In this article, I’m going to list down the 5 best alternatives for WordPress as well as review their features and ease of use – so you find a perfect substitute!
WordPress has a lot to offer – including two types of website building under the same branding. One being a powerful and flexible Content Management System, and the other – a website builder.
It actually is such a popular and safe pick for many, that nearly one-third of websites on the internet are powered by either of those platforms.
However, as famous the product is, WordPress definitely can be lacking for some. The website builder option offers extremely expensive eCommerce and the use of plugins (what WP is popular for) is available only with high-tier plans.
Meanwhile, the CMS-oriented website building has other downsides.
Few of them include:
So, for some users, a limitless amount of themes and third-party plugins won’t cut it either with WordPress.com or WordPress.com – and that’s completely understandable.
With these shortcomings in mind, I went looking for alternatives to WordPress.
After a few months of research spent trying out WordPress competitors, I’m confident I’ve found five great platforms that can fit any website owners’ needs. In no particular order, here are the best WordPress alternatives available right now:
Like WordPress is a popular name in the website development industry – Wix is the giant of website builders’ fans. In contrast to WordPress, Wix is an all-in-one platform that includes hosting along with your website. Moreover, Wix features one of the most flexible drag-and-drop page editors I’ve come across.
Wix helps you get started building your website with more than 500 beautiful templates, all of which are free with your plan. While this is less than the tens of thousands available for WordPress, Wix is one of the few all-in-one website builders that’s constantly adding new templates.
Also, let’s not forget that these templates are all free, while with WordPress you need to buy a premium theme for your design to look better than the basic website’s sample.
Even better, Wix’s templates are reliable. Every template is responsive for mobile devices and tablets, and you never have to worry about code conflicts with third-party apps like you do in WordPress.
The only downside is that once you choose a template in Wix, you can’t change it without losing all of your customizations after publishing your website.
However, that’s not a big minus since the customizations you get with the Wix Editor allow you to create pixel-perfect design tweaks. Your imagination is the only limit you’ll encounter.
Inside the editor, you have complete freedom to drag and drop content blocks anywhere on the page. There are no restrictions according to a predetermined column format or any other layout determined by your template. You can even place content blocks on top of one another.
On top of that, there are more than 20 different types of content blocks you can add to your site. The ‘Add’ menu lets you preview each block so you can easily find the ideal one.
Once you’ve placed a block on your page, you can edit the settings for that individual block to customize how it looks to your site visitors.
The sheer number of customization options and menus in the editor can be overwhelming for first-time users. However, I didn’t think the learning curve was too bad once I started designing a website.
The only complaint I have is that the customization is so extreme that there are few site-wide settings, so you have to customize each content block individually.
If you want to get your Wix website up and running immediately, it’s worth checking out Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence).
This artificial intelligence-based designer creates a personalized website for you based on just a few questions about your industry and what your goals are for your site.
You can customize websites created using Wix ADI, but you do lose some functionality from the Wix editor. Still, this is a powerful option if you need a website quickly, and you can work on building a more complex website while your visitors have something functional in the meantime.
So compared to WordPress the setup process is much more streamlined and definitely saves your time. Of course, the ADI questionnaire is similar to WordPress.com startup, however, the design freedom Wix offers wins over by a mile.
One of the other features that I really liked about Wix and that makes it more similar to WordPress is the code editor. Corvid by Wix is an interactive development environment that can be toggled on and off within the Wix editor to give advanced designers unlimited flexibility.
Corvid integrates nicely with the setup of the Wix editor, allowing you to pull up the subsection of code for any content block simply by clicking on it.
Unlike for WordPress, you can open the code editor in the same window as the page editor. That way, you can actually see the effects of your code changes in real-time.
For business owners, Wix’s support for eCommerce is a major reason to choose Wix over WordPress. Our Wix review found that the platform supports not only selling physical products but also selling and booking services.
In fact, you can actually manage employees’ hours and booking directly through your Wix website.
I also loved Ascend by Wix, which gives you a level of control over your business that’s hard to get with WordPress. Ascend allows you to automate customer conversion processes – like following up with store visitors by email.
Moreover, Ascend will automatically store customer contact information for you so you can add them to email marketing campaigns – this is one of the top WordPress alternatives if you care about reaching your customers.
Unfortunately, you’ll pay significantly more for Wix than you would for WordPress, even after hosting costs. While Wix offers a free plan, it comes with ads inside the page editor, and you’re limited to using a ‘.wixsite.com’ domain.
If you don’t need an online store, paid Wix plans range from $13 to $39 per month, and include unlimited bandwidth.
For online businesses, Wix eCommerce plans start at $23 per month. All eCommerce plans come with unlimited bandwidth, a free domain for one year, and are completely commission-free.
Squarespace is another popular website building solution that you might have heard of since it markets itself while sponsoring different artists on YouTube. This platform is a great alternative to WordPress, especially for artists that are looking to build an attractive website easily.
To put it simply, it works as a better alternative for disappointed WordPress.com users. Mostly because Squarespace doesn’t offer as much code access as WordPress CMS does.
However, compared to WordPress.com (the website builder that WordPress offers) – Squarespace has way more attractive designs and a more intuitive interface.
Squarespace is a great WordPress competitor because all design tweaks and content changes can be applied using one editor only. For example, in WordPress.com, you have to jump between and ‘Pages’ and ‘Customise’ sections to cohesively design your website.
While using Squarespace you will benefit from a comfortable left-hand sided menu as well as a real-time preview. So any change you apply will be instantly loaded. In my opinion, that massively streamlines the site editing process.
Squarespace’s editor also has a section for site-wide changes, which makes it easier to tweak details throughout all the websites to stay cohesive. Things that you can change globally include – fonts, color palette, and element animations.
Of course, these site-wide changes limit the customization a little and you can’t tweak every content element separately as you might want to. However, compared to WordPress that’s still way more design freedom than WP Builder ever offered.
Not to mention, that the Squarespace theme gallery offers better designs than pretty much all WordPress platforms.
While WordPress wins in quantity, Squarespace tops it in quality. Moreover, every template in Squarespace is free to use while WordPress relies on premium themes and third-party subscriptions.
Talking about third-party integrations – Squarespace barely relies on those. Being a self-hosted platform that it is, this provider manages to offer nearly any feature you can think of – in-house.
That’s a big plus for online business owners that are looking for a worthy WordPress alternative. Higher-end subscriptions provide you with such features as email marketing, custom newsletter editor, abandoned cart recovery, website analytics, etc.
This is a great plus, because unlike WordPress – Squarespace provides everything from within the platform. So budget-wise, you don’t have to worry too much about paying for third-party integrations just to get that additional functionality.
Simply put, Squarespace offers an amazing value for money – especially for users who need more than just a basic website.
Talking about money – Squarespace doesn’t offer a free plan. Yet it still lets you try out its platform with its 14-day-free-trial. The startup doesn’t require any credit card input as well.
Onto the premium plans – Squarespace doesn’t offer the cheapest starting point like some WordPress competitors. In fact, the cheapest plan starts at $12/month and the most advanced subscription – $40 per month.
However, every plan is worth what it costs since the vast amount of features you get with any of these subscriptions can end up costing hundreds of dollars – if used with WordPress as a premium plugin.
All in all, I believe that Squarespace firmly deserves a spot in the list of best WordPress alternatives, especially for users who prioritize attractive design and intuitiveness when building a website.
Joomla! is the world’s second-most popular CMS, behind only WordPress. This WordPress alternative allows for slightly more complexity on the back end – meaning that you’ll face a steeper learning curve compared to WordPress. However, Joomla! offers more advanced security, customization, and user management tools than WordPress.
The main reason that so many people use WordPress rather than Joomla! is that WordPress is much easier to use. To start, Joomla! doesn’t have its own template directory.
Don’t get scared though. Instead, you’ll need to find a free or paid template from a third-party shop like Joomlart or Joomdev.
On top of that, laying out pages is just far easier within WordPress. That’s because WordPress bases a lot of your page organization on your theme, so you don’t have as many choices or as many customizations to make.
In Joomla!, every page starts out as the same type of content and you have to use pre-built categories to change how they are laid out.
One of the biggest problems with WordPress, and why many web developers are looking for WordPress competitors in the first place, is that the platform lacks security.
Policing thousands of plugins is virtually impossible, and every WordPress plugin represents a potential point of entry for hackers to attack your site and take you offline. Even a simple WordPress CMS update can change the compatibility with your installed plugins and become a potential threat.
With Joomla!, you can force visitors to connect to your site using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Joomla! also allows you to enable two-factor authentication for login to the Joomla dashboard.
Importantly, Joomla also offers a variety of security extensions (the equivalent of WordPress plugins) and it’s easy to find information about known vulnerabilities in existing extensions.
In addition, Joomla! offers far more extensive customization than WordPress. With a WordPress site, you can only have one theme activated at a time across your entire website. On Joomla!, you can use different templates for different types of content.
This is a massive advantage if you’re developing a multi-faceted site, particularly one that includes an online store. You can use one template for your site’s static content, for example, and another template that’s optimized for eCommerce presentation and control for your online store.
Meanwhile, the way that Joomla!’s CMS is broken up gives you much more control over your site’s content. You not only have menus for managing extensions, media, and pages but also for managing banners, sub-menus, and the way extensions function in different locations across your site.
This allows you to finely tune your visitor experience in a way that isn’t possible using WordPress. That’s one massive advantage as well as the reason why Joomla! is a great WordPress competitor.
One of the areas in which Joomla! really shines is user management. Joomla! allows you to tightly control who is authorized to access what features of your site.
Where this comes in handy is if you have a subscription-only section of your site or social networking features, like a forum. Joomla! makes it possible to manage all of your site visitors as an individual, recognized users with varying authorizations within the CMS.
While you could likely achieve the same thing in WordPress, it would require a lot of site development.
While it used to be the case that Joomla! underperformed in terms of SEO, that’s no longer a thing. New releases of Joomla! allow you to set meta descriptions and keywords for all of your pages, blog posts, and content items.
There are also plenty of good SEO-focused extensions available for Joomla! websites as well.
Joomla! is free and open-source, just like WordPress. You’ll need to pay for a third-party host and domain name for your website, but most hosts offer one-click installations for Joomla.
One thing to keep in mind is that Joomla!’s market share is falling slightly, so community support for the platform may suffer in the future.
Drupal is an advanced CMS built for experienced website designers and developers. Like WordPress and Joomla!, Drupal is free and open-source.
Though, unlike these competing CMS platforms, launching a website with Drupal requires patience, perseverance, and dedication to learning an entirely new development environment.
When starting out with Drupal, you’re essentially given a blank board. This is a major advantage if you need a complex, one-of-a-kind website that no standard template could provide.
On the other hand, it means that you’ll need to spend a lot of time finding the Drupal themes and modules you need to start building your site.
That’s no simple task, as there are more than 2,700 publicly available Drupal themes and over 43,000 modules.
While Drupal allows you to sort the theme and module databases, the search features are very limited. Your best bet is to find what you need through blogs or other resources, and then search for it by name.
However, if you can get past this, Drupal puts virtually no limits on what you can do with your website. This WordPress alternative is by far the most flexible CMS available, and you’ll find advanced content blocks — like blog posts, forum pages, and polls — right out of the box.
One of the most notable features of Drupal is the ability to create your own content types. With Drupal, you can define a new page type, complete with custom headers, content arrangement, and built-in modules.
This entails a steep learning curve for first-time users, but once you have a library of custom pages you can quickly and easily add unique content to your website.
Keep in mind that content within Drupal mostly takes the form of rich text on the back-end. There is no what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor.
So, you have to actually preview the page in order to see what your edits will look like. This is in severe contrast to the WordPress editor, and it can make editing content somewhat difficult.
Stil, Drupal helpfully provides an excellent framework for managing large websites. All of your pages and content blocks are grouped according to categories, and you can search all content or only content within a specific category.
This is particularly helpful if you have a blog or forum and need to find older articles and posts.
Another major advantage of Drupal as a WordPress competitor – user management. Drupal provides significantly more robust user authorization tools compared to WordPress, allowing you to define an infinite number of user levels.
It lets you get into the fine details of who can access what content. On the front end, there are a number of Drupal modules for controlling the access of forum contributors.
While Drupal’s user community can’t compete with that of WordPress — the platform and all modules come with extensive documentation. Better yet, developers seem genuinely determined to help when presented with questions about the CMS.
Still, there are some drawbacks to the platform, even after you get over the learning curve. The two biggest of these are maintenance and speed.
One of the downsides to Drupal’s customizability is that almost every Drupal website needs to have tens, if not hundreds, of modules, installed.
Since there are so many modules, many of them contributed by developers, it is quite common that updating a module breaks some of the functionality of your website by interfering with another module.
This isn’t the end of the world if you are always backing up your website before installing new modules or updating existing modules. But this process can be time-consuming for larger websites.
The other downside to Drupal’s flexible design is that loading pages can be a slow process compared to WordPress and other platforms. Drupal’s script loading doesn’t scale particularly well, so queries to a large website can generate a significant server load.
Thankfully, though, there are a handful of modules that can cache your website content or optimize performance.
All in all, Drupal is just a more advanced WordPress alternative, especially for users who wanted more flexibility after using WordPress.org. While Drupal isn’t the easiest to work with – it’s worth a while for people who want limitless possibilities when coding.
Blogger is Google’s blogging platform. It’s completely free and incredibly simple to use, making it an enticing alternative to WordPress for dedicated bloggers. That said, Blogger isn’t a website builder, so if you need more than a blog and an About page this isn’t the platform for you.
Starting out with Blogger is easy since it’s part of the Google environment. If you use Gmail or another G Suite app, all you have to do to set up a Blogger site is to open up the platform and choose a domain.
Domains at ‘.blogspot.com’ are free, or you can buy a domain from Google for just a couple of dollars per year. The interesting fact?
You can connect a custom domain for free. So Blogger is a great alternative for users on a budget, who are completely blog-oriented.
So if you already have a Gmail account – you’re ready to start with this platform. The post editor will be extremely familiar if you’ve used Google Docs or Microsoft Word.
Unlike WordPress and some other website builders that offer blog text editors, blog posts here are just text documents. There are no content blocks to drag-and-drop onto your posts, and the only settings relate to categories and tags.
As a result, Blogger is ideal for users who simply want to get words out into the world. It doesn’t offer anything fancy for posts, so you need to be okay with basic-looking articles.
This platform does allow you to edit the code behind your blog posts, but the code is riddled with for- and if-loops that make it inaccessible to most bloggers.
Similar to WordPress, Blogger does allow you to customize the look of your blog for visitors, within limits. You can choose from tens of themes offered for free within Blogger.
Or you can upload any free or paid third-party blog to use for your site. On top of that, the theme editor allows you to customize basic things like your color palette and default fonts.
Setting up pages in Blogger is as simple as it is in WordPress, and the process is similar. You can add static pages right from the Blogger dashboard and add in gadgets, which are the Blogger equivalent of WordPress widgets.
Blogger also allows you to customize the layout of your homepage and static pages, although this feels clunky compared to most modern website builders.
One of the big advantages that Blogger has over WordPress when maintaining a blog – is that monetizing your blog is incredibly simple.
Since Blogger is part of the Google universe, all it takes is a few clicks to allow Google AdSense — the largest ad broker on the Internet — to place ads on your blog posts. An ‘Earnings’ page in your dashboard allows you to track income.
On the flip side, you can easily promote your own blog in Google search results. Google AdSense will help you design an effective ad to draw in viewers to your blog. For most bloggers who make some money off their blog, the cost of promotion is very reasonable.
Still, there are a few reasons why WordPress, and not Blogger, is the most-used blogging platform in the world.
Blogger is hosted by Google, which means that Google can pull the plug on it at any time. If that did happen, Google would almost certainly give you time to migrate your content to another provider. But, it can be a major pain to have to move everything with little warning.
In addition, the lack of versatility in Blogger can present problems as your blog grows. Blogger isn’t well-adapted to social media sharing (Facebook is a competitor as far as Google is concerned).
Moreover, if you ever want to add an online store or large amounts of video content to your blog, you won’t be able to do it through Blogger since it just doesn’t offer such extensive features.
No matter what kind of bad experience you may have encountered when using WordPress – or avoided this platform overall – it’s important to know that there are great alternatives out there. The providers I listed in this article will work both as WordPress.org and WordPress.com alternatives.
Some of these WordPress competitors make it easier to get a basic website or eCommerce store off the ground quickly, while others offer a more advanced and customizable Content Management System.
So, in the end, it all revolves around what you – as a creator of the website -prioritize and enjoy working with.
To recap, here are the five best WordPress alternatives: