I tested more than 20 free web design programs and for the most part, I wasn’t impressed with what I found. They didn’t give me the control that I want when designing my website, they lacked the intuitive interface, and I missed the simple integration with Adobe Creative Cloud that allowed me to seamlessly upload images and videos that I created with Photoshop and Premiere Pro. That being said, I found 3 alternatives that have a limited free option but include most of the tools needed to easily build a website with a responsive design. Visual Studio Code was a step above all the programs I tested. It has an intuitive coding editor that I found easy to use. The software gives suggestions to autocomplete lines and commands, saving time and preventing mistakes. It also has integrated Git commands and is compatible with all the major coding languages. Best of all, Visual Studio Code is free for private and commercial use. After a quick installation, I was able to start designing a website or application.

Quick Guide: The Best Free Adobe Dreamweaver Alternatives in 2023

What I Look for in a Free Dreamweaver Alternative

The main issue that web designers have with Dreamweaver is the software has managed to become too difficult for beginners and too basic for experienced users. I’m looking for a Dreamweaver alternative that will make it easy to create a professional web design and doesn’t require a monthly or annual fee to use. Some other important factors are:

Professional-Grade Web Designer:  I’m less interested in how the website is built and more interested in how the website looks. Therefore, I tested code editors and CMS platforms as long as I could design websites that looked like they were done by a professional. Compatible with 3rd Party Extensions and Addons: No matter how good the base program is, I always like having the option to download and install plugins. These integrations give more options, make more languages available, and simplify the web design process. Compatible with Responsive Designs: Designing a website that has proper formatting on computers and mobile devices is a must these days. I need a program that works with responsive designs so my website looks good without me having to create a second layout and design. Free to Use: My goal was to find free alternatives to Dreamweaver. Typically, free programs come with limitations, but I was able to find free and reliable software that has the necessary tools and features.

3 Best Free Dreamweaver Alternatives with Similar Features

1. Visual Studio Code: Customizable Code Editor with Debugging and Powerful Third-Party Integrations

Visual Studio Code is a fully customizable open-source editor. Its cross-platform compatibility means you can download and use it on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It has quickly become one of the best free web design tools largely due to an intuitive interface that makes it easy to write and test the code. However, you can’t expect that a free program will have as many features as Dreamweaver. One of the most glaring differences is that Visual Studio Code only works as a coding editor, while Dreamweaver supports both coding and designing. That being said, it has plenty of built-in tools that streamline the code writing process. One of my favorite features is autocomplete, as it speeds up the coding process when writing function definitions, variable types, and modules. Visual Studio Code uses IntelliSense to understand the context of the code and improve the autocomplete. It also helps with refracting and debugging the code.

The software also has integrated support for Node.js, and development with JavaScript and TypeScript. I found Visual Studio Code to be an easy program for beginners who are just getting started developing websites and apps. It’s compatible with multiple languages, including HTML, CSS, Python, and JSON. If you want to work with a language that doesn’t have native support, odds are you can find an extension that will add that language. Visual Studio is the rare combination of 100% free, secure, and unlimited access to premium features.

2. WordPress: WYSIWYG Editor with Free Templates, and Built-In Tools

While WordPress isn’t a code editor like Dreamweaver, it’s an excellent web design tool. The platform makes it easy to design a webpage, with no coding knowledge necessary. However, unlike Dreamweaver, you won’t be able to write code for applications, as the platform is purely for designing and hosting websites. That being said, having a background in HTML and CSS can be very helpful if you want to edit the backend of your website, make changes to the theme, or adjust how different elements appear. The WYSIWYG editor is great for writing, editing, and formatting the text on your website. I was able to preview how everything would look before it was uploaded and published to the site. One of the biggest advantages of WordPress is you can build and host the website on the same platform. The disadvantage of using a free WordPress site is that there are no drag and drop capabilities. Instead, it uses a block system, where you can add different elements such as text boxes, pictures, calendars, social media updates, and widgets, but it has to be on a square grid.

WordPress has an extensive library of widgets, extensions, and addons that can improve the functionality of your website. These can typically have single click installation and can be seamlessly integrated into your website.

3. Wix: Drag and Drop Editor with Professional Layouts and Responsive Designs

Wix is an easy to use web design and hosting platform. There is no coding knowledge required to build your site with a simple drag and drop editor and WYSIWYG text editor. It’s a good free Dreamweaver alternative if your goal is simply to upload a basic website. However, you won’t have access to the code editor or the capabilities to customize the backend, like you would with Dreamweaver. For a free program, Wix has an impressive list of features. When you first create your account, there will be a questionnaire. This will help the AI tool decide what elements, colors, and features you should add to your site. You can also choose from 800 prebuilt templates that work with a wide range of personal and business categories.

You can customize each page whether you design it yourself or if you use a template. Upload different elements or widgets and place them anywhere you want on the page. You can also adjust the color, size, and alignment of each element. Wix has a large App Market with hundreds of free and paid apps that can improve the functionality of your website. The free version is fairly limited as it limits you to 500MB and adds Wix branding on the page. However, it has all the tools and features needed to build and design your website.

Is Visual Studio Code free?

Yes! Visual Studio Code is 100% open-source and free. With a free download, you’ll get unlimited access to all the features and tools.

Is Visual Studio Code secure?

Visual Studio Code is a secure program that protects your code to prevent unauthorized users from viewing it. It’s important to download the latest version of the software and avoid cracked or pirated versions, as these can have vulnerabilities or malicious software added to the installation package.

What is better, Dreamweaver or Visual Studio?

Dreamweaver has more advanced tools, such as advanced design tools to go along with the coding editor. However, if you’re looking for a software for just coding and you don’t want to pay for it, Visual Studio Code has the tools and features you need.