Do You Need a Web Developer to Build a Website in 2024?

Ben Spray building a website


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Building a website today is different from the early days of the internet, where you needed extensive coding knowledge or a professional web developer to get a simple page online. With the evolution of various website builders and content management systems, almost anyone can create a functional and visually appealing website. But does that mean you don’t need a web developer at all? Let’s explore when you might need a developer and explore some popular alternatives to help you choose the best website creation path.

Understanding the Role of a Web Developer

A web developer is like the architect and builder for your website. They write the code that dictates how your website functions and what it looks like. While large, complex sites often require the expertise of a skilled developer, many standard websites can be set up without diving deep into coding. We’ll discuss the scenarios where a developer is necessary and provide insights based on our experience building dozens of websites using many different methods.

When You Might Need a Web Developer

Here are some situations where hiring a web developer might be the best choice:

  • Custom Functionality

If you need specific features not available with basic website builders—like advanced integrations with external databases, custom user pathways, or unique interactive elements—a developer can help you build them from scratch.

  • High-Traffic E-commerce Sites

While many e-commerce platforms are user-friendly, high-traffic online stores with hundreds of daily transactions might require a developer to ensure everything from payment processing to inventory management is optimized and secure.

  • Custom Design

Suppose brand identity is crucial, and you need an attractive design. In that case, a web developer working alongside a web designer can create a unique aesthetic that differentiates your site from competitors.

What is the Alternative?

A full-fledged web developer might be optional for many users, tiny businesses, bloggers, artists, and small e-commerce operations. Here are some great alternatives that we recommend based on functionality, ease of use, and cost:


hostinger MFW

Hostinger isn’t just a web hosting service; it also offers a highly affordable website builder. It’s a fantastic option if you’re on a tight budget but still want a robust online presence. It also offers an easy-to-use website builder that you can use to create and launch your website with ease. You can choose to host your website using WordPress or Hostinger’s AI-powered website builder and switch between them whenever you want. With Hostinger, you have everything you need to build a professional and functional website quickly and effortlessly.

Key Features:

  • User-friendly drag-and-drop interface
  • Free domain for the first year
  • Integrated e-commerce solutions


  • Affordable with low starting prices.
  • Simplifies setting up a site with hosting and domain in one place.
  • Good performance and speed.


  • More limited design flexibility compared to dedicated website builders.
  • No free plan is available.

Starting Price: $2.99/month. Get your Hostinger here.

Get a huge deal on a 12-month premium web hosting plan with Hostinger using our coupon code ‘MYFIRSTWEBSITE’.


Squarespace excels at creating visually stunning portfolio websites. Its sleek and professional templates are perfect for photographers, artists, or designers looking to showcase their work visually compellingly.

With Squarespace, users can easily create a website that looks great and functions smoothly and efficiently.

Key Features:

  • Beautiful, award-winning design templates
  • Built-in SEO and analytics tools
  • Mobile-optimized right out of the box


  • High-quality, aesthetic designs.
  • A comprehensive set of features without needing plugins.
  • Strong e-commerce capabilities.


  • It’s cheaper than some competitors.
  • It can have a steeper learning curve due to extensive customization options.

Starting Price: $16/month. Get your Squarespace here

^ Use code MYFIRSTWEBSITE at checkout for 10% off!


Wix Ecommerce

Wix is a versatile website builder that suits a wide range of needs. It offers flexibility in design and functionality, making it ideal for businesses, personal blogs, and portfolio sites. Its drag-and-drop interface is particularly user-friendly for beginners.

Additionally, Wix provides advanced tools and widgets that help users enhance their website’s functionality and aesthetics.

Key Features:

  • Extensive collection of templates
  • App Market for adding extra functionality
  • Advanced design features like video backgrounds and animation


  • Great flexibility in design.
  • Intuitive user interface.
  • Free plan available.


  • It can become pricey as you add apps and functionalities.
  • The site can load slower due to heavy customization.

Starting Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $14/month. Get your Wix’s free trial here

Storage and Bandwidth:

  • From 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth on the free plan to 50GB storage on higher plans.


  • Hundreds of apps for extending functionality.
  • Wix ADI for automatic website design.



For e-commerce websites, Shopify stands out as the best option. It’s designed specifically for online stores and includes features like inventory management, a secure payment gateway, and the ability to scale as your business grows.


  • Comprehensive store management tools.
  • Wide range of themes and apps.
  • Excellent 24/7 customer support.


  • It can get expensive with additional apps and transaction fees.
  • Limited SEO capabilities compared to other platforms.

Starting Price: $17/month for the Basic Shopify plan. Get your Shopify here.

Storage and Bandwidth:

  • Unlimited storage allows you to upload as many products and images as needed.
  • Unlimited bandwidth means your site can handle many visitors and lots of activity without slowing down.

Extras and Inclusions:

  • Shopify provides a secure, integrated payment gateway, with transaction fees waived if you use Shopify Payments.
  • Access to an extensive app store to add features and functionality.
  • Built-in tools for SEO, marketing, and analytics.

Tips for Using Website Builders

Even if you decide to use a website builder, here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your chosen platform:

Plan Your Site

Before you start building, plan out the structure of your site. Know what pages you need, what features are crucial, and how you want the user journey to flow.

Choose the Right Template

Select a template that aligns with your brand and the purpose of your site. Customizing a template is easier than building from scratch, so pick one that meets most of your needs upfront.

Utilize Support Resources

Most website builders offer tutorials, customer support, and user forums. Use these resources to help you through the process and resolve any issues.

Test Before Launching

Before making your site live, thoroughly test it to catch any errors. Check how it looks on different devices and browsers, and ensure all forms and payment systems work correctly.


Whether or not you need a web developer to build your website depends largely on its complexity and specific needs. Website builders offer many standard users a cost-effective, straightforward alternative that can produce excellent results without extensive technical knowledge. However, a professional web developer might need more complex functionalities or unique designs. By understanding your needs and evaluating your skills and budget, you can make the best choice for building your website.

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FAQs About Whether You Need a Web Developer to Build a Website

  • Can I build a professional-looking website without any coding knowledge?

    Absolutely! Many website builders like Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify offer user-friendly interfaces and professionally designed templates that let you create beautiful and functional websites without writing a single line of code. These platforms also provide drag-and-drop tools, which make it easy to customize designs to fit your needs.

  • What are the cost benefits of using a website builder versus hiring a web developer?

    A website builder is generally more cost-effective, especially for small businesses or personal sites. Website builders often have low monthly fees, and many include hosting and tech support. On the other hand, hiring a web developer can involve higher upfront costs for development, plus additional expenses for maintenance and updates over time.

  • How long does it take to build a website using a builder compared to hiring a developer?

    Building a website with a website builder can be much faster, sometimes taking just a few hours to a few days, depending on the complexity of the site and your proficiency with the platform. Hiring a web developer will take longer, from a few weeks to several months, as it involves more customized work and multiple rounds of revisions.

  • Are there any limitations to using website builders?

    Website builders are versatile but have limitations. They may not support highly specific customizations or unique functionalities that your website needs. If you require specialized features or integrations unavailable within a website builder, you may need to hire a web developer to implement them.

  • What should I consider when deciding whether to use a website builder or hire a web developer?

    Consider your budget, your website’s specific needs and goals, your timeline, and your willingness to manage the site yourself. Hiring a developer might be the way to go if you need a complex, highly customized site and have the budget for it. However, a website builder could be more than sufficient if you prefer a more hands-on approach and have more straightforward needs.

  • Can I switch from a website builder to a custom-built site later on?

    It is possible if you have a website created with a website builder and want to switch to a custom-built site. However, you must migrate your content and redesign the site according to your requirements. The complexity of the website and the platform you are moving to will determine if you need the help of a professional developer for this transition.

  • How do I ensure my DIY website is secure?

    When building a website, it’s important to ensure that it is secure. Most reputable website builders have built-in security features such as SSL certificates, secure payment processing, and data encryption. To make your website even more secure, it’s important to keep your website platform and plugins up to date, use strong, unique passwords, and consider additional security measures like two-factor authentication if it’s available.

  • What kind of support can I expect when using a website builder?

    Most website builders provide various customer support channels like live chat, phone support, and email. They also offer access to comprehensive help centers, tutorials, and user communities that can help you as you create and maintain your website.

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