Last Updated September 9 2020
The question ‘what is the cheapest website builder?’ seems straightforward… And yet there are lots of inaccurate articles you can find on this topic.
It’s strange because it’s not really a subjective question: to me the cheapest website builder is not the best website builder or even the best free website builder— it’s the website builder with the lowest cost plan.
I calculated the year 1 cost of the cheapest plan + domain name for the top 30 website builders. And here’s what I found:
|Name||Price / Year||Plan||Link|
Now I should point out a few caveats about the list above:
To create the above list I had a few rules:
Note: My work is supported by affiliate commissions. Read more »
If you read articles about the cheapest website builder on the web, you’ll find they often crown Wix the cheapest website builder… because it offers a free plan.
But that’s dumb.
First of all, many website builders offer free plans and Wix doesn’t even have a very good free plan compared to others. The truth is, free plans are often very limited— they rarely allow you to add a custom domain name and almost always include an ad on your website.
This is what the ad on Wix’s free website plans looks like:
I also don’t include website builder plans that have ads. To me those plans are more like upsell traps— they want you to buy it for the price, only to grow disatisfied with the ad and upgrade to a more expensive plan.
The other caveat is that I have not included website builder plans that don’t allow you to connect to a domain name. My opinion is that if you’re going to pay money, you should at least be able to add a domain name!
Note — One pricing trick almost all website builders do is advertise their annual cost on a per month basis. So for example, they’ll save a plan costs $12 / month but that’s only if you buy the annual plan— if you do the monthly plan it’ll cost more money. This makes price comparison tricky— I wish they didn’t do this!
Below is the cost of the lowest price plan + a domain name for year 1.
A couple notes:
|Company||Cost / year|
|Big Cartel||$130 / year|
|Ecwid||$160 / year|
|Jumpseller||$128 / year|
|Wix||$276 / year|
|Squarespace||$312 / year|
|Volusion||$312 / year|
|Weebly||$312 / year|
|Shopify||$348 / year|
|BigCommerce||$360 / year|
|Wordpress.com||$540 / year|
Almost every website builder strongly incentives you to buy an annual plan instead of a monthly plan:
You get the picture?
That list didn’t even take into account that many website builders (example: Squarespace, Weebly) also include a free domain name for the first year— which is another $10 in savings.
Why website builders want you to choose an annual plan — They know that once you are locked into a website builder you’re not very likely to leave. After all, it’s a hassle to move websites. That’s why website builders want you to commit to a long term.
A number of website builders offer students a discount if they sign up with their academic address.
IM Creator used to be free for non-profits, artists and students— but I no longer see that option.
Heads up: some website builders advertise super-low introductory prices. Introductory pricing is when you give a super-low rate for the first month that jacks up to the normal rate every after. It can make price comparisons difficult.
For example, if you read iPage’s fine print you’ll see that the introductory prices are only for the first term. Then the prices increase substantially.
1and1 does the same thing. They advertise a $1 / month cost that only lasts for the first month: