As the name implies, freemium pricing structures offer both free and premium options. The natural result is that the free options are less well featured, or carry some noteworthy downsides.
But hey—a free website builder is still worth looking into. Maybe you just want to experiment with a software before you begin paying for it. Maybe you want to create a site for an idea you have, and you just need an immediate outlet.
Or maybe the usual drawbacks of free plans don’t phase you.
Fair enough. Well, much experience with website building and free website builders has led me to create this list of the top free website builders.
Here are a couple things you should know about this list…first of all, I give a lot of weight to domain names. Many people will view a website they visit differently if it’s on a subdomain, and justly so. It looks less legitimate.
And almost every free website builder is going to have you building a site under a subdomain unless you upgrade to a paid plan. So if a website lets you connect a domain name for free (keep in mind you still need to pay for a domain name) or if the website’s subdomain is less of a problem, then I give that a good amount of weight.
And yes, even if some other things—such as customizability—are sacrificed.
Another thing: don’t pay too much attention to the number of pros and cons on this list. Instead, pay attention to what they say. For example: something could have a lot of cons technically speaking, but the positives are of such importance that they significantly outweigh the negatives.
Almost every free website builder is going to come with ads for the company, a subdomain, and only a few features.
But, there are always exceptions. So without further ado, here’s my list of the best free website builders.
Item 9: Site123
Site123 is not exactly a top choice for free website building, but it’s certainly an option. Site123 strongly markets itself as a free website builder (seriously, just Google it and you’ll see what I mean).
Site123 of course runs on a freemium model, but unlike many others, it only has one premium tier instead of a few.
Aside from that, it kind of falls into the general pros and cons you’d expect of a half-decent site builder: it’s free, the builder works, but you won’t get a domain and you’ll have ads.
- Basic eCommerce functionality (including an email marketing tool) and SEO tools. Interestingly, you can only accept offline payments with the free version (taking a customer’s phone number or wire transfer details).
- Access to an app store, which includes apps available for free users. This is important because some of what Site123 lacks by default (and keep in mind Site123 doesn’t make as many tools available from the get-go as the higher ranked names here) you can get in the app store.
- 24/7 live chat support—even Wix and WordPress don’t offer this (for free).
- Decent editor: nothing to write home about, but certainly functional.
- Surprisingly little pressure to convert to a paid plan.
- A noticeable Site123 banner, even if it’s small. But hey, that’s pretty common.
- Limited in terms of templates, and while the editor works well, you are still a bit restricted in how much you can edit.
- Generally speaking, Site123 doesn’t have a ton of features available out of the box.
Item 8: UCraft
UCraft is another company that isn’t super well known outside of those with an interest in website building companies.
UCraft also has a minor reputation for their free website building tier.
In my opinion, UCraft is underrated. It’s not that UCraft’s free product deserves to be extremely highly rated, exactly, but it deserves more credit. As is common, UCraft runs on a freemium model.
However, the free product is just a landing page. So, it’s not exactly a full website builder for free. Nonetheless, that landing page builder is pretty capable, and perhaps most importantly, you can connect a domain for free.
- Users can connect a domain even on a free plan. This alone makes it, in my opinion, one of the better free website builder options.
- Pretty good customization capabilities, though in fairness that’s mostly because of the fact that you’re editing a single page rather than an entire website.
- Basic SEO tools, Google Analytics, and SSL. Not overwhelmingly impressive, but still solid.
- eCommerce functionality requires upgrading.
- The 24/7 live chat can sometimes be unresponsive, though overall it works fine.
- Your website builder is really just a landing page builder. It can still be useful, especially because you can connect a domain, but you’re still limited to essentially one big page.
Item 7: Jimdo
Despite being on the smaller side in terms of its name, Jimdo has still helped create over 20 million websites.
Jimdo is, like many on this list, based on a freemium model. One thing I like in particular about Jimdo is that it’s very supportive of its free product, in contrast to other sites which offer a free product but seem to almost hate it at the same time in favor of their premium versions.
Jimdo is essentially a solid free website builder with the usual limitations.
- Two main methods of creating a site: Creator and Dolphin. Creator is the typical website building tool that you’re used to. Dolphin is basically an AI getting some information from you and building a website for you in a few minutes.
- Fairly wide selection of templates (over 100) for a free builder
- Jimdo app available for Android and iOS
- Very basic SEO tools and online store tools (also, no transaction fees!)
- 500MB of storage. Nothing huge, but not bad for a free website builder.
- Contains ads.
- Must upgrade to use a domain.
- While overall their editor is okay, sometimes it can be clunky. People have mixed feelings about it. Personally, I think
- Jimdo has improved their site editor, but at times it can be a little unintuitive.
- No live chat option, but there is a ticketing system.
Item 6: Google Sites
Google truly does have a software for everything. Google Sites is much like the Google Docs of website building. It’s easy to use and good for collaborating, plus it’s completely free.
The only problem? It’s too simple.
Google Sites is best for making very simple web pages, nothing too dynamic or even important. Because of its collaborative nature, it’s good for building informational or wiki-style pages.
- Extremely free: Google Sites is built to be an unpaid tool. This can be a downside for some—Google Sites doesn’t even have the option of upgrading for more features. As far as free site builders go, it’s hard to find a platform that is intended to only be free.
- Google Sites is very good with collaboration, like its cousin, Google Docs.
- Very easy to use. Many site builders are, but Google Sites is one of the most straightforward and simple.
- Very basic. Google Sites has only the most basic tools and sometimes it feels like you’re editing a PowerPoint or Google Slide more than a site. Customization tools are particularly limited. For this reason, Google Sites is really only good for making simple looking websites.
- As mentioned, Google Sites does not even have the option of upgrading, or adding premium features. There is only the free version. Some might find they like Google Sites but just need a little more of an ability to customize. Sorry, no dice.
- While most free website builders have low storage capacities, Google Sites’ figure is particularly low at 100MB.
- This should probably go without saying, but Google Sites is so simple it has almost no customer support.
Item 5: Blogger
Blogger gives me nostalgia. I first started using Blogger as a young guy, excited to test out easy web creation tools. Going back to Blogger to test it, I was surprised to find that a lot was still the same.
If you look up lists of free website builders, you won’t usually find Blogger on them. This is probably because Blogger is focused mostly on building blogs (duh) rather than more general types of websites.
Still, Blogger is much more fully featured for free than most website builders, and at the end of the day, you’re still building a website even if you’re restricted to the blog format.
- Upgrading is completely optional, and there is a strong community of free users. One of the reasons I ranked Blogger this highly is because it’s very common for people to have blogs on the __.blogspot.com domain. A visitor might be less likely to scoff at your website because of the subdomain with Blogger.
- Users can create 100 blogs per account.
- Although customization options are limited, one can still rearrange certain page elements and choose colors, fonts, etc. HTML editing is available, but most people don’t want site builders so they can edit HTML.
- Users can connect a domain without having to upgrade. This alone is probably one of the best things Blogger has going for it: a person who just wants a straightforward blogging format but still wants their own domain can compromise by using Blogger and thus keep the actual editing platform free of charge.
- As stated, it’s only a blog format.
- Themes are very limited, as are customization options. The smaller details (colors, fonts) are customizable, but larger control of pages and the overall site basically counts on selecting a theme and toggling the colors.
- No live chat or even comprehensive ticketing system–Blogger is too big and based on free users. However, the large community of users can kind of fill in for most problems.
Item 4: Weebly
Founded in 2006, Weebly has become one of the most popular site builders around with more than 50 million customers globally.
I often think of Weebly as an alternative to Wix. The two are very similar in a lot of ways in that they run on freemium models, are known for being some of the best website builders around, and have cultivated a popularity for their free products.
Here’s my summary: Weebly is one of the best free website builders, but falls short of being as fully featured as Wix. Having said that, it does have a thing or two Wix does not, so I encourage you to try both anyway.
- The editor is very robust and close to or on par with Wix’s editor.
- Weebly has basic SEO, blogging, and even ecommerce/product tools. This is very unique for free products. Naturally anyone who’s really interested in ecommerce probably shouldn’t go for a free site builder, but it’s an impressive set up nonetheless.
- Weebly has a few apps available for installation even by free users. These aren’t weak apps either, but useful things like price charts, Eventbrite, FAQs, and so on.
- Even once you’re signed in, Weebly has a ton of upselling. You can expect upselling on just about any free website builder, but it’s extra annoying on Weebly because Weebly is one of the best free site builders.
- Customer support isn’t as good as Wix’s. However, Weebly does have a live chat.
- Weebly’s editor is very good, but you are a little more constricted than with Wix.
Item 3: WebStarts
WebStarts is a company frequently mentioned on lists of top website builders. When I first visited their website, I was pretty skeptical. Why? Because their home page displays this: “As seen on…Facebook, Bing, Google, Yahoo.” Really?! Being seen on a search engine is significantly different from being seen on a magazine.
But hey, it has a free option, so I tried it. It turns out, it’s a pretty underrated, robust free website builder. Most companies oversell themselves on their websites—WebStarts is the opposite.
Some stuff on the website’s official pricing page is out of date, and the result is the actual product is even better than you’d think. I would say WebStarts is on with Weebly and Wix in terms of its abilities but has much less name recognition, and it’s even faster to get started with than its bigger rivals.
- Basic eCommerce/store functionality.
- WebStarts has a contact management tool that is not super robust but still pretty useful, considering it’s free.
- WebStarts has a decent blogging tool that works well within the builder.
- The WebStarts advertisements aren’t overwhelming.
- Overall, the builder/editor tool is easy to use and functional, plus decently featured (on par with Weebly and Wix).
- Simpler to manage than Weebly or Wix, which feel overcrowded at times.
- As is common for free builders, limited storage.
- The builder interface is overall good, but can be a little clunky or unintuitive at times. Plus, I’m not a fan of the aesthetic, but that’s just my opinion and not a serious flaw.
Item 2: Wix
Wix is without a doubt one of the most popular free website builders. As a matter of fact, it’s simply one of the most popular website builders.
Like Weebly, it was founded in 2006. However, Wix has over twice as many users as Weebly, at 110 million.
Wix is known for being a fantastic and flexible editor, and is thus used by a wide range of people, from ordinary bloggers to top-tier businesses.
The gist with Wix is that you get a very functional editor and a lot of features—but of course, you’ll still have to pay for the most important things, a domain and the removal of Wix ads.
- Wix has a very large community of users, which could be a useful resource if you have any questions or concerns.
- Very robust editing tool. It’s not just easy, but powerful and even the free version allows for a great degree of customization. Wix ranks highly because this editor is truly one of the best available for free.
- On that note, Wix has a wide selection of quality templates.
- Wix has basic SEO, contact management, marketing, insights, and even blogging tools. The blogging tool is especially impressive. For a free builder, Wix is almost as fully featured as a full builder—of course, the key bits are still missing.
- Wix advertisements are part of the free plan.
- One such item Wix lacks is a contact form, which many free builders include.
- Wix’s price model up until recently was more affordable. Namely, the first premium tier was only $5 a month and allowed you to connect a domain. That has been removed and now the first tier is $11, which means the free website builder is even more removed from the premium plans. It also means if you want to use the site builder for free and just pay for the domain, you’re out of luck.
- No live chat. But this is true for even paying Wix customers, so it has nothing to do with having a free account.
Item 1: WordPress.com
WordPress.com is enormously popular—so much so that it’s hard to understate. It’s been around since 2005 and since that time, it has grown to support countless of millions of sites.
One estimate credits WordPress with servicing 30% of internet bloggers, and WordPress.com is the 50th most popular website in the world. Even more impressively, CNN, CBS, BBC, Reuters, and Fortune.com all use WordPress.com.
So yeah, it’s a pretty successful platform. And of course, a large reason for its popularity is its free option.
My placement of WordPress.com as number one does not come lightly or easily. Wix and Weebly both have far more features and customization than WordPress.com.
As overall website builders, they take it. However, WordPress.com is so enormously popular that having a subdomain with WordPress may affect your blog far less than if you used another site.
Moreover, being part of the WordPress community brings several advantages of its own. It certainly depends on what you want out of your website builder, but if it’s a blog, WordPress.com is probably the best free option.
- For a free product, there is a fairly good selection of themes/templates. Although editing is mediocre, you can still do a fair amount of customization.
- It’s very easy to import and export content, including between your WordPress blog and a blog with another platform (such as Medium or Wix).
- Solid blogging tools (obviously), as well as basic insight tools and testimonial and contact page functions.
- The popularity of WordPress means you’ll find way more advice on using WordPress than with pretty much any other platform.
- Also because of its popularity, having a subdomain on WordPress might not hurt you as badly. Many bloggers use a WordPress.com subdomain and so having the subdomain wouldn’t necessarily hurt your site’s appearance (at least, not as much as with other free builders).
- Also following from this—WordPress.com supports a more social community, like Blogger. It’s very easy to follow and interact with other blogs in the WordPress community, and for them to interact with you—a good way of driving traffic and gaining popularity.
- While the customization tools are okay, you are really limited to the smaller items (such as colors). You’d basically need to sift through themes to get a layout you prefer.
- Apps (known on WordPress as plugins) are not available for free plans.
- Even basic SEO tools are unavailable for free plans.
- No live chat.
Special Item: 000Webhost
000Webhost is a hosting service, which is why I’ve separated it from the other options on this list. But hey, if it’s hosting, why even bring it up at all?
Well, first off, because 000Webhost is one of a few free hosting services, and of those is probably the most well-known. Secondly, 000Webhost offers website building capabilities.
To put it simply, one could create an account for free and begin using those website building capabilities for free. 000Webhost is intended to be a free hosting platform, but a side consequence is that it’s a free website builder as well.
- Because the hosting is taken care of, you could simply purchase a domain and then connect it for free. While Weebly, Wix, WordPress, and others would have you pay to connect a domain you already own, 000Webhost would let you get off with only paying for the domain.
- In addition, because 000Webhost is primarily a hosting platform, you can choose between using 000webhost’s site builder or you can install WordPress.org and use that to build a blog. The site builder is pretty well-featured and handle a high degree of customization.
- For connecting to WordPress.org: WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com (mentioned above), namely in that WordPress.org is a free service. WordPress.org is very similar to WordPress.com, except that it is much more fully featured and is completely free. However, to use WordPress.org, you have to take care of hosting…and if you use 000Webhost, then you can even do that for free. Meaning connecting to WordPress.org on 000Webhost gives you the most fully-featured blog building software you can get for free.
- The editor can be a little complicated and sometimes annoying to use. The learning curve isn’t tremendous but it’s still much less user friendly than the other options here. Though if you’re using WordPress.org to build a blog, it’ll become easier again.
- You’ll need to be more tech-savvy to navigate your account settings. There are a lot of resources available, but it could still be a pain because you have to configure certain things manually (e.g., connecting a domain).
- Because of the space allocated to your free account, you probably won’t be able to create more than one or two websites.
- Unless you upgrade to one of Hostinger’s paid plans (Hostinger runs 000Webhost), you might suffer from poor uptime.
So, in conclusion, what are the best free website builders?
If you’re interested in building a straightforward Wiki or a simple informative page (and perhaps with other people), I’d suggest Google Sites.
If you want to build a solid blog, I’d suggest WordPress. Blogger isn’t bad either—it gets second place for those who want to create a free blog (though Weebly and Wix also have decent blogging tools).
But hey, all these sites are worth a try—and the because they’re free, there isn’t much of an obstacle to doing so.
Questions or Comments? Ask Chris!
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