With an estimated 500+ websites going online every hour, there has never been a better time to get started with web design and development. No longer is the internet solely the domain of the professional programmer; tools have been created to allow you to create great looking websites without even having to open a text editor.
Alongside excellent tooling, there are also companies like hosting foundry that specializes in making sure you find the most reliable and cost-effective home for your website.
5 Best Web Design Software
In this top 5 list, we’ve focused on web design software that is beginner-friendly, widely available, has good online support, and is free. We’ve also included a pros and cons list with each item so you can see at a glance if it’s something that interests you.
Let’s get into it.
WordPress is probably the easiest way to get from nothing to a fully functioning and great looking website in minutes.
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS for short) that is easy to get installed and will give you a whole host of options from theming to plugins while leaving you free from worrying about how things link together or work under the hood. It’s the largest CMS in the world, with roughly 60 million websites using it, including 33.6% of the top 10 million websites as of April 2019. It’s so big in fact that it has its own StackOverflow subdomain.
If you want to get up and running fast while having a huge support base of like-minded designers, WordPress is the way to go.
- Super easy to set up.
- Huge online knowledge base.
- Due to its popularity, it can be a target for hackers, be careful of what themes you install.
Visual Studio Code
While it’s possible to get by without ever editing any text files, usually, you will want to go in and change a thing or two. While it’s possible to do this with something like notepad, it’s a lot nicer to get a text editor that will include things like syntax highlighting, line numbers, etc. There are many choices when it comes to text editors, but we’ve chosen to highlight Visual Studio Code.
Visual Studio Code is a highly customizable free text editor from Microsoft that runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. You can install extensions to increase functionality from within the editor itself, but even out of the box, it comes fully loaded with terminal support, line numbers, syntax highlighting for popular languages like CSS or HTML all of which will come in super handy! It’s also open-source, which means it’s well supported and will continue to get free updates for the foreseeable future.
- Backed by Microsoft, won’t be going away any time soon.
- Fully featured out of the box with the option to customize further with extensions.
- It can be quite a memory-intensive at times.
Google Web Designer
If you’re more of a visual person that doesn’t want to edit any text files but instead would like to have a program that will allow you to drag and drop things, then Google Web Designer is the tool for you.
- Created content is “responsive,” meaning it adapts to different screen sizes.
- Easy to pick up and learn.
- Simple GUI.
- It’s still in Beta, so it may be missing some functionality that will be added later.
If you’ve seen a website that’s just text, you’ll know that it looks super boring. Images can make your websites feel alive and fresh.
Most people, when looking for image creation or manipulation tools, will turn to Adobe’s flagship software, Photoshop. However, with a starting price of over $20 a month for a Photoshop license, this is usually way too big of an expense for a beginner web designer. Luckily the open-source community has us covered.
Gimp is an image manipulation program for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux that is feature comparable to Photoshop while also being both free and open source.
People have made some truly amazing works of art in Gimp, and while it is super powerful and can be a little much to get your head around initially, it’s a great free tool for making exciting content for your websites.
- Very powerful image manipulation tool.
- Free and open source.
- It can be a bit of a steep learning curve initially.
Bootstrap (formerly Twitter Bootstrap) is a CSS framework that’s aimed and simplifying the creation of websites. It gives web developers a way of creating a super consistent and great looking website while also being responsive. Responsive design is when a website changes to look good when viewed on different size screens, a web browser on a laptop or a phone, for example. Bootstrap does this automatically when it’s used to create a website.
Bootstrap is incredibly popular; almost everyone has seen its distinctive style when browsing the web, and along with that popularity comes excellent support and a lot of knowledge sharing, which is great as there is a little bit of a learning curve that comes along with using the framework.
If you want to get a slick-looking website up and running without worrying about how to code things like button animations or dropdowns, then bootstrap is the framework for you.
- Produces good looking, consistent websites.
- Reactive by default.
- A bit of a learning curve initially, but worth it.