Creating a website for your brand, company, or portfolio for yourself has never been easier. In the past, you had to pay a developer or coder, and then add the cost of a designer in order to have a beautiful and functional website. That fact has changed significantly since WordPress came to light. But if for some reason you can’t or won’t use it, there are other CMS (Content Management System) out there for you to try. For your convenience, we’ve created a comprehensive list of the best WordPress alternatives to try and then pick your favorite.
What’s the problem with WordPress?
While WordPress is undoubtedly the most used CMS on the planet Earth, it is by no means perfect, and often users find themselves in need of an alternative. Now, this alternative rarely has the respectable repertoire that WordPress has been known to possess. However, it can more than make up for them by shoring up certain weaknesses the popular CMS has exhibited over the years.
Thus, it has become second nature for smart enterprises to keep their options open and make use of such alternatives when the situation presents itself. There are a few, but widely known issues with WordPress, which we have listed below:
- The prevalent issue observed with WordPress is certainly its security. We have believed that over time, it would no longer be a concern. But given how popular this CMS is, I believe it is not going away anytime soon.
- Overall, as a CMS, WordPress is infamous for its inflexibility. Since the platform is more inclined towards the code-illiterate, making huge changes as a developer can be hard, especially if you can’t find a suitable theme or plugin.
- Furthermore, it is a platform that is harder to scale.
- Long-term use often requires frequent maintenance, eating into resources and time.
- Although many might not have experienced it, VIP vendor support for WordPress is perplexingly pricey.
What are the Best WordPress Alternatives
Starting off our list is a service that is widely known and recognized for being one of the best website builders. And that’s not the whole story since you can get free or paid hosting and a domain as part of the package. Making a free website for personal or small business promotion purposes is allowed and encouraged. It’s extremely easy to use, with click-to-edit, and drag-and-drop functionality to modify anything. Going to the paid version allows you to build an online store, accept payments, and open up a lot of other possibilities to grow.
- Drag-and-drop website builder.
- Hundreds of templates to choose from.
- App Market for additional functionality.
- Option for e-commerce.
- SEO tools included.
- Free and premium plans are available.
Weebly is also a complete website builder, from the hosting and domain, all the way to design and functionality. The tools that are pre-built in the backend allow you to have complete control over the customization of the front page. By adding templates that are already made and only need minor editing to fit your purpose, you’ll vow the visitors effortlessly. Loading speed is measured and suggestions can be made for you to optimize your website further. All in all, a perfect choice for beginners to website development and design.
- User-friendly drag-and-drop interface.
- Integrated e-commerce solution.
- Mobile responsive themes.
- Built-in SEO tools.
- In-built blog platform.
- Free and premium plans available.
Going further, you must’ve heard of Squarespace from all the advertisement on various platform. It’s a little different when it comes to comparing it to WordPress, even though you can fully build and customize your website on the platform. It is, however, not open source, but a very functional platform nonetheless. Most novices use the beginner-friendly interface to build their first website through Squarespace as there are plenty of themes ready to go.
One downside is that plugin support from third-party sources isn’t great. Also, if you were using a WordPress hosting service in the past, you will not be able to keep using it. You will have to purchase a separate server.
- Wide range of stylish templates.
- Drag-and-drop site builder.
- E-commerce integration.
- Good blogging platform.
- Full image manipulation.
- Premium services which include domain names and hosting.
Very similar to WordPress, it is an open-source CMS that’s focused on making the best news, review, blog, or portfolio websites. It has a very strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tool variety that will help you on your way of attracting visitors. The dashboard is easy to use, intuitive and gives you complete control over layouts, themes, and templates. A unique feature is the Access Control List (ACL) which is best suited for the administrators to deliver contributor access to writers or editors. It’s easy to see why news or media groups commonly use it for their purposes.
- Open-source CMS with extendable functionalities.
- Multilingual support out of the box.
- Supports custom post types.
- Extensive ACL (Access Control List) capability.
- Regular updates and security patches.
- Large community support.
Something a little different from others is Jekyll, which was created with simplicity in mind. Instead of database management, adding and editing themes and templates, you’ll use a familiar terminal window interface. Developers and long-time Linux users will just love this static website generator. The template language is called Liquid and makes it easier to upload your website files to various servers. While it requires a higher level of knowledge, for people who are into coding in this way, it’s a definite choice.
- Simple, blog-aware, static site generator.
- Perfectly tied with GitHub Pages for free site hosting.
- Uses Markdown for content creation.
- Plugin system for extending capabilities.
- Templating using Liquid.
- High flexibility and good performance.
If you’ve ever wanted to start an online store, Shopify is the best way to go about it. It is focused entirely on e-commerce and will help you attract visitors and turn them into customers. There are a plethora of ready-to-use themes, with marketing tips and tricks built in to increase sales and reduce bounce rate. Shipping applications are easily integrated, and the payment gateway options are implemented and proven safe. Choose the payment plan that fits you best, and start making cash!
- Fully hosted e-commerce solution.
- Variety of themes to customize your store.
- Extensive app market to extend your store’s capabilities.
- Handles everything from payments, to secure checkout, to shipping.
- Integrated Point of Sale system.
- 24/7 customer support.
Going back to blogging or building a portfolio, if you can’t stand the clutter and complexity of WordPress, Ghost is the way to go. It’s also open source and will help you create colorful, attractive designs, and customize templates and widgets to your benefit. Apart from beautiful designs, it is also highly functional. You can schedule blog posts if you’re away, view detailed analytics, and in the end – produce content on a regular basis. If you own multiple brands, this service will be your best friend. Ghost makes it is very easy to manage and publish content on different websites.
- Simplified web publishing platform.
- Clean, user-friendly interface.
- Integrated SEO features.
- Live preview while editing posts.
- Built-in email newsletters feature.
- Integrations are available for extending functionalities.
Here’s a CMS that came straight from the brain of the co-founder of Twitter, a website that reached massive success. With that in mind, what better way to make your own content popular and within reach to thousands, if not millions of visitors? It is relatively new but very simple. You won’t need any coding, design, or development knowledge, it’s as easy as writing and clicking publish after formatting is applied. It’s so good that both amateurs and professional writers alike use it on a daily basis.
- A platform focused on simplicity and community.
- Social networking features built into a blogging platform.
- Rich text editor for writing.
- No setup is required.
- Paid partner program for writers.
- Promotes content discovery.
As we’re approaching the end, here’s another extremely powerful CMS that might be your daily driver in the future. It’s more complicated to use, but still pretty intuitive for people that would like to further their knowledge. Drupal has a bit of a learning curve but is constantly perfected thanks to more than a hundred thousand active contributors. While it is definitely not for inexperienced website owners, you have the ability to create your own framework and thus build your personal CMS.
- Very flexible open-source CMS, good for complex projects.
- Supports high content volumes and advanced user permissions.
- Highly scalable solution.
- Extensive modules available to extend functionalities.
- Strong SEO capabilities.
- Active community support.
We’ll wrap this up with quite possibly the simplest, minimalistic option for a CMS, once again, an open-source one. The lack of extreme popularity actually makes it better, as it is a gem that hasn’t been discovered by many yet. The main focus is on a clutter-free environment, both to work with, and to see on the front page. There is a custom text formatting language called Textile that can convert into HTML with ease. Adding and editing themes is a bit harder than on WordPress, since it is tag-based, text template language you’ll have to learn. But don’t worry, there are countless community-created guides that will show you step-by-step explanations to structure and manipulate content.
- Lightweight open-source CMS.
- Flexible and easy-to-use interface.
- Perfect for designing simple and elegant websites.
- Offers strong custom fields functionality.
- Supports multiple authors with varied privileges.
- Regular updates and patches.
11. CMS Hub
CMS Hub, from HubSpot, is yet another integrated content management platform that can handle teammates, workflow, and data altogether. The platform is hosted by HubSpot, meaning the maintenance of your site is their responsibility. This maintenance includes website updates, upgrades, security patches, bugs, and any other technical issues. CMS Hub also has a plethora of features to offer such as a domain manager, file manager, content editor, design tools, blogging modules, staging areas, and much more.
The greatest advantage of CMS Hub is its synchronicity with HubSpot CRM. Users can run both their websites and content management tool simultaneously to perform better marketing and strengthen customer relations.
- Integrated with other HubSpot marketing tools.
- Drag-and-drop builder.
- Personalization features.
- SEO recommendations.
- Content staging and testing available.
- Security features like SSL and CDN included.
PrestaShop is another powerful alternative to WordPress. Unlike WordPress, PrestaShop, it does not only allow users to create a digital store but also a total comprehensive e-commerce solution. Another plus for PrestaShop is that it is a self-hosted, open-source platform. It makes the software virtually your own, however you see fit to modify or customize it. Although, users must have a hosting provider for their PrestaShop ready.
One drawback of PrestaShop is its cluttering dashboard. Most users like a clean and simple UI, however, setting up PrestaShop can be more complicated. But as a result, you will get a much better quality site, right off the bat.
- Dedicated e-commerce platform.
- Open-source with the option of add-on modules.
- Multiple payment gateway options.
- Wide range of themes for store customization.
- Multilingual and multi-currency support.
- SEO-friendly platform.
Our recommendation for WordPress alternatives
Our recommendation for a WordPress alternative is rather straightforward, Squarespace. Now, before you rage-quit the page and launch a Twitter (or X, whatever) campaign against me, let me tell you why. While Squarespace is by no means equal to WordPress, it nonetheless gets the job done, especially for beginners who are looking to build their very first website. It is very easy to use, with practically no entry barrier, and has templates available that can automate most of the process.
But if you are looking for a more involved process, then you might want to look at Wix, which is a website builder and hosting service merged into one.