Users can now benefit from endless instruments whenever they need a professional portfolio, a web store or a corporate site. Despite the type and purposes, website builders have proved to be the easiest and fastest option on the way to a solid web representation. While online builders are growing popular, offline website software keeps staying in the shadow for a while. We decided to highlight some of the major offline website building platforms and compare them with a leading online service.
The first thing we need to do is to figure out what an offline builder actually is. What misses and hits might the offline software have?
An offline website builder is a set of downloadable software elements. Every time a user needs to build a site, he or she has to download and install those pieces onto a computer. Unlike online platforms, you do not require an internet connection to edit your website.
This fact ensures higher security and some decent backup degree. On the other hand, your PC is the only way to access the builder. You will not be able to outsource the work on the website or edit it remotely.
The major stages of using an offline website builder are as follows:
- Download the software.
- Install the website platform on your laptop or PC or Mac.
- Choose from the list of templates or design your own.
- Add and edit content.
- Add media files.
- Publish the website.
Although some offline platforms still have a drag-and-drop feature, they are pretty complicated. It will take some time for beginners to keep up with all the functions and features. Moreover, using an offline builder requires advanced hardware, a separate hosting, and regular update downloads.
We Tested Out 7 Of The Best Offline Website Builders:
- Wix – The Best Website Builder Software (SaaS)
- WordPress – Free Downloadable CMS for Any Website
- Webflow – Professional Web Design Tool
- Dreamweaver – Offline Web Design and Development Tool
- Mobirise – Offline Website Building Program (Mac & Windows)
- TemplateToaster – Offline Software for Creating Website Templates
- Adobe Muse СС – Offline Website Builder for Web Designers
All the systems listed above are full-featured offline web building tools, which come with their advantages, disadvantages, special parameters and specifications. Each software works great for the completion of certain tasks. That’s why, it makes sense to review each of the services in details to pick the one that works best for your individual project.
Wix – The Best Website Builder Software (SaaS)
Although Wix is an online builder, it is actually a hosted program. The only difference between offline software is that you do not have to download program files and look for a place to host them. You get an all-in-one solution with files already hosted and all changes saved in real time.
The platform has proved to be equally good for different purposes. It lets beginners easily come up with a solid web store, a professional looking portfolio or a capturing business website within a couple of hours. The software boasts its advanced online editor to customize the site pages with just one click.
The main Wix advantages are as follows:
- Ease of Use – Wix boasts probably the easiest-to-understand WYSIWYG editor. You can start building a website once you have signed in. The intuitive interface does not take long to figure out how everything works here;
- Great Collection of Templates – the software boasts an amazing selection of mobile-ready templates for any type of website. Wix developers regularly come up with new themes to meet users’ expectations. All templates are professionally designed and boast an excellent online appearance;
- Wix App Market – looking for a widget or app to make your website more user-friendly? Wix boasts its own App Market with a huge collection of FREE applications and widgets to choose from. Create a stunning blog, integrate analytics into your digital store, etc.;
- ADI Tool – Wix follows the latest website building trends and offers its unique ADI tool letting you build a website at no time at all. The AI-based system will consider your preferences and likes. Then it will automatically build a website you need without any manual involvement;
- Wix Mobile Editor – you can now check how your website will look like on a mobile device before publishing it. The tool lets you edit various blocks and sections without affecting the web version of the original website.
Moreover, Wix comes as an all-in-one platform. It means that you do not have to think of where to host your website or register a domain name. The system is advanced enough to let you cope with different projects despite their complexity. You will hardly ever need the assistance of third-party developers or programmers. The website builder offers affordable pricing policy – there is a free subscription and several paid plans, the cost of which starts from $4.50/mo only.
WordPress – Free Downloadable CMS for Any Website
WordPress – is a renowned Content Management System, which is free to download and install. The platform, which was initially intended for blog development, is now used to launch and manage all types of projects for personal and business use.
It’s quite hard to call the CMS an easy-to-use system as it requires a bit of coding and web design proficiency to create high end projects. The system is known for its extensive integration options, availability of built-in and third-party templates as well as advanced design customization tools.
The major WordPress benefits include:
- Free Hosting Choice. WordPress allows choosing any hosting provider that comes up to your project requirements and needs most. What’s more, many contemporary hosts come with pre-set CMS that is installed in a few clicks only. Bluehost, for example, is a trusted hosting provider, which is officially recommended by WordPress as one of the best services. Bluehost offers free domain name during the first year of use as well as 60% discount for WordPress installation.
- Offline Website Creation. When working with WordPress, a user can pick specialized tools to get a virtual server on his/her computer. This makes it possible to launch websites without any online connection, while ready-made projects can further be published on one of special hostings.
- 100% Design Customization. Whatever template you will go for, it will be quality, responsive and 100% customizable. You can select and modify the required settings to get the best result in the long run. What you can experiment with is general web design settings, colors, backgrounds, styles, fonts and images, which are both available in stock and can be added to the system’s gallery. Additionally, it is possible to upload and integrate social media files, documents, new gallery elements etc.
- Professional Blogging Platform. As far as WordPress was initially created as a blogging system, it boasts and extremely powerful blogging engine that encompasses multiple features, tools and settings. The service allows launching and managing full-featured blogs, which can also be updated any time of the day and even on the go.
WordPress is an absolutely free CMS. You can download and install it at no cost at all. Mind, however, that to get extra features, plugins, third-party templates, hosting and domain name, you’ll have to invest extra budget.
Webflow – Professional Web Design Tool
Webflow – is a cloud website builder, which is used to develop professional projects with high end performance and outstanding design. The major system specialization goes down to the development of advanced projects, which differ in thematic niches, complexity, size and other important parameters.
Because of the system’s complexity and professional web design approach, users are expected to possess coding skills right from the start. Otherwise, it will be difficult for them to get used to the control panel and master the entire feature set of the service. Webflow can give your project outstanding look and exquisite functionality.
Here are the main Webflow advantages:
- eCommerce Engine. The website builder comes with a powerful eCommerce engine that lets you set up and modify all types of online stores. These projects are distinguished by high end functionality, although, no deep coding skills are required to manage them. What you can do to give your eCommerce project outstanding look is integrating and customizing the shopping cart, creating and updating product lists, uploading items and providing their descriptions, adding prices, introducing discounts, tracking web store statistics, inventory tools sales reports etc.
- Responsive Templates. Webflow boasts a collection of responsive templates, which are customizable, modern and versatile. As of today, the template set of the platform encounters over 200 ready-made designs, which are both free and paid. The templates are sorted out by industry to ensure quick and easy access.
- Lightbox Gallery. The website builder now allows creating professional Lightbox galleries. With this purpose, you can use videos and images available in the system’s collection or those you have uploaded and stored on your own. The feature is provided on a free basis to let all Webflow users enjoy an opportunity to create immersive web browsing experience.
- Code Editing. As mentioned above, the system makes it possible to create exclusive and personalized website designs by means of code editing. Users are allowed to integrate custom HTML codes into footers or headers to give their projects high end look.
- After Effects and Lottie Integration. Another highlight of the website builder is its After Effects and Lottie integration. The system lets users control vector animations display options via the use of multiple system interactions.
Webflow is a professional website builder, the major specialization of which goes down to the development of complicated and feature-laden projects. Along with the free plan, the system offers several payment options. There are two subscriptions – Site and Account plans. Each of them, in its turn, falls into smaller groups – Website and eCommerce plans as well as Individual and Team plans. These plans, correspondingly, offers several more subscriptions users may choose from based on their web design needs.
Dreamweaver – Offline Web Design and Development Tool
Adobe Dreamweaver – is an advanced offline web design tool, which allows creating, publishing and editing professional websites featuring high end functionality and exquisite design. The software is provided as a part of the Creative Cloud service. It lets you create and update different types of websites and offline applications with no hassle at all. However, it is still desirable to possess some coding skills and web design background to be able to work with the system.
Both web design pros and beginners can use the software to develop high end projects. However, newbies will find the system complicated as it takes some time and effort to master it to the advantage.
Have a look at the main Dreamweaver highlights now:
- Integration Options. Dreamweaver comes with advanced integration options. To be precise, it perfectly integrates with other Adobe products in terms of Creative Cloud Library and Adobe Stock Marketplace integration. Among the products you can choose for your website or offline app, it makes sense to mention InDesign CC, Photoshop CC, Premiere Pro CC, Illustrator CC, After Effects CC, Dimension CC and Animate CC. Additionally, the software allows integrating third-party services, such as Business Catalyst, Bitbucket, GitHub and many more.
- Adobe Stock Marketplace Services. As a Dreamweaver user, you can get access to the rich Adobe Stock Marketplace with lots of services to be chosen for your project. This is where you can browse an extensive collection of illustrations and images to further download and insert them into the website or app you are working on. Additionally, you can export multiple PSD files you plan to use for your project.
- Free Templates. Dreamweaver grants access to lots of templates you can download and install from third-party services. These designs are both free and paid, so, it’s up to you to pick the design you are interested in. The software lets you integrate Joomla, WordPress and Drupal templates. Mind, however, that picking themes from external resources is not altogether safe. So, mind this aspect and check the security of each design chosen in advance.
Adobe Dreamweaver is a professional offline web design tool, which is provided by the Creative Cloud service. It requires download and installation to e used for web building purposes. There is no completely free plan, but there is a 7-day trial that lets you test the entire feature set of the system prior to opting for one of its paid subscriptions, the price range of which is quite extensive.
Mobirise – Offline Website Building Program (Mac & Windows)
The release of Mobirise appeared to be a revolutionary step, as it boasts some core differences if compared with its contemporaries. First of all, it is a responsive free offline software. It means that you will need to download and install it. Otherwise, you will not be able to launch the website building process. It is very simple to use.
This fact makes Mobirise a good option for newbies. The software provides an intuitive and simple editing environment in addition to some other fundamental competitive advantages.
The major Mobirise benefits include:
- Simple installation – the process is very fast and easy. Make sure your hardware meets necessary system requirements;
- 800+ Content Blocks – create a unique page structure using any of the content blocks form a huge collection;
- Good-Looking Templates – the software delivers a bunch of appealing and responsive templates out of the box. All Mobirise websites are mobile-friendly;
- Simple Drag-and-Drop Feature – Mobirise boasts an easy-to-use and intuitive WYSIWYG editor. It means that no coding skills are required;
- AMP Website Builder – Choose from an array of AMP templates to create an online business card, portfolio or blog. AMP templates are the best bet to represent and promote your business/services on mobile devices.
Users may choose a place to host their Mobirise websites. It can be your Google Cloud, local drive or even Github. The features certainly add some flexibility. Another good advantage about the software is the fact that it is free to use whether your website is going to serve commercial or non-profitable purposes.
However, Mobirise does not provide hosting, which means you will have to pay for it and maintain by yourself. In addition, you should be ready to pay for any further advance or extension for your website. On the other hand, users may opt for Github Pages as a free web hosting alternative.
TemplateToaster – Offline Software for Creating Website Templates
TemplateToaster – is the offline software that lets you create advanced, stylish and contemporary templates with no programming or coding knowledge required. The software is handy to web design experts and beginners, who intend to create professional and visually-appealing themes for Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Magento and other CMS. No programming skills or web connection is needed to design a theme with the software.
You can choose one of two template design options offered by TemplateToaster. It’s either possible to use a ready-made responsive template to further customize it with regard to your project needs or create a brand new template from scratch.
Top TemplateToaster advantages are now listed below:
- Responsive Layouts. One of the major highlights of the system is that it comes with a powerful visual editor and responsive layouts to let you independently create visually-appealing and technically correct templates.
- Advanced Compatibility. The template builder is compatible with almost any Content Management System of your choice. This means that you can design a high quality template for any CMS you wish without any coding or third-party assistance. This can be a blog, eCommerce, small business website template or any other theme you need.
- Drag and Drop User Interface. TemplateToaster offers integrated drag-and-drop functionality, which lets you create up-to-date UI designs without any extra techniques or coding skills. Just pick the required element and choose the area you’d like to place it and drop it there. Then you can proceed to content editing, which is also easy and quick. All the edits you make are saved in the automated mode.
- Template Collection. The system comes with a rich choice of responsive themes you can choose for your own template. There are 10 free industry-specific design packs and a rich choice of paid templates to browse and pick for your project. All the designs come with the preview mode to let you make the right choice from the start. Additionally, there is an opportunity to design your own template from scratch, if there is anything you don’t like about ready-made themes. This option, however, implies coding knowledge.
TemplateToaster can be downloaded from the official website for free. To use the program, you will need to upgrade to one of the paid plans – either Standard ($49) or Professional Edition ($149). The software also offers an unlimited trial version that lets you test the program before purchasing one of the paid plans.
Adobe Muse СС – Offline Website Builder for Web Designers
Adobe Muse – is a software developed for professional web designers, which aims at putting ease on the process of collaboration between web experts and programmers. The program is to let designers express their creativity at full swing without hiring third-party coders.
The main mission of the software is to let users come up with static websites that are mainly focused around design. The platform delivers a bunch of handy features to build sites that stand out from competitors due to capturing appearance and stunning look.
Here are some of the main Adobe Muse hits:
- A Familiar Dashboard – if you are a professional designer, you have used some other Adobe products at least once. Whether you are used to working with Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator, you will hardly find the Adobe Muse interface difficult. The dashboard is actually the same as in all other Adobe products, which is certainly a good news;
- Extended List of Instruments – the web design toolkit looks very impressive, here you will have everything you need from brushes and layers to self-hosted and Typekit fonts, text sizes and more instruments to create a stunning design;
- Extensions and Integration – although Adobe Muse is an offline builder, it still reserves some space for third-party integration. You can implement various widgets and edit them to meet your requirements;
- Flexibility – the program offers some advanced integration capabilities to come up with your digital store, professional blog or any other type of website;
- A Selection of Themes – Adobe Muse cooperates with thousands of developers who provide endless themes for different website types. Some of them are free while some are paid. Websites built with the help of this software are mobile responsive;
- Code Editing Option – if you are still on for coding, the program lets you Edit its CSS code to customize the website.
Adobe Muse is a good software for web designers looking for a set of professional tools. It comes with a wide array of designing features and toolkits. On the other hand, it is hardly a good choice for newbies. The program will be too complicated for beginners. What you should also mind is that the system is not supported by Adobe any longer. Thus, it can be used only by those web designers, who have purchased it before.
Website Builders: Going Offline or Online?
The main idea of any website builder is to make the building process easier. No matter if you are a professional web designer or a beginner trying to open your first ever digital store, such software should come as a helper to cope with web projects of different complexity.
On the other hand, choosing the right platform is vital. It will define the future success of the website. For this reason, we decided to compare offline and online programs as well as highlight their fundamental hits and misses. And you are the one to choose, which of them suits you best.
Offline Website Builders Hits and Misses
Designed as a downloaded software, offline website builders still come with enough flexibility. On the other hand, they have core misses that will keep them behind the online software at least for now.
Offline Software Hits:
- Edit website without an Internet connection. Work with your website anytime;
- Ease-of-use thanks to implemented WYSIWYG website editors;
- Advanced opportunities to customize the website design and content;
- Free program versions;
- Direct editing capabilities.
Offline Software Misses:
- Manual update installation;
- Website access from your personal PC only;
- Software installation required;
- Higher pricing if compared with online website builders;
- Out-of-date software, the lack of updates;
- Separate web hosting;
- The need for powerful hardware.
Online Website Builders Hits and Misses
Created to build a website of any type with just a couple of hours, online website building software is perfect for newbies with no coding skills. It offers a high level of flexibility in addition to features that let users promote their websites online.
Online Software hits:
- Use the software whenever you need despite the location;
- Ease of use and speed when building a website from scratch;
- No software installation required;
- More updating opportunities;
- No need to buy powerful hardware;
- No manual software updates and downloads;
- More flexibility.
Online Software Misses:
- Requires Internet connection;
- Requires the signing-up procedure;
- Fewer opportunities to work with CSS code.
The Bottom Line
The array of website building software is impressive. Users can choose from various options to meet their expectations. All you need is to define the website goals, complexity, structure, type of content and some other crucial features before getting started. Both online and offline programs have proved to be efficient when building a solid website.
However, online software appeared to be a better choice for those who look for a simpler and more cost-effective solution. They offer easier ways to build a new store or portfolio from scratch and publish it with no coding skills at all. They are cheaper and easier to use. On the other hand, professional web designers may prefer offline programs with a wide option of customizing opportunities.