Webflow Review: What Makes This Website Builder So Different?

Need a DIY website builder with powerful, agency-grade customization options? Read our review of Webflow to find out if it's the right pick for you.

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Katie Horne
Katie is a C# developer-turned-technical writer who loves the Oxford comma, NYT Crossword Puzzles, and knitting for no reason whatsoever. She has a love/hate relationship with JavaScript and thinks that package managers are the bees knees.

Last Updated on December 10, 2018

Webflow is a full-featured website builder whose mission is to “empower designers, creative professionals, and entrepreneurs to create for the web.” The company offers a variety of products designed to help people get up and running with a beautiful, fully-customized webpage without sacrificing flexibility or forcing users into molds created by pre-designed, static templates.

Webflow Site Builder Features

Like most other website builders, the foundation of a Webflow site is a template. There are hundreds of professionally-designed templates from which you can choose. You can customize your selected template so that it’s perfect for your brand and goals.

Webflow divides its template-editing/site-building features up into four basic categories: Designer, CMS, Hosting, and Editor.

Designer

Using Webflow’s designer, you get the full power of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. However, you generate your code using the visual designer instead of writing code line by line. You move pre-built blocks around, add features, and make customizations. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the designer makes clean, semantic code for an optimized website.

webflow review

If you want to tweak the code itself, know that you’ll get all of the features included in CSS3 and HTML5, including support for the box model, 3D CSS transforms, custom transitions, floats, and flexboxes, and you can use the latest in typography, gradients, and DOM organization.

You’ll also get trigger-based interactions, such as animations that occur based on the user scrolling, clicking, hovering, or loading pages — all without having to know JavaScript.


Video above: Webflow offers many video tutorials on YouTube. Visit their “Webflow University” for more how-tos.

With lots of functionality also comes a learning curve, but if you’re familiar with the Adobe product interface, you’ll feel at home. Webflow makes things easier for you to design by offering a library of pre-built, customizable components.

Everything you create in the designer is, by default, responsive and compatible across all major browsers.

The Webflow CMS

Webflow is a full content management system (CMS) a la Drupal, Magento, and WordPress in addition to being a powerful site designer and builder.

Webflow CMS, like its designer, is focused on flexibility and the ability. Create the content you need without being limited by templates, blog-centric content structures, or complex coding languages. What Webflow offers are schemas, which you can build and bind to the design that you want for your website.

webflow review
Webflow boasts that its CMS is easier to use than WordPress and even dedicates a web page to “Webflow vs. WordPress.” They state there is “nothing to install, automatic updates, and no PHP, it’s the WordPress alternative you need.”

When working with content, you can use almost anything you can think of, including colors, images, text, and numbers, and because you likely have customer-centric data available, you can dynamically change your content so that your pages are customized based on the visitor.

Explore Webflow’s CMS

What are the Hosting Options?

Like most site builders, Webflow includes hosting services with its packages. However, instead of including what’s essentially a shared hosting plan, Webflow hosts its sites on an “infinitely scalable server fleet.”

Over 100 Global Datacenters

From the moment you go live, Webflow’s hosting technologies are ready to handle whatever traffic your site generates. Webflow’s “fleet” includes over 100 datacenters and servers worldwide, with content delivery networks (CDNs) powered by Fastly and Amazon CloudFront.

Sites Load in Milliseconds

Webflow promises enterprise-grade reliability with:

  • 99.99% uptime
  • Site pages that load in milliseconds
  • Support for even the largest levels of website traffic due to its AWS-based foundation. (“AWS” stands for Amazon Web Services.)

You’ll also get SSL certificates, infrastructure that’s HTTP/2 compliant, and collaboration tools so that you can have your team members working on your site with you.

Webflow’s Editor

Webflow claims that adding content is as easy as filling out a form, and whenever you’re ready to publish your changes, you can do so with just one click. Live preview means that you won’t see any surprises once your content has been published.

Because Webflow separates content from the underlying support features, you can easily edit things without worrying about breaking any part of your site.

You can also collaborate with your colleagues on anything you create, and detailed version history means that you know exactly who changed what and when.

webflow review

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools

Optimizing your content for SEO can be done without any additional plugins. The ability to set your meta title and description are included directly in the editor, and you get instant previews of what your website’s entry will look like when its live on the internet.

WebFlow Site Builder Templates

Webflow offers 25+ free templates to choose from, in addition to three wireframes. Whether you are looking to build an e-commerce site, a blog, or a basic portfolio site, there are plenty of templates to choose from. Each template gives information about what type of site it is best for.

Nearly all the templates are responsive, so building a responsive website for mobile has never been easier.

bauhem webflow
Picture yourself in business: Browse the Webflow site for samples of live sites using Webflow. This one is from a Canadian business that designs Webflow sites. You can, by browsing these sites, also get ideas of how you could market yourself as a Webflow professional.

WireFrame Options

In addition to dozens of templates, Webflow also offers three wireframe options–Startup, Portfolio, and Business. Wireframes provide general outlines for your site and offer more customization options than templates. These are great options for the more design savvy but do not require coding knowledge.

View all Webflow features

Pricing and Billing

You can certainly use WebFlow for free for as long as you’d like, but your account will remain in trial status. You’ll get full design control and the ability to publish your site to a webflow.io subdomain, but you are limited to working on two projects.

Once you’re ready to spring for a paid subscription, you can choose from any number of plans. You can pay for your plan on a month-to-month basis, or you can pay upfront for a year of service. If you opt for the latter option, you’ll receive a discount so that your monthly fees are less than what they would be if you paid monthly.

Cancel at Any Time

If you decide that you want to cancel your account or hosting plan, you can do so at any time. Webflow does not offer refunds, and your plan will remain active until the end of your current billing period.

If you’ve canceled a full account and you have one or more existing websites, your site won’t be deleted, and you won’t be “locked out” of your website — your account will simply downgrade to the free plan.

When selecting a paid subscription, you can choose from options geared toward individuals needing just one site, designers, freelancers, or teams.

Plans for Individuals

If you’re an individual who needs just one site, all you have to pay for is hosting. There are three different plans from which you can choose.

They differ from one another based on the number of visitors allowed per month and the number of form submissions you can receive. However, note that the very basic, entry-level plan does not include any of the CMS or Editor features.

Plans for Designers and Freelancers

If you’re someone who builds a lot of websites, you can use Webflow to help you craft your site.

The basic package in this tier allows you to use the WebFlow tools to build sites, then bill your clients for the work you’ve done. The more expensive options, however, allow you to export your code for use in other environments.

With any of these packages, you get all of Webflow’s features, as well as support for an unlimited number of projects.

webflow review

Teams: Collaboration Tools and Bulk Pricing

The options for teams are very similar to those available for designers and freelancers, but the teams’ plans include collaboration tools and, for those with large enough hosting packages, bulk pricing on web hosting.

E-commerce Sites

Currently, Webflow offers several templates for e-commerce stores. These allow you to create custom product grids, custom product pages, custom shopping carts and check out pages. Webflow also has a full-fledged e-commerce tool (currently in beta.)

Their e-commerce platform allows you to:

  • Manage your inventory and fulfill orders
  • Enrich product listings through the CMS
  • Customize your receipts and update emails
  • Creating blogs and landing pages in the CMS
  • Allow customers to securely checkout on your own domain

How is the Customer Service and Technical Support?

Webflow offers one of the most robust self-help sections we’ve seen from a website builder. In addition to Webflow University, where you can find curated lists of videos to watch (such as Intro to Design, Web Elements, or SEO Fundamentals), there are individual courses themselves where you can dive deeply into a specific topic.

Current offerings include the Webflow 101 Crash Course and Ultimate Web Design Course. If digital (or online-based) learning isn’t really your cup of tea, download one of the e-books available to learn the same content.

The Webflow Community is an open forum where you can crowdsource ideas and answers to your questions.

How do I Reach a Webflow Support Team Member?

If you want to get in touch with a Webflow staff member, you can do so Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 6 PM Pacific time (UTC-8) via the online contact form. Feature requests can be logged using the Webflow website’s Wishlist page.

While Webflow doesn’t offer any type of consulting services, it does maintain a list of Webflow Experts that can help you get up and running. You can search for freelancers or agencies based on multiple types of criteria, including location, type of assistance provided, project type, size of the team, and so on.

webflow review

Because Webflow offers an SLA, you can check on the status of its systems at any time using its support website.

Visit Webflow

Summary

Webflow is a full-featured website builder that offers an abundance of templates that you can fully customize. It is a powerful tool, which means there’s a learning curve to using its advanced features. But Webflow, with its focus on customer experience and satisfaction, has provided many resources for its customers to use.

On top of written documentation, Webflow provides in-depth video tutorials, including curated lists that walk you through the ones that would be most helpful for a given task.

Unless you are interested in a full e-commerce builder (though it does look like many of those tools will be coming soon), Webflow is certainly a solid choice for those wanting a powerful yet accessible site builder.

Sign Up For Webflow

Webflow FAQ

If you’ve got a question that’s not been answered in this review, contact us and we’ll find an answer for you!

How Does Webflow Compare to Tools Like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace?

Webflow provides an easy to use and easy to customize drag-and-drop site building tool. Wix and Weebly tend to limit the number of customizations you can do — most site builders do, it is the trade-off for not having to code a site!

Webflow offers one of the most customizable site builders on the market. Expect to spend some time figuring out how the builder works, but the reward will be a well-built, responsive website you can customize to your business’s needs without dropping thousands of dollars.

What framework does Webflow use?

Webflow uses its own proprietary framework. That may be important for you to know if you’re a diehard fan of frameworks like Bootstrap, Zurb Foundation, Materialize, Kurb, etc. Some Webflow users have incorporated Bootstrap: they report it’s doable but tricky.

What technologies does Webflow use to boost page speed?

Webflow current uses the following technologies: OpenResty (which extends NGINX with Lua); Varnish, an impressive web application accelerator; the Amazon S3 CDN (content delivery network); NGINX; Amazon CloudFront; CDN JS; JQuery CDN; and UNPKG.