I have evaluated over 130 HTML editors for Windows against over 40 different criteria relevant to professional web designers and developers. The following editors are the 10 best free HTML WYSIWYG editors for Windows, in order from best to worst.
Each editor below will have a score, percentage, and a link to a more detailed review. All reviews were completed between September and November 2010. And this list was compiled on November 7, 2009.
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See all the free web editor reviews.
SeaMonkey is the Mozilla project all-in-one Internet application suite. It includes a web browser, email and newsgroup client, IRC chat client, and composer — the web page editor. One of the nice things about using SeaMonkey is that you have the browser built-in already so testing is a breeze. Plus it's a free WYSIWYG editor with an embedded FTP to publish your web pages.
Score: 139 / 45%
Alleycode is a free web editor that focuses on search engine optimization. There are a lot of built-in features and links to the Alleycode website so that you can check your site ranking, optimize your meta data, and otherwise improve your search rankings. While I don't recommend sites that “guarantee” top-level ranking like Alleycode does, that doesn't mean that their web editor isn't any good. One feature I really like is the conversion tool to convert HTML tags and text from upper to lowercase and back. Very handy.
According to their website: Alleycode will no longer be supported or upgraded after January 1, 2010.
Score: 136.5 / 44%
Amaya is the W3C web editor. It also acts as a web browser. It validates the HTML as you build your page, and since you can see the tree structure of your web documents, it can be very useful for learning to understand the DOM and how your documents look in the document tree. It has a lot of features that most web designers won’t ever use, but if you’re worried about standards and you want to be 100% sure that your pages work with the W3C standards, this is a great editor to use.
Score: 135 / 44%
KompoZer is a good WYSIWYG editor. It was originally based on the popular Nvu editor and is now based on the Mozilla platform. It is a “what you see is what you get” editor with built-in file management and FTP to get your pages to your web hosting provider. It is easy to use and, best of all, it's free. The latest stable release has been stalled at 0.7.1 for a while, but if you're willing to use beta software, there are beta versions in many languages, with the latest being released in March 2010.
Score: 127 / 41%
Nvu is a good WYSIWYG editor. I prefer text editors to WYSIWYG editors, but if you don’t, then Nvu is a good choice, especially considering that it’s free. I love that it has a site manager to allow you to review the sites that you’re building. It's surprising that this software is free. Feature highlights: XML support, advanced CSS support, full site management, built-in validator, and international support as well as WYSIWYG and color coded XHTML editing.
Score: 125 / 40%
Trellian WebPage is one of the few free web editors that offers both WYSIWYG functionality and image editing within the software. It also allows you to use Photoshop plugins to customize it even more. A great feature of this software is the SEO toolkit. This can help you analyze your page and improve its ranking in search engines.
Score: 119 / 38%
Selida is a WYSIWYG web page editor for Windows. It offers a lot of features that make it easy to edit web pages and is free. It is a fine editor for professional web designers. However, the Selida website says that it is no longer being maintained, so I don’t recommend using it.
Score: 117 / 38%
Serif WebPlus Starter Edition is a free version of Serif WebPlus. It has many of the same features as WebPlus, but with a few greyed-out until you purchase the full version. It is primarily a WYSIWYG editor and would be fine for some small sites — as long as you only have 5 pages on the site.
Score: 110 / 35%
XStandard is an HTML editor that is embedded into the web page itself. This is not exactly an editor for everyone, but if you need to allow people who visit your sites the opportunity to edit HTML and you need valid HTML and CSS, this is a good solution. The Lite version can be used commercially for free, but doesn't include features like spell-checking, customization, and extensibility. This is a good tool for web developers who include CMS so their clients can maintain the sites themselves.
Score: 96 / 31%
The free version of Dynamic HTML Editor is a few revisions back from the paid version and it’s only free for non-profits and personal use. But if that is you, and you don’t want to learn anything other than file transfers for getting your web pages to your host, then this program would work fine. It has some graphics editing and is easy to drag and drop the elements around on the page.
Score: 92 / 30%