In this day and age, you don’t have to be a 5-star designer or experienced developer to have a website. That’s why man invented website builders — the time-saving, headache-free, web-design-for-dummies alternative to complex coding. You can point and click to add elements like photos or videos, type content into a visual editor, click one more button, and watch as it all magically appears live on the Internet. Seriously, these tools are brilliant, and it gets better:
With more than 11 million sites built on IM Creator, it's a popular option for a few reasons: there's an easy point-and-click interface, an extensive range of templates and images, and unlimited web hosting and domain services. Plus, the platform is scalable, and you can have either single or multipage layouts. This builder is unique for its built-in ecommerce tools, and offers SEO and Google Analytics to fully optimize your site for search engines.
That said, there are some elements that you should pay close attention to when deciding on which free website builder you choose – which is exactly what we do To create this ranking of the best free website builders, we drew upon our extensive research and user testing for each website builder as a whole, and combined this with a specific focus on their free plans, paying close attention to whether or not the builder ticked these boxes:
The web hosting provider got bonus points for its policy of performing regular daily backups, even on the lowest-priced shared hosting accounts. Be aware, though, that the promotional price on the low-cost shared hosting does go up after the promotional period. That said, Bluehost offers 24/7 phone support, a 30-day money-back guarantee and SSH access for certain plan options.
WordPress boasts of being easy to use for amateurs. However, their support is ludicrously awful--forums only, no backup for more difficult situations. I had an 5 yr plus site that, several dead laptops later--a lost passord & original receipt, pre-2-factor, a free site--that I have lost access to . WP kept repeatedly sending the same canned messages that gave no help at all. I've been at it for WEEKS, & though onechat person offered to send me to customer help, that never happened. I strongly recommend avoiding WordPress.
Groupon may not be as trendy as it once was, but it is still generating millions in sales each month. They get you with an email popup before you ever click on the page. If you bypass the popup, you get to the homepage. It’s laid out very clean and with buttons at the top that very clearly help you find other things you need on the site. The ads that populate are also helpful in getting you to click, therefore generating revenue for their company and closing the sale.
As longtime website owners and hosting nerds, we've been asked often: "Which web host is your personal favorite?" We recently decided to take this question seriously — exhaustively testing accounts with all the best web hosting services to analyze their uptime, features, pricing, support, and more. So who do we believe offers the best web hosting? See below for our top reviews of 2020, conveniently broken out by category:
I have personally built two different sites using WordPress and found it very easy to use, setup and configure. Once it is initially setup, maintaining the site is as easy as logging into the WordPress admin site and adding your content. I was initially very surprised by the ease of the setup to get my sites up and running. I was able to get the site online and running on a customer domain within 15 minutes. This was a welcome surprise to me the fist time I used WordPress. While WordPress sites are not as simple as drag and drop configuration for the novice computer user, average users will find it easy to edit text and add content using the built in templates. The price is possibly the most attractive feature of WordPress. The word free will often attract users but the usability and ease of the software is what will make users stick with the platform. After building two sites on WordPress, I would strongly recommend it and will surely use it for my future website building projects.
Rather than storing data on physical servers, cloud customers are hosted on a connected network of virtual machines. The service is software-independent and perfect for folks who benefit from high availability and on-demand, pay-as-you-go resources. Ranked #1 for cloud-based VPS hosting, InMotion offers performance-enhancing SSDs, free data backups, and managed server options.
Shared web hosting is perfect for Joe Public. You’re basically sharing a piece of the host’s server with multiple other Joe Publics across around the world. At the time of writing, Hostinger hosting currently has the cheapest shared web hosting out of the companies I’ve covered here with the exception of HostGator hosting who are normally more expensive, but I got a deal for readers that brings the price right down if you use the code “startblog” at this link.
BoFu: Bottom of Funnel sales funnels are for hot traffic. The prospective customer likes you if they've made it this far. They are ready to buy. Typically, this is a sales funnel page where you offer a product/service and ask them to buy. In the process of ordering your main product or service, your sales funnel with present a variety of other offers to increase the order size. For example, order bumps, upsells, downsells (if they don't accept the upsell). Sales funnel templates make setting these up easy.
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as a Lead Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew.
Bluehost backs up your site on their cheapest plan. With their Choice Plus plan, you get CodeGuard included for free, which is a more customized, advanced backup tool. There are also plenty of other backup plugins you can use for websites like UpDraftPlus, VaultPress, and BackupBuddy. In the end, CodeGuard is not worth increasing your monthly cost and you can find better alternatives.
Mint is a financial website that helps you bring all things money into one place. Their homepage is laid out easy enough to be an excellent start to their funnel. Buttons you need to understand their services are at the top of the page, and those help you learn more and lead you to click around the website. The homepage serves as another great conductor. The graphics get to the heart of what Mint does, and it keeps everything important right at eye level.
While there’s no pressure to upgrade to a paid plan at any stage, we think it’s always worth checking out or trialling at some stage. It can be nerve-wracking to invest money in a new business, project or hobby, but there’s an element of ‘fake it till you make it’ here; with the added professionalism of a paid site, nobody needs to know that you’re not far more established.
If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.
Many web hosting services offer so-called unlimited or unmetered service for whatever amount of bandwidth, disk storage and sites you use. It's important to understand that most terms of service actually do limit the definition of "unlimited" to what's considered reasonable use. The bottom line is simple: if you're building a pretty basic website, unlimited bandwidth means you don't need to worry. But if you're trying to do something excessive (or illegal, immoral or fattening), the fine print in the hosting platform's terms of service will trigger, and you'll either be asked to spend more or go elsewhere.