“This guide is for anyone who wants an online presence but doesn’t know which free website builder to pick.”
You might be asking questions like:
- “I want a website, but don’t have a big budget…how can I possibly afford one?”
- “I can’t code and I’m not technical…will I even be able to build a website?”
- “How do I decide which is the best free website builder to choose?”
If these sound familiar, then you’ve definitely reached the right page!
We’re here to make your life as easy as possible by giving you the lowdown on the best free website builders on the market.
This will save you the job of testing out loads of platforms trying to find the right one for you.
Below, we’ll run you through the best free website creators around, like Wix, Weebly and Jimdo, tell you the advantages + disadvantages of using a free website builder, and answer the most common questions about them.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what makes a good free website builder, which are the best platforms to use and how to choose the right one for your needs.
Click on the following links to jump to the specific sections:
- 8 Best Free Website Builders
- Best Free Website Builders For Online Stores
- Advantages Of Free Website Builders
- Disadvantages Of Free Website Builders
- The Best Free Website Builders – FAQs
- Conclusion: Choosing The Right Free Website Builder For You
THE 8 BEST FREE WEBSITE BUILDERS AROUND
“You may not have the budget to hire a professional web developer or the technical know-how to code a website from scratch, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a website of your own!”
But with so many platforms to choose from it’s no surprise that you might find it difficult knowing where to start.
It’s like going to movies – there’s a lot of films on but how do you know you’re going to see a good one without reading the reviews first?
That’s where we come in. Below you’ll find our expert thoughts on the best free website builders around – this will help point you in the right direction and save you the job of investing time and effort into testing lots of platforms that might not be right for you.
Before we really get stuck in, take a quick look at our 3 favorite free website builders:
(Best Free Website Builder For Small Businesses)
“Wix is far and away the best all-round free website builder on the market today.”
You’ll find it very easy to pick up and use thanks to a user-friendly ‘drag n drop’ editor that gives you the freedom to design your website as you see fit.
You simply select the element you want on your webpage (e.g. an image or a contact box, etc), use your mouse to select it and then drag it to where you want it, let go and that’s it!
‘Drag n drop’ editors enable you can create a stunning website in next to no time without knowing how to code at all – just watch the video below to see how easy it really is!
This versatility makes makes Wix a superb choice for almost any type of website.
And it’s especially useful if you’re looking to build a free website for your small business because you don’t need to commit hours to making a beautiful website, which frees you up to focus on more important matters like making sales.
Add to this a selection of more than 500 templates (all stunning and filled with demo content that you can easily replace), a huge choice of tools and elements like galleries, buttons, social media icons, etc. and Wix makes creating a website easier than ever.
You will find limitations to Wix’s free plan though. Your storage and bandwidth are both capped at just 500mb, preventing you from using too many images or videos on your site as well as potentially limiting how many visitors you can get.
With a free plan there will also be Wix ads on your site and you can’t use a personal domain (aka your personal website address).
To put this in context, Wix’s most popular paid plan removes all ads, lets you use a personal domain and provides unlimited bandwidth alongside 20x the storage space!
So to really push your website to the next level it might be worth considering a paid plan at some point down the line.
(Best Free Personal Website Builder)
“We like Weebly because it is one of the easiest to use free website makers around.”
It has a similar ‘drag n drop’ editor to Wix, which is extremely user-friendly.
Weebly doesn’t have quite as many features or tools as Wix but this can actually makes website building easier as there’s fewer distractions! For this reason we rate Weebly as the best choice of free personal website builder.
If you want to build a personal website for yourself to promote a hobby or yourself online, Weebly can help you do this quickly and easily without potentially overwhelming you with design options.
You get a decent choice of templates to pick from – although not as many as Wix offers – which cover most niches, so you’ll be able to find one that catches your eye.
Templates are also mobile responsive so your free website will look good on any device.
Not only will you find Weebly easy to use, but the whole platform makes website building very quick and efficient. Your user dashboard is clear, the tools are easy to master and the support guides are very helpful.
You only need to spend a couple of hours one evening and you will be ready to publish your site to the web before you go to bed. Sounds good right?
“Jimdo is a good choice of free website builder if you want an online presence but feel like you might need some hands-on support.”
The team behind Jimdo are very passionate about helping you build a free website and things are kept simple so you can jump right in.
This can be really handy if you’re new to the world of website building.
If you’ve tried out Wix and Weebly though, you’ll find Jimdo a bit lacking in comparison.
Still, Jimdo’s builder is quite easy to get to grips with, so you won’t need to spend long figuring out how to do things. This is definitely a time-saver and will help you get online sooner rather than later (phew!).
You get a pretty limited selection of templates though, so your choice is nowhere near as wide as it is with Wix or Weebly. However, Jimdo’s designs look attractive and are mobile responsive – so that’s a silver lining.
Jimdo can also help you to create a free online store, but we’ll look at this in a bit more detail below.
4) IM Creator
“If you’re looking to create an eye-catching free website with lots of images then IM Creator could be for you.”
IM creator focuses on helping you make a free website FAST (and I mean fast!).
Templates are pre-populated with content that you can quickly switch out with your own in the ‘drag n drop’ editor. This saves you the job of having to build or design anything from scratch.
We really like how IM Creator websites are both lean and professional looking. This helps you get online quickly without compromising on the look of your website, which is a nice weight off your shoulders.
IM Creator is nowhere near as comprehensive as Wix or Weebly, but you’ll find it a good choice of free website builder if you’re pressed for time, prefer not to get in too deep with an editor, or want a website that isn’t packed with too many features.
IM Creator keeps things nice and simple so that you find website building quick, easy and enjoyable.
“Webstarts is a free website builder that helps you create a stylish website quickly and easily.”
You’ll find a wide collection of attractive templates to choose from, which is always a big tick in our book.
The Webstarts editor is a user-friendly ‘drag n drop’ editor similar to Wix’s. It’s a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor so what you see on screen is what your visitors will see, which can help you save time when designing.
While not quite as handy as Wix’s in-editor tooltips, Webstarts video tutorial gets you up to speed on the key editor features the first time you sign in.
It’s important to bear in mind though that Webstarts’ free plan restricts full access to a lot of key features like contact forms and image galleries! Your site won’t be mobile responsive either, which is a huge drawback from our point of view.
You’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan to unlock Webstarts’ potential. If that is a turn-off for you then it might be worth looking at Wix or Weebly who offer a much more feature-rich free website builder.
“Webnode is a popular choice of free website maker with more than 30 million users around the world.”
It’s really easy to get set up with Webnodes and the whole website building process could be done in about 5 minutes – now that’s quick!
Webnode’s editor is very easy to use, but a lot less flexible than other builders like Weebly or Wix. It’s what I’d call a half-and-half ‘drag n drop’ editor.
You can move elements around but they will conform to predetermined designs. For example, if you move an image from the middle of the page to the right, the page design will change to accommodate this (see below), rather than simply let you put the image where you want.
It’s a quick and easy way of changing the look of your website. But it’s more like tweaking until you’re happy, which means your site might not look exactly as you want it to.
This makes Webnode a decent choice of free website builder if you can’t commit much time to working on a template design or want a builder with virtually zero learning curve – but it limits your creative potential compared to other builders on our list.
“We found SITE123 to be a simple to use website builder that focuses on helping you get online.”
An immediate drawback of SITE123 is that it doesn’t give you a choice of templates!
Instead you pick the type of website you want from 11 different categories (including portfolio, blog, music, cv, and the like.) and then you’re presented with a default website design. You’re free to edit this using the various tools.
So unlike Wix, Weebly, and other free website makers, who let you choose a template that takes your fancy, with SITE123 you can’t choose from various pre-populated designs. This can be more than a little frustrating (but potentially time-saving).
The editor is easy to get to grips with because you’re not given total freedom – you pick from pre-prepared styles + designs.
While it gets you online quickly and provides decent in-editor customer support (via live-chat), SITE123 is definitely not as versatile as other builders in this list.
But if you want a simple, no frills website building process then it’s worth trying out.
“Duda is a free website builder that specializes in responsive, mobile-friendly websites.”
Right off the bat, I must say I’m not comfortable with the amount of information Duda requires from me when I sign up. Why do they need my phone number, I’m not sure? SITE12
3 only needs a name and email. So I’m not a fan of that as it feels a bit intrusive and did make me hesitate…
Once you’re past that though (if you make it past – I don’t blame you for scrolling back up the list!), you can pick a template from one of the 100+ designs available.
It’s great that Duda care about ensuring your website looks great on mobile devices. It’s definitely something different in the market, which is pretty refreshing.
However, compared to the all-round flexibility of Wix and Weebly, Duda can feel quite inflexible because you are limited to working in slices and blocks, rather than given total creative freedom.
If you’re ok with this editorial rigidness and can get to grips with the initially overwhelming editor (it’s very busy), then Duda can help you create quite an attractive mobile-ready website.
If ease of use is high on your priorities list though, then you’re probably better looking at another free website builder.
BEST FREE WEBSITE BUILDERS FOR ONLINE STORES
“Having been involved with ecommerce websites and businesses in the past, I’m fully aware that running an online store costs money!”
This can include transaction fees, payment gateway fees, and all sorts of other little charges here and there that anyone familiar with ecommerce will know all too well about.
So it’s pretty impressive that you can actually build a free online store!
However, it’s important to let you know right now that the following free online store builders are severely limited compared to paid ones, but what the heck – they let you dip your toes into the world of online selling without costing you a penny.
So without further ado, here are the best website builders for creating a free online store:
|Features||Payments accepted||You Can Stock||Daily Sales Limit|
||PayPal||5 products max.||No Limit|
||PayPal||10 products max.||No Limit|
|10 products max.||20 sales max.|
As you can see, it is possible to create an online store for free, but it’ll be very hard to turn your store into a successful online business without paying for a premium account.
There’s just too many limitations on a free account, especially on the number of products you can stock and, subsequently, the amount of money you can make.
An alternative would be to consider Ecwid, which is a shopping cart plugin (think of it like an app on your phone) that you can add to a website you’ve already built. It’s really simple to use and it’s no harder to add to your website than a YouTube video is.
This can be a handy ecommerce fix if you’re on a tight budget, but you’ll still face issues around SEO (Search Engine Optimization – or refining your website so that it’s easier for users to find online) without upgrading to a paid ecommerce plan!
FREE WEBSITE BUILDERS – PROS
Is there anything better than getting something you want for free?
I can’t think of too many things!
Sure, you don’t get all the features with a free website builder, but the key thing is that you actually CAN make a website and it won’t cost you a single cent – I find that pretty amazing and I’m sure you do too!
2.Easy to use
Most free website builders have some form of ‘drag and drop’ editor, which is definitely easier than coding everything from scratch – believe me!
‘Drag n drop’ editors are exactly what they sound like. You click on elements and drag them to where you want them, release your finger from the mouse or trackpad and drop the element there! It couldn’t be simpler.
Be aware though that different platforms offer different degrees of editorial freedom, so it’s worth shopping around.
If you’re in a rush or not particularly technical and want an easy way of creating a website then using a website builder is definitely for you.
The fact you can make it for free is the cherry on top.
3.Wide choice of platforms
Besides our recommended free website builders above, there are literally hundreds to pick from online.
We’ve focused on the best general website builders on the market, but there are website making platforms that cater for a wide range of niches.
While you’re definitely spoiled for choice, it’s worth bearing in mind that the quality, ease of use and customer support varies massively between builders.
We recommend opting for Wix because it’s the most user-friendly platform, offers you the most features and has the biggest selection of templates – for a free website builder this is very impressive.
FREE WEBSITE BUILDERS – CONS
1.You’ll be missing out (because you get what you pay for!)
For some of you out there reading this, using a free website builder might be the most budget friendly-option you have of creating an online presence of your own.
Let me say right now that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this – we all come from different backgrounds and are in different situations!
Still, it’s important to point out that free website builders tend to limit or withhold a lot of features exclusively for paying users.
This means that those of you who choose to build a free website might find that:
- You have access to fewer templates (and the designs might not be as cool or good looking)
- You get limited bandwidth (which restricts the number of visitors your site can have)
- You have access to fewer editing tools
- The number of pages you can make are capped
- You won’t have access to certain features (like slideshows, image galleries, contact forms, etc)
- You lack social media integration
My point here is that if you can afford to spare a few dollars a month on a website builder then it is definitely worth your while.
2.Can’t use personal domain
A major drawback of using a free website builder is that you cannot connect a personal domain (your website address) to the website you create.
This not only means you end up with a website address that is potentially long, but also tricky to remember.
I think you’ll agree that www.mywixsite.tomsportfolio.com is definitely less memorable than www.tomsportfolio.com!
Not being able to use your own domain also has negative impacts on your on-site SEO and ability to rank highly in search engines like Google. I’ll explain this in more depth in the FAQs below.
One of the key ways free website makers financially sustain themselves is by advertising on your site.
Heck, you’re not paying for it so the website maker can pretty much do what they want to your website.
In this day and age, having a website covered in adverts not only looks unprofessional but looks untrustworthy too.
This is especially important if you’re hoping to make a website for your small business.
Take a second to think – when was the last time you spend significant amounts of time on a website covered in adverts? I’m betting it’s a pretty long time ago!
Thankfully, you can ditch those unsightly adverts for a monthly fee that costs as much as a burger from a fast food chain.
4.It’s very hard to grow your website
If you opt for a free website, then thinking about your long-term plans is definitely something you need to bear in mind.
Consider where you see your website in 5 years time. If you’re hoping to grow a business online what happens when you outgrow your free website? What if you want to use better templates and better tools?
Paid premium plans can be a cost-effective way of allowing your website to grow alongside you – and it doesn’t need to cost you the world.
It’s easy to move up the tiers as you need to.
This means you can scale up your storage space, bandwidth and functionality as your website requires it, without breaking the bank – doesn’t that sound like a wiser investment letting your website hit its limits and crash?
Think of it like a toll bridge. You can have a free single-lane bridge and charge the toll to one car at a time, or you can pay a little extra each month to expand your bridge. This lets more cars cross and allows you to make a lot more money from tolls than you could with a single lane.
THE BEST FREE WEBSITE BUILDERS – FAQs
1.How does the website builder make money if I use it for free?
Website builders make money in a couple of ways so that you can use them for free (hooray!).
The main method is through a ‘freemium’ model, in which the users who do have a paid account sustain everybody else.
The paying users get more functions and features for their money and this covers the cost of the wider community of non-paying users who only have access to a more limited version of the builder.
It’s exactly the same method used by 99% of games on your smartphone.
You can play a limited version of the game for free and wait a set amount of time until you can play again, or you can pay to access more features + levels right away. It’s the paying customers who sustain everybody else (but who reap the benefits of doing so).
The other way in which free website builders make money is through advertising on YOUR website.
That’s right – if you don’t pay for a plan then you’ll have to live with the fact that the builder will automatically advertise their logo on each of your website’s pages, which can look very unprofessional.
If you want a professional looking, ad-free website you should consider investing in a premium plan, which are actually more affordable than you might think!
2.Will my free website be on Google? Will it have good SEO?
Due to the way website builders work (especially free website builders), you may have to wait up to 3 months before your website appears in search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google.
This is because Google needs to ‘crawl’ your site first, work out what it’s all about and then index it. This is necessary for your website to appear in the relevant search results.
Think of it like a librarian adding a new book to a library. The librarian could just put it on a shelf and be done – but if it’s the wrong shelf then who will find it? However, if the librarian takes the time to find the right shelf for the book then it will be much easier to find for anyone looking for it!
So it’ll take a while for your free website to be indexed and start appearing in search results.
But even after it’s been crawled by Google, don’t expect your free website to appear on page one any time soon.
Well to put it simply – free website builders are not very SEO friendly.
One of the key reasons why is that you cannot connect a personal domain (aka your web address) when using a free website builder. This means that YOUR website is actually part of the website builder’s own site rather than being its own entity.
This is why with free website builders you’ll see things like ‘.mywixsite’ or ‘.weebly’ in your web address.
This will seriously impact your SEO. For maximum online visibility it’s worth weighing up the cost of investing in a paid premium plan so that you can use your own domain!
If ranking highly is important to you, it’s worth having a look at our comparison chart to see which paid website builder might suit you best.
3.Can I upgrade in the future?
In short, yes, you can upgrade to a paid premium plan whenever you want to.
Upgrading to a paid plan gives you access to all sorts of additional benefits, including:
- Extra tools
- More templates
- Additional features + functionality
- More storage space + more bandwidth
- Lets you use a custom domain (personal website address)
- And more…
All of our recommended free website builders above offer several tiers of paid plans.
This lets you pick the one best suited to your specific needs + budget.