No, Webflow is not open source. It is a proprietary platform developed and maintained by the Webflow company. While Webflow offers a visual and code-free approach to web design and development, it does not make its underlying source code available to the public.
However, Webflow does have some traits of an open-source system that make it attractive even to designers, devs, and marketers who are looking for open-source solutions.
Webflow Isn’t a Completely Closed System
Here are some features that make Webflow resemble an open-source tool.
- API access — Webflow provides API access, allowing users to interact with their websites programmatically. This feature enables developers to create custom integrations and automate tasks, similar to what can be done with open-source systems that offer extensive API capabilities.
- Custom CMS — Webflow's CMS (Content Management System) enables users to define custom content structures and dynamic content.
- Third-party integrations — Webflow allows users to integrate with various third-party services and tools, such as payment gateways, analytics platforms, and marketing automation systems.
- Template customization — Users can start with Webflow's templates and extensively customize them to suit their needs. This template-based approach, combined with the ability to edit code and styles, offers a degree of design and layout flexibility bigger than most open-source themes and templates.
- Collaboration — Webflow offers team collaboration features, allowing multiple users to work on a project simultaneously. This feature facilitates collaborative development, which is common in open-source communities where contributors work together to improve projects.
Then again, we shouldn’t completely neglect that Webflow is a closed system. Here are a few reasons why Webflow is not an open-source platform:
- Closed source code — Webflow's source code is not publicly accessible or available for modification. Unlike open-source projects where anyone can contribute to the codebase, Webflow's code is tightly controlled by its development team.
- Subscription model — Webflow operates on a subscription-based pricing model, which means users pay for access to the platform's features and hosting services. On the other hand, open-source software is typically free to use and can be self-hosted without any cost.
- Limited customization — While Webflow offers a high degree of customization through its visual interface, it has limitations compared to open-source platforms. With open-source solutions, developers have more control over the code and can customize it extensively to meet specific requirements.
- Webflow hosting — Webflow's hosting services is proprietary and tightly integrated with the platform. In contrast, open-source solutions offer flexibility in choosing hosting providers.
Advantages of Webflow Compared to Open-Source Builders
Here are some of the main perks of using Webflow compared to its open-source counterparts.
- User-friendly interface — Webflow's intuitive interface allows users to design and build websites without coding skills, making it accessible to a wider audience, including designers with limited technical knowledge.
- All-in-one solution — Webflow provides an integrated ecosystem for design, development, hosting, and content management, eliminating the need to find and integrate multiple third-party tools and plugins.
- Streamlined workflow — With Webflow, you can design, develop, and host your website within a single platform, reducing compatibility issues and simplifying the entire website-building process.
- Reliable hosting — Webflow offers robust hosting services that ensure fast load times and reliable website performance, whereas open-source platforms often require users to find their own hosting solutions.
- Efficiency — Webflow's integrated approach saves time and effort, allowing users to focus on design and content creation rather than troubleshooting technical issues.
- Security — Webflow takes care of security updates and maintenance, reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities compared to open-source platforms where users are responsible for these tasks.
- Professional results — Webflow enables users to create professional-looking websites quickly, even if they lack coding expertise, thanks to its design and development features.
- Clean code — This is perhaps the most important feature. Webflow writes clean code, unlike open source tools, where third-party widgets often mess the code, making the sits slow and laggy.
Webflow and External Integrations: Is It Possible?
Being a closed system, one would assume that Webflow has various limits in terms of integrating with external tools and services.
While it doesn’t have the flexibility of some open-source CMSs, it’s still pretty flexible, and a range of tools can be integrated to help you with your website building and maintenance.
So, yes, it's not only possible to use and integrate external systems, but it’s actually pretty common.
For example, Webflow can be integrated with Shopify, a popular e-commerce platform. This integration allows you to leverage the robust e-commerce capabilities of Shopify while designing and managing your website in Webflow. By integrating Shopify, you can seamlessly embed product listings, shopping carts, and checkout functionality into your Webflow site, providing a smooth and secure online shopping experience for your customers.
Conclusion: Should You Use Webflow?
Let’s be honest: Webflow isn’t and shouldn’t be everyone’s #1 choice. It’s mail intended for people who want to build websites without focusing on code too much yet retaining all the flexibility that 100% code sites have.
It’s also aimed at organizations who want to create websites that don’t require too much of dev power to run and maintain. Webflow makes this possible through an intuitive interface that makes it easy to create and publish entire content collections.
Moreover, it’s a paid solution, so if you’re aiming at publishing a site on a custom domain and unlocking all Webflow’s capabilities, you’ll have to pick one of the paid pricing plans. That said, Webflow basic plan is free of charge, and it allows you to use Webflow’s primary tool for building sites: Webflow Designer. Therefore, if your budget is really limited, you should consider an alternative.
If you decide to go with Webflow and you need professional assistance from Webflow experts, feel free to get in touch with Flow Ninja and learn how Webflow sites can be turned into highly engaging websites that convert visitors into leads and customers.