Building a website is expensive and time-consuming, right? Wrong! – there are plenty of excellent free website builders that can save both your time and money. However, before signing up, there are a few things that you should know.
We all love to simply hack the system, right?
A normal website builder, complete with an intuitive editing interface, excellent templates, and helpful business tools, usually starts at around $10-15 a month. It would be awesome if you could just hack into the mainframe, and get all the same features – but for free!
But here I come…bursting that bubble immediately.
I’m not here to sell you snake oil and magic beans. In my extensive research, I used pretty every website builder that exists and the truth is, free website builders are undeniably worse than their paid counterparts. The same way you and I like to get paid for the work that we do, website builders also don’t really like giving away free stuff to everyone. Free website builder plans are actually very limited: giving you little resources, editing tools, and not even letting you connect your own domain.
That being said, free website builder plans do exist. And they can be perfect for several use cases:
- Learning website design: a website builder can be an excellent learning tool.
- A school project: if you just need a simple, disposable website, it makes sense not to spend.
- You really have no budget: and are perfectly fine with the possible limitations.
So, in this post, I’ll be showcasing the best free website builder options out there. Some of them include excellent editing options, perfect for learning website design, others offer free plans that are actually good – and can be used for a simple portfolio, blog, or a small business website. There’s plenty to pick from!
So, without even further ado, let’s have a look at today’s contestants, and see which one’s leaving with the Grand Prize – your undivided attention.
Best free website builders: ranked
- Wix – best free website builder overall
- SITE123 – excellent free option for business sites
- Ucraft – free website builder for portfolios
- Weebly – small business and eCommerce free website builder
- WordPress.com – excellent free solution for bloggers
- WebsiteBuilder.com – beginner-friendly free option
- IM Creator – website builder, free for non-profits, artists, and students
I’m going to cover each of these options in detail.
You can check them out one by one as you scroll below. Or use the links above as navigation to read on the builder that interests you the most. Alternatively, stick it to the man, skip the reading, and click here to go straight to the conclusion. There, I talk about whether you should use a free website builder, and what are the best overall options to choose from.
1. Wix – all-around superstar
|Can connect a custom domain?||No|
|Features||Two website editors, excellent customizability|
|Best for||Design and editing freedom|
If you want to learn website building – Wix is a perfect option. Over 700+ unique templates and two website editors with unique in-depth site editing tools make a winning combination.
And while the free plan is understandably limited: with no chance to connect your own domain, and Wix’s watermark brandishing your site at all times, it’s an excellent website builder to start your online journey with.
The star (or should I say “stars”?) of the show is certainly the site editors. With them, you can choose exactly what kind of site-building experience do you want. Upon signing up for Wix, you’ll be asked whether you wish to use the Wix Editor or the Wix ADI.
And here, you’ll get an opportunity to go one of the two ways. Either leap into the world of boundless editing tools and excellent templates in Wix Editor…
Or get a website built for you in just a couple of minutes, using a smart AI-powered website tool.
These two options are seriously different, and I can’t recommend just one, as the “superior one”. Pick Wix ADI if you just want a website built quickly. However, if you’re looking for a free website builder to teach yourself website design, or maybe even sharpen up those coding skills – the Classic Editor is there for you.
Highly editable, and even allowing for full HTML/CSS customization and custom functionality building, Wix Editor is an excellent option for increasing your professional skill. On my Wix review, I mentioned that learning the builder inside out might be a little confusing – but oh so rewarding.
To sum things up, you can use Wix for just about anything. Whether it’s a massive site or a quick landing page – or whether you want to learn everything about website development, or just need a site in a hurry – Wix has got your back.
Wix’s free plan – recommendations and limitations
Wix free plan gives you:
- 1 GB of monthly bandwidth
- 500 MB of storage space
- A .wixsite.com subdomain
- Wix branding on your site
1 GB of bandwidth will be enough for 200-1000 users coming to your site every month, while 500 MB of storage is enough for a medium-sized website. As long as you don’t get many visitors or upload large media files, you should be fine.
As for the branding, this is less entertaining – you will be able to host your site only on the .wixsite.com domain. Not the most professional look.
Plus, at all times, the top of your site will be marked with this watermark right here.
However, I still endorse Wix for small personal projects, school projects, and overall website design learning. The plans do not limit your creativity: all the excellent site editing tools are available for everyone. So are the tutorials and guides, helping you get better and better with your site design.
Until maybe, one day you’ll be ready to go for a paid plan. They start at $14 a month and help you sell online, and further promote your business.
Wix is perhaps the best free website builder – its free plan gives you some top-notch site editing features. What’s not to love?
- Two excellent site editors
- Plenty of great templates
- Great for learning website design
- Watermark visible at all times
- Can’t connect a custom domain
2. SITE123 – easy business website building
|Can connect a custom domain?||No|
|Features||Simple block builder|
|Best for||Small business sites|
If you just want to build a website as quickly as possible, and both your time and patience are running thin, SITE123 is the perfect solution to build a website without spending any money.
It’s by far the easiest builder to operate on this list, taking all the intricate design work right out of your hands. Gone are the intricate editors, and the decision fatigue of thinking “what element goes where?”. Instead, SITE123 lets you both create a website for free, and free your mind from all the difficult decisions.
To make a free business website on SITE123, you simply choose what kind of a website you wish to have…
And then, you have it. This super simple website setup process was the star of my SITE123 review.
“But wait”, I hear you say. “I want my website to have stuff in it!” Fine. SITE123 has stuff – in a form of over 160 pre-made website sections with different layouts. Just put the ones you like together: and you’ll be done in no time.
SITE123 leans more towards speed & ease-of-use than depth-of-designs & features. All you have to do to get started is pick the kind of website you wanna build, mention your business/project name, and put your feet up.
There are still some edits you can do: namely with the fonts, backgrounds, color schemes, and so on. But everything’s entirely optional – you can get a perfectly suitable website by simply following the cue given to you by the builder itself.
It’s a busy person’s builder. If you are one, you’re welcome – now go do a thing you wanted to do all along.
SITE123’s free plan – recommendations and limitations
SITE123’s plan gives you…
- 250 MB of storage
- 250 MB of monthly bandwidth
- A complicated SITE123 subdomain
- Watermark on the website at all times
- Basic eCommerce features!
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way. 250 MB of storage is enough for a small website, and 250 MB of bandwidth will handle around 300 visitors a month.
The SITE123 subdomain is probably the worst on the list. Instead of getting some personalization, like “myname.websitebuildercompany.com”, you’ll get an URL that looks like this: “601ab2d622184.site123.me“
On a free plan, there’s going to be a SITE123 banner on the site – looking like this.
But…BUT – there’s an elephant in the room I need to address. You can use the SITE123 free plan to sell online! You can add in an eCommerce section in case of a single-page website, or create a separate page altogether.
From here on, you can manage inventory/orders, pep up the store visuals, and inspect the basic insights – all from a single screen.
But there’s a catch (of course!) – you can’t accept online payments. You can accept money either via cash-on-delivery, or bank transfers. But that’s going to be the limit. The fail-safe digital methods and card processors (e.g. Stripe) are unavailable to free users.
Use SITE123 if you have a small online business, or just want to quickly build a serious website. Once you do, however, make sure to buy a domain name – while you can’t connect it to your SITE123 site, you can still use it to redirect to your homepage instead of sending them that awful link.
Or else, just invest in a premium plan. They include additional business and eCommerce features, such as letting you accept digital payments. Plus, there are some excellent additional features, such custom email. Prices start at $12.80/month when purchasing a yearly plan – or you can opt for an even longer term, and get SITE123 for as low as $5. The choice is yours.
- Very easy to use
- Intuitive block designer
- eCommerce available on a free plan
- Complicated free subdomain
- Limited design and template options
3. Ucraft – portfolios and custom domains
|Can connect a custom domain?||Yes|
|Features||Beautiful designs, modern editor|
Are you looking for a free website builder to showcase your work on a portfolio site? Need something that looks good, feels good and is very easy to use?
There are many options.
Looking for all this, but also wish to connect your own domain, entirely free of charge?
There is only Ucraft.
Ucraft got itself on this list specifically because even on a free plan, you can connect your domain to the site. This kind of personalized experience is going to be perfect if you need a site with your own branding. What’s even better, Ucraft’s standout features don’t stop there. There’s still a lot more going on.
There are plenty of beautiful themes to choose from. For free users, there will be a total of 28 options, a lot of them focused heavily on small businesses and portfolios.
As far as the editor goes, well, to be honest – I just loved it. It’s a very powerful, intuitive interface letting you add either elements – text, images, buttons, or blocks – pre-made sections of the website, suited specifically to your theme.
Compared to other free website builders on this list, Ucraft is certainly at the top when it comes to beautiful, responsive designs. It’s normal to expect a free website builder to not offer s beautiful, modern site building experience. But someone in the Ucraft headquarters seems to have deleted that memo.
With Ucraft, you can make a website that has a modern, consistent design language, and most importantly – your custom domain right on it.
Ucraft’s free plan – recommendations and limitations
Ucraft’s free plan is as follows:
- Can connect a custom domain
- Can make up to 15 pages
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Ucraft watermark on your site
- Limited site editing
I covered the domain part already – it’s an excellent little killer feature. But most other limitations also seem quite good: 15 pages are more than enough, and no limits on storage and bandwidth remove that worry entirely and let you focus more on the site design.
The watermark is also quite alright. It’s visible but unintrusive, limited to a small line at the bottom of the site.
However, it’s exactly the site design that causes quite a few questions. Here’s how:
Free Ucraft plan offers limited templates, blocks, elements, and features.
Just one browse through Ucraft says it all – look how many tools are simply unavailable to use (marked yellow).
Plenty of site design options are unavailable. Certain elements and blocks are entirely out of bounds.
Templates are limited, too. Out of nearly 100 in total, free plan users only get access to 28 templates. Still pretty good – but not good enough. To my moderately trained eye, there’s also a clear difference in quality. All the best themes are under a paywall.
That being said, Ucraft’s free plan still gives you a fair amount of stuff to do. Still – if you wish to sell online, remove the watermarks, create unlimited pages, or make the best out of the exciting design option, you’ll need to pay.
Well then: paid plans start from $10/month.
- Can connect your own domain
- Great templates and design options
- Plenty of various tools and extra features
- Free plan has limited design customization
- Only more than a quarter of themes available for free
4. Weebly – affordable way to sell online
|Can connect a custom domain?||No|
|Features||Simple eCommerce tools|
|Best for||Small businesses looking to sell|
Weebly is a website builder, known for years for its easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor, and excellent business features. And while the business features are paid (and that’s not what you came here for, right?), the site editing options are all free.
So, you get a lot of freedom to build exactly the site you want to – with a very small learning curve, and virtually no site-building experience required.
I covered the rather unusual signup process on my Weebly review earlier. But to sum it up, once you’re done choose the right builder, and go through selecting a theme, you’ll end up here: on the drag-and-drop interface.
From there, you can simply drag and drop anything on your page – putting everything together the way you want it to look.
Alternatively, if HTML/CSS code is more than random symbols to you, you just go straight to the code editor and do some major changes that way.
Or instead, you can do several global changes to your site’s style through the extensive design options.
All in all, Weebly is a very simple website builder with no bells, whistles, or designer-winning pre-made adapting sections. It’s a fairly custom DIY experience, letting you shift, change, and build things the way you want them to be.
If you’re looking to learn website design and put your HTML and CSS skills to a test, this is a perfect solution. If you’re looking for an easy way to build a free website, you’ll find several other options. But none as open and free as Weebly.
Weebly’s free plan – recommendations and limitations
Weebly’s free plan is like this:
- 500 MB of storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- SSL protection
- Weebly’s subdomain and branding
Nothing special – but it’s good to see unlimited bandwidth even on a free plan. For everything else, there are no major surprises – you can’t sell online, connect your own domain, and your site will be hosted on Weebly’s own subdomain. Plus, the Weebly branding on your site is going to be quite visible, with this area placed at the bottom left corner at all times:
However, there is something quite interesting here. For $4 a month, you can gain access to Weebly’s Connect plan: which is essentially the same Free plan, but allowing you to connect your own domain. If you want Weebly features, but the domain issue is a dealbreaker, this is your solution.
- Simple drag-and-drop editor
- HTML and CSS code editing
- Plenty of freedom to make a custom site
- Big Weebly watermarks on free sites
- Offers less modern designs than many other options
5. WordPress.com – blogger’s dream tool
|Can connect a custom domain||No|
|Features||Excellent page editor|
|Best for||Blogging sites|
WordPress.com is a perfect solution for bloggers. If you have thoughts to share, and need a site to call it home, this is a perfect place to start. With several blog-focused themes, a great content management system, and an excellent editor, this is a great place for my fellow writers to shine.
You may (or may not) know that WordPress comes in two distinct versions – the self-hosted, highly complex .org and the more builder-like .com. You can check out their in-depth differences on my WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison.
Here, I will focus on the commercial WordPress.com version – being more builder-like, it’s a much more suitable solution for beginner users. And it does exactly what it is meant to – acting as a simple website builder, and an excellent blogging solution in one.
Setting up only takes a few minutes. After gliding through the registration process, you’ll be taken into the WordPress editor.
Unlike most other website builders, WordPress is not a visual, page-building-based system. Instead, it focuses on blog posts – in fact, it’s the only blog-centered builder on this list. You can easily build pages, set categories, and organize all of your thoughts in one place.
The editor is simple and easy to understand. It lets you seamlessly write the content right in it, and also includes various text and media elements to help make it look even better.
The customization options are somewhat limited: you can only use a block editor to add and replace various elements on your site. For deeper customization, you’ll need to check out the WordPress themes. A lot of them are free: but the best options will be paid, costing around $50 a piece.
If you’re a blogger, looking for a place to call home – WordPress.com is the right option for you. Letting you focus on your content, it’s a simple and effective website-building solution.
WordPress.com’s free plan – recommendations and limitations
The free plan on WordPress.com is a bit limited. It includes:
- A wordpress.com subdomain
- 3 GB of disk space
- No website watermark
You can’t connect your own domain to WordPress without paying – however, WordPress.com still has one killer feature up its sleeve. Unlike other options on the list, it doesn’t put a watermark, visible on your site at all times. There will merely be a small banner, visible when scrolling down the website.
Plus, given WordPress’ reputation as a blogging platform, a .wordpress.com subdomain is actually not a bad look for bloggers. If that’s still not good enough, the Personal plan for $4 a month removes that banner and lets you connect a custom domain name.
The only concern I have with WordPress.com’s free plan comes with the fact, that a lot of great things about WordPress are simply not available there.
For instance – premium themes. WordPress has a massive community that builds thousands of excellent themes, fitting various needs and niches. However, for that, you’ll need to purchase the Premium plan for $8 a month.
The same goes with plugins – WordPress is known to have an extensive app store, covering just about any website need imaginable. But on WordPress.com, a free plan does not support them: you’ll need to purchase a Business plan for $25 a month.
All in all, WordPress.com is the best free website builder if you’re looking for a simple place to set up your blog. The best features are paid, but even the free package offers plenty of excellent features.
- Best blog editor on the list
- Plenty of themes and plugins
- Simple to build big blog websites
- Best WordPress features are hidden under a paywall
- Limited design customizability
6. WebsiteBuilder.com – simplicity through and through
|Can connect a custom domain||No|
|Features||Simple website setup process|
|Best for||School projects, beginner users|
Not gonna lie: I didn’t have sky-high hopes for this platform. But after doing my due diligence, I can say with confidence: this builder has a place on this list.
With its super intuitive and quick website editor and a powerful free plan, WebsiteBuilder.com is an excellent budget option for those not confident in their own website-building skills. In fact, it’s so simple, it entirely eliminates templates: making choices is now easier than ever.
Really – to create a website for free, you just need to tell the website builder what your site is about…
And immediately, you’ll be thrown into the questionnaire: instead of building a page yourself, you’ll simply answer questions and pick your preferred style options.
On the editor, all the sections and the information can be changed: using the pre-made page layouts, you can pick from several different options. It’s a good way to minimize the required amount of effort and design skill. Simply finding something that you like is better than making it yourself!
WebsiteBuilder.com is simple – that’s the defining trait which it acts, lives, and dies for. There isn’t much in-depth editing you can do, and it’s more of a builder for a simple landing page. But it does those basics really well – that was something I certainly took away from my WebsiteBuilder.com review.
WebsiteBuilder.com’s free plan – recommendations and limitations
WebsiteBuilder.com has a free plan, that includes these features:
- Online store with 3 products, and a 3% transaction fee
- 2 monthly email campaigns with 100 unique emails
- Builder’s marking on your site
Obviously – the banner with the builder’s information looks like an eyesore on pretty much all kinds of websites. This one’s no exception. The WebsiteBuilder.com banner is very chunky, and visible on your site at all times.
However, you can use the free plan to sell online. Naturally, this feature will be rather limited, with an additional 3% fee applied to all of your sales.
$500 of sales turns into $15, which you give away to a “free website builder” – that’s not very wise.
Wish to avoid that? The eCommerce plan costs just $10.40 a month, lets you sell unlimited products with no transaction fees, and do 10 monthly email campaigns with 3,000 unique emails.
Alternatively, if you don’t wish to sell online, but would still like to get rid of the meaty ribbon at the bottom of your page, other premium plans start at $5.80/month.
Personally, I find the free WebsiteBuilder.com plan to be ideal for simple school projects, and other similar use cases.
It’s ideal where a simple process is key, and you’re more interested in the final result – not the customization or the web design lessons learned along the way.
- Easy to set up
- Free eCommerce available
- Unique page editor, focusing on less design-savvy users
- Big WebsiteBuilder.com watermark on free sites
- Highly limited website editing
7. IM Creator – free website builder…for some!
|Can connect a custom domain||Yes|
|Features||Simple website setup process|
|Best for||School projects, beginner users|
Student, artist, or non-profit. Does any of those labels define you?
If so, I saved the dessert for last. For people with big ideas and thin wallets, IM Creator offers a chance to apply for a free plan.
There is no guarantee that you’ll get it, as you’ll need to send in a good amount of documents proving your status and wait for a couple of days. But is it still worth a shot?
Absolutely – the plan lets you connect your own domain, sell online, and the editor itself is actually quite easy to use and pleasing to eye.
I especially loved the templates. They’re simple and minimalist, ready to be made uniquely yours with some content of your own.
You can use these templates to set up an online store, start a blog, or pick-n-play amongst stunning templates across multiple businesses and nonbusiness categories.
Plus, when it comes to editing your site, the minimalist editor makes sure to simplify everything as much as possible. More intricate details, like the SEO data of your site are collected during the setup process.
Meanwhile, the site editing itself is focused on sections: pre-made parts of your website, combining text and media into one. It’s not a drag-and-drop website builder, it’s more of a “click-and-choose” option: so, you’ll get slightly less creative freedom than on some other builders.
And there are no such things as elements. All you can do is just move, add, or subtract the ready-made sections and make them match your template’s style, not edit them individually.
While everything is made to be quite simple to use, the UI is still not as intuitive as it can be. Something as basic and crucial as the “delete” button can be a serious pain to find.
However, for artists and other creatives, looking for a beautiful way to display their creations, this can be an ideal option.
WebsiteBuilder.com’s free plan – recommendations and limitations
Technically, IM Creator has one premium plan at $8/month, and also a white-label plan, letting you make website for your clients using the platform, at $350 a year.
However, if you’re a student, artist, or run a non-profit organization, you can get the premium plan entirely for free.
- Unlimited hosting
- Connecting your own domain
- No builder’s branding on your site
- No ads
If you don’t qualify for the free promotion – at $8 a month, this is still an excellent deal. If you do – it’s perhaps the best solution out there, giving you full premium features without having to pay absolutely anything.
- A fully-featured free plan
- Modern website templates
- Can connect a custom domain
- Free plan only available for artists, students, and non-profits
- Editor could be more intuitive
Should you use a free website builder?
In this post, I went through quite a few free website builders, offering various packages for a low, low price of….nothing.
And as you might guess, they’re not exactly all great. Free website builders suffer from issues, including and not limited to:
- No connecting of a custom domain
- Builder’s ads all over your site
- Fewer design options
- Fewer allocated resources
What’s even more important, there seem to be pretty much no ways or tricks around it. The same way you and I both love to get paid for the hard work that we do, companies won’t sacrifice their time, money, and effort building something that they will give away for free.
At the very least, you’ll get to deal with a banner and a subdomain, both promoting the platform you used, and encouraging you to commit to a premium plan.
So, a natural question arises – should you even bother using free website builders?
Well – it depends.
Free website builders are excellent learning tools. If you’re new to the world of website development, having a sandbox to work with can be incredibly beneficial. A free website builder gives you an interface to learn, and elements to edit. As a learning tool, website builders can be perfect for teaching yourself website design and coding.
Sadly, such builders are meant not for everybody. A free website builder isn’t a good look for a business website. A massive ribbon at the bottom of the site, and a domain of a website builder doesn’t exactly scream “reliable online business”. Plus, limited design options and reduced resources mean that your website is expected to both look ordinary, and not be made to handle many visitors at the same time. Both being the things expected from a good business website!
However, if you’re just looking to test things out, and see what kind of a website you can make yourself, giving a free website builder a shot might be a very smart move.
Setting up a website for free in 5 easy steps
Happy with the options, and looking to make a website, using a free website builder?
If you’re looking to set up your website for free, here’s what you should do:
- Plan ahead, create a mockup of how you want your site to look
- Choose the right website builder
- Pick a suitable and memorable website name
- Sign up for the product
- Use the editing tools to make a beautiful website
Planning ahead is the way to go: gathering what goals you have in mind, and what features you prioritize is crucial. It’s pretty awful to find out that you wasted a lot of your time with an unsuitable products. Especially, when a better option was readily available. Make sure to do your research!
Moving one step up – with cheap builders
Now, let’s say that you’re not looking to learn website development. And you don’t care about testing things out. You’re a serious business-minded person, with a serious business goal in mind.
What should you do, then? What’s the main takeaway here?
Sadly, there’s only one thing I can suggest:
But spend less, and spend mindfully. You can still save a lot of money that way! Let me show you:
I covered this topic in-depth in my post about cheap website builders. It’s normal for regular website builders to offer a bad free plan, and then try offering you an upgraded solution that costs $12-15 a month. In a way, it’s a separate business model. Lure the customers in with some free bait, then frustrate them into giving away their bank details.
But not everybody has $15 a month just laying around. What should you do, if you’re looking to save money, and also get a product that actually works?
Luckily, there are several excellent options that cost several times less than that.
For instance, builders like Zyro start at $2.90/month, while Gator website builder starts at $3.84/month. Both of these plans let you connect your own domain, and use all of the premium website-building features. Neither of them has a free plan – but if you take one piece of advice from this post to go and spread across the land, let it be this:
It’s better to spend a little money on a good product than get something that sucks – for free.
So, if you don’t think that with all of its limitations, a free website builder is going to be good for you – spend some money. But not too much! We’re still trying to save over here.
Which free website builder should you choose?
If you made up your mind to use a free website builder, there are several great options to choose from. They fit different niches and different people who have different goals.
What about these ones? What users should be interested in which solution?
These are the best free website builder options – and their best use cases:
- Wix – it’s a perfect all-rounder, excellent if you wish to learn website development
- SITE123 – a free website builder, focusing on small business sites
- Ucraft – a solid free website builder for portfolios
- Weebly – good for learning, and making a small business website
- WordPress.com – an excellent free option for bloggers
- WebsiteBuilder.com – a great free builder for beginners
- IM Creator – a premium builder solution, free for non-profits, artists, and students
So there you have it – these are the top options. Good luck making your websites and saving some money (both at the same time!)
Free website builder – FAQ
Yes, you can get a free website – just prepare, that there will be some limitations. On most product, you won’t be able to use a custom domain name, and others will leave you with limited website editing options, as well as business tools.
The best free website builder depends entirely on your needs. However, Wix free plan offers unmatched editing features and over 800+ beautiful templates – for a low low price of nothing.