Article by Disha Sharma
Disha Sharma is a digital marketer-turned-freelance writer. She writes about SEO, email and content marketing, and lead generation.
But I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before: If you’re serious about your online presence, DON’T use a FREE website builder!
After all, a standard entry-level shared hosting cost no more than $5/mo. If you want people to take you or your business seriously, you can’t have a URL that tells you’re using a free platform to host your site.
Also, you certainly don’t look professional with a website with a URL like:
Yet, in this post, I’m asking you to build a website using a free website builder.
And there’s a good reason why I’m asking you to do this. But to understand the reason, you need to see how much building a typical website costs.
Building a typical website involves the following expenses:
Other than the domain name, the rest of the expenses are related to your choice of the platform.
Also read – The three easy ways to make a website in 2018
Let me explain.
Let’s say that you decided to start a WordPress website. And so, in addition to a domain name, you’ll also buy:
In all, you should expect to spend about $200 on your website.
But what if you realized after two weeks that WordPress — no matter how great it looked in the beginning — WASN’T for you, and that you had just lost 200 bucks?
Now WordPress is a great CMS and I use it for most of my websites.
It has always worked for me. But I know instances where WordPress really isn’t the best fit considering the person who’s building the website or the purpose the website is trying to solve.
It’s generally difficult to be sure of a website platform before actually building a website with it.
But then it’s too late anyway, right? No.
Luckily, you can figure this out before investing a single dollar because most good website builders offer free versions. Most of these don’t even require you to enter your credit card details.
If you take advantage of the free versions, you’ll make better, more confident choices – choices that you won’t regret.
All you need to do is give yourself some time with the different platforms to find out the one that’s perfect for you.
To help you choose the perfect builder for your website, I’m rounding up 25 of the best free site builders.
Read up on their descriptions and shortlist the 3 you think would be the most suitable for you.
Next, sign up for their free versions and see how you like the platform. You can then decide if you’d like to upgrade or try something else.
So here goes.
The difference between the two is that WordPress.com is a hosted solution where Automattic (the parent company of WordPress) takes care of the hosting, upgrades, security, and maintenance of your site, whereas in WordPress.org, you need to arrange the hosting and do all the maintenance work yourself.
So you can think of WordPress.com as just another online website maker tool. There’s nothing to install or configure. Just sign up and you’re good.
You can use WordPress.com’s free version to start a blog or website. What I like the most about WordPress.com is the simplicity that it brings back to blogging and publishing. The publishing experience you’ll get on WordPress is hands down the best one when you compare it with any other option on this list.
Even with the free version, you get access to 100s of beautiful free themes. Some of these themes are designed so well that they can compete with the slick websites made on premium site builders like Squarespace.
Plus, it comes with the famous WordPress blog editor, so if writing is your focus and you don’t want to do the technical stuff with WordPress.org, then WordPress.com is the way for you.
With WordPress.com, you can build any kind of a website. Whether it’s a savvy business website or a simple blog.
So … yes, WordPress is a great option for you if you find a theme that meets ‘all’ your needs. And I’m stressing on ‘all’ because unlike WordPress.org (or a self-hosted WordPress website), you can’t extend WordPress.com websites with plugins. So tomorrow if you feel like you want to deliver classes on your WordPress.com site, you can’t just install a plugin and get it done.
Nor does WordPress come with drag and drop page builders with different design modules. Basically, you just get what your theme offers, hence choose carefully.
That said, for a simple business website or blog, you might not want to look further than this.
Wix is one of our favorite online website maker tools. It powers millions of websites around the world.
When you create a website on Wix, there’s no chance that the template you use will make you feel boxed. And that’s because Wix comes with a drag and drop editor. So no matter what template you choose, it’s always just a starting point.
If you want a completely customized design, you can start with a blank page and add any elements as you like.
Another thing worth noting is Wix’s Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) site builder (more about building a site with Wix ADI here).
Basically, this Artificial Design Intelligence site builder virtually builds your site for you once you tell it what your site is about. This is a highly recommended feature.
Most free website builder tools that you’ll see on this list don’t let you add more than 3 pages to your site. The free website builder Wix, on the other hand, lets you add unlimited pages. And a 500MB storage can also support you for a long time if you don’t have a content heavy site.
Whether you want to build a business website or a portfolio website, Wix can help you create a classy web presence in no time.
Also, if you contrast Wix to some other premium website maker online tools, you’ll realize that it offers more templates, so if you feel bored, you don’t have to pull out your hair in frustration. Simply switch a template, and there are enough templates!
Comparable to the likes of WordPress and Wix, Weebly is huge in the free (and premium) website builder space.
At time of writing, it powers more than 30 million websites.
Like I said above, going with Weebly gives you the security of a solid company that won’t just shut down its store one day! With the security, you also get several beautiful website themes and an easy-to-use drag and drop editor.
Weebly’s free version gives you 500MB of storage and access to all the templates as well as the drag and drop editor. You also get access to Weebly’s SEO and lead capture features.
In most cases, yes. But if you care about SEO, then the least you should expect to pay with Weebly is $25/mo because to get the SEO-friendly SSL certificate, this is the plan you’ll need.
Ucraft is an awesome website maker tool that lets you build elegant personal websites.
Oh and it also comes with a cool logo maker app. You can use it for free to create and download a high-resolution file.
Ucraft’s beautiful templates coupled with its drag and drop editor make Ucraft a very compelling site builder.
The most interesting feature of uCraft’s free version is that it lets you add a custom domain name. I think uCraft is one of the only two free website builders that allow you to connect a custom domain name on a free plan.
Updates: uCraft has upated their design tool and giving out for free now.
If a one-page website is all you need, then don’t look further than Ucraft because it’s free in the real sense!
The website maker tool, Carrd, can be used to build stunning one-page websites. Carrd is currently in beta but looks very promising.
I like the idea of a one-page website … and more than websites, Carrd creates cover pages that you can use to tell your story beautifully. Right now, Carrd has about 18 templates, of which about 6 are part of the premium plan. The free templates too are gorgeous and editing is easy. Some useful elements, though, like the form element (the element you’ll need to create a contact form) are only available in the pro-version.
I feel that Carrd’s free plan is a bit limiting, given that something as basic as a contact form too needs upgrading. Though there’s a workaround to give a contact email directly, but I’d certainly like it more there were some more features in the free plan.
Carrd could be one of the most (if not the most) affordable choice to take your business online.
For roughly $1.50 a month, Carrd gives you a beautiful, mobile-friendly one-page website, so keep an eye for this one!
SiteBuilder comes with more than 10,000 templates. With this unusually high number of templates, it can be used to build a site across any domain.
One of the first things I look for in a site builder is its templates. And it becomes very tough to judge such a tool when you can’t see its templates without signing up! Although it has 10,000+ templates, SiteBuilder doesn’t display even one of it.
But I signed up and checked out the templates. I didn’t find 10,000 templates (maybe I just didn’t search so much!) as such, but I liked the ones I saw.
SiteBuilder’s free version lets you create a 5-page website. You can also access all of SiteBuilder’s templates.
SiteBuilder not only gives great looking templates but its pro plan (see details below) is also thoughtful of someone with a limited budget. So if you want a custom domain name and email and hosting within budget, it’s tough to beat this one at this price point.
With more than 12 million users worldwide, Yola is a solid free website maker builder tool to take your business online.
While Yola has limited templates, they’re good for basic business/professional websites.
The free websites you make with Yola are ad-free. So even when you’re running your website on a Yola sub-domain, your readers won’t be annoyed with ads popping up from every corner of your website.
With a rock-solid track record of helping so many businesses go online, Yola can surely help you build a good, basic website. If you think you DON’T need to add a blog or make a visually jazzy website, Yola could bring you the simplicity you need.
Webs comes with some very diverse and good themes. I just wish more of them were unlocked even in the free plan.
With Webs, you can create a fully functional website in its free plan. Your website will be hosted on a Webs’ sub-domain.
If you’re only looking to build a budget-friendly website, then Webs is a good option.
WebsiteBuilder is another free website maker tool with 1000s of themes.
WebsiteBuilder has 1000s of good-looking templates. I think the overall interface of WebsiteBuilder is quite like SiteBuilder.
Which is quite strange! Their onboarding emails are similar too!
Although WebsiteBuilder’s templates are good and diverse, yet you might find it a little difficult to justify the pricing especially when you compare it to some of the different, more economic options available. For example, the SiteBuilder tool.
This state-of-the-art website builder has powered 11,240,766 websites till now.
IM Creator has an outstanding collection of templates. It also has a huge number of website building modules. CV, team, slideshows, text, people – you name it. All you need to do is drag and drop these elements into your website.
Editing is pretty easy, and you can try IM Creator’s editor even without signing up. You can try it here.
The complete IM Creator solution is free for nonprofits and students. So, if you’re still studying or are super-passionate about a cause, give IM Creator a try today.
Thanks to its diverse templates and modules, IM Creator’s is quite a catch even for its premium plan.
With 100+ templates across domains like real estate, fashion, photography, blog, and wedding among others, Sitey certainly offers a lot more than most of the website maker tools on this list.
Clearly, it’s the collection of templates that gives Sitey the upper hand. The templates along with with the tool’s drag and drop page maker tool covers all your needs.
Sitey’s free version lets you build a 5-page site.
Sitey is suitable for building all kinds of sites, so if you’re looking for a wholesome solution, do consider Sitey
Note: what’s disappointing is that even at this pricey, Sitey doesn’t give you a mobile-friendly site. For that, you’re expected to shell out $7.99/mo (when paid annually). If you compare Sitey with some of its more popular alternatives, you’ll surely find better deals at this cost.
Jimdo lets you create “colorful, original, and unique” websites. About 15 million people trust Jimdo for their websites.
Jimdo has limited but beautiful templates. It also has a website showcase section, and if you check it out, you’ll see that Jimdo customers have built some really sleek and creative websites.
You get about 500MB storage to make a free website or blog with Jimdo. You also get access to all the templates.
Except for a drag and drop editor, Jimdo has all the bells and whistles of a modern website maker tool. And while its templates are limited, they have 100s of variations, so finding something suitable shouldn’t be too hard.
If you check out Jimdo’s reviews, you’ll notice a lot of people raving about Jimdo’s eCommerce functionality. So if you want to open an online store, then maybe Jimdo is even more suitable for you.
Site 123 makes building websites as easy as 1,2,3.
Site 123 has a no-nonsense pricing scheme. This is great because as you can see in this list, many website builders force cheaper plans that are plain useless.
Also, Site 123 lets you access free image and icon libraries. This is a thoughtful feature because choosing the right images is a big part of building a beautiful website.
Site 123 can even be used to build sleek one-page websites, which can be an awesome feature if you want to build a portfolio website.
With the free plan, you get 500 MB of storage, which is actually more than enough for a basic website.
SITE123 looks like a great option, and I guess its templates too have to be good-looking. I would have loved to cross-check this but unfortunately SITE123 doesn’t showcase its templates!
Till date, WebStarts powers about 3.8 million websites, so you can say it’s a company you can trust.
To begin with, the WebStarts website looks a little dated if you see it after seeing some of the fancy sites from this list. That said, you can’t ignore the number of people who’re already using it to power their websites.
Despite how the homepage looks, WebStart’s templates are actually nice!
The free version gives you 1 GB of storage. And there’s no restriction on the number of pages you can add to your site. Also, from what it appears, the free version gives full access to all the templates.
The free plan here feels pretty restrictive despite the generous storage because it doesn’t let you add a contact form to your site. So I don’t know how such a website could benefit you.
A good use case for this website maker tool are business websites that need zero tweaking and can pay up to $30.98/mo because this plan includes advanced features like an email marketing suite, a lead management solution, a CRM, and CDN. Otherwise, you’ve better alternatives within the same budget.
With 27 million users, Webnode lets you build beautiful business and professional websites. And even online stores.
Webnode has some great looking themes. Its higher premium plans offer membership registrations, so if you ever need to let people create accounts on your website, you can unlock the membership registration feature with Webnode’s $19.95/mo plan. This plan also allows you to create a website in your local language.
The free version unlocks all of Webnode’s templates, so you can put together a visually appealing website pretty fast.
At $11.95/mo, I’m afraid you’ve better options to go with than Webnode. But if you don’t mind showing Webnode ads, then Webnode’s limited plan might interest you.
Note: Even though Webnode’s $5.95/mo deal is a premium plan, your website will still show Webnode’s ads. I think this is a big turnoff. The first ad-free plan costs $11.95, which is of course quite pricey for someone who doesn’t need all the additional features it offers.
This website maker turned 11 years in 2017, and hopefully, it will give its templates a much-needed refresh.
Doodlekit’s free version lets you build a full website with no restriction as such on the number of pages. Storage wise, you get 100MB, which is ok.
I think you really need to check out the templates to decide if Doodlekit is for you, because at Doodlekit’s premium price point, you have alternatives that offer slick templates and even drag and drop editors.
With more than 300 templates, Cabanova lets you build a stunning website “just as unique as your DNA.”
I like Cabanova’s website, so I believe its templates might be good as well, but it’s difficult to tell without looking at them.
The website showcase section, too, doesn’t look updated with any recent sites, so it’s really difficult to get a feel of the kind of sites you can build with Cabanova.
The free version lets you build a 3-page website and gives 50MB of data. And from what it seems, the free version unlocks all the templates.
Cabanova looks like a good and cost-effective option but I think I’d say this more confidently if I got the chance to look at all the templates because unlike a few of the online website maker tools on this list, Cabanova doesn’t have a drag and drop editor, which means finding the perfect theme will make all the difference in this case.
With a recommendation from none other than Seth Godin, this website maker tool lets you build a website in under 30 minutes, with zero design and coding skills.
I like Strikingly’s personal site templates, although I wish there were more templates. Right now, it has about 19 templates on offer. Also, there’s this really cool feature that allows you to create a beautiful personal website by importing LinkedIn data.
This 4-year old website maker tool aims to help small businesses create and maintain their online presence in a hasslefree manner.c
I think Simbla has an interesting and diverse collection of templates. Plus, its pricing makes it accessible to a lot of people who’d like to go for a completely managed site creation and hosting solution.
If you’re looking for the goodness of a full blown website maker tool, and if you are a little price sensitive, then Simbla is a decent option to consider.
Bookmark is built with the purpose of empowering even non-technical people to make beautiful and fully functional websites from scratch.
Overall, I like bookmark. But when I compare it some of the other solutions like Squarespace and others at the same price point, I get a bit unsure as to what sets it apart from them. Of course, Bookmark is new and there’s a long way to go, but right now, what I’d love to see are more templates.
Signing up for Bookmark unlocks Bookmark’s e-Learning courses as well where Bookmark teaches you how to take your business online and give few tips on how to grow it further.
There are also modules covering SEO, social media, and business in general among other things.
Bookmark is a good option if you’ve the bandwidth.
Siteleo looks like a solid website and its templates too are stunning.
But I do feel a little unsure about including it because apparently Sitelio’s social media channels look gravely ignored. I mean there’s not a single tweet or post since 2015, but from what I can get from the website, the tool is in top shape.
Honestly, I’m absolutely floored by the 10,000 themes you get with Sitelio. All Sitelio’s themes spanning across categories like business, blog, photography, wedding and more are beautiful. Some of them could easily compete with the ones from site maker tools like Squarespace.
You can make a great 5-page website with Sitelio’s free plan.
Sitelio combines the best of both elegant designs and ease of use. And its templates cover practically all niches. Even if you upgrade, at $5.99/mo, you can give your readers a classy website experience.
While Sitem.co is still in Beta, it hosts the websites of 247 proud owners! It helps build portfolio, product launch, agency, and personal websites.
The thing that I like best about Sitem is that it has simple yet blazing fast themes. And because most of Sitem users are expected to use it for showcasing their work, these elegant templates solve the purpose perfectly.
Also, I think the makers of the tool have really tried to offer an accessible option to all the people who can’t shell out the price of most of the other premium site maker tools. (For your information, most such tools cost about $10/mo or so when paid annually.)
The free version supports SSL, so search engines will perceive your site to be more trustworthy. Also, it’s ad-free, so Sitem won’t stuff ads into your website and you’ll be able to offer a clutter-free experience to your visitors.
If the main purpose of your website is (and will be) just to showcase your work, then you shouldn’t look beyond Sitem.
That said, if you have plans to add a blog to your website and you expected to get a lot of hits (like more than 200000), then you might want to look at some of the other options as well.
Plus, at this price point, this is a great option to showcase your work for a lifetime.
uCoz is a complete website maker solution that lets you build a number of site types for free. It has separate workflows for creating the main types of websites like a personal website, a business website, or an online shop.
Unfortunately, when I tried to sign up this uCoz, I got all caught up in the clumsy signup process. There are just too many forms and too many fields. My onboarding experience was quite the opposite of what I was expecting, given that it had a pretty streamlined site creation process based on the site type and all.
Another thing is that it doesn’t have a showcase of its free templates, so you don’t get a preview into what the free plan you in terms of templates and design tools. Unlike most of the tools in this list that allow you to publish a website in under 5 minutes, uCoz makes you run through a lot of logistics upfront.
Also, when you sign up for a uCoz account, you are automatically signed up for its sister service called uID, which again is not quite a great thing. (In case you’re wondering, uID is a service like ‘About me’)
The free version supports a custom domain name. This is quite unusual because most free website builders force you to use a subdomain. uCoz’s free version is also ad-free.
If you want to build a fully branded website without worrying about any costs other than the domain name, then this website maker tool is for you. And despite my experience, I do like what I saw in its demo video.
Tilda is a handy drag and drop website maker tool that lets you build beautiful websites. Tilda offers a great mix of templates for freelancers, businesses, agencies, online tutors, and many more.
When I first checked out Tilda, I thought it was a lot like Squarespace, especially when I saw some of the cover page designs. But as I dug deeper, I realized that Tilda has many more templates on offer. Plus, it has 350+ design elements, which is far more than what Squarespace offers. Another thing worth noting is that Tilda comes with beautiful landing pages too.
The free version supports up to 50 pages and offers a storage of 50MB, and is ad-free.
If you’re a freelancer, no matter what services you offer, Tilda has beautiful templates to cover all your needs. You can also use it to create special services pages to promote specific services.
As you can understand from the name itself, Portfoliobox is a website builder that’s exclusively built for creatives who want to showcase their work.
While this platform’s focus is primarily on displaying work, it also supports pages like the blog and store, so you can extend your portfolio into a full-fledged website if you want to.
Because Portfoliobox is meant for hosting portfolios, it has paid special attention to an artist’s needs like stunning testimonial layouts, services modules, and showcases. All its templates are designed such that they highlight the customer’s work. Check out its featured customers to see the kinds of portfolios you can build with Portfoliobox.
Also, Portfolio’s free version doesn’t stuff ads in your portfolio.
And because the free version hosts up to 30 pages, it gives you enough bandwidth to publish a well-rounded portfolio.
If you’re into photography, design, or any other area where you have a lot of visuals to show to your potential clients, Portfoliobox can help you create a beautiful website.
Duda offers an excellent free website builder tool. And given that Duda is all about responsive websites, you can be sure that even your free website will render beautifully on all mobile and tablet devices.
The highlight of Duda’s free plan for me is its personalization feature. I haven’t seen any free website maker tool offer an advanced option like personalization. Personalization based on a visitor’s location, time zone, and past visits enhances their browsing experience, so a big thumbs up for this feature!
Template wise too, I think Duda has many inspiring designs. Plus, you also get Duda’s drag and drop editor.
There you have them – 26 free websites builders to choose from! Good luck with your first website.