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Which Hosted CMS Website Builder is Right For You?

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The words website builder probably make you think of some horrendous tool supplied free from your hosting company, but these days there are lots of hosted CMS solutions that create professional looking websites with extensive features and good underlying code. These solutions allow you to quickly set up a website packed full of features without any coding knowledge, with everything from hosting to tech support covered within the monthly fee. In this post we’ll take a look at some of the most popular hosted CMS website builders to help you decide which one is right for you.

The heavyweight solutions

The two big names that spring to mind when considering hosted website builders are Squarespace and Virb. These solutions don’t have free versions, but you know you’re going to get a comprehensive website that looks and works exceptionally. Squarespace and Virb both offer an extensive range of cool templates and themes, and both have a friendly support team ready to solve your problems.

Squarespace

Squarespace

Virb

Virb

The free solutions

If you don’t like the idea of paying out $10 per month for a hosted CMS solution these free alternatives might be up your street. Wix and LightCMS have plenty of designs to choose from and include all the great features you need from a hosted CMS solution, but both have a free version that can be upgraded to their premium services at any time. Their free versions are limited though, LightCMS only offers 3 pages, while Wix sites display ads.

Wix

Wix

LightCMS

LightCMS

The eCommerce solutions

Selling stuff? You’ll probably need an ecommerce solution that allows users to add products to their cart and give you their money. Setting up an eCommerce site soon gets complicated when you consider things like security, but hosted ecommerce solutions make it easy to set up an online store. Shopify and Magento’s Go variant are the two main competitors. Both are trusted companies that will host your store, process your payments and offer helpful reporting tools to keep track of your business growth.

Shopify

Shopify

Magento Go

Magento Go

The blogging solutions

If you’re looking to share your passion with the world, a blogging platform is definitely for you. Blogs by nature are social tools that allow you to interact with fellow members of a community. Two of the largest blogging website communities out there are WordPress.com and Tumblr. Both services allow you to set up your own site with tools to easily share photos, links and videos. Best of all they’re completely free.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com

Tumblr

Tumblr

The unknown solutions

Big names like Squarespace, Shopify and WordPress often spring to mind when thinking of ways to build a website, but there are plenty of smaller solutions that are relatively unknown. Website builders such as Weebly and Edicy offer the same features as those big name brands, but often include more advanced features that would otherwise only be part of a more expensive plan. Weebly has just about every feature you could ever desire in a free package, whereas Edicy is the cheapest of all the premium services featured in this post.

Weebly

Weebly

Edicy

Edicy

The lightweight solutions

Building a website for your client? We all know the risks of giving them full control of everything! This is where lightweight CMS solutions such as CushyCMS and Surreal CMS come in. Both services allow you to build the site exactly how you want it, then designate editable areas with some simple code to allow clients to then manage and update their own site via the CMS. Being a hosted application also means you don’t have to continuously apply updates or manage your client’s hosting bill.

CushyCMS

CushyCMS

Surreal CMS

Surreal CMS

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Written by Chris Spooner

Chris Spooner is a designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques collating creative website designs. Check out Chris' design tutorials and articles at Blog.SpoonGraphics or follow his daily findings on Twitter.

27 Comments

  1. Jonatan says:

    The alternative Soluction – http://clipchroma.net

  2. Michael says:

    Nice job compiling the list – there are tons of applications out there, but the challenge is making your website stand out and not look like a template.

  3. Richy Thomas says:

    You missed this wicked little badboy http://www.simplecms.com

  4. Anish Joshi says:

    nice job and really helpful

  5. Frank says:

    Great list.

    Another good all-in-one cms is http://wildapricot.com. It has built in membership/subscription tools on top of the CMS.

  6. Harry Keane says:

    Well all of them are best in the website builders.The e-commerce solutions of shopify seems to be best one with its unique features.
    <a href="http://www.ideazglobal.com/webdevelopment.php">Web Development Company</a>

  7. Alex says:

    i have read all of the post really intereing.

  8. james Brand says:

    there are tons of applications out there, but the challenge is making your website stand out and not look like a template.

    <a herf="http://www.sparkbrands.co/ecommerce_solution.php/">Ecommerce Solutions</a>.

  9. Kevin says:

    A very nice collection! Maybe i will build a feature rich TYPO3 based solution in the future.

  10. Ah, no love for Breezi, Chris? ;)

    Too bad we couldn't make the roundup, but for readers who aren't familiar, Breezi is a website design app that fixes mistakes and gives creative inspiration as you design. Breezi.com has lots of other info. and an Instant Test Drive to try it out.

  11. cmaxoxo says:

    its refreshing to see things created out of a template. Thanks, keep up the good work!

  12. cmaxoxo says:

    I agree, the online webbuilding portals are getting stronger as their software does. Its tough not to have a website that looks like a template but these website companies on http:www.affordablewebsite.net are affordable and the best in the business.

  13. Steve David says:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.I appreciate your post because it has useful information.Waiting for some more great articles like this from you in the coming days.

  14. Taniya Roy says:

    Wow this blog is awesome,I have read it before, I never found the perfect article like this blog provides us.thank you so much. I really love your blog.

  15. yoosuf says:

    Pyro CMS, one of a powerful CMS made with using the CodeIgniter and it has a hosted solution as well

  16. janice says:

    You missed another big player MODx. It's the most flexible CMS there is and allows front-end developers to easily mock up their bespoke HTML/CSS and then hook it up to MODx so no issue of the site looking 'templatey'. There's a learning curve of course but no looking back ounce tried…I assure you!

  17. This is an amazing list of solutions. But it seems odd to me that WordPress is trapped in the blogging solutions section. It's by far the largest and most popular web platform (including hosted .com and .org), and I think anyone who pays attention to WordPress knows that it's moved WAY beyond a blogging platform at this point to be full CMS. If anything, I suspect WP is more commonly used these days for regular websites than for dedicated blogs.

  18. Zac says:

    I used to use Squarespace, but now I use RocketFuel CMS over at http://www.gorocketfuel.com. The simplicity and support are absolutely amazing.

    I don't hate on WordPress, but somehow Rocketfuel's solution has made everything SUPER easy for me.

  19. ZianDesigns says:

    I used Weebly in the past and must say it's a nice CMS. If you're not too demanding it can suit your needs just fine.

    But once you start doing some real website design work, then you'll need to cross over to a true CMS system like Joomla!, Drupal or some custom solution.

  20. aditia says:

    woa go magento, must try it sometimes

  21. Leo Creer says:

    The Best CMS by far and its Free is
    Joomla!!! http://www.Joomla.org

  22. Serhiy says:

    What about Jimdo (www.jimdo.com), Chris?

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