Websites to hire freelancers make it easy to find just-in-time workers (or “gig workers”) who can complete important assignments—from small tasks, like creating a logo, to long-term projects, like building a mobile app. The best websites should be affordable for small businesses and offer features like an escrow account, dispute resolution, live support, and a robust mobile app.
The five best freelance websites have affordable pricing and great features to help you find, hire, and manage freelancers.
- Upwork: Best overall for businesses wanting top-rated freelancers from a top-rated site
- Freelancer.com: Best for businesses preferring to hire freelancers from countries outside of the US
- Fiverr: Best for companies needing small jobs done for as little as $5 a gig
- Toptal: Best for finding highly qualified, vetted freelance professionals
- Giggrabbers: Best for employers wanting a free website (the gig worker pays the freelance fee)
Best Freelance Websites Compared
(not including Enterprise-level plans)
Starting cost per project
Project-based, skilled, remote work
(but many add-ons available)
3% or $3, whichever is greater
Unstated, but well over $5*
Project-based, skilled, remote work
$0 per job above $50;
Additional $2 per job $50 and under
Casual and quick to longer-term developmental
$500 deposit, refundable
Highly professional services
Project-based, skilled, remote work
*Freelancer.com takes a minimum of $5 per project from freelancers, so they must bid more than that to make a profit.
**Toptal’s transaction fees aren’t transparent, with third-party sites often reporting contradictory information.
Upwork: Best Overall Freelance Website
Upwork is great for any small business—it’s an easy-to-use website that provides freelancers of all types. It currently has 12 million registered freelancers and over 5 million clients. Like most websites to hire freelancers, you can post a project or search for a freelancer with advanced search tools. It also has a talent scout plan where an Upwork professional finds talent for you, and an Enterprise plan that can handle everything from hiring to payroll.
Upwork earned 4.45 out of 5 on our rubric. Its excellent feature set, functionality, and ease of use resulted in top scores in all sections except pricing. It ranked No. 1 for job posting features (along with Freelancer.com) and ease of use. Upwork’s transparent pricing and talent sourcing options earned it the second-highest score for pricing, behind Giggrabbers.
Like other freelancer websites, scammers sometimes make their way to Upwork. It does a good job of shutting down their accounts; nonetheless, do your due diligence and research freelancer ratings before you commit your money to a project. Once a milestone is approved and paid, you cannot request a refund.
Since Our Last Update:
Upwork has changed its pricing. It now offers a single plan with the best features of both levels with a flat marketplace fee. Read more about its client marketplace plan.
Registering on Upwork as an employer is free, and you pay freelancers based on rates you negotiate when you post a job. Once a job is completed, Upwork charges business clients a 5% transaction fee on each invoice. This is higher than Freelancer.com but includes advanced tools that previously required a monthly subscription. If you are in the US and use a valid checking account, the rate decreases to 3%.
For larger businesses wanting to manage a regular freelance workforce, Upwork Enterprise offers dedicated hiring support, a company-specific pool of freelancers, compliance support, program managers, and even the option to use Upwork Payroll. Contact Upwork for pricing.
- Job Management Tools: Upwork excels in its behind-the-scenes tools, which include multiple payment methods, advanced reporting, coworker permissions, and even activity codes for tracking multiple freelancers and projects.
- Payroll and Employer of Record (EoR): For additional fees, you can let Upwork handle payroll and even act as EoR. None of the others on our list offer this, although Giggrabbers has Enterprise-level plans for specific tools, where it works with the freelancers and promises deliverables.
- Talent Sourcing: Upwork Talent Sourcing can pick vetted professionals for your job—individuals with 10+ years of work history and great reviews. Upwork interviews them via video to ensure they’re a good fit for your project. This saves you time and avoids your having to deal with inexperienced or misleading freelancers who might bid on your project. Others may offer this, but Upwork is the only one that does it for free.
- Escrow Account: Like with most freelance hiring websites, your funds are held in an escrow account. However, Upwork lets you set milestones and release funds as each is met. For example, if you hire someone to build your website for $2,000, you may pay 25%, or $500, once they set up the server and domain name. Then perhaps you’d release another 25% of the payment after the logo and theme are uploaded and visible on your website.
- Mobile App: Upwork provides a free mobile app that lets you stay in touch with your freelancer using text chat or video. In addition, you’ll be able to send/receive documents in a secure environment. For convenience, freelance contractors can use the mobile app to track their time with Upwork’s Work Diary. They can also use the mobile app to document milestone completion for your approval.
- Live Customer Support: Upwork has the best customer service out of the top freelance websites we reviewed. Unlike the others on our list, its support team can be contacted 24/7 by phone, live chat, and email. In fact, it is the only freelance website reviewed that publishes its customer service phone number online. In addition, Upwork has a robust online community with advice and tips from other users.
- Dispute Resolution: Upwork prefers to be contacted via email “ticket” for dispute resolution. On Upwork, disputes are handled in two ways based on how your work is set up:
- For hourly work: You can dispute the hours worked but not the quality of the work; however, you can terminate the contract if their work isn’t satisfactory.
- For fixed-price projects: You can only dispute money in the escrow account for project milestones that have not yet been approved.
Upwork earns top marks as a website for hiring freelancers. Users like how easy it is to connect and communicate with freelancers, as well as the built-in tools that help them track time worked and project milestones. As a bonus, Upwork manages gig workers’ 1099 tax forms, so you don’t have to.
One of the site’s biggest complaints is the number of unvetted freelancers, making it difficult to ensure candidates are qualified to perform the job. Additionally, although Upwork is the only site on our list that offers 24/7 live phone support, users have encountered slow response times, poor customer service, and an inability to handle complex issues.
For more information, read our Upwork review.
Freelancer.com: Best Website to Hire International Freelancers
Freelancer.com is best for businesses wanting access to the broadest number of global freelancers. It attracts gig workers from all over the world—representing over 245 countries. You may also be able to negotiate lower hourly rates with workers in less robust economic environments where your dollar goes farther.
With over 21 million gig workers on the website, Freelancer.com is the largest of the freelance job websites we reviewed. You can use it to post a job in one of three formats, including a contest format, which is unique to Freelancer.com.
Overall, Freelancer.com earned 4.26 out of 5. While it ranked better in functionality, it came in second to Upwork due to its lower user reviews and pricing scores. Freelancer.com and Upwork tied in job posting features, with their advanced candidate filters and mobile apps. It also fell behind due to its lack of live phone support, although it does offer live chat. Also, you can’t dispute a contest payment after selecting a winner.
It’s free to post a job on Freelancer.com. In addition to paying the worker your negotiated rate, it charges 3% or $3 per project, whichever is greater. Hourly projects are charged 3%.
Like Upwork, you can hire a recruiter who will vet your project and recommend freelancers. Freelancer.com charges $11.99 for this service. Besides that, it offers the most pay-for options of those on our list. Like many, you can feature your job for $9.99—but you can also keep your project confidential for $21.99 (meaning it won’t be visible to website search engines). It lets you give freelancers skills tests ($5–$15) and offers non-disclosure agreements at $21.99. If you find a full-time freelancer through Freelancer.com, there’s an additional $229.99. You can find all of its rates by checking out its fees page.
Freelancer.com can take on full administration of your project through its Technical Co-pilot(TM) program. For an additional $35 per hour, a project manager oversees your idea from design to completion, from hiring to final approval.
- Hiring Options: Freelancer.com features three kinds of gig-worker hiring options: 1) Projects, such as building a website or translating a document; 2) Contests, like creating a logo or designing graphics for a package label, which allow you to see how a freelancer completes a small assignment before you commit to hiring them for a larger assignment; and 3) Local Jobs, like handing out flyers, running local errands, or deliveries.
- Freelancer Tests: In addition to the standard evaluation features found on most freelance hiring websites, Freelancer.com allows you to test your prospective freelancers before hiring them. This is a great way to make sure their skills match their bids and profiles.
- Milestone Payments: Freelancer.com offers an escrow service called Milestone Payments. Similar to Upwork and Fiverr, it holds client funds until either a service/project is done or a dispute resolution has been decided. However, unlike Fiverr, you can pay out in installments as milestones are reached.
- Time Tracker: If you pay your freelancer hourly, there is a built-in time-tracking tool so you can monitor hours and pay accordingly. If you set up a weekly billing cycle, Freelancer.com will automatically pay the correct amount each week.
- Mobile App: Like Upwork, Freelancer.com has mobile apps for iOS and Android that can be used to organize projects and communicate with your contract worker via text chat.
- Live Customer Support: Freelancer.com offers 24/7 live chat and email support and provides online support with step-by-step guides, which are categorized into easy-to-find topics like “payments” or “contests.” However, it has no phone support, whereas, with Upwork, you can contact support live via phone, chat, and email.
Freelancer.com attracts polarized reviews—people love or hate the platform. Those that recommend it cite excellent customer service and ease of use. Meanwhile, those that dislike it say they were scammed, and that Freelancer.com locked their accounts so they could not get the money they earned or the money they were refunded. On Trustpilot, Freelancer.com responded to negative reviews with promises to investigate.
Learn more in our Freelancer.com review.
Fiverr: Best for Businesses Looking for Low-cost Freelancers
Fiverr is best for businesses that have low-cost work that needs to be done quickly, with most projects starting as low as $5 and reduced fees for services under a certain price point. It’s a great website to find freelancers and gig workers for things like proofreading your employee handbook, creating giveaway packages for a trade show, adding music to your company video, running a package across town, building a presentation, or doing a little market research. For vetted freelancers for digital projects, Fiverr offers Fiverr Business.
With an overall 3.86 out of 5, it scored well in job posting features and functionality (4.5 out of 5 in both) with its easy payment options and dispute resolution capabilities. However, its 5.5% transaction rate and lack of talent-sourcing services hurt it in pricing, and it lost points for the lack of live phone support and premium job placement. It also had more complaints about scams and customer support than others on our list.
With $5 projects, called “gigs,” Fiverr has the lowest entry point of all the freelance websites. However, you can hire for a large project like website development, for as much as $15,000. Fiverr Business freelancers are usually more expensive. Similar to Upwork, freelancer hourly rates are posted and often negotiable.
In addition, you pay a 5.5% client fee, which is nearly double of that charged by Upwork. On top of that, if you order $50 or less of work, the fee is an additional fee of $2. So expect to pay at least $7.28 for that $5 project.
- Job Variety: Almost any kind of service you want can be found on Fiverr, from software programming to pranks. No other site offers such variety. On the business side, you can find almost anything you might need, be it website design, photography, voiceovers, data entry, and more.
- Advanced Search Features: Its interface makes it easy to find someone who can do the work you need at your price point. Fiverr uses an eBay-style rating system, which includes a numeric and star rating of each freelancer along with the number of clients they’ve served. Simply search for the kind of work you want done and then view the list of freelancers who claim to have expertise in that area.
- Project Tracking: Fiverr offers business tools that let you track your freelancers, manage active orders, view completed projects, and manage your billing preferences. Like Upwork, this makes tracking your projects easy.
- Escrow Account: Fiverr has an escrow account option, like the other freelance websites. Once a buyer makes a payment (which can be done using PayPal), the money goes into an escrow account until work is completed. On Fiverr, orders must be paid for in advance.
- Mobile App: Like Upwork and Freelancer, you can get the Fiverr mobile app for iOS and Android to help you stay in touch with your freelance worker using messaging tools.
- Customer Support and Dispute Resolution: Fiverr offers support through its user forum and via a request from its website. While this service is available 24/7, it is much slower than Upwork and Freelancer, which offer live support. Fiverr handles disputes as cancellation requests, which can be done if a project is late or if it is unsatisfactory. You get a refund to your Fiverr account and the opportunity to hire someone else.
Fiverr earns solid reviews on third-party websites such as Capterra. Most praise the ease of use and variety of services but warn against scammers in the Marketplace. For vetted freelancers, use Fiverr Business.
For more to like about this platform, check out our Fiverr review.
Toptal: Best for Vetted Freelance Professionals
Toptal is on our list of best free job posting sites because it offers vetted professionals. It screens all its freelancers thoroughly, choosing only the top 3% for inclusion on its site. Thus, you’re assured of highly qualified freelancers who do high-end work. Unlike others on our list (except, perhaps, Upwork), you can even find C-suite professionals who work part-time or in temporary positions. It specializes in startups but also serves from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.
Toptal earned 3.51 out of 5 on our evaluation, in part because its way of doing business is different from the others on our list. However, it took a big hit on pricing because of its non-transparent fees. It scored below 4 on job posting features and functionality as well as ease of use. However, it had a perfect score for popularity and the highest user review scores of those on our list.
Toptal was the worst for finding pricing. While it mentions the $500 deposit and a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your freelancer, it does not mention its own processing fees. In fact, other third-party reviews contradicted each other on how Toptal charged, with some saying there are no fees and others stating that the fees are handled by the freelancer.
Toptal’s help section denies taking anything from freelancers and says it charges a $0 recruiting fee. However, Toptal has to make money somewhere. You can assume that it does charge a processing fee and simply adds it to the freelancer fee. It may be a percentage of their rates, but it may also have another means of measurement, like the length of the contract. Be sure to talk with your talent representative when looking to hire.
- Highly vetted freelancers: Toptal has an in-depth screening process that considers language skills and personality, technical know-how, problem-solving, experience, and creativity. They are then given test projects that take one-to-three weeks to ensure they have real-world capabilities. As a result, only the top 3% of candidates make it to Toptal’s freelance pool.
- High-level professionals: Unlike Fiverr, which has people willing to do everything from web design to singing telegrams, Toptal focuses on high-level professionals in their field. You can find engineers, designers, finance experts—including freelance CFOs—project managers, and more.
- AI-matching, plus in-person talent scouting: While all the others on our list start with project posting or manual talent search, Toptal does the searching for you. You begin with an in-depth questionnaire about your company and general expectations for your freelancer. Toptal then finds you talent. After that, you register and speak with a Toptal talent scout to find the best match. It generally finds you a match within 24 hours.
- Money-back guarantee: Unlike others that hold your money in escrow, Toptal starts with a $500 deposit. If, after a two-week trial period, you are not satisfied with your freelancer, you can get a refund or choose a different one. You can even keep the work completed during the trial.
- International reach, fluent English: Toptal has qualified freelancers in over 100 countries, allowing you to find talent where you need it or take advantage of remote talent. However, all Toptal freelancers are vetted for their ability to speak English, including through personal interviews.
- Mobile app: While Toptal has a mobile app, it’s for its freelancers rather than clients.
- In-office help: In addition to having access to local or remote talent, Toptal freelancers are often willing to relocate for the duration of the contract. Toptal says they can get a freelancer to your office in less than a week.
Toptal was the only website for hiring freelancers on our list that earned a perfect score for popularity. Its average user review score was 4.79 out of 5—compare this to the next highest, Freelancer.com, which was 4.4 out of 5. Clients praised Toptal for its speed, ease of use, and quality of freelancer. Many freelancers were called out by name for their excellent work. The primary complaint was that the service is expensive.
Giggrabbers: Best Free Site for Employers
Giggrabbers is best for businesses that need a zero-cost service, and since the freelancer must pay the fees, it will ensure they are invested in the work. Instead of you paying a transaction or monthly fee, the freelancers pay a 9.5% fee for projects they are paid for. In addition to not charging any client fees, it has an option that lets business owners use crowdfunding for their projects. That’s something none of the other freelance websites offer.
We gave Giggrabbers 3.48 out of 5. It earned the highest score in pricing (4.13 out of 5) due to the fact that it is free for employers, something none of the other sites offer. It took a hit in popularity since it lacks online reviews. It lacks a help section—just a few anemic FAQs—and only provides support by email; however, it promises that its team will respond within 24 to 48 hours.
Since Our Last Update:
In the past, we spoke of an advanced plan that lets you hire a Giggrabbers representative to vet and find a freelancer for you. While Giggrabbers FAQs provide instructions for the upgrade, these no longer work, nor do we find any mention of it, its price, or its features.
Giggrabbers is free to you as the employer since the freelancer is the one who has to pay to use the service (there is a 9.5% service fee for freelancers). In addition, you can get a project boost for $4.99 that optimizes your ad, sends personal invites to some of Giggrabbers’ favorite freelancers, and comes with a money-back guarantee.
If you would like to outsource some of your marketing work and don’t want to deal with working with individual freelancers, Giggrabbers has several Enterprise-level plans to handle the majority of the work for you, from finding freelancers to delivering finished works:
- Bronze ($1,999/month): Three freelancers to provide five designs for brochures, ads, and marketing; SEO optimization; social media plans and execution, daily content creation, ad management
- Silver ($2,499/month): Four freelancers to provide everything in Bronze plus five research-based blogs on topics of your choice
- Gold ($2,999/month): Five freelancers to provide everything in Silver plus four photoshoots per year with editing and retouching
- Platinum ($3,499/month): Seven freelancers to provide everything in Gold plus one video project per year and one website design and monthly post-development support during active billing months.
- Crowdfunding: Only Giggrabbers offer the opportunity to set up crowdfunding right within the project. Once you create a project, it leads you through a crowdfunding campaign you can set up and then share with friends, family, and fans via social media. This funding is only for paying freelancers on the platform, however.
- Hiring Options: On Giggrabbers, like most of the other sites, you post a job and then sort through the qualified freelancers. It also offers a contest option, but it’s limited only to web design contests, whereas Freelancer.com’s contests can be for any kind of work product or deliverable.
- Project Management Tools: While most of the websites have a project tracking option to view individual project stages and key dates, Giggrabbers adds a project management tool that gives you a visual look at all your projects at once.
- Enterprise Plans: Unlike others on our list, Giggrabbers offers project-based enterprise solutions that focus primarily on marketing and SEO optimization. Depending on the plan, you get marketing material design, social media posting, SEO optimization, photos, videos, and website design. It includes three to seven freelancers.
- Dispute Resolution: It provides a dispute center through which you can submit a dispute with details directly from the website. The procedure is typical of freelance sites and takes five to seven business days for resolution.
Giggrabbers does not have many reviews, and those we found were from 2021 and earlier. If these reviews are still accurate, you can expect to find a freelancer with ease, but need to be careful about deposits, as Giggrabbers can make it difficult to get refunds.
Learn more about what Giggrabbers offers in our full review.
How We Evaluated
Many freelance websites allow you to post jobs for contract workers to bid on. However, we wanted to present only those that let you find and hire vetted freelancers and provide a means to ensure you’re not wasting your money, such as an escrow account and a dispute resolution process. We avoided platforms that tend to attract scammers and focused on those with a strong reputation for solid talent.
For our full evaluation criteria, click through the tabs below:
15% of Overall Score
We looked for the best combination of fee transparency, low transaction rates (or those rates taken by the freelancer), and inexpensive talent-sourcing services. Giggrabbers had the top score with 4.13 out of 5. The rest (except Upwork) rated less than 2.9 out of 5.
25% of Overall Score
25% of Overall Score
10% of Overall Score
We evaluated each freelance website based on user feedback (rankings of 4+ and 500+ reviews) and customer service quality trends. Toptal had a perfect 5 out of 5, with Upwork coming in second with 4.56 out of 5.
10% of Overall Score
Reporting scores were determined by the capacity and quality of basic reporting and analytics and whether reports were customizable. All websites we reviewed received the same quality score in this area as they provide non-customizable reporting features within their system.
15% of Overall Score
We selected top-rated sites that make it easy to set up an account, find a freelance worker, and process payments online. This score evaluated the implementation of the software and if live phone customer support is available. Upwork had the top score with 4.63 out of 5.
Freelance Websites Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What are the benefits of hiring freelancers?
By hiring freelancers, you can:
- Get a quick project done without hiring a new employee
- Take the load off your established workforce
- Avoid the complexities of handling payroll taxes for the freelancers
- Find cheaper rates by hiring in areas with a lower cost of living
- Discover new talent that you can hire for future work
- Have a low-risk investment by starting with a small, inexpensive project as you build trust
How do freelancers differ from employees?
Freelancers work by assignment (or by the hour to complete an assignment) as opposed to being full- or part-time employees. Like with contract workers, you don’t pay payroll taxes or Social Security. When using a website to hire a freelancer, you pay a transaction fee, plus any fees for special services.
How big is the freelance economy?
As of 2023, 73.3 million freelancers are estimated to work in the US, according to Statista. That number is expected to rise to 90.1 million by 2028. “According to industry studies, the worldwide freelance market is estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion and increasing at a CAGR of 15%,” says DemandSage.com.
The freelance economy is growing and, for many, a preferable way of living.
Can I depend on a freelancer?
As with any employee, it depends on the freelancer. While there are scammers out there, most freelancers are invested in making a living with remote work. They thrive on the variety of clientele and keep deadlines because that’s how they pay their bills. Naturally, you need to do due diligence before hiring one.
What should I look for in a freelancer?
In general, you should pay attention not only to qualifications and price, but also to reputation and finished product. Most review sites include client ratings plus a rating by the hiring website that addresses issues like prompt completion, time on the site, and number of successful assignments. You can ask for samples of their work or even test their skills, like Freelancer.com offers.
Freelance websites help you find skilled workers who can complete tasks and projects when you don’t want to hire a full-time employee. Most charge a transaction fee for their services and provide an escrow process to protect you from scams.
Of all the freelance websites we reviewed, we recommend Upwork as our top pick. It offers the most features at an affordable price for most small businesses, and we love the Upwork Plus plan, which allows employers to only see highly qualified freelancers.