Before we go into the best alternatives to wordpress, let’s look at where wordpress has come from;
WordPress is a very popular platform for building websites. It currently has a market share of about 60.4% at the time of writing of this post. This is very huge! For somepeople, that all they ever heard about; WordPress.
WordPress was released in 2003 by its founders, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. Even though it’s not the oldest, it is the easiest to use compared to all the other alternatives that we will look at in this post. WordPress is a free and open source software which means that anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software.
This doesn’t make it the only software out there for building websites. There are others, as we will see below.
In Summary; the best alternatives to WordPress include; Joomla, Drupal, Ghost, Wix, Squarespace,Shopify, Big commerce, Tumblr, Blogger, Medium and many others. These have been explained in detail below, their strenths and why you would choose them over WordPress.
These categories have been categorized into Four Groups
1.Content management Systems
Content Management Systems
What are Content Management Systems (CMS)?
Content Management Systems(CMS) are applications or or software through which you can easily create and manage website content.
Basically, a Content Management System separates a website into 3, the content, functionality and design which allows for easier website management. For example, you can easily divide the responsibilities of managing different parts of your website to different people whereby someone will be responsible for the content while another who is more technical can be responsible for the design and functionality of the website.
It is always much easier to get a round a content management system even if you don’t have programming skills. Most content management systems have tools that will take care of most of the code for you, as you make little easy to do tweaks. This doesn’t mean in anyway that a CMS will completely not need any coding to be done. There will always be alittle bit here and there that will need programming skills, but not as intimidating as setting up the entire site from scratch by coding.
Thus said; we are going to look at 3 major Content Management Systems. There are so many others but these three are the major ones out there, with the largest market share after WordPress.
This is the second most popular Content Management System after WordPress. Joomla has a market share of about 5.2% which is still not as large as WordPress.
Joomla can also has third party extensions and templates, even though its pool is still not as large as worpress. It is a stand alone software just like WordPress and will need to be installed at a Webserver to be used.
Compared to WordPress, Joomla is still less beginner friendly and can only be fully used if you have coding skill.
Joomla distinguishing Features / Advantages
Joomla has proved to have better security features than WordPress
It has over 70 translation packs as of the time of writing this article, which makes it really powerful. All are built into its core. As for wordPress, you would have to use third Party Plugins to achieve that.
Joomla Is also Open Source and is FREE just like WordPress.
Joomla has search engine optimization out of the box
It has a more flexible widget system whereby widgets can be assigned to individual pages.
Drupal has third largest market share of 3.4% after Joomla which is still way below WordPress. Its first version came out in 2001 as compaired to WordPress 2003 release.
Drupal is mostly used by larger websites as it has been known for froducing faster light websites which is a big Plus when compared to wordpress.
It also uses PHP technology just like WordPress alongside being an open source software with a community of developers around it.
Drupal is more complex which means you will often times need a developer to set things up for you.
Price: Just like WordPress, Drupal is FREE.
Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP. The software was originally developed by Varien, Inc, a US private company headquartered in Culver City, California.
Magento has two distinct platforms; Magento Open Source (previously Magento Community Edition) and Magento Commerce. It has a market share way lower than WordPress and the others listed above which is about 1.9%.
Just like Drupal and Joomla, this Open Source Software can also be extended with plugins.
Let’s now move to…
“What are Website Builders?” … you may ask.
Website builders are tools that allow the construction of websites without you having to use any piece of code. They are the easiest way you can build a website
How do Website Builders work?
Website builders are often very easy to use, allowing anyone – beginners or experienced designers – to create an entire website using a drag-and- drop editor. Users build a website simply by dragging elements and dropping them to the desired location, no coding knowledge or experience is required.
With Website builders, you do not need a host as they are hosted onto the platform where you build your website. All you will need is a domain name and the rest is as easy as moving files on your computer desktop.
Examples of website builders include;
Wix is very simple to use drag and drop Website Builder. Wix has a free version which is rather undesirable for businesses as you are unable to use your own domain name.
The downside to using Wix just like the other Website Builders is that with simplicity will come a lack of flexibility. This means that whatever was built into Wix is all you can use. This is different with the previously discussed Content Management Systems whereby you have so much flexibility when creating a design for your website.
Price: Wix has afree plan after which paid plans start at $11.
Click Here to Start Your Website with Wix
SqaureSpace is not very different from wix in the way it works. You have amazing drag and drop which can help anyone at any level to build their website faster than ever. However, just like Wix, the flexibility is nothing near to what WordPress can offer.
Similar to what wix will offer you, you can create different types of websites like static ones or e-commerce stores.
Price: SquareSpace plans start at $12 for personal plans and $18 for businesss plans
E-commerce alternatives to wordpress
WordPress is also very good for building e-commerce websites. E-commerce websites are those which allow you to sell products online. The products could be digital, or physical.
We are now going to dive into a few popular wordpress alternative e-commerce platforms that are available on the market.
Shopify is very popular E-commerce platform that is relatively easy to use when building your website. It can also be considered a Content Management System because it allows you to upload and manage content.
Unlike the other alternatives to WordPress, Shopify is exclusively for building e-commerce stores / websites. Even though, you can still incorporate a blog onto your online store. The blog can help you better help your clients.
Shopify is a quite different from the way WordPress works in the sense that the plan you pay for on Shopify will include hosting. All you will need to buy separately is your domain name and you are ready to build your online store.
Price: Shopify plans start at $29/month for the basic plan.
Click Here to start building with Shopify 2 weeks trial.
This is another WordPress alternative just like Shopify. It supports many payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, and Pay with Amazon. BigCommerce doesn’t charge you for transactions, which is a big plus if you choose to build your E-commerce store with them.
Just like Shopify, BigCommerce allows you to add unlimited products, view your store performance, and use built-in tools to optimize conversions and boost sales.
BigCommerce also works with a lot of other third-party apps that you will need to grow your business.
Price: Plans start at $29.95/month.
BigCommerce has a 15day trial which you can start here.
Free alternatives to wordpress
There are some free alternatives to wordpress, however, using any of these depends on your long term goals. If you are building a website for business or blogging for the profits that come with it, then you might want to consider using one of the paid options we listed above.
These free alternatives are also a good way to start out online if you have a tight budget or want to take step by step as you discover the better stuff that works.
Let’s now dive right into the free alternatives to wordpress.
Blogger, just like the name states, is a blogging platform that is free! It has most of the features you would need for blogging like; easy to use templates, and the option to use your own domain name.
Blogger is owned by google and can be used just like any other blogging platform out there.
Despite the fact that blogger is not owned by you which means that you don’t have control over what happens in the future, it will benefit you when it comes to security. Google is a giant company and to some extent you can say ‘they got stuff covered for ya’. Whilst you are using wordpress, you will host it yourself which means that everything is in your own hands, and that includes security
Medium is different from wordpress in such a way that it is self-hosted platform. There is no need to worry about plugins, no need for any installations or any such things.
Medium is designed to provide a clutter-free writing area for publishers and similar reading experience for the readers.
For the most part, medim is Free.
Nothing great to expect from Tumblr apart from blogging. It is agreat platform for blogging if that’s all you are looking forward to achieve.
Looking at all the options listed above (the alternatives to wordpress), you have a choice to make when it comes to choosing where to start your website. It’s largely going to depend on 3 factors;
1.Your goals – what you want to achieve.
2.Your website building experience.
3.The future of your work online.
Alternatively, you have some great inexpensive options for building your website. Unless you are really up to the task of building your website by yourself, a paid option can save you days, weeks or even years of trying to build a website. You can get it delivered within a matter of days!