Web design tools are many for different purposes. And as the web evolves and expands, the tools and their functionalities continue to grow as well.
From easy-to-use apps for beginners to professional tools designed for experts, the wide range of offers out there touches everything from prototyping to programming, planning, deployment, wire-framing, graphics, and testing.
This post focuses on the 20 best web design tools based on their functions. The goal is to make it easy for you to choose the perfect app for your next project.
The Best Tools For Web Design
|1.||Wix||Best website designer||Freemium||wix.com|
|2.||Dreamweaver||Drag-and-drop designer, code highlighting||$21/month||adobe.com/products/dreamweaver.html|
|3.||VisualStudio Code||Microsoft product, highlighting, Git support||Free||visualstudio.com|
|4.||Gimp||Powerful graphics program||Free||gimp.org|
|5.||WordPress||Popular, robust website creator||Freemium||wordpress.com|
|6.||Bootstrap||Framework for experts, fast, mobile first||Free||getbootstrap.com|
|7.||Webflow||CMS & drag-and-drop editor for experts||Freemium||webflow.com|
|8.||11ty||Static site generator||Free||11ty.dev|
|9.||Canva||Quick & easy graphic designs||Freemium||canva.com|
|10.||WooCommerce||WordPress plugin, open-source||Free||woocommerce.com|
|11.||Figma||Collaboration, wire-framing, prototyping||Freemium||figma.com|
|12.||Sketch||UI/UX design for macOS||$9/month||sketch.com|
|13.||Ghost||Publishing business in a box||Freemium||ghost.org|
|14.||COLOURlovers||Colors, pallettes, patterns||Free||colourlovers.com|
|15.||Shopify||Easy e-commerce store||Freemium||shopify.com|
|16.||GitHub||Repository host, Jamstack||Freemium||github.com|
|17.||Google Fonts||Stylish & fast fonts||Free||fonts.google.com|
|18.||Appy Pie||No code app creation||Freemium||appypie.com|
|20.||Eclipse||Code editor, IDE, old school||Free||eclipse.org/ide|
Highlights: Free hosting, drag-and-drop, free subdomain
Wix is a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering that makes it very easy for beginners and experts alike to create and host a website in no time.
The platform combines a drag-and-drop website designer with free hosting on a free sub-domain. It also offers premium plans starting from $4.50 per month with more features.
Wix makes it easy to create all types of websites from business to blogs, portfolio sites, and even complex e-commerce stores with integrated payment processing.
You get hundreds of templates to choose from. Just select what’s closest to your needs, make little tweaks on color, size, positioning, etc and you have a shiny, unique website.
There is also an AI design mode that just lets you answer a few questions and it will create the website for you. You get a ton of extra tools from SEO to marketing, social media, and so on. Plus, you can extend the site with custom code if you need to.
Highlights: Create and publish anywhere, code highlighting, drag-and-drop
Dreamweaver is one of the oldest web design tools for professionals. Initially developed by Macromedia in 1997, Dreamweaver makes it easy to design and build any type of website from scratch to finish.
Dreamweaver is currently in version 21 and now developed by Adobe. It is a desktop app available for Microsoft Windows and Apple’s macOS operating systems.
There is multi-monitor support, integrated Git support, code completion, and lots of visual aids to help you stay in line.
Adobe offers Dreamweaver with a single app license for $20.99 per month through its Creative Cloud subscription service. There is a 7-day trial period with full features.
3. Visual Studio Code
Highlights: Syntax highlighting, versatile, customizable, Git
Also commonly referred to as VS Code, Visual Studio Code is an unusual product from the Microsoft Corporation – first, it is entirely free, it is open-source, works beautifully, and is available for macOS and Linux as well.
The platform includes syntax highlighting, extensions, integrated Git management, and debugging features. Microsoft offers an online version here.
Highlights: Graphics, photo manipulation, scriptable
The Gimp is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a gift from the GNU free software movement as free and open-source software. However, it is very powerful.
Gimp comes with most of the features you will find in Photoshop, but it is free. It is a great program to edit photos, as well as to create all types of graphics and export them in any format.
You can use it to enhance images and digitally retouch any file, as well as create logos and other graphics elements for your website, either manually or with scripts.
One possible issue with this program is the learning curve. But once you get it, then you are only limited by your imagination. Gimp is available for Linux, Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, and OpenSolaris.
Highlights: Versatile, powerful, popular, user-friendly
First launched in 2003, WordPress has grown to power 43% of websites on the net. It also holds a 60% market share in the Content Management System (CMS) market, powers nearly 15% of the world’s top websites, and has a giant ecosystem of over 50,000 plugins.
If you are looking to create a blog, a company homepage, an e-commerce store, a mailing list, a membership site, or a media gallery, then WordPress might be what you need.
There are two versions of WordPress. The first is the hosted version on WordPress.com. This version lets you simply sign up to create a new website by choosing a theme. You can then host your site for free on a sub-domain or get a premium plan with a custom domain for $5 per month.
The second version is the self-hosted WordPress. You will have to download the package here and host it by yourself. Or if your web provider offers WordPress hosting, then all you need is a 1-click install.
Check this out: Top 10 fastest and best WordPress themes
Highlights: Professional grade, flexible, extensible
Bootstrap is probably the most popular web development framework. It is a mobile-first front-end framework, which means your websites automatically display beautifully on mobile and desktop browsers.
A framework is a collection of libraries and commonly used coding conventions. This makes it easy to quickly build modern websites from scratch, allowing you to customize them as you see fit.
Understandably, this framework is not for beginners or hobby web developers because it requires you to first learn about its different naming and writing conventions to get the best of it.
Highlights: Drag-and-drop, CMS, 1,000+ templates
Those wishing for more design flexibility with a drag-and-drop website design tool can check out Webflow, a SaaS website creator with content management and web hosting.
There is a free plan that lets you create and host a basic website for free, while premium plans start from $12 per month.
Webflow makes it easy to create any type of website with complete control of all details. Its flexibility, over a thousand templates to choose from, and embed-able custom code make it easy to create everything from personal websites to custom e-commerce stores.
Highlights: Fast static sites, simple & powerful generator, very versatile
Eleventy or 11ty is a static site generator. You can think of it as a type of framework that makes it easy to create websites made entirely of static HTML pages. This brings lots of performance and security advantages and is known as the Jamstack movement.
Similar to most frameworks, you will first have to learn 11ty’s conventions. The good news, however, is that they are easy and intuitive to understand and follow.
11ty might be one of the simplest static site generators out there, but it is also one of the most powerful. You can automate a lot with it and use up to 11 templating languages including markdown, nunjucks, mustache, and so on.
You may also like: WordPress vs 11ty: Which is better?
Highlights: Easy design tool, lots of free content, flexible
Graphics design can also be easy, and that’s what Canva is all about. Founded in 2013, Canva makes it quick and easy to create all sorts of media content for your online presence.
You can use it to create graphics for your company’s social media accounts or use it to make posters, presentations, logos, and so on. Canva makes this possible by providing lots of templates and the ability to tweak them to your needs.
There are also millions of free icons, font combinations, and shared access that lets team members inspect and comment on your work. You can further edit videos and even have your designs printed and shipped.
Canva offers free and premium plans. It is available on the web and as an app for Android, Windows, macOS, and iOS platforms.
Highlights: Free & open-source, popular, plenty of features
WooCommerce is a free and open-source plugin to turn any WordPress website into an e-commerce store. Simply install it into your WordPress and start selling in just minutes.
You can use WooCommerce for everything from subscriptions to selling luxury watches, gym classes, customized T-shirts, and so on. WooCommerce integrates with Stripe, PayPal, MailChimp, and lots more services.
For some usage statistics, WooCommerce runs on about 8% of all websites, with 5 million+ live sites and over 160 million downloads from Wordpress.org. Over 90% of WordPress-based online stores run on WooCommerce.
Highlights: Collaboration, graphics, prototyping, UI/UX design
Figma is a web-based vector graphics and prototyping tool with collaboration features, which makes it great for UI/UX (User Interface & User Experience) design.
Although you can use Figma to create graphics and collaborate on them with your team, its main features include a prototyping feature, developer handoff, version control of your designs, and design components.
Each project also features team collaboration, where you can see each member’s cursor on the screen, with commenting, slack integration, easy live-share features, and a team library.
You can try out Figma with its free plan, which is limited to 3 project files but unlimited personal files and collaborators. The Pro plan goes for $12 per month and $45 for the Organization plan.
Highlights: UI/UX design for macOS
Apple users often live in their own worlds, and the same is true when it comes to UI/UX design. Sketch is a macOS native app with similar features as Figma.
Sketch offers prototyping, real-time collaboration, offline mode, developer handoff, shareable links, access control, and much more.
The complete platform costs $9 per month.
Highlights: Very fast loads, fully-featured out-of-the-box, secure
WordPress is great for publishing blogs, but you generally have to tweak it to get the platform you need. Ghost is a modern type of WordPress designed specifically for the publishing business.
Ghost comes straight out of the box with everything you need to make money from your content. It includes SEO, paid subscriptions feature, memberships, newsletters, and many more modern features.
Its major advantage over WordPress though is speed – blogs built on Ghost are much faster than their WordPress counterparts. Ghost is available as a free self-hosted platform or with managed hosting for $9 per month.
Highlights: Art lovers community, lots of ideas, colors
Colors are very important in web design work, so having a place or community dedicated to colors can be a great help.
COLOURlovers offers you colors, color palettes, shapes, and patterns to help with all types of design work – from the web to print, digital art, weddings, fashion, and so on.
There is also a forum for related discussions, as well as trends and browsing features that let you see what’s going on and hopefully get that spark of inspiration from someone’s post.
Highlights: Simple shop setup, powerful marketing features, free trial
Entrepreneurs looking to create an online shop without all the hassle of setups, configurations, plugins, and all other technical hurdles can just turn to Shopify.
Simply use the easy setup form, answer a few questions, and you have an online shop. You can now add products, upload their pictures, add some descriptions, and go live with just one click. That’s how simple an online shop with Shopify can be.
However, the platform offers lots more features like secure hosting, SEO, analytics, marketing automation, blog, and even POS for offline sales. Shopify comes with a 14-day free trial.
Read this: How To Create An Online Store With Shopify
Highlights: Software repository host, free plan
Version control is a serious issue when designing software over a given period. SVN and Git are two approaches to handling the different versions of software and coordinating the work among contributors.
GitHub is a cloud-based Git hosting service. It lets you manage your software repositories and includes a free plan for non-enterprise users.
Software version control was previously not an issue for web design, but the rise of Jamstack sites has turned Git hosts like GitHub and Bitbucket into integral parts of modern static website design.
For statistics, GitHub hosts over 190 million software repositories for 40 million+ users. You can either use the service through a web browser or use a command-line Git application to manage your repositories.
17. Google Fonts
Highlights: 1,400+ font families, free
If you plan to give your project a unique personality, then Google Fonts might help you to select and use the best font family.
Google Fonts offers a clean UI to browse and find what you like, as well as APIs to use from Android and CSS.
You will have to know some CSS to work with Google Fonts though, but it’s not difficult. First, you link your font of choice in the document header with <link>. Then you later define it in <style> and you are good to go.
<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Sofia”>
font-family: “Sofia”, sans-serif;
18. Appy Pie
Highlights: No code app creation, free plan
If your business needs an app, then Appy Pie can help you to get it done without writing a single line of code.
Appy Pie is a development platform that lets you create all types of apps – from games to forms, shopping, messaging, alerts, automated responses, and so much more.
You can start with a free but limited plan, then grow as your app matures. Other features you can add to your app with simple clicks include dating, news, poll, reservations, timesheet, e-wallet, auctions, etc.
You will like this: How to create an app without coding (Android & iOS)
Highlights: Node.js development, 1,000+ free JS modules
You may also need a Node version manager (nvm) to switch between different versions of your Node.js environment and the npm management.
Highlights: Code editor, free & open-source
Eclipse is a popular old-school IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for computer programmers, which is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux systems.
Although it was most popular for Java development, Eclipse is available for nearly every programming language. All you have to do is install the required language plugin and you are good to go.
A good website should be unique, and this might require a unique combination of tools. So, feel free to explore, as your best tool depends on the job at hand.