The Difference Between a Custom-Built Website and a Website Builder

Multiple devices showing a website.

There are approximately 1.13 billion websites on the internet. While not all of these websites are active and updated, they were created in one way or another. The most popular ways to build a website are either by custom building one or using a website builder such as Wix or Squarespace. The question is, what is the difference between these two methods, and which one is right for you? Throughout this, we will highlight the pros and cons of each method and determine the main differences between a custom-built website and a website built on a website builder. Let’s take a look.

What is a Custom-Built Website?

A custom-built website is a website that is created from scratch. This requires coding and designing your website all by yourself. Usually, this can be done by a website developer or coder. A custom-built website gives you the freedom of creating what you want without the constraints of a template.

A custom-built website provides flexibility and allows you to update your website as your business continues to grow. If you want a custom-built website, it is important to know exactly what you want. This way, the developer can work directly to your wants and needs and provide you with exactly what you are asking for (if the developer is skilled enough, that is).

Although it provides you with many opportunities, it still has some drawbacks that push people away. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

A man coding a custom website.

Pros and Cons


  • Custom-fit to your brand identity
  • Endless design opportunities
  • More efficient SEO tracking
  • Higher quality and mobile optimization
  • Provides uniqueness to your company


  • Expensive
  • Takes longer to build
  • Needs to be tested consistently
  • Dependent on the developer’s skills.

What is a Website Builder?

A website builder is a service such as Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, etc. that gives you a template to create a website on. It is much more simplistic compared to a custom-built website and much more user-friendly if you were to create it yourself. A website builder is designed to allow users to drag and drop features and designs into their website rather than coding it yourself.

Website builders, sometimes limiting, still provide immense amounts of customization and flexibility to allow you to build a website that fits your needs. A website builder allows you to pick and choose different themes or templates to design the structure of your website and insert your desired features. The drag-and-drop method inserts the code for you, allowing the process to be coding-free for the user.

Just like custom-built websites, a website builder has its good and bad but it’s up to you to decide which one fits your needs. Let’s look at the pros and cons of a website builder.

A website representing a website builder.

Pros and Cons


  • Fast to create and implement
  • No coding needed
  • More affordable
  • Easier to maintain
  • Provides quality templates and themes
  • Ideal for new businesses


  • Restricted design opportunities
  • More difficult to align brand identity
  • Website navigation is dependent on the theme
  • Potential security issues
  • Functionality can be limiting
  • Limited SEO possibilities

The Major Differences

When it comes down to the main differences between a custom-built website and a website built using a website builder, custom-built websites offer more design and are more in-depth. A custom website will require a professional developer and coder to build from scratch while a website builder requires no coding. In addition, a custom website is much more expensive due to the enhanced customizability and functionality that it offers. The custom website is being built specifically for you. Website builders such as Wix and Squarespace are designed to allow users to create a website more quickly and efficiently but offer limited customizability.

There are many factors to consider when choosing which option, you want to go with for building your website. The main factors to consider are your budget, business needs, sociability, and timelines. Depending on each of these factors, one option will outweigh the other.

A website built through a website builder is more tailored to businesses that have a smaller budget, new business startups, or those who need a website quickly made. While on the other hand, a custom-built website is more tailored to businesses that have larger budgets, can operate without a proper website for a longer period of time, and needs more customization and functionality.

Another major difference is when using a website builder, you are basically renting that website. You are unable to leave and take your website with you if you created it on Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify. Keep that in the back of your mind when deciding your website options.

What to Be Cautious About

Although both options to create your website are efficient, there are still many things to be cautious about throughout the creation process. The main factor to be cautious about is accessibility guidelines.  If you are not following the guidelines, this can lead to lawsuits. In addition, website builders do not mention to you about accessibility guidelines. This leaves the opportunity for you to be making mistakes without even knowing.

Read here about the possibility of lawsuits for not following accessibility guidelines and check out our page to see if your website is website accessible:

A man holding a caution sign


Custom-built websites and using a website builder both have their advantages and disadvantages. It solely comes down to your needs and your budget. What is sufficient for you? What features are important to you? Those are the questions you should ask yourself before deciding which option you want to go with.

Here at IGV, we specialize in website hosting and security, mobile-first web design, and domain registration. If you are thinking about creating a website or already have one but need assistance, contact us! Let’s start discussing your needs.

Check out Our WordPress Design Portfolio.

Additional Reading

Author: Stuart Silcox

Stuart Silcox
March 15, 2023

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