The 8 Best Online Code Editors

The 8 Best Online Code Editors
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Whether you’re a developer, programmer, or designer, an online code editor is a great tool to have in your kit. Online code editors, also called cloud-based code editors, are convenient because they usually require no setup. Plus, it’s way easier to collaborate with someone over the cloud than a natively-installed app (hello pair programming).

If you’re in the market for a great online code editor, look no further. We’ve searched far and wide for the eight best cloud-based code editing apps (IDEs included). Let’s begin!

How online code editors improve code collaboration

One of the advantages of using an online code editor (rather than one that’s installed on your operating system) is easier collaboration. All you have to do is share a link to invite your colleagues — an incredibly convenient feature for when you need help with writing, reviewing, or debugging code.

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8 best online code editors

Below, find our top picks for online code editors, listed alphabetically. We made sure to include a wide selection of web applications, from ones that simply do the job to others that feature advanced functionality. Whether you’re looking for a standalone code editor or a full-on integrated development environment, you’re bound to find something perfect for your needs!

AWS Cloud9

AWS Cloud9 is a cloud-based IDE that lets you write, run, and debug your code with only a browser. You can run Cloud9 on a managed EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) instance or any Linux server that supports SSH. Cloud9 includes a code editor, of course, along with a built-in debugging tool and convenient features like syntax highlighting, code hinting, autocomplete, and application runners.

Let’s not forget about collaboration features. With AWS Cloud9, you can work with other team members in real-time, while taking advantage of the handy chat feature.

Pricing: You can use AWS Cloud9 for no additional cost. You only pay for the compute or storage resources needed to run and store your code. Click here for more details about how Amazon’s pricing works for Cloud9.

CodePen

CodePen calls itself a “social development environment” geared towards front-end designers and developers. The platform focuses on front-end programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, empowering you to instantly render code snippets to share. It’s great for demos, tutorials, and presentations. As a complete IDE, CodePen lets you build and test new projects straight from the browser.

Community is a big pillar of CodePen (hence “social development environment”), which is why you’ll find that many of the creations on the site are public and open-source. As a user, you can participate in weekly challenges and browse the community project gallery for daily inspiration!

Pricing: CodePen has four pricing tiers. Free comes with unlimited public Pens and Collections and unlimited templates. Starter begins at $8 a month and includes asset hosting (up to 2 GB storage, 5 MG per file), unlimited projects, live preview, and more. Developer starts at $12 a month, and Super starts at $26 a month. For the full comparison of features per plan, click here.

CodeSandbox

CodeSandbox is a code editor that’s tailored for rapid web development. It supports real-time collaboration, integrates with Github, and even provides templates for you to get started quickly. CodeSandbox works with JavaScript (including TypeScript) and has front-end and full-stack support. It supports UI frameworks like Vue, React, Angular, Preact, Svelte, Dojo, CX, Reason, and more. With the Team Pro plan, you can even retrieve npm packages from your own custom npm registry.  

Pricing: CodeSandbox offers free and paid plans. Whether you’re an individual or a team of up to five members, the free version offers plenty of functionality to learn and experiment with CodeSandbox. Team Pro starts at $15 per editor per month, and Personal Pro starts at $9 per month. The company also offers tailor-made plans for organizations who want advanced functionality and more flexibility. For the full comparison of plans, click here.

Gitpod

Next up is Gitpod, an online IDE that uses VS Code as its code editor. Gitpod brings the beauty of CI (continuous integration) into your cloud development workflow. Gitpod continuously builds and tests your git branches, so that you never have to wait for anything (ahem, dependencies) before you start coding. This platform is all about creating a frictionless work environment for people who code and collaborate with others. One Capterra reviewer wrote:

“I worked with Gitpod on a freelancer project in which I collaborated with 4 other developers. I was able to work from the first minute since they gave me my account set up and I didn't have to download anything or make any configurations on my machine. If you have already worked with VS Code, Gitpod will be very familiar to you. It has all the power of VS Code from your browser, connects seamlessly to your repository and you can test your code with its CI system. A nice feature is being able to do code reviews directly from the IDE.”

Pricing: Gitpod is free to use for up to 50 hours a month and includes four parallel workspaces. For 100 hours a month, you pay $9 per user monthly with the personal plan. For unlimited hours and eight parallel workspaces, you pay $25 per user monthly with the professional plan. Finally, the unleashed plan costs $39 per user monthly and comes with 16 parallel workspaces and more. See the full pricing breakdown here.

JS Bin

JS Bin is a text editor that lets you see, in real-time, your embedded code as you’re writing it. You can test your code snippets directly in the browser, then export it as a text file. JS Bin is specifically designed for JavaScript and CSS. Users love it for its simple, uncluttered interface. Thanks to its CodeCasting feature, JS Bin is especially valuable for beginners, as teachers find it helpful to teach HTML and CSS.

Pricing: You can get started with JS Bin for free. JS Bin also offers a premium plan for $16 per month or $128 per year. With the premium plan, you get unlimited private and public bins, unlimited embeds (with custom theming), 1 GB storage for your uploaded assets, unique vanity URLs, and more.

JSFiddle

If you’re looking for something lightweight that’ll allow you write and share code quickly, JSFiddle is a great option. Although it’s a front-end editor only, developers love JSFiddle because it’s free, offers plenty of boilerplates (e.g. jQuery, Vue, React, React + JSX, Preact, TypeScript, CoffeeScript, SCSS, CSS Grid, Bootstrap) and includes text formatting.

Pricing: JSFiddle is free to use.

StackBlitz

StackBlitz is an online IDE that lets you create Angular and React projects. It’s also built on Visual Studio Code, so VS Code users are sure to find StackBlitz’s interface familiar. What’s also great is that StackBlitz automatically deploys and hosts all applications on their servers for free!

Other notable features include instant bug reports, interactive documentation, and rapid prototyping. StackBlitz also lets you import npm packages and edit code offline.

Pricing: StackBlitz is free with unlimited Public projects and Github repositories. For unlimited file uploads, upgrade to the Astronaut plan starting at $8.25 per month. Team and enterprise plans are also available. Click here for more details!

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code, or VS Code for short, is a standalone source code editor that’s free to use. It’s part of the same family of Microsoft products that also includes Visual Studio, which is a comprehensive IDE (made for Mac, Windows, and Linux). Users praise this online code editor for its support of several programming languages (e.g. Java, Python, Node.js), simple UI, customizability, and built-in command line interface. It also includes IntelliSense, which gives you smart completions based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules. It’s like syntax highlighting and autocomplete on a whole ‘nother level. Take a look at what one tech lead shared about his experience with VS Code on Capterra

“It simplified my development flow as I was able to replace Visual Studio with VS Code for most of my non-.net development needs. I now use VS Code for all lightweight backend work and for all the frontend JavaScript work. Navigation, search and replace and tooling integration is much better than most full-blown IDEs. Tasks and Build tasks are gold.”

Pricing: Visual Studio Code is completely free for private and commercial use.

Improve productivity with code editors

For developers and programmers, finding the right code editor can mean a world of difference when it comes to productivity — that goes for both native and cloud-based apps. That’s because code editors are brimming with industry-specific features that make writing code faster and easier, features like autocomplete, syntax highlighting, indentation, and other shortcuts. Compared to your standard word processor, it’s a no-brainer that code editors are great for your workflow.

But, every programmer knows that productivity isn’t as simple as finding the most perfect code editor. It also comes down to how you manage your time. If you’re a programmer whose days are filled with back-to-back meetings, with very little space for deep work, try out Clockwise for free. Clockwise is a time orchestration software that optimizes your schedule for Focus Time and your personal work preferences. It even works with other members on your team for greater team alignment.

About the author

Judy Tsuei

Judy Tsuei is a Simon & Schuster author, speaker, and podcast host. She’s been featured in MindBodyGreen, BBC Travel, Fast Company, Hello Giggles, and more. As the founder of Wild Hearted Words, a creative marketing agency for global brands, Judy is also a mentor with the Founder Institute, the world's largest pre-seed accelerator. Judy advocates for mental and emotional health on her popular podcast, F*ck Saving Face. Follow along her journey at WildHeartedWords.com.

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