Are all Free Website Builder Programs the Same?

by Melanie Citron

Free website builder programs exist in abundance on the internet these days.  It almost seems as if they are a dime-a-dozen.  But is this the reality of it?  Are they all made equal?  Of course not.  Some are easier to use and install on a web host, while others have more flexibility when it comes to graphics, updating content, and security.

What is Out There?

There are four top contenders in the world of website building.  These are Drupal, Joomla, Plone, and WordPress and they are all great.  However, they are all different in their ease of use, their features, and their hosting compatibility.

The absolute easiest builder to use for a simple, small, website is WordPress.  This builder requires no knowledge of html code and it still offers a lot when it comes to site functionality and customization.  With WordPress anyone can install a website complete with themes and this site can be augmented easily.  It can also be easily maintained from the administration side of things.

Drupal is the opposite of WordPress in that it does require knowledge of code to create and modify the website and indeed, this program is targeted to the code-lovers and larger websites.  However, Drupal doesn’t have as many options as WordPress does when it comes to modules and in Drupal these modules are intended to be a starting point for creating your own functionality.

Joomla also offers a lot of flexibility and does not require a lot of html knowledge, but it has a sharp learning curve.  It simply isn’t as user-friendly as WordPress.  If you have the time to learn the program, then you can do a lot with it to make a great site, large or small.

Plone is another good builder, but again it takes time to learn how to use it.  It is not easy to install new themes in Plone, so this might make it less appealing if you are looking for an easy website builder.  It is also written in Python, which is not as commonly used by developers.

Web Hosting

When it comes to web hosting you have a couple of options.  If your needs are simple, then WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla will suit your needs as they are all easily installed on any shared host.

On the other hand, Plone needs more sophisticated hosting.  Of course, this is fine if your hosting needs are more advanced.  Just remember that it will probably cost more money to host a Plone site.

Support

With any new venture it is important that you have a community of support that will be there to help you over the hurdles.  Fortunately, all four of these builders have extensive communities that you can access via blogs and forums and there is always someone around to answer questions.

Final Words

Ultimately, all four of these builders are solid.  You must look at all the pros and cons and make a decision based on whether they are right for you depending on your needs and your willingness/ability to work with code.  In the end, WordPress is a good choice for end-users and admin, Drupal is for the developers, and Joomla sits somewhere in the middle.

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About the author: Melanie Citron is a freelance author who wants the web to be open to everyone. She regularly researches and writes about great free or low cost resources to help all have a great presence on the web. See more of her writing at BuildMySiteforFree.com.

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About the Author

Tom Harris

Tom Harris was writing about Wordpress before Wordpress existed forever seeking the ultimate tool to explode online business. Tom has been on the net since its inception at Universities and has been a proponent of “user friendly” technology all his life. He now covers the intersection of business and technology from the gulf coast of Louisiana. Previously, Harris was the tech reporter for several local daily newspapers in New York state, Pittsburgh and London. He is an avid fan of technology and its affect on society, business and politics around the world.

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