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:
- Wix – Best All-Around Website Builder. Read review
- Weebly – Ideal for Small Businesses. Read review
- SITE123 – Great Design Assistance. Read review
- WordPress – Perfect for Blogging. Read WordPress.com review
- GoDaddy – Best for Building a Site Quickly. Read review.
- Strikingly – Made for Simple Websites. Read review
- Jimdo – Small Online Store Builder. Read review
- SimpleSite – Great Mobile Editor. Read review
- Webnode – Quick and Easy Setup. Read review
- IM Creator – Great for White Label Businesses. Read review
- 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.
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?
How much storage will I get?
|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.
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.
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 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!
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?
How much storage will I get?
|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.
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.
The domain name format is www.your-business.mozello.com. For this site, ours is www.lucys-architects.mozello.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Sign up with the website builder. This will require an email address, password, and possibly a username.
- 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.
- Add in your own content. Get rid of placeholder text and images, and replace these with your own.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
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.
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:
- Wix – Best All-Around Website Builder.
- Weebly – Ideal for Small Businesses.
- SITE123 – Great Design Assistance.
- WordPress.com – Perfect for Blogging.
- GoDaddy – Best for Building a Site Quickly.
- Strikingly – Made for Simple Websites.
- Jimdo – Small Online Store Builder.
- SimpleSite – Great Mobile Editor.
- Webnode – Quick and Easy Setup.
- IM Creator – Great for White Label Businesses.
- 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!
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.
- 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.