The best no-code platforms compared

Creating websites and apps used to require writing code. Specialised knowledge, distinctive skills and experience were needed, which could only be achieved by working in the field for many years. Now there is a solution in the form of no-code platforms, which were created to make the job easier. We explain how they work and present a selection of the best no-code platforms.

What are no-code platforms?

Unlike the low-code approach which requires some knowledge of coding, no-code platforms allow you to build websites and apps without writing any code at all.

There is a difference between no-code website builders and no-code app builders:

  • No-code website builders are used to create corporate websites, online stores, blogs and portfolios. The websites run on the platform operator’s server and are displayed in the visitor’s browser.
  • No-code app builders are used to create web and mobile apps. The cross-platform development approach is usually used, i.e. the app is created according to a single specification for several platforms at the same time.

You may already be wondering how no-code platforms actually work if code is not used to specify how the design should look or how apps should work. They usually include graphical tools that allow websites and apps to be created from individual components using the drag-and-drop feature. Templates are used for the design. AI-based solutions are also increasingly supported.

Since only the desired result is outlined without a detailed solution path, it is technically a type of declarative programming.

What are the benefits and limitations of no-code platforms?

The main advantage of no-code platforms is that they enable users to create websites and apps without needing any in-depth programming knowledge. This saves you from having to learn how to program and allows you to get by without knowing anything about source code or special code editors.

As practical as no-code tools may be, there are also some quite big limitations. Unlike code that can be read and modified by experts, no-code frameworks hide the underlying complexity. If a functionality does not exist, it cannot simply be added. This means that even the best no-code platforms are usually limited in terms of customisation options regarding design and functionality. It may not be possible to implement important optimisations, especially for large projects. This means that you quickly reach the limits of what is possible in terms of responsiveness, performance and SEO.

Even when it comes to supporting special operating system or browser versions, no-code tools tend to fall by the wayside. This is because the frameworks used are designed to cover as many customer requirements as possible. Supporting outlandish or obsolete platforms is typically not the operators’ main focus.

Another disadvantage of using no-code tools is vendor lock-in because the user is permanently bound to whichever platform the operator uses.

How do you choose the best no-code platform for a project?

The first step is to clarify the target group and application area for the website or app. Decide whether a website, web app, mobile app or desktop app is needed. Work out which functions you require and check whether these will be possible with no-code software. If they are possible, then you can start selecting possible options.

Now it’s time to assess the costs and risks and don’t forget to consider vendor lock-in. Ask yourself if it is possible to deploy a dedicated domain, relocate a server, or export business-critical data with the chosen no-code platform. If the no-code framework allows access to the underlying code when needed, you should be able to expect some flexibility.

Tip

Register your own domain for your project with just a few clicks. It’s all very easy with IONOS.

The best no-code tools for websites and online stores

No-code website builder Powerfulness User-friendliness Free to use Price per month
Jimdo + +++ With limited functions €9–€39 (approx. £8–£37)
Squarespace ++ ++ Only for 14 days approx. £19–£53
Webflow +++ + With limited functions approx. £16–£164
Weebly ++ ++ With limited functions €18–€32 (approx. £16–£28)
Wix +++ + No €10–€45 (approx. £9–£41)

Jimdo

Jimdo is one of the oldest no-code website editors on the market. The platform is particularly suitable for individuals and small businesses looking for a simple and straightforward website builder. Jimdo offers an intuitive platform for creating responsive websites with professional templates and built-in SEO tools.

Its advantages include the user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop editing as well as support for multiple languages, e-commerce and blogging. In contrast, the design customisation options are rather limited. Also, the platform includes less advanced features compared to some competitors.

Jimdo offers a handful of pricing plans, including a free plan with limited features. The paid plans are priced from around £8 to £37 per month.

Squarespace

Squarespace is a no-code website editor, able to create visually appealing, fully responsive websites and online stores. The platform is particularly suitable for creative professionals, small businesses and individuals who value design and aesthetics.

Some of the platform’s advantages are the intuitive design tools, packed full of integrated functions for implementing galleries and portfolios. Its e-commerce features are considered robust, and hosting and customer support is considered reliable. On the downside, design customisation is less flexible and there is only a limited amount of third-party integrations.

In addition to the trial version, which is free for 14 days, there are four price plans, with costs ranging from around £19 to £53 per month. If you pay the annual amount in one go, the costs are reduced by approximately 15 to 30 percent.

Webflow

Webflow is an interesting platform that swings between being a no-code and a low-code editor. It is beneficial for professional web designers, developers, and companies that need sophisticated control over their design. Webflow’s graphical user interface allows responsive and visually appealing websites to be created, including those with custom interactions and animations.

Besides the advanced design functionalities and the underlying powerful CMS the no-code platform impresses with the quality of the code it generates. Webflow is able to generate clean code that is as suitable for publishing on the website as it is as a basis for further development work. However, the adaptability that comes with this also results in a steeper learning curve. For complex projects, it does help to have some programming knowledge.

Webflow offers a free plan although it is limited in functionality. Paid plans range from about £16 to £41 per month, and the e-commerce version is significantly more expensive at about £33 to over £164 per month. You can pay the annual amount, which then lowers the cost by about 20 to 30 percent.

Weebly

With the no-code website editor Weebly, websites and online stores can be built quickly and easily. After selecting a template as a base, customisations are made using the drag-and-drop feature. This allows personal blogs, online stores and small business websites to be created without programming knowledge. This makes Weebly well suited for individuals and small businesses that need a simple and user-friendly no-code website software.

Advantages include the user-friendly interface and ease of use. In addition, there is the integrated e-commerce and blogging function and pre-built templates that adapt well to mobile devices. The platform doesn’t rank so highly when it comes to ease of use compared to other no-code platforms due to its limited design flexibility and limited advanced customisation features.

Weebly can be used free of charge without your own domain. The fee-based plans are priced between £16 and £29 per month. If you pay the annual amount all at once, this reduces the cost by about 20 percent.

Wix

The no-code website editor Wix focuses on creating a customised website. From a wide range of templates, design options and functionalities, blogs, online stores, portfolio websites and more can be created with ease using the drag-and-drop function. This option is suitable for small businesses and creative people looking for a comprehensive website creation solution with high degree of design flexibility.

The versatile no-code platform impresses with sophisticated design options and an extensive app marketplace for extensions. However, with so many options available, it can be quite overwhelming at first. What complicates matters is the limited flexibility when changing website templates and limited SEO optimisation options.

The no-code software can be used from a few pounds per month, although this comes with Wix advertisements displayed on your website. In addition, there are a handful of price plans that range from around £9 to £41 per month.

Tip

Create your own website easily and without any code knowledge with the Website Builder from IONOS.

The best no-code tools for web and mobile apps

No-code app builder Type of app Powerfulness User-friendliness Free to use Price per month
Adalo Mobile ++ ++ With limited functions approx. £37–£205
Airtable Desktop + mobile + +++ With limited functions approx. £8–£16/user
Bubble Web +++ + For testing only approx. £24–£328
Google AppSheet Web + mobile ++ ++ For testing only approx. £4–£8/user

Adalo

No-code app builder Adalo lets you create native mobile apps for iOS and Android without any programming skills. Individuals, startups and companies use the visual editor to design app interfaces, connect databases and add features without needing to program anything.

Advantages include user-friendly operation, cross-platform creation of native apps, and database integration. On the other hand, there is limited scalability for complex apps and limited design customisation options.

Adalo offers a free plan with limited features. In addition, there are four pricing plans with costs ranging from approximately £37 to £205 per month. The provider offers a 20 percent discount if you opt to pay the annual amount that’s a one-time payment.

Airtable

Airtable is different from other no-code app builders because it focuses intensely on data. The no-code software is aimed at individuals, teams, and companies that want to build flexible apps based on structured data. In addition to custom databases, there are features for project management, content planning, and customer relationship management.

The advantages of the versatile no-code platform include collaboration features, powerful integrations and flexible app development options. The user-friendliness and high degree of specialisation do impose some limitations. Reporting and analytics capabilities are limited, especially for complex data relationships. Compared to less specialised no-code app development platforms, Airtable is less comprehensive.

Airtable offers several pricing plans, including a free plan with limited features. The paid plans cost around £8 to £16 per user per month. Like most competing products, a 20 percent discount is offered if you opt to pay for the annual amount in one go.

Bubble

With Bubble, complex web applications can be created in a visual development environment without programming knowledge. The no-code app platform is aimed at users who need sophisticated web applications with custom workflows, database functions and integrations.

The advantages include the extensive functionalities, along with database functions and powerful workflows. The generated web applications are completely responsive, and the design can be customised to a large extent. Nevertheless, the degree of customisability is still below that of individual code-based development. The learning curve is considered relatively steep.

Bubble can be used for free for testing purposes. Pricing plans for productive use range from £25 to £328 per month, depending on the scope, with an annual one-off payment reducing the costs by approximately 20 percent.

Google AppSheet

With the no-code app platform AppSheet from Google, you can create data-driven mobile apps without programming know-how. In addition to databases, Google Sheets and Excel spreadsheets can be used as data sources.

Advantages of this app include the powerful data processing functions, workflow automation and offline usage. Disadvantages include limited scalability for complex apps and limited design customisation options.

AppSheet can be used free of charge on a trial basis. To deploy your app, sign up for one of the paid plans, which cost approx. £4 to £8 per user per month.

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