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Website Builder vs. Web Developer | Key Comparison

March 08, 2024
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

Key takeaways

  • Website Builders are user-friendly tools with pre-built templates, cost-effective plans, and automated maintenance, making them suitable for those with basic web development knowledge.
  • Web Developers provide customized solutions with advanced features and unique designs, ideal for projects requiring intricate custom coding, and specialized functionalities.

In this article, we’ll unravel the intricacies of website builder vs. web developer, dissecting the pros and cons to guide you in choosing the optimal path for your web development journey.

What is a Website Builder?

A website builder is a user-friendly software platform designed to facilitate website creation without the need for coding skills. While coding isn’t a prerequisite, some builders provide the option to incorporate code for users comfortable with that approach.

An example of a website builder - Wix
An example of a website builder – Wix

The essential components of a website builder include the preview panel, styling options, back-end functionality, admin tools, and more. Users can choose between online and offline versions, with online solutions being more popular due to their immediate site launch capability upon completion.

Pros & Cons of Using a Website Builder


Exploring the merits of website builders, they offer an accessible and straightforward path to website development:

  • User-friendly interface with point-and-click functionality
  • Extensive selection of pre-built templates for quick web page design
  • Cost-effective plans with inclusive web hosting, business email, and custom domain
  • Effortless integration with third-party services such as payment gateways and SEO tools
  • Mobile-friendly templates and an intuitive editor with a mobile preview feature
  • Automated updates, security measures, and back-end management
  • Time-efficient development process
  • Customization flexibility without starting from scratch
  • No technical expertise required to build and managing a website
  • Responsive customer support for prompt issue resolution


While website builders offer numerous advantages, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks as well:

  • Limited customization options depending on the built-in editor
  • Challenges in advanced customization without custom code
  • Premium features and tools are often restricted to higher-tier plans
  • Dependency on add-ons for scaling beyond high-tier plans
  • Inability to leverage some third-party tools depending on platform compatibility
  • Potential lack of ownership over certain elements of the website
  • Possibility of ads displayed on free and low-tier plans
  • Additional costs for connecting a custom domain name
  • Potential branding issues with default subdomain on lower-tier plans

What is a Web Developer?

A web developer is an individual equipped with the skills to construct a website from the ground up. This involves proficiency in coding languages such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and others. While formal training or education is common, not every developer follows the same path, and some may possess degrees in website development.

Web developers are required to be proficient in coding languages
Web developers are required to be proficient in coding languages

Web developers typically fall into three categories: front-end, back-end, and full-stack. Front-end developers concentrate on the user interface, back-end developers shape the website’s structure and systems, while full-stack developers possess the expertise to handle both client and server-side elements.

Pros & Cons of Using a Web Developer


Embracing the expertise of a web developer unlocks a range of benefits:

  • Customized functionality tailored to your specific needs
  • Direct communication, ensuring a clear understanding of your requirements
  • SEO-friendly website construction for enhanced visibility and performance
  • Utilization of the latest digital trends and best practices in website development
  • Time-saving with periodic updates on project progress throughout the timeline
  • Consistent and unique design elements aligned with your brand guidelines
  • Expertise in implementing specific functions to achieve desired website features
  • Personalized interaction with the developer for efficient issue resolution
  • Incorporation of advanced technology to elevate website performance
  • Ensured consistency in brand identity for a strong first impression on visitors
  • Knowledgeable insights on optimizing user experience and website functionality


While web developers offer unparalleled customization, it’s essential to consider these potential challenges for a well-informed decision.

  • Extended search process for professional designers and developers
  • High initial costs due to significant time and financial investment
  • Extended project completion period compared to website builders
  • Need for multiple developers depending on specializations and skill sets
  • Potential communication challenges, especially with overseas developers
  • Additional costs for revisions, plugin licenses, and ongoing maintenance
  • Complexities in hiring a suitable developer based on site type and complexity
  • Specific skill set requirements may necessitate hiring multiple developers
  • Communication challenges arising from language barriers and cultural differences
  • Potential time delays due to varied time zones and scheduling conflicts

Website Builder vs. Web Developer: Which Option is better?

In the overall comparison, website builders emerge as the preferred choice. Let’s now compare them in several aspects of web development to determine the optimal choice between website builder vs. web developer.

Ease of Use

Shopify offers a drag-and-drop editor for quick web construction
Shopify offers a drag-and-drop editor for quick web construction

Website builders are popular for their simplicity and drag-and-drop editors, allowing quick website creation without coding. However, beginners often encounter a learning curve with these tools, needing time to understand functions and terms, despite available tutorials.

In contrast, hiring a web developer offers a personalized approach, as they can tailor a web development plan to your specific needs, ensuring clear communication and a smoother experience for those less familiar with web development.

The verdict

In terms of ease of use, the website builder stands out as the better choice, offering a user-friendly interface and efficient drag-and-drop functionality. 


Website builders offer fixed pricing plans, unlocking features and resources upon purchase, often with lower prices for annual payments. Upgrading plans expands resource limits and provides access to enhanced tools. Popular website builders, including hosting and a domain name, have varying annual prices such as:

  • Shopify: $39-$399/month
  • Hostinger Website Builder: from $2.49/month
  • Squarespace: $16-$49/month 
Squarespace's annual billing pricing plan
Squarespace’s annual billing pricing plan

On the other hand, web developers’ salaries fluctuate based on factors like country, skills, and experience. In the US, the average hourly rate for a web developer is $50.9. 

Additional costs, such as web hosting and domain registration, depend on various factors. Shared hosting, the most cost-effective option, ranges from $1-$15/month, while cloud server hosting costs $10-$200/month. A custom domain, if not included in the hosting plan, averages $10-$15/year.

The verdict

In terms of cost, website builders take the lead due to offering a more predictable and budget-friendly option compared to the variable expenses associated with hiring a web developer.


Wix's third app integration
Wix’s third app integration

Website builders come equipped with pre-built features to suit various website types, though premium features are often reserved for higher-tier plans. For example, the Squarespace Personal plan lacks eCommerce features, limiting functionality to basic websites. 

Additionally, website builders may offer add-ons for third-party integrations, but scalability depends on platform partnerships with popular tools.

Web developers flexibly build custom websites
Web developers flexibly build custom websites

On the other hand, web developers construct websites from the ground up, providing the flexibility to create custom websites with all the necessary features and integrated tools. Hiring the right developer ensures the creation of an ideal website with the potential for future scalability without restrictions.

The verdict

In terms of features, hiring a web developer emerges as the superior choice, offering the flexibility to create a custom website with all the necessary features and integrated tools. 

Design Flexibility

Available templates support design from Wix
Available templates support design from Wix

Website builders offer a variety of ready-to-use templates, suitable for many niches and available in free and premium versions, which users can easily modify to create websites quickly, even without design or coding skills. However, these pre-built designs can lack uniqueness due to widespread use. 

In constrast, web designers create custom templates from scratch, ensuring a unique and consistent branding that enhances your website’s first impression. While this approach guarantees a distinct visual identity, it often requires collaboration with web developers for full functionality, leading to higher costs.

The verdict

In terms of design flexibility, hiring a web developer proves superior, offering the creation of unique and visually distinct website templates.


The website builder automatically updates the software
The website builder automatically updates the software

Website builders streamline website maintenance by automating software updates, making it accessible for beginners without technical knowledge. This automation mitigates the risk of misconfiguration and ensures websites consistently implement the latest security updates.

Website developers update manually
Website developers update manually

Meanwhile, manually built websites demand constant manual updates and maintenance. If you lack the skills to perform these tasks, ongoing support and maintenance from a web developer become necessary. Incorrect procedures can result in fatal errors and increased maintenance costs.

The verdict

In terms of maintenance, website builders emerge as the superior choice, offering automated solutions.

Top 5 Website Builders In 2024


Wix website builder
Wix website builder

Wix is an all-in-one website builder, making it easy to create visually appealing websites without design or coding experience. Popular among bloggers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, Wix offers affordable plans, making it an ideal choice for those with budget constraints.


Shopify website builder
Shopify website builder

Shopify is a comprehensive commerce platform designed to facilitate business growth and management. It allows users to easily build, market, and scale their online stores while seamlessly accepting payments across multiple sales channels and locations.


WordPress website builder
WordPress website builder

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) widely used by individuals without coding experience for building websites and blogs. The software is free to install, use, and modify, making it an accessible and cost-effective choice.


Squarespace website builder
Squarespace website builder

Squarespace is a user-friendly website builder known for its visually appealing templates. It caters to individuals and businesses, offering an easy-to-use platform for creating and managing websites. With Squarespace, users can achieve a professional and polished online presence without advanced technical skills.


GoDaddy website builder
GoDaddy website builder

GoDaddy is a popular website builder offering a range of services, including domain registration, hosting, and website-building tools. It provides a user-friendly platform, making it accessible for individuals and small businesses to create and manage their online presence. With GoDaddy, users can easily register a domain, design their website, and launch it with minimal hassle.

Top 5 Web Developers In 2024



Locomotive stands out as a Node web framework, streamlining the development of web applications. With robust support for MVC patterns and REST principles, it fosters the creation of well-architected applications. Embracing convention over configuration, Locomotive enhances developer efficiency.

Hello Monday

Hello Monday
Hello Monday

Hello Monday is a leading force in crafting joyful digital concepts, products, and experiences. Their expertise lies in constructing immersive digital journeys, developing intelligent connected platforms, and sculpting unique brand identities. With a commitment to innovation, Hello Monday tackles projects with a curious mindset and a problem-solving hunger.

Bowen Media

Bowen Media
Bowen Media

Bowen Media is a distinguished web development agency known for its innovation in creating effective online solutions. Specializing in impactful digital experiences, Bowen Media focuses on designing websites that not only engage audiences but also fulfill business objectives.

PopArt Studio

PopArt Studio
PopArt Studio

PopArt Studio is a seasoned web development agency with over a decade of experience and a global clientele of 15,000 satisfied customers. Boasting a remarkable client retention rate of over 90%, PopArt Studio emphasizes quality services. Their extensive experience and client loyalty underscore their commitment to delivering exceptional web development solutions.



WebFX stands out as a premier web development agency with a strong emphasis on delivering comprehensive digital solutions. Combining expert web development with strategic digital marketing, WebFX is dedicated to achieving results for clients. Their commitment to client success and innovative approaches position them prominently among the top web development agencies in 2024.


Yes, Web Developers can find value in using Website Builders, especially when aiming for a streamlined development process or seeking user-friendly interfaces. Some builders even provide code-editing capabilities, allowing developers to combine their coding expertise with the convenience of builder tools.

No, a website builder can't entirely replace a web developer. While website builders are user-friendly for basic sites, complex projects with advanced customization and unique features often require the expertise of a web developer.

Generally, website builders are not ideal for projects needing specialized functionalities. They are better for standard websites. If a project requires intricate custom coding or specific features, hiring a web developer is more appropriate.

Website builders often have fixed pricing plans that may include hosting and domain services. In contrast, the cost of hiring a web developer varies based on factors like skills and location. Businesses need to weigh these differences based on their budget and project complexity.

Web developers ensure uniqueness by creating custom websites from scratch. Unlike website builders that use templates, developers tailor every aspect of a site, incorporating specific design elements and functionalities according to a business's brand identity and requirements.

Final words

In conclusion, navigating the choice between a website builder and a web developer is pivotal for your online presence; weigh the user-friendly allure of builders against the tailored expertise of developers to shape your digital success.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.