Free HTML Editors / Free Web Editors

Beginning and Advanced HTML editors, WYSIWYG web editors, website builders


Free HTML Editors, Web Editors, and WYSIWYG Web Editors and Site Builders

Are you looking for a web editor to create or design a website? This page lists free HTML editors, Web editors, WYSIWYG (ie, "What You See Is What You Get") editors, web site builders, as well as specialized editors optimized for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) or even the numerous web scripting languages such as PHP, Perl, Java, JavaScript, ASP, etc.

The editors are separated into two sections: the WYSIWYG Web Editors / Site Builders allow you to design your website using a What You See Is What You Get interface — somewhat like a wordprocessor where you can see what your page will look like (mostly) as you type; and Site Builders that allow you to design your site from pre-packaged templates. If you don't know what HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP or Perl are, this may be what you're looking for, since the software will give you a visual interface that you can use to develop your site.

The other section lists the Free HTML Editors which are basically ASCII text editors with additional features that make it easier for you to code pages for the web. Very often, this includes syntax highlighting for the HTML/CSS elements (and perhaps also for PHP, Perl, JavaScript, ASP, Java elements as well). If you write your pages using "raw" HTML, or if you plan to learn HTML, these are the editors you will want to check. You may also want to look at the Free Programming Editors and ASCII Text Editors page, which lists more editors that can be used to edit / create HTML web pages. My decision of whether to put an editor on that page or this page is sometimes arbitrary, so it's best to look at both pages to see if you can find what you want there.

In my opinion, though, the best web editor around is actually a commercial web editor called Adobe Dreamweaver. None of the free editors (or even the other commercial offerings that I've tried) even comes close to this. It has a superb visual (WYSIWYG) interface that can suit both newcomers as well as seasoned professionals. If you are using this editor, you may want to check out my Dreamweaver tutorials.

Finally, if you're completely new to creating websites, I strongly recommend that you read How to Create / Start a Website: The Beginner's A-Z Guide. There's a lot more to making a site than using a web editor, and this article shows you how to do it in plain English.

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Free WYSIWYG Web Editors and Website Builders

Microsoft Expression Web 4 New

The formerly commercial Microsoft Expression Web 4 is now available for free. This is a fully-featured web editor, possibly comparable with Adobe Dreamweaver in terms of number of features, although it does not seem to be quite as popular. Besides letting you create websites using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) visual interface, you can also code directly in HTML and CSS, as well as use PHP, JavaScript, ASP.NET and ASP.NET AJAX from within the editor. Note though that this software has been discontinued, and you are getting the final version of the program. There will be no bug fixes, future versions, support for new versions of Windows, or even technical support. And before you ask, even though the downloadable file has a filename like "Web_Trial.exe", it looks like it's actually the full version, and not a trial or demo as its name suggests. (By the way, like all free things, there is no guarantee that Microsoft will keep the download link around forever. As such, if you think that you will want to use it in the future, you may want to get it now while it is still available.)

BlueGriffon

BlueGriffon is a WYSIWYG web editor created by the author of the Nvu web editor software (as well as the bulk of its derivative, KompoZer 0.7.10). Since it uses the modern Firefox web rendering engine, it should be able to handle modern HTML and CSS code correctly unlike the older Nvu and KompoZer 0.7.10 software, allowing you to use such code and see the results displayed accurately in the editor. Besides support for HTML 4, HTML 5, XHTML 1, CSS 3, it also supports SVG, and MathML. The editor has a plug-in architecture so you may also be able to find add-ins that extend the functionality of the program. Languages supported include English, German, French, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, both Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Slovenian, Polish and Swedish (and possibly others by the time you read this). The program runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It is open source. You can find a free online BlueGriffon Tutorial on thesitewizard.com.

KompoZer - Easy Web Authoring

KompoZer is a WYSIWYG web editor that allows you to build websites in an easy way, using a visual interface. KompoZer 0.7.10 (the currently released version at the time I write this) is essentially an updated version of Nvu with bug fixes. You can learn how to create a website using KompoZer with thesitewizard.com's tutorial How to Design and Publish Your Website with KompoZer.

SeaMonkey Composer (Mozilla Composer)

Seamonkey, the web browser suite from Mozilla, comes with a WYSIWYG web editor that allows you to quickly code web pages using a wordprocessor-like interface. For more information, please read the detailed review of the Mozilla Composer on thesitewizard.com. You can also find a comprehensive tutorial on How to Design and Publish Your Website with Mozilla Composer there.

Amaya Web Browsing and Authoring

Amaya is an open source browser and WYSIWYG web authoring environment that purports to allow its users to develop web pages without knowing anything about HTML or CSS. You can create your pages and view them using this software. It supports CSS, HTML, XHTML, MathML 2.0 (which allows you to browse and write web pages containing mathematical symbols), etc. There are versions for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. A more detailed review of this editor can be found in the article: Review of Amaya: W3C's Free WYSIWYG Web Authoring Environment.

NetObjects Fusion Essentials

This WYSIWYG web editor and site builder features drag and drop website layouts, site management tools, a built-in FTP facility to publish (upload) your web pages, a photo gallery, a form builder, rollover images, support for Flash and Quicktime, an e-commerce tool, etc. A free online tutorial for a slightly different (commercial) version of the software, NetObjects Fusion 11 Tutorial can be found on thesitewizard.com.

Trellian WebPAGE

Trellian WebPAGE is a free WYSIWYG web editor with a drag and drop interface, a preview screen that allows you to see your page under three common screen widths (640, 800 and 1024), built-in FTP uploader, table creation wizard, form creation tool, etc. It also has a syntax highlighting HTML editor for people who may want to switch to the HTML mode for some fine tuning.

Nvu - Complete Web Authoring System

[Update: Nvu has been discontinued. The author of the software has moved on to develop BlueGriffon, which is also a free web editor. Beware of scam sites pretending to be the Nvu website and asking for donations for continued development. As mentioned, the real author is no longer working on Nvu but on BlueGriffon.]
Nvu is a WYSIWYG editor that is designed to make the creation of web sites as easy for novices as it is using commercial web editors like DreamWeaver. It is based on the Mozilla Composer web editor (see elsewhere on this page) and includes new features that will eventually make its way back into Mozilla Composer. This open source editor is available for Linux and Windows. You can find a tutorial on How to Design and Publish Your Website with Nvu on thesitewizard.com. There is also a longer review of Nvu available.

Free HTML Editors / ASCII Text Web Editors

Notetab Light

This is the freeware sibling of the commercial Standard and Pro versions. It is a general text editor that has lots of features, including a useful "Clipbook" facility that has numerous HTML editing conveniences. Its commercial cousin Notepad Pro comes with syntax highlighting. (Note: to get the free version, go to the "Download" page and look for "Notetab Light".)

CodeLobster PHP Edition

This is a free code editor with syntax highlighting support for PHP, JavaScript, HTML and CSS. It has support for autocompletion of HTML tags, attributes and closing tags; an HTML code inspector; a CSS autocomplete facility supporting style property names and values; JavaScript autocomplete that supports keywords, DOM elements and properties; PHP autocomplete that support standard PHP and user's classes, variables, functions, constants, keywords, etc; a PHP debugger; SQL autocomplete; context sensitive help; class view; browser preview; project manager; and so on. This is a Windows program.

HAPedit (HTML ASP PHP Editor)

HAPedit is useful for people who develop both dynamic and static web pages. It provides syntax highlighting for HTML, ASP, PHP, JavaScript; provides a project manager; features code completion, an SQL console, FTP manager, PHP code "compilation", integrated PHP help, brace matching, search and replace with regular expressions, statistics on your page (ie, rendered size, images, links, etc), and so on. This is a Windows program.

Arachnophilia

This editor comes with built-in FTP facility, making it possible for you to author your web page and publish it without leaving the editor. It has a spell-checker, an internal browser view mode that is able to show your HTML changes as you type, a global search and replace facility across all open documents, built-in tutorial on HTML, JavaScript, frames; etc. There are apparently two versions available - the older one runs on Windows systems, the newer one is written in Java and is apparently cross-platform.

PSPad

PSPad is a full featured text editor that you can use to edit HTML, PHP, Perl, JavaScript, C, etc. It even has built-in facilities allowing you to edit binary files. There is project support, the ability to directly edit files via FTP on your server, a macro recorder, search and replace in files, text comparison (differences between two files with the differences highlighted in colour), syntax highlighting, spell checking, internal HTML preview using IE and Mozilla, integrated HTML TIDY (for validating HTML code and fixing them), code explorer for Pascal, HTML, PHP, XML (etc), matched bracket highlighting, etc.

Notepad++

Notepad++ is a source code text editor with syntax highlighting (C, C++, Java, C#, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, ASP, SQL, Objective-C, etc), multiple document handling using tabs, auto-completion of keywords (customizable), regular expressions in the search and replace function, macro recording and playback, brace and indent highlighting, collapsing and expanding of sections of code (to zoom in and out of pieces of code such as to provide an outline overview of your text/code), etc.

Quanta Plus Web Development Tool

Quanta Plus is a Linux HTML editor for KDE. It contains an assortment of features such as syntax highlighting, easy configuration of toolbars, site uploading facility, the ability to update a site from CVS (with a plugin), document structure tree, etc.

Bluefish

From the announcement by one of their development team: "Bluefish is a programmer's HTML editor, designed to save the experienced webmaster some keystrokes. It features a multiple file editor, multiple toolbars, custom menus, image and thumbnail dialogs, open from the web, CSS dialogs, PHP, SSI and RXML support, HTML validation and lots of wizards." I've seen a lot of good things said about this editor by other webmasters. Bluefish runs on Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Tru64/Alpha, NetBSD, OpenBSD, HP-UX and Mac OSX.

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