I’ve signed up to a selection of free website builders to sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly. I hope this saves you time (as well as money)!
Many people think free means you’ll be sacrificing the quality of features. However, there are some really good quality website builders out there that are entirely free.
Free website builders have come a long way since their birth, offering helpful platforms geared towards beginners with no prior coding experience.
One of the appealing features free website builders offer is that you don’t need to worry about finding the best hosting provider. Most website builders come with a decent hosting platform so you can put your mind at rest.
My mission was to sign up to each free website builder to assess their suitability and usability. I checked out their features, user-friendliness, customer support, and additional extras so you can make an informed decision. We’re constantly updating this as many site builders add new features and functionality throughout the year.
What Is A Website Builder?
Website builders are platforms that allow you to create websites (usually from templates and themes), in a simple and easy way. In most cases, you won’t have to know any coding language or have skills in web development in order to build your own website using a website builder.
The whole idea of a website builder is that anyone can use the platform. Most website builders use drag and drop functionality which means you can drag elements like text boxes, images, sliders, videos, etc. and drop them anywhere onto your website.
With the exception of some platforms like WordPress, which is a self-hosted platform, website builders usually come with their own web hosting, so all you’ll need to do is register your choice of domain name and off you go!
When you’re ready to launch your site, you can push it to a live setting for the world to view. In most cases, a website builder will also help you with your SEO efforts, which is an added bonus if you want to rank on search engines like Google.
1. Wix (Best Free Website Builder)
It’s very easy to create and publish your website with Wix’s free website builder plan. You won’t need an ounce of web development knowledge, as using their drag and drop builder is super simple to follow.
Wix’s editor is one of the most intuitive tools I’ve used. It’s so simple to create an awesome website that looks and works like it’s supposed to. From blogs to forums, you can personalise your website until the cows come home.
- Templates: Wix has over 500 templates for customers to use. Most of these are actually FREE and come mobile-ready. This means they are responsive which is great for SEO as well as usability.
- Tools: Wix’s drag and drop website builder includes a whole bunch of useful tools. You can easily create galleries, add buttons, and even integrate your social media accounts on your website.
- Free: Although it’s pretty obvious at this point that Wix is free, it’s actually free forever. If you don’t want to upgrade your website and are happy with the free features, you can keep your free plan for as long as you like.
- Adverts: Unfortunately with Wix’s free plan, your website will include a Wix advert banner. This stays where it is as visitors scroll through your website. Although it’s not overly intrusive, it is annoying.
- Domain: If you choose Wix’s free plan, you can’t use your own personal domain. You will have to have a domain which looks like yoursitename.wixsite.com/yourwebsite
- Limits: Your storage and bandwidth are both limited to just 500MB. Whilst this may be enough for a small blog or personal website, you will quickly run out of room if you try to expand your site.
2. Site123 (Best For Design)
When you sign up to Site123, you’ll be asked to choose a website category. From the choice you make, Site123 will present you with a website that has been designed for you.
Whilst this may not be to everyone’s tastes, Site123 makes creating a free website from scratch very easy. Alternatively, if you want to inject some of your own creative flare, you can grab hold of their editing tools and personalise your site just the way you like it.
- Simplicity: Although some may see this as a drawback, Site123 is very simple to use. The whole point of their free website builder is that you can create a website and get online in a matter of minutes.
- Quick design: Instead of trawling through hundreds of templates, Site123 asks YOU what the purpose of your website is. It then intuitively designs a template for you to work from.
- Live chat: Site123’s customer support is second to none. If you want to talk to someone immediately, they have a live chat option which should resolve your issues very quickly.
- Free domain: Much like Wix and other free website builders, Site123 uses a free domain format which looks like yourwebsite.site123.me
- No templates: I did put this as a positive for non-creative types, but if you (like me) prefer to work from a template, you won’t be able to with Site123
- Lack of versatility: Because it’s a simple website builder, there’s a distinct lack of versatility and modern-flare. Unlike some website builders like Wix, Site123 feels like it’s taken you back a few decades.
3. Weebly (Best For Start-Ups)
Weebly is fairly similar to Wix in terms of its drag and drop editor. It’s very easy to use as well as offering some awesome tools for SEO. Weebly is ideal if you’re starting a small business and want to lay some groundwork before selling products.
Its free website builder is great for people who want to launch a website fast, whilst maintaining professionalism and user-friendliness. All of Weebly’s templates are mobile responsive and look pretty damn good.
- Templates: Weebly has a decent choice of templates to work with. They cover a lot of categories including businesses, blogs, and portfolios. All of their templates are mobile-friendly meaning one less thing to worry about.
- Ease of use: With Weebly, you can get a brand new website from scratch created within an evening. The dashboard is easy to get your head around and their guides are super simple to follow.
- Scalability: If you love Weebly’s free website builder, you can upgrade to their premium plan from just £4 per month. This is very affordable and will open up a wealth of new features to explore.
- eCommerce: Although Weebly’s free plan is a great starting point, if you want to sell products using their website builder you will need to upgrade.
- Adverts: Free website’s with Weebly, unfortunately, do have an obvious Weebly advert stuck to the side. I don’t feel it’s as intrusive as some other website builders, but it doesn’t look very professional.
- Limited features: Weebly’s free plan feels much more like a teaser to their premium plans. Their features are quite limited unless you’re willing to pay to unlock them.
4. WordPress.com (Best For Bloggers)
WordPress.com is extremely well known for it’s blogging capabilities. If you’re looking to build a blog, it’s really a no-brainer to choose WordPress.com. It takes all of your favourite features from WordPress’s counterpart (WordPress.org) but compiles it into an easy free website builder.
If you’ve never used WordPress before, I recommend understanding the basics first. It’s not as user-friendly as the likes of Wix, but once you get the hang of it, it’s extremely powerful.
- Feature rich: WordPress.com comes packed full of features. These include blog analytics, built-in comments, category organisation, and lots more.
- Bloggers: If you are a blogger or you’re creating a new blog, WordPress.com is absolutely the right choice. Their platform is tailor-made to provide the best blogging features and tools.
- Templates: Creating a blog from scratch can be difficult, but you’ll get plenty of inspiration from WordPress.com’s templates. There are many free to use ones that can be customised straight from the box.
- Not for sites: If you want to create a website (not a blog) then I wouldn’t recommend WordPress.com. However, I would recommend WordPress.org which is a self-hosted version of WordPress.
- Advanced users: Although you won’t need to know any code to create a WordPress.com site, you’ll need a bit of knowledge. If you’ve never touched WordPress before then I wouldn’t dive straight in.
5. Strikingly (Best For Simplicity)
Strikingly is highly recommended for those wanting a one-page website, built for simplicity. They are a modern and professional company whose aim is to get your website online quickly, cheaply, and easily.
If you’re looking to get creative, Strikingly offers this to an extent, but I’d probably recommend Wix over Strikingly if you want more control. Saying that you can change your template and website as much as you like with Strikingly, even once it’s live.
- Generous features: Strikingly’s free plan allows you to create as many websites as you want to. There’s a 5GB monthly bandwidth cap and a limit to selling one product on each site, but apart from that, you can do as you please.
- Freedom: Strikingly gives you the freedom to switch and change your site’s design as you please. If you go live with a template and change your mind, it’s easy to trial a new template without losing your data.
- Subtle advertising: In terms of free website builders, Strikingly’s advertisements are much less in your face than others. Their free domain name looks like yourwebsite.strikingly.com which is certainly more professional than the likes of Site123.
- One-page: Strikingly only offers 1-page website templates. If you want multi-page websites, you’ll need to choose another website builder.
- No SSL: Although Strikingly allows you to sell one product on each of your free plan websites, they don’t include a free SSL certificate, so you’ll have to purchase one before selling online.
- Premium pricing: If you do want to upgrade your site to include more features, their premium pricing is not very competitive. For example, their Limited plan costs $8 per month and only allows you to sell 5 products.
6. Jimdo (Best For Future Online Stores)
Jimdo’s website builder is free and easy to use. Whilst you may not have as much choice as Weebly and Wix, they do keep things simple and stop their customers from feeling overwhelmed. Their free plan is complete ad and banner free, making it a great choice for professionals.
If you want to build a free website for the purpose of selling online in the near future, Jimdo is a great option. Their domain name format is pretty good, and their premium plans are reasonably affordable to upgrade to.
- Great for beginners: If you’re new to the world of website building, Jimdo will do a great job at introducing you gently and slowly. They have a good selection of templates, without offering too much.
- Free Jimdo domain: I think that Jimdo’s domain name is a lot more friendly compared to some other free website builders. Your Jimdo domain will look like yourwebsite.jimdosite.com
- Social media: If you have a social media store like Facebook, it’s easy to connect this to your Jimdo site. It’s a great way to provide a store front without actually selling products on your website.
- Too simple: Although Jimdo is easy to use, I feel it’s a little too simple. It’s like they’ve taken bits from each website builder and created something good, not great.
- Limited templates: Jimdo’s template selection is quite slim compared to Wix. I wouldn’t knock the quality of their templates, however, there’s just not many to choose from.
7. Webnode (Best For Events)
Webnode is a brilliant choice for people who need a quick and easy website. If you’re looking to build something long-term or want to get overly creative, I would urge you to try Wix rather than Webnode.
The idea behind Webnode is that you can create a site literally within minutes. But this does mean their editor is a lot less flexible with limited features compared to other site builders. However, Webnode is very easy to use and don’t require any experience in website building to get started.
- Super fast: I’ve tested Webnode’s free website builder and created a website in around 7 minutes. That’s insanely fast and great for creating small sites for events or advertising.
- No adverts: Webnode’s free builder doesn’t come packed full of annoying adverts and banners. There’s a simple note in the site’s footer and that’s it!
- Easy to use: Beginners will rejoice at how easy Webnode is to use. They use (kind of) drag and drop functionality that has some limitations on placement, but this makes creating a site very simple.
- Limited elements: Although you can move elements around your website, the movement is quite limited. Once you move an element, your page’s design changes, rather than letting you place things anywhere you like.
- Not for creatives: If you want to get creative, Webnode will not be able to accommodate this. Things feel quite rigid, which is why I’ve recommended Webnode for events rather than full-blown websites.
What To Look For In A Free Website Builder
Creating a website using a website builder can mean different things to different people. Some more technically minded or created folk may thrive on lots of customisation options, whereas beginners may want to take an easier route.
Customisation isn’t a must-have as themes and templates offer a lot in the way of setting up a website.
However, if you want to make your website unique, you’re going to need to be able to customise your website. If you’re using a popular website builder then the chances are other people are using the same theme as you, so to stand out from the crowd you’re going to want to change a few details.
If you’re on a tight budget or really can’t afford to invest in a website builder, free website builders are available (as we’ve seen), and they’re easy to use.
However, if you mean business then premium website builders are so much more worth the money. In fact, most website builders are very affordable, so you can trade in a few extra ££s in exchange for your own domain and professional-looking website.
The beauty of website builders is that they generally don’t require you to know any code before you dive straight in.
In some cases, some coding knowledge or experience can be useful, and some website builders will allow you to put this to good use by editing HTML and CSS on the templates available.
The best website builder for customisation options specifically related to coding would be WordPress.
If you’re building a website that you want others to find, especially a business website or online store, SEO is something that you’ll want to prioritise.
Most website builders will allow you to implement your own SEO, meaning you can update meta descriptions, focus keywords, etc.
Some website builders will even offer an SEO wizard or step by step guide to help beginners on their way, whereas others like WordPress offer plugins that can help boost your website’s SEO.
Competing for that golden spot on Google is a hard task, there’s no doubt about it, so don’t delay in getting your website’s SEO up to date.
Free Website Builders FAQs
Can You Really Build A Website For Free?
Yes, you can, however, building a website for free often comes with limitations. For example, a free plan may restrict you using your own domain name, may implement adverts, and may be branded.
This doesn’t look very professional, so if you plan on publishing your website for other people to see or you’re a business, you’ll want to consider signing up to a premium website builder.
If you have a large website audience with lots of traffic, you may want to consider investing in a solid VPS host which will increase your website’s performance, coupled with WordPress.org which will allow you to create your own website from scratch or using themes.
What Is The Easiest Way To Build A Website?
It really depends on which platform you’re using to create a website. Building a website using WordPress offers more customisation and a larger pool of themes and plugins, however, it’s harder for beginners to get to grips with it.
Wix is a great way for beginners to get used to building a website, offering plenty of free stock photos and professional-looking templates which you can edit within minutes.
My recommendation would be to start small and experiment with a few free website builders to get a feel for what you like. Most website builders offer a free trial or free plan so you can play with some of the tools and features before committing to a plan.
What’s Better – Wix Or WordPress?
Again, it really depends on what type of website you’re creating, your technical skill, and what you want to use the platform for.
If you’re looking for a website builder that’s super easy to use, then I highly recommend Wix. There are plenty of support guides, step by step tutorials, and videos, as well as a large community to help if you get stuck.
If you want to be able to customise your website beyond expectations, then WordPress offers a whole host of themes and plugins to get your teeth into.
However, WordPress is a lot more difficult to get to grips with if you’ve never built a website before, and if you use WordPress.org, it’s a self-hosted solution, so I would recommend viewing our best WordPress web hosts guide beforehand.
The best free website builder depends on what you need for your website and how experienced you are.
Most website builders either offer a lot of customisation for more advanced users, or easier management for beginners.
Overall, my number one choice for the best free website builder is Wix. They offer lots of modern templates like other website builders, free stock photos, plenty of help, and it’s incredibly easy to use.
They have multiple pricing plans to suit every budget, including a free plan for you to start with.
Remember, just like web hosting, you don’t have to stick with the provider or platform you sign up with. Whilst moving website builder is a little more difficult than moving your hosting, it’s still possible. However, I would recommend signing up to some free trials, or free plans to ensure you really like your chosen website builder.