboration among designers.

Pricing: From $5/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Easy to create high-quality interactions and animations
  • Great for making sophisticated prototypes before production
  • Fast deployment from design prototype to live website


  • Limit on number of visitors even on paid plans
  • Analytics feature only available in the Pro plan

11. Google Web Designer - Best for creating interactive web content

Screenshot of Google Web Designer interface
Google Web Designer’s interface. (Source)

Google Web Designer offers a full design suite to create HTML5-based designs and motion graphics that can run on any device. It is ideal for advertisers, graphic designers, and developers who want to build engaging and visually appealing web content using HTML5 and CSS3.

Why I picked Google Web Designer: I included Google Web Designer in this list because of its advanced features for creating interactive web elements. You can build interactive pages with Google Web Designer, but it shines when it comes to creating animated HTML5 ads.

Google Web Designer Standout Features and Integrations:

Features of Google Web Designer include design features to create 3D content, animations, images, videos, and HTML5 ads. I also liked its Easy Mode, where you can use templates to build full-featured ads without advanced tools.

Google Web Designer offers native integrations with other Google products like Studio, Display & Video 360, Campaign Manager 360, Ads Creative Studio, and Google Drive.

Pricing: No paid plans

Trial: Free to use


  • Free to use
  • Compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac systems
  • Easy to create interactive elements and animated web content


  • Steep learning curve
  • Limited functionality to build a full website

12. Bootstrap - Best for front-end developers

Screenshot of Bootstrap home page
Bootstrap Front-end toolkit’s front page. (Source)

Bootstrap is a front-end framework that simplifies responsive and mobile-first web development. It offers pre-built design components and grid systems to help developers build websites and web applications that adapt smoothly to various screen sizes and devices.

Why I picked Bootstrap: I chose Bootstrap because of the speed and flexibility it offers developers to create websites in a short time. It’s not as easy as drag-and-drop website builders, and you need to know front-end programming languages to work with Bootstrap. But I think it is worth it if you have a web development team and you need to create a fully-functioning and responsive website with multiple features and functionalities.

Bootstrap Standout Features and Integrations:

One of the standout features of Bootstrap is the availability of JavaScript plugins without jQuery, which helps improve scalability and performance. I also found its Utility API useful as it helps to write flexible and modular code by generating utility classes.

Bootstrap has third-party developer integrations with other JavaScript frameworks and libraries like Angular, Vue, React, and Ember.

Pricing: Free and open-source

Trial: Free to use


  • Faster development time
  • Helps create fully responsive websites with consistent design across multiple devices
  • Open source and free to use with a large community


  • Limited to technical users/developers
  • Not suitable for simple websites as it can include unnecessary features

Other Website Development Software Options

There are a few other notable website builders that I should mention in this list. These platforms are great for specific objectives when you do not need a traditional website:

  1. Ghost - Best lightweight CMS for publishing
  2. Leadpages - Best landing page builder with an integrated CRM
  3. Instapage - Best landing page builder with experimentation options
  4. Carrd - Best to create single-page websites and personal portfolios

Selection Criteria For Website Development Software

Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list:

Core Functionality

First, I shortlisted a few core functionalities that a website development software must have:

  • Freedom to customize the design of the website
  • Ability to create a responsive, secure, and fast-loading website
  • Additional features to manage your online business from one platform

Key Features

Based on the core functionalities above, here are some features of a good website development platform:

  • Themes and templates: The availability of professional themes and templates is one of the key requirements for website development software. This is especially true for platforms that are suitable for beginners.
  • Drag-and-drop editor: To customize your website to reflect your brand without relying too much on templates.
  • SSL, two-factor authentication, and backups: Non-negotiable security features for all website development software.
  • Add-on features for marketing, SEO, analytics, and centralized management: To market your website and manage your business operations from one platform.


Usability is an important factor to consider before choosing any website development platform. The tool needs to be easy to navigate and user-friendly to streamline the development process.

Integration Capability

A good website development software provides native or API integrations with important applications. It helps you streamline your business operations from one place and save you hours of time connecting different apps and software.


I have accounted for scalability in some of my selections in this list of website development software. Not all platforms can scale with your business. It is okay to choose a platform in the beginning and switch to a different one later, but it adds to your cost and wastes time.

People Also Ask

Here are some of the other frequently asked questions about website development:

What are the types of web design?

Some popular types of web design are responsive design, adaptive design, single-page web design, and minimalist design. Responsive design is the most popular web design as it ensures the consistency of a website across multiple devices. Adaptive design also does the same, but it involves designing different versions of a website for specific device categories or screen sizes. 

Which language is used for web development?

Web development involves the use of a combination of languages. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the most popular languages for front-end web development.

Is HTML best for creating websites? 

If you want a static website that does not need any user interaction or dynamic updates, HTML is the best language to create it. However, if you want a dynamic site, you need to use a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Final Thoughts

I hope this detailed breakdown of top website development tools in 2023 helps you make the right choice.

You can gain similar breakdowns and insights from industry experts by subscribing to The CTO Club newsletter and joining our community of CTOs, engineering directors, and technical leaders from some of the fastest-growing companies around.

By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo is the Director of Technology at the rapidly growing media tech company BWZ. Prior to that, he worked as a Software Engineering Manager and then Head Of Technology at Navegg, Latin America’s largest data marketplace, and as Full Stack Engineer at MapLink, which provides geolocation APIs as a service. Paulo draws insight from years of experience serving as an infrastructure architect, team leader, and product developer in rapidly scaling web environments. He’s driven to share his expertise with other technology leaders to help them build great teams, improve performance, optimize resources, and create foundations for scalability.