11 Best Free Website Builders in 2020

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best free website builders

This guide is for anyone who wants to create a free website but doesn’t know which website builder to pick. You might be thinking that a free website builder sounds too good to be true. We thought so too, once upon a time but there’s actually some real quality out there.

We’ve sorted the good from the bad using our own independent research process. As part of this, we get people like you to test each free website maker and give us their feedback, which we use to rate each platform on factors like ease of use and design flexibility.

Of course, we’ve also thoroughly tested these builders ourselves. And whether it’s garish advertising, a messy-looking domain name, or restricted storage, you can be sure we’ll cover each free plan’s ‘cons’ in plenty of detail (with screenshots) so you can make an informed decision.

Here are the 11 best free website builders:

  1. Wix – Best All-Around Website Builder. Read review
  2. Weebly – Ideal for Small Businesses. Read review
  3. SITE123 – Great Design Assistance. Read review
  4. WordPress – Perfect for Blogging. Read WordPress.com review
  5. GoDaddy – Best for Building a Site Quickly. Read review.
  6. Strikingly – Made for Simple Websites. Read review
  7. Jimdo – Small Online Store Builder. Read review
  8. SimpleSite – Great Mobile Editor. Read review
  9. Webnode – Quick and Easy Setup. Read review
  10. IM Creator – Great for White Label Businesses. Read review
  11. Mozello – Create Simple Multilingual Sites. Read review

Why is Squarespace not on our list?

We really rate Squarespace as a website builder, but unfortunately it doesn’t offer a free plan, just a 14-day free trial. The eleven builders featured on this list all offer a free plan you can stay on for as long as you wish, with no pressure to upgrade.

We’re pretty proud of our research process, because not many sites can say they’ve carried out such in-depth testing before making recommendations. Here’s how our in-house research team go about finding the best website builders on the market.

Every single builder goes through our thorough research process. We investigate important areas such as:

  • Ease of use
  • Design flexibility
  • Value for money
  • Feature quality
  • Help and support
  • Customer satisfaction

This helps us rate and compare the builders fairly, focusing on important factors that users have told us matter most.

We even get groups of everyday people to test the builders out and give us feedback, which we then analyze. This helps us:

  • understand exactly how easy (or difficult) beginners find the builder
  • uncover any issues within the builder
  • judge customer satisfaction

We’ve applied this process to over 50 website builders so far – all so we can bring you the most accurate results and recommendations!

Still got questions? Read our report on How We Conduct Our Website Builder Research for a more detailed explanation.

Of these free website makers, we’ve ranked Wix, Weebly and SITE123, as the top three because of a few important factors. Wix has a very generous free plan, which is super easy to use – it combines creative freedom with tons of features. Weebly’s simple, stylish designs and handy tools make it ideal for small businesses. SITE123 is very beginner-friendly, with a focus on helping you get online.

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 you.

Further Information

1

Wix

Best All-Around Website Builder

Wix is by far the best overall free website builder on the market today.

What about ads?

There’s a fairly noticeable banner ad across the top of free Wix sites.

What will my domain name look like?

yourname.wix.com/customname

How much storage will I get?

500MB

Wix Pros Wix Cons
Easy to use drag-and-drop functionality Free plan domain names look like this: yourname.wixsite.com/yoursite – they’re not the catchiest!
Wide range of templates The free plan sticky ads are very noticeable
Majority of features available on free plan Can’t change your template once your site goes live
Endless scope for customization

With Wix, you can create and publish your site without spending a cent – ever. Considering Wix is our top-rated website builder, this is huge news!

Ease of use

Wix had the highest customer score of any builder we put through user testing, meaning it was the platform people were most likely to recommend. It’s simple and intuitive, and scored 4.3/5 for ease of use.

Templates

With its selection of more than 500 templates – most of which are free – and a huge choice of tools and elements, like galleries, buttons, and social media icons, Wix makes creating a website easier than ever.

wix-free-site-ads-example
Most Wix templates are available to users of its free plan – including this one, ‘Landscape Photography’

Free plan limitations

You will find limitations to Wix’s free plan, though. For starters, there’s a banner ad for Wix which stays in place as you scroll down the site. It’s fairly subtle, but a bit intrusive. 

You also can’t use a personal domain (aka a custom website address) your domain will follow the format yourname.wixsite.com/yoursite. So instead of lucycarneyphotography.com, you’ll be stuck with lucycarney5.wixsite.com/lcarneyphotography (you’re restricted to 20 characters for the ‘yoursite’ part of your address). 

With the free plan, storage and bandwidth are both capped at just 500MB. This will prevent you from using too many images or videos on your site, as well as potentially limiting how many visitors you can get. You also can’t sell any products through Wix on its free plan.

Premium plans

Premium plans start at $13/month. Wix is the best value website builder with a value for money score of 4.5/5, so if you do ever decide to upgrade you’re in good hands!

Wix’s most popular paid plan is its Unlimited plan, aimed at entrepreneurs and freelancers. For $17/month, it removes all ads, lets you use a personal domain, and provides unlimited bandwidth – as well as 20x more storage space!
logo-wix-100x100

Wix is the builder our users were most impressed by

88% of people in our user testing would recommend Wix. Build your free site to find out what all the fuss is about!

For more information on Wix, read the following:

  • Wix Review – If you’re looking for more information on Wix then this is a great place to start.
  • Wix Pricing Guide – We take a closer look at the costs of each Wix premium plan and what you get for your money.

2

Weebly

Ideal for Small Businesses

Weebly is one of the easiest to use free website makers around, with a great plan for small businesses.

What about ads?

There’s a small slide up ad in the bottom left hand corner (see screenshots below)

What will my domain name look like?

yoursite.weebly.com

How much storage will I get?

500MB (with a 10MB limit per upload)

Weebly Pros Weebly Cons
A reasonable free plan domain name: yoursite.weebly.com Limited features on free plan
Sell for free (currently US only) Not as much creative freedom as Wix
Good SEO prompts – ideal for businesses that want to be found through Google Pop up ad in the corner is quite distracting

Weebly has a similar ‘drag-and-drop’ editor to Wix, which is extremely user-friendly. Combine this ease of use with its great SEO tools, plus lots of room for growth to scale your website, and Weebly stands out as the best free website builder for small businesses. It achieved the best features score of any builder we’ve tested (4.2/5). If you’re in the US, you can even sell from your free Weebly site, although you’ll pay a 3% transaction fee on each sale.

Templates

Weebly offers a decent selection of templates – although not as many as Wix – which covers most niches, including businesses, blogs, events, and portfolios. You can easily get a professional-looking site live in just a couple of hours.

Weebly free plan ads
With a free Weebly plan, you’ll have a small slideup ad in the corner of your site. It’s pretty subtle, although when you scroll over it, it ‘slides up’ to look like the image below:
weebly free plan ad example
Whether you’d prefer this or a bigger ‘sticky’ ad (as with Wix) is up to you!

Templates are also mobile responsive so your free website will look good on any device, without any input from you! With over 50% of traffic originating from mobile devices, it’s important your site is fully optimized.

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.

Ecommerce

The free version is good, but if you love it enough you might want to think about upgrading. This is essential for anyone who wants to sell online, as you have to upgrade to unlock Weebly’s ecommerce features.

Premium plans

Weebly is particularly impressive when you sign up to the Pro plan ($12/month), which will give you unlimited storage and let you remove ads. You can’t enjoy these features on the Personal plan.

weebly_logotype

Weebly's free plan is one of the most generous

Weebly is the perfect platform for small businesses, and one of he easiest website builders to get to grips with.

For more information on Weebly, read the following:

  • Weebly Review – Our in-depth look at Weebly will tell you everything you need to know about this free website maker!
  • Weebly Pricing Guide – We take a closer look at the costs of each Weebly paid plan.
  • Wix vs Weebly – We compare the differences between Wix and Weebly to help you decide!

3

SITE123

Great Design Assistance

SITE123 is a simple to use website builder that focuses on helping you get online.

What about ads?

There’s a very subtle banner along the bottom which appears after the user scrolls a little down the page.

What will my domain name look like?

yoursite.site123.me

How much storage will I get?

500MB

SITE123 Pros SITE123 Cons
No adverts visible when you first land on the site Free domain name ends ‘.me’, instead of the stronger ‘.com’
Brilliant 24/7 help and support via live chat Little creative freedom
Site123 chooses a template for you, making it a good option for non-creatives Limited choice of website templates, which look dated compared to competitors’

An immediate drawback of SITE123 is that it doesn’t give you a choice of templates. 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.

Design assistant

Instead, you’re relying on SITE123’s design assistant. You pick the type of website you want from eleven different categories (including portfolio, blog, music and CV), before being presented with a default website design. Although you can amend the default design to some extent, SITE123 scored poorly for design flexibility overall (2.9/5).

site 123 free site example
When you first land on the site, no SITE123 ads are visible – a huge plus
site 123 free site ad example
When you start to scroll down the site, a simple banner appears

SITE123’s free domain name format is yoursite.site123.me. The .me ending is less powerful than a .com option, but otherwise it’s pretty reasonable. 

Help and support

SITE123 gets you online quickly, and provides decent customer support via live chat. Help and support is one area free plans often do poorly in, so this is a real plus. 

It’s definitely not as versatile or modern as other free website builders in this list, but if you want a simple, no frills website building process, then SITE123 is worth trying out. 

site123 top free website builder logo

SITE123 gives you a helping hand with design

SITE123’s design assistance takes the hassle out of finding the right look for your site.

Read more:

  • Our SITE123 Review tells you all you need to know about this top free website builder

4

WordPress.com

Perfect for Blogging

Made for blogging, this free platform has all the features you need for your blog, combining powerful tools with a simplified website builder design.

What about ads?

Small white banner across the top of the site, with a WordPress button in the top right corner.

What will my domain name look like?

yoursite.yourtopic.blog

How much storage will I get?

3GB

WordPress.com Pros WordPress.com Cons
Perfect for blogging Some coding may be required – not very beginner-friendly
Best domain name format of any free plan Templates and designs are focused on blogging
Wide range of free templates

Features

WordPress.com is built for blogging, and it shows. Extensive blogging features are automatically built-in, such as analytics, a search feature, comments, display categories, archiving, and more. There’s also 3GB of storage on offer, which is six times that of every platform on this list (except for GoDaddy, which has no limit on storage). 

Heads up: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

This review covers WordPress.com, which is a simplified version of WordPress that functions like a website builder. WordPress.org, on the other hand, is a content management system (CMS) that can organize and store a lot more content, but demands a bit more technical know-how. We’ve written a full comparison of these two WordPress platforms if you’d like to learn more! If not, then read on for our review of WordPress.com.

Ease of use

You might still find WordPress.com a little tricky to use if you don’t have much technical knowhow, though. You can get by without needing to code, but chances are you’ll need to know the basics to get the most out of this platform.

wordpress.com top free website builder for blogging
WordPress.com is the best free website builder for blogging, with its powerful blogging features and streamlined design.

If you’re fairly tech-confident but don’t want to pay a dime to create your blog, then WordPress.com is a top choice. The WordPress.com free domain is also the only one to not include the name of the builder – for the site below, our domain name was lucyskitchennightmares.food.blog (the food.blog is automatically assigned based on the ‘purpose’ you set for your site).

wordpress.com free site ads
Here's the food blog we created. It's pretty simple, as you can see

Design customization

However, if you aren’t a blogger, you may struggle to customize your site to your liking. This is where WordPress.com falls – it starts to feel limiting when you try to create anything other than a blog with its templates. It was the platform our users were least likely to recommend after testing, and also came out last for ease of use with a score of just 3.2/5.

Because of this, we don’t recommend WordPress.com for those who need a highly customized business or personal site.

For more information:

5

GoDaddy

Best for building a site quickly

GoDaddy has only recently started offering a free version of its website builder, and its trademark speedy setup makes it perfect for whipping up a free website in a rush. 

What about ads?

A tiny note in the footer section to say your site was built with GoDaddy.

What will my domain name look like?

yoursite.godaddysites.com

How much storage will I get?

Unlimited

GoDaddy Pros GoDaddy Cons
Lightning fast site setup Limited selection of industries to choose from
Super easy to add features like messaging and pop-ups
Unlimited storage on free plan

GoDaddy now offers a free version of its new and improved website builder, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing.

Speed of setup

This is a really generous free plan, with unlimited storage on offer, meaning no caps on content and pages. It’s also really quick to set up – the screenshots below show a website very much in progress, but we were able to get to this stage (and hit publish) in under two minutes. If you have an idea you want to get off the ground quickly, we think this is the best builder for the job.

If you’re not that fussed about having loads of control over design (as with Wix), but don’t want something as rigid as SITE123, GoDaddy offers a kind of happy medium.

GoDaddy free website builder example
From signing up to pressing publish, the website above took only two minutes to make. You can change the theme after publishing for ongoing edits
GoDaddy free website builder examples
A tiny note to the right in the footer is the only form of advertising

Design

GoDaddy’s designs are sleek, although you could end up with a website that looks a little generic. This is the trade-off for a quick, design-assisted setup.

The language and layout used in the editor means that editing is genuinely easy for anyone without tech experience. Advertising is extremely minimal, with just a small note in the footer, and ‘godaddysites’ included in the domain name.

Premium plans

Although you can access many great features on the free plan, including adding a messaging system and pop-up in just a couple of clicks, much of what makes GoDaddy a great platform (namely a ton of extra marketing features) are kept under the lock and key of a premium subscription, which is fair enough. Upgrading for these extras is simple, and prices start at just $10/month.

6

Strikingly

Made for Simple Websites

An easy-to-use free builder which creates simple, stylish, one-page websites.

What about ads?

Very small scroll-triggered slide up ad in the bottom left corner.

What will my domain name look like?

yoursite.strikingly.com

How much storage will I get?

500MB

Strikingly Pros Strikingly Cons
Subtle advertising on the free plan Sites built on the free plan don’t include an SSL certificate
24/7 customer support from ‘happiness officers’ via live chat You can only create one-page sites
Ability to sell one product per free plan Limited ability to edit templates, meaning a lack of creative control

Strikingly creates one-page websites with a pre-formed design of your choice. Unlike many other free website builders, you can change your template as many times as you wish once your site is live.

Strikingly’s core focus is getting you online cheaply, easily, and quickly. Because of this, you don’t have the same level of creative control as some of the more intuitive website builders, like Wix.

strikingly free site example
No adverts are visible when you first land on a free Strikingly site, and the templates are pretty stylish
strikingly free site ad example
As you scroll a little down the page, this tiny ad appears at the bottom of the screen

Free plan features

With Strikingly’s free plan, you can create as many free websites as you please. You’ll also get a 5GB monthly bandwidth, 24/7 customer support, and the ability to sell one product per site through the Simple Store function. 

Strikingly’s advertising is arguably the most subtle of any builder so far, and the domain name format – yoursite.strikingly.com – is especially decent. For example, for this site, our domain name was lucyssupersidehustle.strikingly.com.

Limitations

The downside, however, is that – unlike all the builders listed above – Strikingly’s free plan doesn’t include an SSL certificate. This means your site will be flagged as ‘Not secure’ to anyone trying to visit it – not good! 

Premium plans

For that reason, we’d suggest trying out Strikingly’s free plan, then upgrading to the ‘Limited’ paid plan for just $8 a month once you’re happy. You’ll get a custom domain, up to 50GB of bandwidth per month, and the ability to sell up to five products on your site, making it very good value for money.

strikingly logo

Strkingly is a great choice for one-page websites

Easy setup and subtle advertising make Strikingly a winning choice for any simple website.

Find out more:

7

Jimdo

A Good ‘Pre-store’ Option

Jimdo is a good choice of free website builder if you want to set up an online store and sell through your site at a later date.

What about ads?

Tiny note in the footer of your website to say it was built using Jimdo.

What will my domain name look like?

your-site.jimdosite.com

How much storage will I get?

500MB

Jimdo Pros Jimdo Cons
Nice aesthetics Difficult to use drag-and-drop functionality
Charges the least to remove adverts from your site Lacks design and creative control
No Jimdo banner or pop-ups ads, just a note in the footer

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.

Design and setup

If you’ve tried out Wix and Weebly, you’ll find Jimdo a bit lacking in comparison. The template selection is also much more limited.

The prompts at the beginning do mean you can get a website set up really quickly, and avoid the problem of being overwhelmed with choice. There are also no banner or pop-up Jimdo ads with the free plan, just a tiny note in the footer.

jimdo free site example
Here’s an example of a simple website we created using Jimdo
jimdo free site example ad
A tiny note in the footer is the only giveaway that you’re not using a paid plan

The domain name format is fairly standard: your-site.jimdosite.com. For this site, for example, ours was lucy-bakes.jimdosite.com

All in all, we’d recommend Jimdo if you need a quick and easy website to provide a backdrop for an online Facebook store or similar. It’s really easy (and fairly cheap) to upgrade your plan to enable ecommerce through the website itself, if you choose to do this later down the line. 

Looking for a simple storefront?

Jimdo is ideal for building a simple storefront for your ecommerce business, whether you’re already selling on social media or just starting out.

To get the lowdown on Jimdo, check out the following:

  • Jimdo Review – For more information about Jimdo, you can’t go wrong with our in-depth review.

8

SimpleSite

Great Mobile Editor

SimpleSite lets you easily edit your site from your mobile.

What about ads?

Small white button to the left which says ‘Get Your Own FREE Website. Click here!’

What will my domain name look like?

yoursite.simplesite.com

How much storage will I get?

No storage cap, but limited to 15 pages

SimpleSite Pros SimpleSite Cons
Very easy to use No SSL certificate included
Generous free plan No access to third party integrations
Supports mobile friendly editing within mobile browser Limited customer support
Designs feel outdated

Mobile editing

SimpleSite is a mobile delight. It has a really impressive specialism – it gives you the ability to create a website to the same extent as on a desktop, but from your mobile device.

This makes it ideal for busy users who are always on the move.

simple site free site example
SimpleSite is designed primarily for someone looking to promote a self service, so you can see how the flexibility provided by its mobile editor can help

It’s designed primarily for someone looking to promote a self service, so you can see how the flexibility provided by its mobile editor can help. There’s just one small ‘sticky’ ad, and again, a decent domain name structure: yoursite.simplesite.com (or in our case, lucycarneydaycare.simplesite.com).

Limitations

However, there are some big downsides. You aren’t actually able to amend the mobile version of your website when you’re working from a desktop, while SimpleSite’s premium plans are relatively expensive overall compared to other website builders should you want to access more features. While it does have a free plan, the premium options range from $9.99 to $28.95 per month.

And as with Strikingly and Mozello, SimpleSite’s free plan doesn’t include an SSL certificate, leaving your site exposed – a big disadvantage in our eyes. 

All in all, SimpleSite may suit someone constantly on the go, or without access to a computer or laptop, but otherwise we’d recommend a platform ranked higher on this list. 

9

Webnode

Quick and Easy Setup

Webnode is a popular choice of free website maker with more than 30 million users around the world.

What about ads?

Gray banner in the footer section that says ‘Make a free website’ and ‘Webnode’

What will my domain name look like?

your-site.webnode.com

How much storage will I get?

100MB

Webnode Pros Webnode Cons
Get online quickly, with almost no learning curve Inflexible template designs
No Webnode banner or pop-ups ads, just a note in the footer
Great designs for events

It’s really easy to get set up with Webnode. The whole website building process could be done in about five minutes – now that’s quick!

Design flexibility

Webnode’s editor is very easy to use, but a lot less flexible than other free website builders like Weebly or Wix. It’s almost a drag-and-drop editor, but not quite.

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, rather than simply letting you drop the image where you want it. It lends itself really well to building simple, minimalist sites:

webnode example site
The modern and minimalist designs makes Webnode a great option for an event website, like a wedding or party
webnode free site footer ad example
The subtle footer banner blends in well with the site’s aesthetic

Webnode is 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 does limit your creative potential compared to other builders on our list.

Webnode is definitely geared towards ‘event’ websites, like parties or weddings. We can see the appeal, and in the end, we liked the look of the website we created.

10

IM Creator

Great for White Label Businesses

If you’re looking to create an eye-catching free website with lots of images then IM Creator could be for you.

What about ads?

No ads displayed

What will my domain name look like?

im-creator.com/free/yourname/yoursite

How much storage will I get?

Unlimited

IM Creator Pros IM Creator Cons
Eye-catching templates Very clunky domain name
Students, Artists and NGOs can apply to use a premium, ad-free theme free of charge No ecommerce feature
A good range of basic features

Perks for students, NGOs and charities

Students, artists, NGOs and charities can apply to use the premium IM Creator software for free by filling in this form. The community enrichment team will then review your application, normally within 72 hours. If approved, the license will then be added to the first site you publish, and will be ad-free. You’ll also be able to connect your own domain name.

Templates

Templates are pre-populated with content that you can quickly switch out with your own in the ‘drag and drop’ editor. This saves you the job of having to build or design anything from scratch.

best free website software im creator
IM Creator’s simple templates make it easy to switch out demo content for your own, saving you time and effort!

If you’re a student, artist or NGO, IM Creator offers a generous way to access premium features for free, making it a great choice. If not, you might do better to look at builders featured higher on this list.

For more info on IM Creator, read:

11

Mozello

Create Simple Multilingual Sites

Mozello is a basic, easy to use website builder which allows you to create multilingual sites totally free.

What about ads?

Gray banner in the footer section that says ‘Make a free website’ and ‘Webnode’

What will my domain name look like?

your-site.mozello.com

How much storage will I get?

500MB

Mozello Pros Mozello Cons
Create multilingual sites for free Very limited editor
Ecommerce is enabled on the free plan No SSL Security
Lack of flexibility and customization

Mozello is an easy to use and basic website builder. It has simple features such as blogging tools and even ecommerce functions. You can set up an online store on the free plan and sell up to 10 products.

Multilingual functionality

One of the best things about Mozello is you can create multilingual websites for free. This means you can reach a wider audience by making your content available in other languages. This is a rare feature to be included in a free plan, so Mozello definitely deserves this shout out.

mozello free site example
Being able to create versions of your pages in different languages is very generous for a free plan. See how we’ve added French and Spanish options for this homepage?
mozello free site example ad
Mozello’s free plan advertising is subtle - just a little text note in the footer

The domain name format is www.your-business.mozello.com.  For this site, ours is www.lucys-architects.mozello.com.

Limitations

With these features, you might be wondering why Mozello isn’t higher in the list of the best free website builders. The main drawback of Mozello is its limited editor – it’s simple and beginner friendly, but this simplicity is reflected in its features and flexibility.

Mozello also doesn’t include SSL security like other builders do. This is the encryption that lets users and search engines know your website is secure and trustworthy. It’s really important to have if you want your website to be safe for visitors, and to be taken seriously online.

What’s Important in a Free Website Builder?

Free website builders may have once seemed too good to be true, but we hope we’ve helped demonstrate that this is not the case. These website builders operate what’s known as a ‘freemium’ business model, whereby the customers who want to pay for extra features effectively fund those who are happy with a limited plan, no strings attached.

That said, there are some elements that you should pay close attention to when deciding on which free website builder you choose – which is exactly what we do To create this ranking of the best free website builders, we drew upon our extensive research and user testing for each website builder as a whole, and combined this with a specific focus on their free plans, paying close attention to whether or not the builder ticked these boxes:

Clear domain name

Free website builders won’t let you link up a custom domain name – but what does the auto generated one look like? For example, a format like IM Creator’s (im-creator.com/free/yourname/yoursite) could make your site look quite unprofessional.

Low upgrade cost

Upgrading to a paid plan comes with clear benefits, so it’s good to know how much it would cost you to upgrade.

Minimal advertising

You don’t need us to tell you that a website plastered in ads won’t look as good as one without! Our screenshots should help you evaluate the ads of each website builder, and decide on the best compromise for you.

Free SSL certificate

Most website builders include a free SSL certificate as standard, but a couple don’t (we’ve flagged when this is the case). Without an SSL certificate, your website will display as ‘Not secure’ to visitors. You can buy an SSL certificate separately for around $10/year.

Sufficient storage

Most free website builders have a cap on the amount of content you can upload to your site. If you know you want to include lots of images or videos, be mindful of how quickly you’d hit this cap.

Easy to use

There’s no point in finding a website builder that ticks the boxes above, only to discover it’s clunky and frustrating to use. We’ve given an indication of how easy each website builder is to use, based on our research and user testing.

Ecommerce functionality (optional)

If you need to sell through your free website builder, that limits your options a little. Keep an eye out for website builders we’ve flagged as allowing you to sell on a free plan, like Weebly.

By going through the process of creating a free website with each builder for this article, we’ve been able to give a really accurate first-hand account of the process.

How Do I Create A Free Website? (Step-by-Step)

One thing all the website builders in our ranking have in common, aside from being free, is that they are easy to set up – they wouldn’t have made the cut otherwise! The process and learning curve differ slightly from builder to builder, but here are the steps you can expect:

  1. Sign up with the website builder. This will require an email address, password, and possibly a username.
  2. Choose a template, or answer questions for the design assistant. This is the first fork in the road – most builders will let you select a template to work off at this stage, but some will use design assistance to mock up a website for you based on your answer to a few questions. We’ve specified when this is the case.
  3. Add in your own content. Get rid of placeholder text and images, and replace these with your own.
  4. Tweak and customize your design. If you want to, you can customize your design further by testing out new layouts and colors, or even switching to a new template. Most builders let you switch templates after publishing, but keep in mind that Wix doesn’t.
  5. Press publish! At this point, your domain name will be generated, and your site will be live for the world to see.

This process could take anything from 15 minutes to a few hours, depending on how much you switch up in steps three and four.

Is It Worth Upgrading to a Paid Plan?

As we’ve seen, free website builders can do a lot – but paid plans allow for a lot more. And paid doesn’t have to mean expensive; you can take advantage of premium features from as little as $6/month.

The most common advantages of paid plans include:

Removing ads

When you’re trying to give a professional image, no ads is a whole lot better than subtle ads – and upgrading your plan will leave your site ad-free.

Connecting a custom domain name

Again, yoursite.com is a whole lot better than yoursite.yourwebsitebuilder.com, and a whole lot more memorable, too.

Access to more storage and bandwidth

As your site grows and your traffic increases, you may find you simply outgrow your free plan. You may need to upgrade to have enough storage, and so that enough people can access your site at once. Many paid plans offer unlimited storage and bandwidth, so you can have total peace of mind.

Advanced marketing and sales tools

The features and tools needed to take your business or hobby to the next level will often be waiting for you in that premium plan, so make sure you at least take a look!

While there’s no pressure to upgrade to a paid plan at any stage, we think it’s always worth checking out or trialling at some stage. It can be nerve-wracking to invest money in a new business, project or hobby, but there’s an element of ‘fake it till you make it’ here; with the added professionalism of a paid site, nobody needs to know that you’re not far more established.

Read more:

If you’re interested in upgrading or just want to find out more, read our reviews and pricing guides for a full look at what these top free website builders’ have to offer in value for money, price plans, and more:

Best Free Website Builders: Conclusion

We’ve guided you through the pros and cons of 10 free website builders, as well as the advantages of upgrading to a paid plan when possible. You’re now equipped with everything you need to pick a website builder, and to put your digital pen to digital paper. 

Let’s have a quick recap…

The 11 Best Free Website Builders Are:

  1. Wix – Best All-Around Website Builder.
  2. Weebly – Ideal for Small Businesses.
  3. SITE123 – Great Design Assistance.
  4. WordPress.com – Perfect for Blogging.
  5. GoDaddy – Best for Building a Site Quickly.
  6. Strikingly – Made for Simple Websites.
  7. Jimdo – Small Online Store Builder.
  8. SimpleSite – Great Mobile Editor.
  9. Webnode – Quick and Easy Setup.
  10. IM Creator – Great for White Label Businesses.
  11. Mozello – Create Simple Multilingual Sites.

Our list of the top 11 free website builders ranks Wix as the best all-around builder, with tons of free features. Weebly is ideal for small businesses, while WordPress.com is perfect for blogging.

Just remember that free website builders nearly always limit the features and functions that are available to you – you may be ok with this now, but it could prove extremely frustrating further down the line.

We nearly always recommend subscribing to a premium plan.

Think of it as an investment. You pay a little extra up front and reap the benefits over a longer period of time. Plus, it’s an investment that costs as much as large latte or fast food burger each month!

Still, if you aren’t entirely convinced that paying a monthly fee for a premium account is for you, then we recommend taking advantage of website builder free trials.

Using these trials is a great way of testing out different website creators and seeing which best suits you – and you can do so without it costing you a cent!

FAQs

It’s done in a number of ways. The main method is through a ‘freemium’ model, in which the paying users can sustain everyone else. Another way for website builders to make money is through advertising on your site (the ads can be removed by upgrading your plan).

Free websites are not very SEO-friendly because you cannot connect a personalized domain. This means your website is actually part of the website builder’s own site, which makes it harder for search engines like Google to find, crawl and index your web page.

Yes – website builders make it super easy to create professional looking sites for no money at all. With these free platforms you get most of the features you need to get your site up and running, but, of course, upgrading your plans gives you access to better tools.

You can upgrade to a paid premium plan whenever you want to. Doing so will provide you with far more tools, templates, storage space, and other important features for growing your website. All of our recommend free website builders come with paid plans if you’d like to upgrade.

Yes, they are totally free to use. You can sign up, create, customize, and publish your site without paying a thing. However, most website builders lock certain features unless you upgrade to a paid plan, but these costs are completely optional, so the overall costs are up to you.

Wix came top in our research for ease of use. Its intuitive drag-and-drop design makes it easy to create a professional looking site without any tech knowledge. It also gives you tons of creative control so you can build a really developed, personalized site.

WordPress.com is one of the best blogging platforms out there. It’s really easy to use and has excellent built-in blogging tools, including social bookmarking and an RSS feed, and offers a more advanced blogging functionality overall than website builders like Wix or Weebly.

Wix is came first in our ‘Value for Money’ testing. It’s the best overall website builder on the market today, with an average monthly premium plan cost of just $5.80. Weebly works out as cheaper on average, but it doesn’t quite match Wix in its overall website building prowess.

It kind of depends on your needs. Strikingly is great for creating modern websites quickly, but only lets you sell one product through its free plan. Mozello is more limiting in terms of design, but lets you set multiple languages for your site, and lets you sell up to 10 products on its free plan – great for selling internationally!

No! Hosting is all taken care of by the website builder, so this isn’t something you’ll have to buy separately. Keep in mind though that, like storage, free plans often have a cap on bandwidth, so you may need to upgrade to a paid plan in order to access more resources once you start getting higher traffic levels.

Yes! All the platforms featured on this list should reformat your site so it displays properly on mobile. It’s always worth double checking this though, either as a preview or once your site is live.

Further Information

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Analyses and graphics in this article are based on authentic sources cross-validated by our in-house experts.

We take great care to ensure the information we publish is reliable and accurate. However, WBE takes no responsibility for any inaccuracy in information supplied to us by users, research participants, or other entities.

Please note the insight contained within this article is for general information purposes only. We’re glad to answer any questions you may have about this article and its supporting research. For further information, please contact Website Builder Expert directly via email at info@websitebuilderexpert.com.

Looking for a hosting provider rather than a website builder? Why not check out our article on the Best Web Hosting Services to help you find the right one.

There are currently no free services, but check out our article on the Best Cheap Web Hosts if price is your main consideration when choosing a provider.

About Lucy Carney

Lucy Carney

You’re not alone! Building a website can be scary, especially if you’re like me with no previous coding experience. With the help of our experts I’m here as a friendly voice to help guide you into the exciting world of website building. If I can do it, so can you!

23 comments

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  • Bea
    WordPress boasts of being easy to use for amateurs. However, their support is ludicrously awful--forums only, no backup for more difficult situations. I had an 5 yr plus site that, several dead laptops later--a lost passord & original receipt, pre-2-factor, a free site--that I have lost access to . WP kept repeatedly sending the same canned messages that gave no help at all. I've been at it for WEEKS, & though onechat person offered to send me to customer help, that never happened. I strongly recommend avoiding WordPress.
  • MikeA
    SITE123 no longer allows for a customized sub-domain. There are plenty of online how-to vieos to do this, which is what made me jum at this site. However, after a good 45 minutes of chat sessions (or bots), they simply state that is no longer a feature. Please note these instructions are on thewir own website... (https://www.site123.com/support/edit-your-subdomain-after-publishing). They won't even allow someone from support to make the change for me on their back-end systems (which has to be somethnig that can be done). As an aside, the subdomain name I received was a sequence of 13 charachters (seems to be a hexadecimal code).mysite123.com.
    1 reply
    • Lucy Carney
      Hi Mike, Yes you're absolutely right, SITE123 no longer offers personalized free domains - this is a real shame, and we'll be updating the content to reflect this. If you want a custom domain you'll either need to upgrade to a paid plan, or switch to a builder like Wix or Weebly that allow some customization within the free subdomain. Sorry you've run into this frustration with SITE123 - unfortunately this is the downside to a free website, but other builders do allow customized subdomains if you were willing to switch. Hope this has helped, and thank you for highlighting the issue! Best, Lucy
  • Eric
    Can any of these sites have a POS system included. I am trying to start a small at home food delivery service in my small town, and would need to be able to accept payment and orders through the website. If not could you point me in the right direction of a website company that would have this capability. Thank you
    1 reply
    • Lucy Carney
      Hi Eric, Thanks so much for your comment! Wix and Weebly both have integrations with POS systems - but only if you're based in the US. However, you won't be able to use this on a free plan - you'll need an ecommerce plan, which lets you accept payments and orders through your website, or to connect a POS sytem as you said. On Wix, the cheapest option would be the $23 per month Business plan (billed annually), and on Weebly this would be the $12 per month Pro plan (also billed annually). If you're setting up a serious ecommerce business and you want more selling features to support you, I recommend checking out Shopify, as it's specifically designed to support online stores. I hope this has helped, and I'll link to some reviews I hope you find helpful too: - Wix eCommerce Review - Weebly Ecommerce Review- Shopify Review Many thanks for reading, and all the best! Lucy
  • Miguel
    I think you should consider mentioning some of the options available for the open source version of WordPress (WordPress.org). The most notable option we have now I think is the page builder plugin Elementor from Pojo. The free version has tons of widgets one could use to build a responsive website for free without touching a line of code. I believe the space in WordPress.org is no longer for just for Developers. Anyone in the beginner stage can build sites on WordPress with much more flexibility than anything like WIX could ever offer since they are a closed platform. Mathew from LaunchParty has provided an amazing FREE course that will guide you how to build amazing sites with WordPress and Elementor. And he even provides you with amazing Elementor templates that you can use. Lastly, please note that not every thing that is meant to be sustainable is truly free. Last time I checked, in order to have a proper website with WIX, it was only free when you use their domain extension. If you ever wanted to remove WIX from the domain name, then you would have to pay for that. On the other hand, WordPress.org is open source, meaning free. But hosting is not, neither is your own domain name. There are many WordPress plugins that are worth paying for as well, including Elementor as well as others that will handle other important features such security.
    1 reply
    • Hannah Whitfield
      Hi Miguel, Thanks for joining the discussion! You're right in saying that WordPress.org has a lot to offer, particularly for blogs. That said, it still can't really compete with builders like Wix in terms of ease of use. You can read more about our thoughts on WordPress here: https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/wordpress/. Thanks, Hannah
  • Mark
    I agree. they are not free in the true meaning. They put a sticky that roams on your site and that can be annoying. Why do they call them free sites when they really are not?!
    1 reply
    • Lucy Carney
      Hi Mark, I'm sorry to hear you're unhappy with the free plans! However, I like to think we make it clear about the downsides to free plans, so that our readers know fully what to expect - from advertising to clunky domains. These plans are free in the sense you truly don't have to pay anything, but you're right in thinking they come at a different price - professionalism! It's why we always suggest starting out on the free plan, but upgrading when you want to share your site with others. Can I direct you to our Best Cheap Website Builders review instead? It might be more in-line with the sort of service you're looking for. I hope this has helped! Best, Lucy
  • Khalid
    Which is the best website for start affiliate website Free
    1 reply
    • Charlie Carmichael
      Hi Khalid, There's not a lot in it with these platforms when it comes to affiliate marketing. We'd personally recommend Wix purely for its ease of use and value for money. You can always sign up to the free plan and see how you go. Thanks, Charlie
  • Emily Sharp
    I have personally built two different sites using WordPress and found it very easy to use, setup and configure. Once it is initially setup, maintaining the site is as easy as logging into the WordPress admin site and adding your content. I was initially very surprised by the ease of the setup to get my sites up and running. I was able to get the site online and running on a customer domain within 15 minutes. This was a welcome surprise to me the fist time I used WordPress. While WordPress sites are not as simple as drag and drop configuration for the novice computer user, average users will find it easy to edit text and add content using the built in templates. The price is possibly the most attractive feature of WordPress. The word free will often attract users but the usability and ease of the software is what will make users stick with the platform. After building two sites on WordPress, I would strongly recommend it and will surely use it for my future website building projects.
    1 reply
    • Charlie Carmichael
      Hi Emily, Thanks for your input! WordPress.com is a great option for blogging websites as it's what the platform is designed for. But, as you mentioned, there are easier options out there. WordPress.org is where you can really build powerful websites but the platform itself isn't really suitable for beginners. We definitely agree with you that the price is attractive either way though. Thanks for sharing and we're glad you've found a home online with WordPress! Charlie
  • Elyza Cornor
    Nowadays Wordpress such a trending Web builder in terms of scalability & cost effectiveness....
  • Jim
    These are not really free
    1 reply
    • Fred Isaac
      Hi Jim, in what sense are they not free? Many do have free plans but to access greater flexibility you need to upgrade.
  • Nirav Dedhia
    Really great post. Had got to know about different website builders which can help to build free websites and also even blogs. Keep it up.
    1 reply
    • Fred Isaac
      Thanks Nirav, glad you found the article helpful!