Free Website
8 Free Website Creators Reviewed

In the past, websites were a highly exclusive product. Creating one required either an intricate knowledge of programming or large sums of money to farm out the work. Those days are long gone though, and at present, it might even be too easy for a business or individual to create a web presence, as reflected in the large number of unvisited sites and unread blogs. For anyone who wants to avoid this, all the while creating a high-quality site that search engines actually direct traffic to, website builders are your best friend. Some of these are even free, naturally with conditions.

We evaluated nine website builders, comparing them on the basis of their user-friendliness, design options, and features. Should you want unlimited access to all tools and features, you're going to have to crack open your wallet and purchase a monthly subscription. In most cases, this will entail hosting and domain costs, making website builders a practical 'one-stop-shop' for anyone looking to get things done.

With that said, some providers do make access to their services available, albeit at some sort of cost. For example, some allow users to build a site for free, only charging them for hosting. In other cases, both the builder and hosting (via the provider's subdomains) are free but come with limitations, either on storage space, or the placement of prominent banners advertising the service on your site.

For those who can look beyond these limitations or issues, or who want to try out a website builder before purchasing a subscription, you're in luck, as we'll show you below in our Top 5 free website builders:

1.

Wix Free Website Builder

Best Overall 2020
Wix Website Builder
(91,251)
free entry-level plan
many high-quality templates
simple & intuitive interface
Domains free for one year only
Wix succeeds with an unmatched feature set, intuitive editors and a packed app marketplace. Only with the blog features do we still see some room for improvement.
Storage
0.5 - 50 GB
Domains
0 - 1
Templates
550+
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
Wix Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website
Best Overall
4.7 / 5
excellent

On account of its numerous features, intuitive usage, and loaded app marketplace, the Israeli provider Wix came first in EXPERTE.com's exhaustive evaluation of website builders. The service sets only a few limits on your creativity, thanks to its more than 300 design templates and wide selection of elements.

Wix has two editors: In the default drag and drop editor, you can arrange elements at will, which does require some finesse, at least in terms of web design. For beginners, the service offers a slimmed-down ADI editor, which limits your options but guarantees visually harmonious results.

Our only issue with the service was that its blogging features are somewhat rudimentary in comparison to those of its competitors.

Wix's editor

Limitations in the Free Version

  • Domain: https://username.wixsite.com/webaddress
  • Advertisement(s): Wix banners at the top of each page
  • Premium version: No ads, and a unique domain from $8.50/month

Alongside ads and domain limitations, those who want to create a free website using Wix also have to make do without a few features. Storage and bandwidth are limited to 500 MB, and Google Analytics cannot be integrated. In addition, you also can't receive payments, since this is only possible with one of the three business packages ("Basic", "Unlimited", and "VIP" - starting from $17/month). As a result, it isn't possible to create an online shop for free.

Intuitive drag and drop service with a simplified editor for beginners

Lots of design templates to choose from

Huge app marketplace

Review Score
4.7 / 5
05/2019
excellent
Visit Website
Features
5.0 / 5
Marketing, SEO & E-Commerce
5.0 / 5
Templates & Design
4.7 / 5
Configuration and Usability
4.7 / 5
Customer Support
4.0 / 5
2.

Weebly Free Website Builder

Best Value for Money
Weebly Website Builder
(87,352)
free beginners plan
SSL certificate in all plans
modern design templates
Domains only one year free
no e-mail account included
With its intuitive drag-and-drop functionality and an unrivaled smartphone app for mobile website building, Weebly makes homepage creation easy even for beginners.
Storage
0.5 - ∞
Domains
0 - 1
Templates
100+
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
Weebly Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website
Review Score
4.6 / 5
excellent

Weebly, our price-performance winner, impressed us with its unparalleled smartphone app for building on the go, intuitive drag and drop editor, and versatile e-commerce solutions. The service also comes with a sizable app center, however, even out of the box, it's packed with features and elements, making it possible to create well-performing websites and online shops without any foreknowledge of programming whatsoever.

The main bone we have to pick with Weebly is that its selection of templates is somewhat limited in comparison to Wix, however, apart from that, we couldn't find much to complain about.

Weebly's blog features

Limitations in the Free Version

  • Domain: https://websitename.weebly.com
  • Advertisement(s): "Powered by Weebly" tag on the bottom of your site's pages
  • Premium version: Unique domain from $6/month ("Personal"); no ads and access to e-commerce features from $12/month ("Professional")

Apart from Weebly branding and being bound to the service's domains, free users also have to stomach a few other limitations. Storage is limited to 500 MB and e-commerce features are reserved for "Professional" subscribers and above. Advanced page statistics and hotline support are likewise restricted to paying customers.

Simple and intuitive drag and drop interface

Good smartphone app for building on the go

App center with third-party extensions and add-ons

Review Score
4.6 / 5
05/2019
excellent
Visit Website
Marketing, SEO & E-Commerce
5.0 / 5
Configuration and Usability
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.7 / 5
Features
4.3 / 5
Templates & Design
4.0 / 5
3.

Jimdo Free Website Builder

Jimdo Website Builder
(37,651)
free beginners plan
SSL certificate included
very easy to use
Domains only one year free
Storage
0.5 - ∞
Domains
0 - 1
Templates
100+
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
Jimdo Creator Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website
Review Score
4.1 / 5
good

What sets Jimdo apart from the other services we reviewed is its simplicity. This is most readily apparent with its Dolphin editor, which allows you to create a complete site in a matter of minutes. Simply answer a few questions about design and usage, and the friendly Dolphin will take care of the rest. Jimdo's standard editor is also easy to use, and so, we only recommend Dolphin for absolute beginners.

Despite all of the positives, Jimdo does come up a bit short in terms of its design templates, and the service doesn't offer a third-party app center. Similarly, the provider's support is disappointing: Only on our second attempt to contact the help staff did we receive a satisfactory answer, and that after six days.

Limitations in the Free Version

  • Domain: https://websitename.jimdofree.com
  • Advertisement(s): Relatively discrete Jimdo floating tag at the bottom of each page
  • Premium version: No ads and a unique subdomain starting at $9/month

The service's free subscription ("Play") enables access to all basic features, allowing you to publish your website on a Jimdo subdomain. Storage is limited to 500 MB, and you'll have to make do with a bandwidth of 2 GB. In addition, you'll only be able to create 5 pages, won't have access to SEO, statistics, and will be on your own in drafting legal texts, such as your site's privacy policy. Like the other services we've assessed here, only paying customers can create an online shop.

Very user-friendly

Ability to automatically create sites using the service's Dolphin editor

Easy to set up

Review Score
4.1 / 5
05/2019
good
Visit Website
Configuration and Usability
4.7 / 5
Features
4.3 / 5
Templates & Design
4.3 / 5
Marketing, SEO & E-Commerce
4.3 / 5
Customer Support
3.0 / 5
4.

Webnode Free Website Builder

Webnode Website Builder
(264)
supports multilingual sites
internationally popular provider
easy to use
relatively few templates
Domain only one year free
Storage
0.1 - 5 GB
Domains
0 - 1
Templates
100+
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
Webnode Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website
Review Score
4.1 / 5
good

Like Jimdo, Webnode also emphasizes accessibility: Its intuitive editor doesn't take a lot of getting used to and helps users to quickly create sites. You can choose from a wide range of design templates (around 100), all of which should aid you in creating a homepage with as little fuss as possible.

However, this simplicity does come at a price: Instead of dragging and dropping elements as in some of the other products we've reviewed above, Webnode's editor is more like a puzzle, somewhat limiting your freedom as a result. Greater variety in elements would be a nice addition, while in terms of e-commerce, some features, like the ability to integrate coupons or gift cards onto a site, are sorely missed.

For those without extravagant wishes, who want to quickly create a functioning website without having to spend hours poring over an interface, Webnode is definitely worth a look.

Slightly reduced drag and drop functionality in Webnode's editor

Limitations in the Free Version

  • Domain: https://websitename.webnode.com
  • Advertisement(s): Webnode floating tag at the bottom of each page
  • Premium version: No ads and a unique domain from $5.95/month

In the free version, storage is limited to 100 MB and bandwidth to 1 GB. Similar to the other services mentioned in this article, only paying customers can create online shops.

Clear, easy to use editor

Decent selection of design templates

Good support

Review Score
4.1 / 5
05/2019
good
Visit Website
Configuration and Usability
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.7 / 5
Templates & Design
4.0 / 5
Marketing, SEO & E-Commerce
3.7 / 5
Features
3.3 / 5
5.

Site123 Free Website Builder

SITE123 Website Builder
(5,377)
free plan for beginners
SSL certificate included
easy to use editor
Domain only one year free
Storage
0.5 - 10 GB
Domains
0 - 1
Templates
200+
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
SITE123 Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website
Review Score
4.0 / 5
good

Between freedom and simplicity, Site123 definitely leans toward the latter: The provider limits their users' freedom in most areas, in order to make their experience as comfortable as possible. This works, since with a few clicks and modifications, even beginners can quickly create a personalized and professional-looking site.

However, this does come at the cost of limiting what users are able to do. Like Webnode, using Site123 is more like fitting puzzle pieces together than dragging and dropping them at will: In contrast to other editors, you're also unable to freely add elements, and are instead restricted to personalizing ready-made sub-pages, such as a team page, gallery, or contact form.

Site123 limits freedom of design in order to bolster user-friendliness

Limitations in the Free Version

  • Domain: https://random-id.site123.me
  • Advertisement(s): Site23 floating tag at the bottom of each page
  • Premium version: No ads and a unique domain from $12.80/month

In addition to Site123 branding and an assigned subdomain, the free version also limits your storage to 500 MB and bandwidth to 1 GB. The builder's e-commerce features can likewise only be accessed by paying customers.

Beginner-friendly editor

Good customer support, including a live chat

Solid blogging features

Review Score
4.0 / 5
05/2019
good
Visit Website
Customer Support
5.0 / 5
Configuration and Usability
5.0 / 5
Marketing, SEO & E-Commerce
4.0 / 5
Features
3.3 / 5
Templates & Design
3.0 / 5

Conclusion

Your very own website, free of charge? It sounds too good to be true, but it isn't. You will have to accept a few limitations though. Among the website builders we examined, these are almost identical: Ugly provider domains and branding on your site, as well as limits to your storage and bandwidth, which will, sooner or later, constrict your site's growth.

For basic projects, personal blogs, or taking a builder for a test drive, there's little wrong with the free services we've described above. And in case you do want to make the figurative jump from free user to paying subscriber, upgrading is a cinch with any of the five providers we've looked at.

Detailed reviews on all nine website builders we've assessed, including the four that we didn't mention here, can be found in our extensive EXPERTE.com evaluation.

FAQs

Which free website builder is the best?
EXPERTE.com's top pick was Wix. In its free version, you'll need to make do with a fixed subdomain, Wix branding, as well as storage and bandwidth limitations of 500 MB. Weebly, our number two, has basically the same limitations. Rounding out the Top 3 is Jimdo, which fared worse than the other two providers but does offer a 2 GB bandwidth limit, which is significantly more than those of either Wix or Weebly.

Are websites created using these builders really free forever?
Yes. In theory, you can indefinitely run any site that you create using one of these builders for free, however, you will be tied to the same domain, and won't be able to exceed storage and/or bandwidth limits.

What disadvantages do free websites have?
Websites created and hosted for free look unprofessional, especially for businesses, since you're tied to a subdomain and because the provider's branding draws attention away from your product(s). Storage and bandwidth limitations restrict the range and size of your site and none of the services we reviewed allow for free users to create online shops.

Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin Gschwentner majored in American Studies and Media Studies in Germany, the USA and France and works as a freelance editor in Paris. He is a doctoral student at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Paris Diderot, where he is researching the influence of money on US politics. On EXPERTE.com he writes about IT security, data protection and software for the self-employed and small businesses.
English Translator & Editor: D Bare
Other languages:
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