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Website Builder vs Coding: Pros and Cons Guide


In today's fast-paced digital world, online presence is no longer just an option for businesses and individuals; it's necessary. Everyone is making their mark online, from small startups to large corporations and from personal blogs to professional portfolios. This surge in digital presence is driven by the need to reach a wider audience, provide 24/7 information, and stay competitive in an increasingly interconnected world.

When building a website, the choices can be overwhelming, but they typically boil down to two main routes: using a website builder or diving into traditional coding. Website builders, such as Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify, offer a user-friendly interface that allows even the most non-technical users to create a website quickly.

On the other hand, traditional coding involving HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other programming languages offers limitless possibilities for customization and control.

The decision between using a website builder or coding your website traditionally involves weighing various factors, including time, cost, skill level, and the website's specific needs. This article aims to shed light on both options, providing a detailed comparison to help you make an informed decision.

By understanding the pros and cons of each approach, you'll be equipped to choose the path that best suits your project's requirements, personal or business goals, and technical capabilities. Whether you're building your first website or looking to upgrade an existing one, knowing these key differences is crucial in navigating the vast landscape of website creation.

Understanding Website Builders

Definition and Explanation

Website builders are online platforms that simplify the website creation process, allowing users to design and publish sites without needing to write code. These tools typically feature drag-and-drop interfaces, a variety of templates, and customizable elements, making it easy for anyone to create a professional-looking website.

Essentially, website builders bridge technical web development skills and creative design, democratizing web creation for individuals and businesses alike.

History and Evolution

The origins of website builders date back to the late 1990s when creating a website required significant coding skills in HTML and CSS. As the Internet expanded, so did the need for more accessible web design tools, leading to the development of the first website builders.

These early versions were rudimentary, offering limited templates and customization options. However, they laid the groundwork for the sophisticated platforms we see today.

Over the years, website builders have evolved dramatically, incorporating advanced features like responsive design, e-commerce functionalities, and integrated marketing tools, all while maintaining user-friendly interfaces.

Overview of Popular Website Builders

Today, several leading website builders dominate the market, each catering to different needs and preferences:

  • Wix: Known for its versatility and extensive template selection, Wix allows for deep customization, making it popular among users who want to control every aspect of their site's design.

  • Squarespace: Praised for its elegant templates and robust e-commerce capabilities, Squarespace is a favorite among creatives and small business owners who aim for a visually impressive online presence.

  • Shopify: Specializing in e-commerce, Shopify provides a comprehensive set of tools for online stores, including inventory management, payment integration, and customer analytics.

  • These platforms highlight the varied approaches to website building, offering solutions for everything from personal blogs to complex e-commerce sites.

    Pros of Website Builders


    One of the most significant advantages of website builders is their user-friendly design, making them ideal for non-technical users. The core feature of most website builders is the drag-and-drop functionality, which allows users to select various elements like text boxes, images, and buttons and place them on their webpage exactly where they want them without writing a single line of code.

    This intuitive interface drastically reduces the learning curve of web development and empowers individuals to launch their websites confidently and efficiently.


    Website builders are also renowned for expediting the website creation process. Unlike traditional coding, which can take weeks or even months to go from concept to launch, website builders allow users to set up a fully functional website in hours.

    This speed is crucial for businesses looking to quickly capitalize on market trends or individuals eager to establish an online presence without delays.


    Budget constraints are often a significant concern for small businesses or personal projects. Website builders address this issue by offering a range of pricing plans, including some free options, which significantly lower the entry cost than hiring a web developer.

    Additionally, many website builders include hosting services within their fees, eliminating the need for external web hosting, which can often be a substantial expense.

    Maintenance and Security

    Another considerable benefit of website builders is that they typically take care of website maintenance and security. Most platforms regularly update their systems to protect against new threats and ensure the website runs smoothly without user intervention.

    This managed service model means users can easily apply security patches or update software, which can be daunting and technical, especially for those without IT expertise.

    Cons of Website Builders

    Limited Customization

    While website builders are user-friendly, they often come with inherent limitations in design and functionality. Users are typically bound to the templates and the customization options provided, which can restrict how much the website can be tailored to individual needs or unique brand identities.

    These constraints can be a significant drawback for businesses or individuals who require specialized functions or a distinctive design that stands out. Additionally, advanced features like custom user interactions or specialized backend processes are often beyond the scope of what most website builders offer, necessitating a move to traditional coding or the hiring of a developer.

    Dependence on the Provider

    Using a website builder means you rely on the platform for several critical aspects of your website, including hosting, security, and even the tools available for SEO. This dependence can lead to several issues:

  • Hosting Restrictions: You are often limited to the platform's hosting, which might not offer the same level of control or scalability as a dedicated hosting solution.

  • Platform-Specific SEO Limitations: While many website builders include SEO tools, they may not be as robust or flexible as those available to a traditionally coded website. That can hinder a site's ability to rank well in search engines.

  • Data Portability: Moving your site to another platform can be challenging. Website builders typically use proprietary software, making transferring your site wholesale to another service difficult. That can lock users into a particular service, complicating future changes or upgrades.

    Performance Issues

    Websites built with builders can also suffer from performance issues, particularly loading speeds. Because these platforms often host numerous sites on shared servers, the resources are not always allocated efficiently.

    This can result in slower response times during high traffic periods. Furthermore, because the underlying code generated by website builders can be bulky and not optimized for speed, it may not perform as well as a site coded from scratch by a professional developer focused on efficiency.

    Understanding Traditional Coding

    Traditional coding for website development involves manually writing the code that dictates a website's structure, style, functionality, and behavior. This method offers maximum control over the site's design and operations, enabling developers to create highly customized and optimized websites.

    Coding requires a deeper understanding of programming languages and development principles, making it a more specialized skill than website builders.

    Key Languages and Technologies

    The cornerstone of web development in traditional coding involves several critical languages, each serving a distinct purpose:

  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the backbone of any website and is used to create the basic structure and content of web pages.

  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) : CSS is used to control the presentation, formatting, and layout of the website, allowing developers to style the site according to precise specifications.

  • JavaScript : This language adds interactivity to web pages, from simple animations to complex web applications. JavaScript is essential for creating a dynamic user experience.

  • Backend Languages : Various programming languages, such as PHP, Ruby, Python, and Node.js, are used on the server side to manage database operations, user authentication, and application logic. These languages help make websites functional and dynamic.

  • Development Environments and Tools

    Traditional coding is supported by various development environments and tools that enhance productivity and manage complexity. Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, and Atom offer powerful coding tools and extensions that help write, test, and debug code more efficiently.

    Additionally, version control systems such as Git are crucial for tracking changes, collaborating with other developers, and maintaining the project's overall integrity.

    For local development and testing, tools like XAMPP and Docker provide necessary environments where developers can simulate how a website will perform on an actual server, ensuring that any kinks are worked out before going live.

    Pros of Coding Your Website

    Complete Customization

    One of the most significant advantages of coding your website is the level of customization it offers. Unlike website builders that limit you to predefined templates and elements, coding from scratch means you can design every aspect of your site to meet specific needs and preferences.

    That includes the layout, user interface, graphics, and interactive features, which can be tailored exactly how you envision. For businesses with unique branding and functional requirements, this allows them to create a genuinely distinctive online presence that can set them apart from competitors.

    Optimized Performance

    Websites coded from scratch generally perform better than those created with website builders. Custom coding allows developers to streamline the codebase, eliminating unnecessary bloat that can slow down website performance.

    By optimizing the code, developers can ensure faster loading times, improved responsiveness, and better overall user experience. This is particularly crucial for complex sites that handle a lot of user interactions and data processing, where performance can significantly impact usability and customer satisfaction.

    Complete Control Over Hosting and Security

    Coding your own website also allows you to have complete control over hosting and security aspects. You can choose a hosting provider that matches your specific bandwidth, scalability, and technical support needs.

    Furthermore, when you manage your site, you can implement robust security measures, configure firewalls, and install SSL certificates to protect sensitive data. This control can be critical in managing the risks associated with data breaches and cyber-attacks.

    Scalability and Flexibility

    Finally, websites coded from scratch are inherently more scalable and flexible. As your business grows or your needs change, a custom-coded website can be easily updated and expanded.

    New functionalities can be added without the limitations of a platform's capabilities, and the website's infrastructure can be adjusted to accommodate increased traffic and data.

    This scalability ensures the website can evolve with your business, providing a long-term digital solution that adapts to new challenges and opportunities.

    Cons of Coding Your Website

    Steep Learning Curve

    One of the most significant challenges of coding your website is the steep learning curve of mastering web development languages and techniques.

    For those new to programming, the journey can be daunting. Learning HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and potentially backend languages like Python or PHP requires substantial time and effort.

    Unlike using website builders, which often come with intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-made templates, coding from scratch demands a deep understanding of coding principles, problem-solving skills, and ongoing education to keep up with evolving web technologies.

    That can be overwhelming for individuals or businesses without prior technical expertise or resources to invest in learning.


    Developing a website from scratch is significantly more time-consuming than using a website builder. While website builders can enable a site to be up and running in hours, coding a website manually requires extensive planning, testing, and debugging before launching it.

    This process can take weeks or even months, depending on the site's complexity. For businesses looking to establish an online presence quickly or capitalize on timely market opportunities, the slow development process can be a critical drawback.

    Higher Initial Costs

    The cost of manually coding a website is generally higher than using a website builder. Initially, the expenses can be considerable if you choose to hire a professional developer.

    Even if you undertake the task yourself, there are costs associated with purchasing the necessary tools and software, potentially higher fees for specialized hosting services, and the opportunity cost of learning and developing rather than focusing on other business aspects.

    Moreover, integrating custom features and maintaining state-of-the-art design standards can further inflate the budget, making it less feasible for small businesses or individuals on tight budgets.

    Ongoing Maintenance

    Maintaining a custom-coded website is another area that requires ongoing attention and resources. Unlike websites created with builders, which often come with automatic updates and maintenance, a custom-built website necessitates regular manual updates to ensure the technology remains secure and functional.

    That includes applying security patches, updating code libraries, and troubleshooting issues. Regular maintenance is crucial to protect against security vulnerabilities and ensure the website operates smoothly.

    This need for continual technical oversight can be a significant burden, especially for those without a dedicated IT team. It can divert resources from other vital areas of a business or project.

    These factors make coding your website challenging and might only suit some, particularly those looking for quick, cost-effective, and low-maintenance online solutions.

    Decision Factors

    Purpose and Scale of the Website

    The decision between using a website builder or coding your website from scratch should be strongly influenced by the purpose and scale of the website.

    A website builder might suffice if the goal is to launch a simple blog, portfolio, or small business site, providing all the necessary functionalities with minimal fuss.

    However, traditional coding offers flexibility and scalability for large-scale projects, such as an enterprise-level e-commerce site or a complex web application that requires custom user interactions and high-level security.

    Understanding the website's long-term objectives and expected growth is crucial, as it will determine the need for specific features and its ability to expand and evolve over time.

    Budget Constraints

    Financial considerations play a significant role in choosing how to build a website. Website builders often represent a more budget-friendly option, especially for startups and small businesses, due to their low upfront costs and inclusive hosting solutions.

    On the other hand, coding a website from scratch, while potentially more costly initially, may offer better value in the long run for larger businesses that require a high degree of customization and control.

    It's crucial to weigh the initial investment against potential future costs, such as the need for customization or scaling that could drive up expenses if not initially planned for.

    Technical Skill Level

    The technical expertise available to you or within your organization can also dictate the best approach to building your website. If you have access to skilled developers, coding your website allows you to leverage their skills to create a highly tailored and optimized site.

    Conversely, if technical skills are lacking and training or hiring a developer is not feasible, website builders provide a user-friendly alternative that does not require advanced coding knowledge.

    The level of technical skill available will affect the development process and the ongoing maintenance and updating of the site.

    Time Availability

    Lastly, your time frame for getting the website up and running can influence your choice.

    If the site needs to be operational quickly, a website builder is undoubtedly the faster option. It allows for quick deployment, which is particularly beneficial for time-sensitive marketing campaigns or events.

    However, if the timeline allows for a more deliberate development process, coding a site from scratch can result in a more customized and potentially more robust digital presence. That is ideal for projects with flexible launch schedules, and quality and specificity are the priorities.

    These factors include purpose and scale, budget, technical skill level, and time constraints. Each plays a critical role in determining whether to use a website builder or code a website from scratch. Balancing these elements will help in making a decision that aligns with both immediate needs and long-term goals.


    Choosing between using a website builder and coding a website from scratch is a decision that hinges on multiple factors, each critical in shaping the outcome and success of your online presence.

    Website builders offer a quick, cost-effective, and user-friendly solution that can suffice for many small to medium-sized projects. They remove the complexities of coding, making it possible for anyone to create a professional-looking website with minimal technical skills. However, they come with customization, performance, and scalability limitations that might not meet the needs of larger, more complex projects.

    On the other hand, coding a website from scratch, while demanding a higher level of skill, time investment, and initial cost, provides unparalleled flexibility and control over every aspect of the website. This route is ideal for those who require specific functionalities, high performance, and the ability to scale and evolve. It caters to businesses or individuals prepared to invest in a robust, long-term web solution.

    Ultimately, the choice should align with your project's needs, resources, and goals. Whether you choose a website builder or decide to code your website from scratch, understanding the pros and cons of each approach will ensure that your website effectively serves your needs, supports your growth, and enhances your digital footprint.

    Useful links / Resources

  • Website Builders (Web750)

  • Website Builder (WikiPedia)

  • Web Development (WikiPedia)

  • Learn to Code (W3 Schools)

  • Learn HTML, CSS and UI/UX design (Codecademy)

  • Go back to Web750