Text editors for websites

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If you're not using Drupal, Joomla!, or WordPress as the framework for your website, and you are responsible for updating its content (or want to be), you'll need some software to do so. The aforementioned frameworks have browser-based page creation and editing features built into them. If your website is (or will be) straight HTML / CSS you'll need either a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) or text-based editor.

Unless you absolutely cannot make sense of text-based editors, WYSIWG editors should be avoided. They excel at ease of use, but are greatly lacking in other areas. The code behind the finished pages they create is often 'bloated' - they are usually much larger in file-size than they need to be. This used to be much more of a concern than it is with today's high speed internet connections, but don't you want to serve up your pages to your visitors as quickly as possible? Also, the "under the hood" or "behind the curtain" code they create is often nearly unintelligible to anyone. While that may not be absolutely true, if you turn your site over to a professional webmaster for anything other than a minor update, he/she might charge you to completely rewrite your site rather than to try to deal with the maze of code most WYSIWYG editors create.

Since this writer is not a WYSIWYG-user, the following may or may not be true, but if you intend to use a WYSIWYG editor, you should be very sure the pages they create will display as intended in all the major browsers and on all the devices in use today (desktops/laptops, and tablets and smartphones).

Clicking on any of the links below will open a new window or tab and take you to another website. Phase One has no control over these websites. Please use caution when visiting them. And, as with all free software, please investigate before downloading to be sure they are safe and free from malware.


  • PSPad : "a freeware code editor for Windows. The universal freeware editor, useful for people who: work with plain text - the editor has a wealth of formatting functions, including a spell checker; create web pages - as a web authoring editor, PSPad contains many unique tools that save your time."
  • Komodo Edit : A free, fast multi-language editor. Komodo Edit is a lean editor with a sleek interface. You'll enjoy excellent coding in many web languages, including Python, PHP, Ruby, Perl, HTML, CSS and JavaScript."
  • BlueGriffon™ : (Free, cross platform) "BlueGriffonTM – The next-generation web editor based on Gecko, the rendering engine of Firefox, it's a modern and robust solution to edit web pages in conformance to the latest web standards."
  • Aptana Studio 2 : (Free, Windows) "The world's leading IDE for building open web applications. Why are Web developers world-wide choosing Aptana Studio? They've discovered that Aptana Studio offers unprecedented support for web app development combined with today's popular Web platforms. Download Studio as standalone tool or plug it into Eclipse to see for yourself. It's your choice."
  • AceHTML Freeware : (Free, Windows) "A powerful, free HTML editor, AceHTML comes packed with outstanding features. Although this Web page authoring software is completely free, it offers a solid collection of tools to help novices and professional webmasters build Websites with speed, ease, and convenience."
  • KompoZer : (Free, cross platform) "Easy Web Authoring! KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking website without needing to know HTML or web coding."
  • Nvu : (Free, cross platform) "Nvu is designed to be extremely easy to use. Nvu allows you to create web pages as easily as typing letters using a word processor, and then publish them to your website just by saving the document. Even though it's designed for the novice web designer, Nvu is also ideal for experienced web programmers who want to save time in creating content or web design. You can quickly toggle between the WYSIWYG editing mode and the HTML code mode, just by changing tabs. The bottom line is that Nvu is ideal for anyone who wants to quickly create web pages."
  • Arachnophilia : (Free, cross platform) "Arachnophilia is a Web page development workshop and general programming tool."
  • CodeLobster PHP Edition : (Free, Windows) "Free portable IDE for PHP/HTML/CSS/JavaScript development. Codelobster PHP Edition streamlines and simplifies PHP development process."
  • Notepad++ : is a free Windows source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages.

Paid For

  • EditPad Lite : (Free/$24.95, Windows) EditPad Lite is a compact general-purpose text editor. Use EditPad Lite to easily edit any kind of plain text file. EditPad Lite has all the essential features to make text editing a breeze.
  • EditPlus : ($35, Windows) "EditPlus is a text editor, HTML editor, PHP editor, Java editor and Hex Viewer for Windows. While it can serve as a good Notepad replacement, it also offers many powerful features for Web page authors and programmers."
  • NoteTab : ($39.95, Windows) "For some NoteTab is simply the best Notepad replacement out there. For webmasters it's the fastest HTML editor. For others it's the most versatile text editor. For power users it's a unique text-processing work horse."
  • Sublime Text : ($70, cross platform) "Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose. You'll love the slick user interface, extraordinary features and amazing performance."


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