Not sure which free website builder is best for you? Our carefully researched list brings you the 10 best free builders, with Wix emerging as our top recommendation overall.
We tested every website builder on this list, and created demo websites so you can see the results for yourself. Read on to visit these demo sites, see screenshots, and discover our expert insights on the top 10 free builders.
Wix impressed us most in our testing, while Weebly comes a close second as an ideal choice for small businesses. SITE123 places third in our list for its beginner-friendly, design assisted editor. Check out the full list below!
Here are the 10 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
- 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 ten 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 used our own independent research to create this list, to provide you with accurate and reliable recommendations. We always aim to be as honest and transparent as possible – and in this spirit, we won’t gloss over the fact that free builders aren’t the best way to build a website. You deserve all the facts, so you’ll find drawbacks as well as pros for each builder in our list.
Ready to find your perfect match? Let’s jump straight in!
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.
In a rush? Get all the key information you need at a glance with our helpful comparison table!
|Storage||On-site Advert||Sell Products For Free?||SSL security?|
| Wix || 500MB || Sticky top banner || ❌ || ✔️ |
| Weebly || 500MB || Slide-up ad || ✔️ (Unlimited products) || ✔️ |
| SITE123 || 500MB || Bottom banner || ❌ || ✔️ |
| WordPress.com || 3GB || Top banner and button || ❌ || ✔️ |
| Strikingly || 500MB || Slide-up ad || ✔️ (1 product) || ❌ |
| Jimdo || 500MB || Footer disclaimer || ❌ || ✔️ |
| SimpleSite || None: 15 page max instead || Button || ✔️ (5 products) || ❌ |
| Webnode || 100MB || Bottom banner || ❌ || ✔️ |
| IM Creator || Unlimited || No ads || ❌ || ❌ |
| Mozello || 500MB || Bottom banner || ✔️ (5 products) || ❌ |
Three of the big drawbacks to free website builders are limited storage space, having adverts displayed on your site, and the lack of ecommerce tools. It’s also worth checking if the builder offers SSL security, otherwise your site gets flagged as non-secure.
The standard storage allowance for free plans is 500MB, although some builders like WordPress.com are more generous.
Free website builders may have once seemed too good to be true, but we set out to demonstrate that this is not always the case.
A question we often get asked is just how do these free website builders make their money? Is there something sketchy going on? Luckily, it’s all super safe and above board. These website builders operate on 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.
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 this would cost.
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 least intrusive option 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, this 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 answers 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 point. 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 10 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.
- 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 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.
While we always recommend making the most of free plans to build, play, and experiment with different builders, we never recommend staying on a free plan forever.
If you’re serious about your website, and want other people to take it seriously too, then at some point you will need to upgrade to a premium plan.
There’s no rush, though – none of the builders on this list have a time limit on their free plan, so you can stay on them as long as you like, until you’re ready to take your site to the next level.
In the meantime, enjoy trying out your favorite free builders – come back and let us know which one you liked the most!
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.
WordPress.com comes out cheapest, with prices starting at just $3 per month when billed annually. It’s closely followed by Weebly, which starts at $6 per month, billed annually.
It’s also worth noting that Wix came first in our ‘Value for Money’ testing, despite its higher starting price of $13 per month (billed annually). You get what you pay for – it’s the best overall website builder on the market today.
Weebly takes top spot for best free ecommerce builder – it lets you sell an unlimited number of products on its free plan! (This feature is for US sellers only).
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.
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.
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.