These days free online website builders are all the rage.
If you are looking for an offline website builder, then you have quite limited options. Most companies are focused on building supporting tools that enable you to create a website online.
However, there are a few products that let you design and create a website offline. In this post, I will cover such builders.
In this blog, we generally cover tools and software which are suited for beginners. However, the offline website builders covered in this post are NOT meant for beginners.
They are meant for beginner coders who have just started learning HTML/CSS or experienced coders who want a quicker way to create HTML / WordPress websites for themselves or their clients
- 1 Why use an Offline Website Builder?
- 2 The Best Offline Website Builder Software
- 3 Conclusion and Summary
Why use an Offline Website Builder?
In this age of cheap website builders and cheap web hosting, why would one even consider using an offline website builder?
There are certain use cases where using an offline builder makes sense.
Lets look at each Pro and Con in detail
Benefits of Offline Website Builders
1. Control and Flexibility
The offline website builders are suited when you want complete control over your website without actually getting into coding.
You want to learn HTML and CSS but are not yet ready to fully dive into programming. Offline website builders can give you a starting point from where you can slowly get into HTML and CSS coding.
2. Choice of Web Host
You get more choices in terms of selecting a web host. Since you are developing a website by yourself, you are free to choose the web host of your choice
3. No Recurring Fees
The offline website builders operate on pay once use forever model. Generally purchasing a license entitle you to support and updates for one year.
However, if you want the latest version, then you will need to pay a renewal fee.
Also, note that the license only covers the cost of the software. In case you want to host a website, you will need to pay a recurring fee to your web host.
4. Work Offline / without internet
You don’t need always-on internet connectivity. However, in this day of cheap internet, I don’t think this is a significant differentiator.
Limitations of Offline Website Builders
- Less Feature Rich as compared to established online website builders.
- They don’t come with web hosting. You will need to select a web host in case you want to put your website online.
- Not suited for beginners. If you are a beginner, then online website builders are the best choice.
The Best Offline Website Builder Software
So here are the 5 best offline website builders.
- NicePage – ( Best Choice for creating HTML Websites)
- WordPress + Elementor (Best Choice for Creating WordPress Websites)
- Template Toaster
- RapidWeaver (Mac Only)
Lets get started
Nice Page markets itself as Free hand Website Designer. It boasts of an editor which lets a user drag and drop an element anywhere on the page.
NicePage started it life as Artisteer and was rebranded as NicePage in 2018.
The editor is quite feature rich. It comes with a collection of thousands of pre designed blocks and templates. As a user you can also create custom blocks. The editor is also integrated with stock image library which lets you search images from sources like Pixabay , Google Search, Instagram etc. You can also upload custom images to use in the website.
Once the website is designed, you can export it as HTML , WordPress Theme or a Joomla Theme. You can also create ecommerce pages with Woocommerce and Virtuemart products.
NicePage works on both Windows and Mac.
- Free – Limited number of page with access to limited block and page templates
- Personal – $49 USD
- Business – $129 USD
- Pro – $ 199 USD
Each plan offers more feature than the previous plan.
The Starter plan is free for individuals. However, it comes with limited features compared to the premium plans. For example, it allows you to build a maximum of one website with up to five pages. Every other feature is limited making this plan only suitable for individuals who want a small or personal website.
The other plans (Personal at $ 49, Business at $ 129 and Pro at $ 199) have better features and allow you to build unlimited websites with unlimited pages.
They also allow you to design WordPress pages and themes. The Business and Pro plans allow you to build Joomla pages, themes, and articles as well.
Nice Page also offer hosting service NicePage Online. It lets you build a website and host it with them. Its price ranges from Free to 19.95 USD / month
Best Suited for
Like other website builder, Nice Page is best suited if you want to quickly create HTML websites without hand coding each one of them. Agencies and professional website developers will find the editor handy. A beginner with no coding skill will also find the editor easy to learn and flexible.
Well, if you are on the internet searching for a website builder software, chances are you have heard of WordPress.
Till now, WordPress had awesome content management capabilities but it lacked on page designing front.
However things have changed with the release of Page Builders Plugin.
Plugins like Elementor have brought the power of drag and drop designing to wordpress. So now you can get all the power of wordpress with the ease of visual page designing.
The popularity of Elementor can be gauged from the fact that its free version has over 5 million active installs and is still growing!!!
The Elementor editor is quite feature rich, it boasts of several features like
- Section Finder
- Precise Layout COntrol
- Auto Save, Undo Redo
- Revision History
- Create Reusable Elements and Templates
- Easily Export and Import Designs between websites
Elementor lives as a plugin inside your WordPress install. To use Elementor you first install the plugin and then start with designing pages. You can design a page from scratch or you can import a premade template.
Another plus with Elementor is that there is a growing collection of pre-made templates.
Elementor website lists over 200 pre made templates. There is also a growing collection of Elementor templates on Themeforest.
- Free – Basic version with limited features and template selection
- Personal – $49 USD
- Plus – $99 USD
- Expert – $199 USD
Elementor has 4 plans. The free version offers basic feature with a limited collection of templates. Premium version offers all features plus a collection of over 300 templates , widgets and pre made website kits. Premium version also come with a popup builder
Best Suited for
If you are into WordPress, then Elementor + Worpdress is the best combination to create websites and web pages quickly. Whats more, since you are using wordpress, you get access to a huge range of web hosting companies which are optimized to run wordpress websites. I am personally a fan of Siteground and Kinsta.
Mobirise is a popular offline website builder. It offers you a library of pre-built blocks that you can drag and drop to create your website.
In order to use Mobirise, you need to first install it on your PC or Mac. Once installed you can start the website designing process. The created website can be exported and hosted on any web host of your choice.
Mobirise has three pricing plans.
- Free Version
- Paid Extensions
- All in one Kit
The free version of Mobirise comes with a limited set of templates and blocks. You can upgrade to the premium version to get access to the complete library of template and blocks. If you are not ready to buy the complete kit, you can also purchase individual templates and extensions.
I believe buying the complete premium kit is a much better value. The individual themes are prices at 39 USD while the complete kit is priced at 149 USD.
The complete kit also gives you access to extensions like form builder, popup builder, and integrated code editor.
Best Suited for
It is best suited for new users who want to learn to build HTML website but are still not comfortable with coding. Mobirise gives you a starting point where you can create a functional HTML website without coding.
Template toaster is another popular offline website builder. It works differently as compared to Mobirise.
You can think of template toaster as a theme builder. It lets you build theme for various platforms like:
In addition to creating a theme for CMS platforms, it also lets you create HTML/CSS website.
Its editor is extremely similar to Microsoft word. When using the program it asks you to create a project and select a platform.
Once you select the platform you start with the designing process. Its editor is laid out like Microsoft word. The editor will require some exploration and research.
In addition to the builder, template toaster also offers a growing collection of pre-built themes for supported platforms.
There are three version of Template Toaster
- Free Version
- Standard Version
- Premium Version
Templatetoaster offers a fully functional builder for free, the catch here is that the exported theme will have an evaluation watermark.
There are 2 premium additions Standard and Premium. The standard version is priced at 49 USD and has a limited set of features whereas the Premium version is fully functional and is priced at 149 USD.
Best Suited for
Template toaster is best suited for experienced web developers and designers. It is ideal if you create a website for clients and need a quick way to create a theme for different platforms like WordPress, Joomla, bootstrap, etc.
Pinegrow markets itself as a Website builder for professionals. It is a visual editor that lets you build bootstrap based websites. The Pinegrow interface is similar to design tools like Photoshop.
Recently they have released a wordpress theme builder which lets you create wordpress theme visually.
As with other builders, Pinegrow lets you export created website which you can host any where.
The pricing of Pine is broken down in various License categories
- Individual License
- Company License
- Student Licence
Pinegrow offers two payments modes-
- One time payment – It lest you pay once and use forever. It comes with 1 year of updates and support
- Monthly payments – It lets you use Pinegrow till your subscription is active.
Overall I find pricing offered bt Pinegrow a bit complicated as compared to other builders like Mobirise or Template Toaster.
Best Suited for
Pinegrow is best suited for professionals who want to quickly create websites without hand-coding each one of them.
RapidWeaver is a Mac only website design software. It has been around since 2002.
RapidWeaver, just like the other website builders discussed here, was made for everyone even those that do not have coding skills. It comes with more than fifty built-in themes as well as multiple third party themes to choose from.
Its editor has a block based approach. It does not support free hand dragging and dropping of elements. The editors comes with a Design Simulator which lets you test and prview your webpages in devices like iPhone, iPad, Mac etc. Its Media manager integrates with your desktop photo library and also with Unspalsh.
The Base Package is priced at 84.99 USD, with options to purchase extra addons like Events, Additional Layouts, Google Sheets integration etc.
It also offers hosting in partnership with A2Hosting.
Best Suited for
Web Designers who exclusively use Mac.
Conclusion and Summary
Offline website builders can be an ideal choice if you want more control over the websites you build. Since you get access to the website code, you have more control and flexibility with what you can do.
If you are a beginner developer, the offline website builders can give you a great starting point. Even if you are an experienced developer, offline website builders can save a lot of your time by cutting down on repetitive tasks.
So which is your favorite offline website builder? Let me know in the comments.