The best free website builders help you build a website at no charge, such as blogs, portfolios, business websites, and even online stores. However, some free services can limit flexibility or require concessions.
If you don’t mind these limitations, you’ll find some some truly awesome free website builders on our list below. If you’re looking for a full-blown professional website, we recommend paying a small monthly fee for a hosting service. Bluehost starts at just $2.95/month and provides a professional wordpress website, .COM domain, and business email accounts. To get started just use the tool below to browse for available domains:
Bluehost domain tool:
Top 6 Free Website Builders Summary Table
|Free Website Builder|
|WordPress.org||Best all-around choice for business websites|
|WordPress.com||Best for portfolios and personal blogs|
|Weebly||Best for simple business and non-profit websites|
|Wix||Best for creative & customizable websites|
|Square||Best for simple online stores|
|Blog Network (Tumblr, Medium, LinkedIn)||Best for writers who want to build a following quickly|
Now let’s explore the top six free website builders in more detail:
WordPress is a free, open-source website platform that allows you to create elaborate business websites, blogs, and online stores. It’s extremely popular and used by almost one-third of the websites on the internet. While it’s powerful enough to support big-name websites like Nytimes.com and MTV News, WordPress is also used by many small business websites.
What makes WordPress so strong is the huge collection of themes and plug-ins. Themes are website templates that allow you to quickly design, say, a restaurant website or an online clothing store. There’s over 10,000 WordPress themes available, so you can find a design for practically any kind of business, including a business theme, restaurant theme and salon theme designed by us at Fit Small Business.
Plug-ins are additional website features, ranging from appointment booking to lead capture pages, virtual real estate tours, and much more. There’s over 50,000 WordPress plug-ins—more than any other website platform—so you’re bound to find almost any feature you need with WordPress.
How to Create a WordPress.org Website
The WordPress platform is completely free to download at WordPress.org. However, you need to get hosting separately. While there are free web hosting services out there, most users will opt for a low-cost hosting service like Bluehost. This saves you a bit of time, as it comes with WordPress pre-installed, and includes a custom .COM domain and email accounts with your subscription.
While the WordPress platform is completely free to use, you need to get hosting separately. That’s why WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg launched WordPress.com, a for-profit company that provides web hosting and domain names for WordPress sites.
While most WordPress.com plans require a monthly fee, there’s an option to create a blog at no charge. Free WordPress blogs are minimalist and elegant, perfect for photography, portfolios or personal blogging. However, they lack features necessary for most business websites, like contact forms or ecommerce.
How to Create a Free Blog on WordPress.com
To get started, simply follow the link and enter a few details about your website. When it comes time to choose a plan, scroll to the bottom and click “Start with Free.”
I was impressed how much I could do with a completely free plan. For starters, you can choose from several free themes, which all give your site a unique modern flair. In addition to your blog posts, you can create multiple website pages, such as an “About” or “Contact” page.
The free plan starts running into limitations, however, when you use it for business. You can’t install plug-ins, which you need to set up landing pages, contact forms, ordering systems, and many other tools that businesses depend on. Likewise, you need to upgrade to a paid hosting plan to use a custom domain, and to remove the WordPress.com ad that appears at the bottom of the site.
On the other hand, you do get these features with the next option:
Just like WordPress.com, the website builder Weebly lets you create a basic website for free, provided you use a Weebly subdomain (yoursite.weebly.com) and display a small Weebly ad on the footer of your website.
Despite these limitations, Weebly is actually quite versatile. You get a lot more control over the homepage, including the ability to add cover photos, buttons and image galleries. This makes it great for a wide range of uses beyond just blogging, such as portfolios, event websites, nonprofits and musicians.
How to Create a Weebly Website
To create a Weebly website, simply head to Weebly and click “Sign Up.” Choose a theme that resembles the kind of website you want to create, and within no time, you’ll be prompted to begin editing your site.
The Weebly editor is one of their major strong points. Whereas WordPress requires plug-ins to use many features, Weebly lets you add buttons, email sign-up forms, and interactive maps simply by dragging and dropping them into position. It really doesn’t get much easier.
To connect a custom domain, and/or to sell products online, you do need to upgrade. This starts at $8/month for Weebly’s starter edition. This is a bit more expensive compared to WordPress, plus Weebly tends to be more limited in terms of plug-ins and integrations. If you’re thinking you may need to upgrade later on, I recommend weighing the pros and cons of Weebly versus WordPress more carefully.
Wix is another popular website builder software with a free version, but it’s especially well-suited for creative websites. The Wix editor is a little harder to use than Weebly’s, but it gives you total freedom over the placement of features, photos and text. As a result, you can create more visually-creative websites, ideal for entertainment, art and fashion.
Wix lets you create a basic website or blog for free, but like Weebly, you’re required to use a subdomain (yoursite.wix.com) and display Wix ads on your site.
How to Create a Free Wix Website
To create a free Wix website, simply head to Wix and click Sign Up. There’s a quick questionnaire to help determine what kind of website you’ll need, after which you’ll immediately begin editing your site.
The Wix editor is unique in that you can drag elements like shapes, photos, text boxes, or products literally anywhere on the site. This gives you more control compared to Weebly and WordPress, which limit your editing to preset areas.
On the other hand, the higher level of freedom makes setup a bit more complicated, and has the unfortunate consequence of making websites run a little slower compared to Weebly or WordPress. For this reason, we generally recommend one of the alternate options. However, Wix should still be considered by those with a creative vision who are frustrated by the limited editing tools of other website builders.
Square lets you create an online store completely free of charge. You can sell an unlimited number of items and only pay a credit card processing fee of 2.9 percent + 30¢, which is standard for payment processing services.
Square websites are simple and professional one-page designs. They feature a grid of items, which users can click to expand and view more details, as well as optional “About” and “Contact” sections. It really provides everything a simple webstore would need, although you don’t get much control over the site’s colors and format.
How to Create a Free Square Website
To create a free Square site, follow the link and click “Get Started.” You’ll need to answer a few quick questions about your business, then verify your identity with your home address and last four digits of your Social Security number (required for Square to process payments). Afterwards, you can connect your bank account, or skip temporarily to begin setting up your website. Scroll to the bottom and click “Get Started.”
First, choose from the four different templates Square has available. Then, customize your site by adding your logo, writing your business description, and adding your inventory. Square is very limited when it comes to website design and formatting; you aren’t able to change settings like fonts, colors, page width, display settings, etc. Users who want more control should look into a more robust ecommerce solution like WooCommerce or Shopify.
On the other hand, if you’re OK with Square’s pre-designed settings, it’s truly the easiest and least expensive way to create an ecommerce site. Plus, you can always use Square in addition to another website builder software, like WordPress or Weebly. Just let Square power the ecommerce section of your website.
6. Use a Free Blogging Network (LinkedIn, Medium, Tumblr)
If your main goal in starting a website is to post articles, literature, or artwork, you may want to consider a social blogging platform instead. These websites have a built-in audience, so your content can gain traction much more quickly than a standalone website.
For example, if you wanted to write about green architecture, you’ll find a sizable community of architecture buffs on Medium. Publishing an article with tags like #architecture and #sustainability automatically broadcasts it to users with the same interests. Your article gets immediate attention, whereas it can otherwise take months to get clicks from search engines.
Tumblr and LinkedIn work in a similar way, but with different specialties. Tumblr is mainly for visual arts and short blog entries. LinkedIn is for longer professional pieces. Medium is also for longer pieces, but much broader in focus, ranging from technology and politics to art, food, sports, and more.
Learn more about the differences between Tumblr, Medium and LinkedIn in our guide to the best blogging platforms.
How to Create a Tumblr, Medium or LinkedIn Blog
Out of all the free website builders, blog networks are the easiest to set up. Simply create an account, upload your profile picture and write a short bio. You can get your first blog entry posted and broadcasted to the world within minutes.
The main downside to blogging networks versus a traditional blog or website is you don’t get nearly as much control over web design. For example, Medium lets you upload a profile photo and write a short biography for your homepage, but not much else. Tumblr lets you choose between various “themes” that all have different color schemes and blog formats. But beyond that, the platform is pretty much cookie-cutter.
Furthermore, a blogging network is technically the owner of your content. Not in the sense that they can claim credit for your work, but in the sense that, if they shut down, your articles go with it. Conversely, if your work is super popular, the blog network can earn ad revenue from it. Your own ability to monetize content is limited.
Nonetheless, many users start out on blog networks as a way to test the waters and build an audience. You can always move to a custom WordPress website later should traffic pick up.
Pro Tip: Use a Blog Network to Promote Your Main Website
If you’re debating between starting your own website and using a blog network, oftentimes the best answer is both.
“If you want complete control over your content, including the ability to collect email addresses and monetize through ads, using a platform like WordPress is the way to go,” Willoby explains. “However, Medium and LinkedIn are great places to republish content from your blog.” This gives you a lot of exposure, which can be redirected to your main blog site.
“If you decide to republish your blog posts, be selective. There’s no need to re-publish every single one,” Willoby recommends. “Get to know the audience of each platform, and do some research on what types of content perform the best. You’ll also want to revise your headline so it’s not 100 percent identical to your original version, and tailor the content to fit each platform’s audience. Also, be sure to include some internal links that direct people back to your actual blog, so you can hit ’em with a CTA.”
– Shannon Willoby, Scott’s Marketplace
The Bottom Line
If you’re still trying to figure out how to create a website for free, the first question to ask is this: Am I willing to use a subdomain?
If the answer is yes—you’re willing to use a subdomain like mysite.weebly.com—there’s a great number of free options for your website. Weebly, WordPress, Wix, Tumblr, Medium and LinkedIn all have great website or blog platforms that won’t cost you a dime.
If the answer is no—you want to use a custom .COM domain—you’ll basically need to pay for your website one way or another. We recommend using Bluehost since you’ll get hosting, domain and email all for $2.95/month.