“This guide is for anyone who wants to create a free website but doesn’t know which website builder to pick.”
They may all be free, but sometimes this comes at a price – join us as we sort the good from the bad.
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. The trick is knowing where to find it.
That’s where we come in. We’re here to make your life as easy as possible by giving you the lowdown on the best free website builders – yep, they really are free! – as determined by our own independent research.
We also get people like you to test each website builder and give us their feedback, which we use to rate each builder on factors like ease of use and template design.
Plus, we’re always sure to look at the ‘price’ you pay for your free site in the form of a tradeoff. Whether it’s garish advertising, a dodgy-looking domain name, or restricted storage, we’ll cover each free plan’s ‘cons’ in plenty of detail so you can make an informed decision.
Best Free Website Builders
Based on our research, the top free website builders are:
- Wix – Best All-Around Website Builder (read review)
- Weebly – Ideal for Small Businesses (read review)
- SITE123 – Great Help and Support (read review)
- Strikingly – Made for Simple Websites (read review)
- WordPress.com – Perfect for Blogging (read review)
- Jimdo – Small Online Store Builder (read review)
- IM Creator – Great for White Label Businesses (read review)
- Webnode – Quick and Easy Setup (read review)
- Mozello – Create Simple Multilingual Sites (read review)
- SimpleSite – Great Mobile Editor (read review)
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.
We conduct our own research to decide which website builder is best for different purposes. Take our quiz to get a recommendation that’s personalized to your needs.
As you’ve seen, while some free website builders are fairly generous, they are generally pretty limiting.
Creating an okay website may be free, but creating a great one can be super cheap. Your website is worth putting the time and money in to make it exactly how you want it.
Although it differs depending on the individual website builder you’re looking at, there are a load of great features which you can unlock on pretty much any paid plan. The main ones include:
On free plans your website builder will advertise on your site. Whether this is through a subtle banner or an annoying pop-up, this can ruin your professional image if you’re promoting your own brand or running a business.
On paid plans, such as Wix’s Combo plan, these adverts are removed, leaving your website clear of any distractions. This is similar to using the free version of Spotify compared to having a Premium account – you can still listen to music on both, but on the free plan you’re interrupted with adverts!
Connect a Custom Domain
On a free plan your website address will look something like this: https://mysite.strikingly.com or https://joebloggs.wixsite.com/mysite. These web addresses can be long, confusing, and difficult to find if you’re a visitor searching for your site online.
A custom domain allows you to choose a more personalized address, such as www.mysite.com which is a lot better for promoting a brand and getting found by potential visitors to your website! Even if you buy a new domain for your site or already own one that you want to transfer, you will need to be on a paid plan to actually connect and use it as the address for your website. Usually you can buy and connect your custom domain on the cheapest upgrade available, such as Weebly’s ‘Connect’ plan, so it’s an affordable option.
Set Up an Online Store & Accept Payments
On some builders like SITE123 and Strikingly, you can create an online store on the free plan, and sell one or two items, but to sell any more you have to upgrade. On some you can create a store, but you must be on a paid plan to actually accept payments through your website, (like Wix). Others won’t let you create a store at all unless you’re paying, such as Weebly.
So it varies, but one thing remains the same: in order to have a successful and scalable online store, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan sooner or later. Once you’re on a paid plan you can unlock features such as connecting different payment types, (for example PayPal, credit/debit cards etc), get rid of transaction fees, track and manage your inventory, and more!
Get Increased (or Even Unlimited) Storage and Bandwidth
It is common for your storage and bandwidth to be capped on free plans. The amount you get often increases as you work up through price tiers, which allows you to scale and grow your website at your own pace. A lot of website builders like Wix will give you unlimited bandwidth and up to unlimited storage too!
Advanced Marketing Tools
Marketing is a massive part of promoting your website – whether it’s your own portfolio, brand, or business, you want people to find you! While free plans do often have basic marketing or newsletter tools, if you’re paying then you will have access to much more advanced marketing tools such as email campaigns and better site analysis and statistics. This way you can reach out to your visitors and then track how successful your campaigns have been to help spread the word!
Just from these features it’s easy to see how it’s worth upgrading to unlock the best for your website. And the good news is, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg! Most basic plans start from around $5 a month. Moving from a free plan to a basic plan is a really affordable way of growing your site and adding these great features to maximise your online presence.
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 10 Best Free Website Builders Are:
Our list of the top 10 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!
How does the website builder make money if I use it for free?
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).
Are free websites good for SEO?
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.
Are free website builders any good?
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.
Can I upgrade my website in the future?
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.
Are free website builders actually totally free?
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.
Which is the easiest free website builder?
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.
Which free website builder would you recommend for blogging?
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.
What is the cheapest website builder?
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.
Which free website builder is best for ecommerce?
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!
- Wix Review
- Wix Pricing Review
- Weebly Review
- Weebly Pricing Review
- SITE123 Review
- Strikingly Review
- WordPress.com Review
- Jimdo Review
- IM Creator Review
- Webs.com Review
- Website Builder Comparison Chart
- How Much Should a Website Cost?
- What are the Cheapest Website Builders?
- The Best Small Business Website Builders
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 email@example.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.