Trouble ticketing software converts incoming support requests from one or more channels into tickets that your support agents solve. They offer features for organizing, delegating, and evaluating these requests in an efficient manner. We looked at the best free help desk ticketing systems on the market and evaluated them based on price, features, and usability.
Top 6 Free Help Desk Ticketing Systems 2019
Trouble Ticket Software
(Best Overall) Companies needing a strong core set of ticketing features free of charge
Very small teams that want enterprise-level features for free
Zoho customers looking for native integration with the company’s other products
Tech-savvy support managers who want to fully configure a powerful PC solution
Businesses that want to host a powerful ticketing solution on Mac and Linux machines
Companies that want to deploy knowledge bases for customers to solve their own problems
How We Evaluated Free Help Desk Ticketing Systems
Every ticketing system we looked at for this guide needs to be entirely free or offer a permanently free version for a limited number of small business users. Services must offer the ability for customers to create tickets and give support agents the tools they need to solve those problems, like ticket delegation and customer profiles. Advanced features include knowledge bases, software integrations, and social media ticketing.
We evaluated free trouble ticket software based on the following:
- Free: All of the services we looked at are either completely free or offer a free version.
- Ease of use: The ideal free help desk ticket system should be easy enough to use for employees of all skill levels.
- Channel support: We looked at whether each service supports ticket creation via web email, phone, social media, or text channels.
- Ticket management features: Help desk solutions should offer features like collision detection and customer profiles to provide context on your users.
- Mobile app: A mobile app can be helpful for remote workers and other agents who need to solve customer problems while out of the office.
- Custom branding: We looked at the custom branding functionality available from each solution.
- Software integrations: We looked at the third-party app integrations offered by these systems.
- Custom forms: The ability to create and deploy custom forms for businesses can help your business solve unique problems more easily.
- After-hours functionality: This feature can automatically greet customers with an after-hours message and help them even when your staff is unavailable.
Based on the above criteria, we find that Freshdesk is the best overall free help desk service for most small business users. The company’s free Sprout plan offers the best balance of feature set and usability. Even business owners without technical expertise can get up and running with the service without trouble.
Freshdesk: Best Overall Ticketing System for Small Businesses
Freshdesk is a help desk software system that provides a strong set of communication features as well as an internal chat feature for collaboration among teammates. The service, which offers a free version for unlimited users as well as paid versions starting at $15 per month, is incredibly easy to use and comes with a wide range of software integrations. Freshdesk is ideal for the majority of business users looking to better manage tickets and support staff.
The Sprout version of Freshdesk is free and supports unlimited agents. More advanced versions of the service range from $15 to $49 per agent, per month. Therefore, even with a paid upgrade, it is one of the more affordable systems today.
At no cost to customers, Freshdesk comes with features for email ticketing, dispatching tickets, team collaboration, and social media support. It also comes with the ability for teammates to work on tickets at the same time and chat with one another. The fact that Freshdesk offers so much functionality in its free version makes it one of the best services on the market today.
Free Freshdesk features include:
Ticket Management & Channel Support
The free Sprout version of Freshdesk offers email ticketing and dispatching tickets to staff. Freshdesk Sprout supports tickets that come in over email and social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. It is also able to convert phone calls into tickets. It is all very easy to use thanks to Freshdesk’s modern, intuitive user interface (UI). The service is comparable to Zoho Desk’s Free plan in this regard.
The Sprout version of Freshdesk comes with collaboration features that let staff chat with one another and work on solving a ticket issue together. It also provides a list of all staff members involved with a given ticket on that ticket’s main page. This is helpful in making sure that agents do not needlessly work on a completed ticket or one that is already in progress. This matches the collaboration features found in competing systems.
In addition to ticketing and collaboration, the free version of Freshdesk also comes with a reporting module that visualizes data regarding your tickets. It gives you an overview of all of the tickets created, resolved, and left unresolved. This can help you better understand your trouble ticket operations as a whole. This is similar to the functionality found in osTicket.
Freshdesk offers three paid packages for small businesses. The Blossom tier adds process automation features, app integrations, the ability to set business hours, and more for only $15 per agent, per month. The Garden and Estate versions add modules like the ability to track agent work time, deploy surveys, and more. Freshdesk is also our pick for best paid help desk service in 2019.
What Freshdesk Is Missing
In its entry-level package, Freshdesk offers a respectable feature set for small businesses that want to start using trouble ticket software to solve customer problems. However, most of the platform’s advanced features are locked behind paid packages. If you have a support team of three or fewer people, we suggest looking at HelpSpot. Their Free package is limited to three agents, but they offer the entire feature set for all service plans.
What Users Think About Freshdesk
Users are pleased with Freshdesk and its features. They say that it is very easy to manage tickets and that the interface is neat. However, there are some customers who say that the initial setup process can be daunting. They also find that the pricing structure of the system can be confusing.
“Freshdesk is very easy to learn and use, both on a web browser and on the mobile app. Freshdesk was appealing for us because it’s a cloud-based, multichannel help desk solution for all business sizes, including our small business. The only con I’ve noticed is that we’d like to see more customization options on dashboards and reports.”
– Clare Bittourna, Marketing Designer, Codal Inc.
Where to Find Freshdesk
Freshdesk is one of the most popular solutions of its kind, and with good reason. It has a wealth of features, it is intuitive, and it offers a strong core set of features in its free version. Even better, it supports an unlimited number of users. Click here to start using Freshdesk today.
HelpSpot: Best Free Service for Very Small Teams
HelpSpot is a free trouble ticket solution for teams of three or less. However, there are also paid versions available starting at $599 per year. The service offers email and phone channels as well as ticket assignment automation. What makes HelpSpot stand out is that all packages come with every single feature the company has to offer. This makes it ideal for small teams that want access to robust, enterprise-level features free of charge.
HelpSpot’s free Start edition supports up to three agents free of charge. After that, the service costs anywhere from $599 to $59,999 per year depending on how many agents use the service. HelpSpot offers the same feature set to all users, even those on the free plan.
HelpSpot’s pricing is as follows:
- Up to three agents: Free
- Three to five agents: $599 per year
- Five to 10 agents: $999 per year
- 10 to 25 agents: $1,999 per year
- 25 to 50 agents: $3,999 per year
- 50 to 75 agents: $6,999 per year
- 75 to 100 agents: $9,999 per year
- 100 to 150 agents: $12,999 per year
- 150 to 250 agents: $15,999 per year
- 250 to 500 agents: $19,999 per year
- 500 to 1,000 agents: $34,999 per year
- 1,000 to 2,000 agents: $59,999 per year
Whether you pay nothing for the service or require licenses to support thousands of agents, HelpSpot offers the same feature set. All users have access to email and phone ticketing as well as advanced functions such as agent collision detection, reports dashboards, and rules-based automations for incoming tickets.
HelpSpot’s features include:
Ticket Management & Channel Support
HelpSpot allows you to receive tickets through email or over the phone. Being able to accept tickets from callers is a rarity in this space. You can also fully customize the forms that customers fill out when creating tickets, and you can also add tags to each ticket for better organization. For example, you can add a tag saying “billing issue” to every ticket regarding a billing problem. You can later easily retrieve all tickets with that tag.
Unlike Freshdesk and other competitors, HelpSpot does not offer chat or any other collaboration features among agents. You can build a chat connector with the company’s application programming interface (API), but that takes technical expertise. Therefore, HelpSpot is best suited for teams that are fine with sticking to email and phone support.
Like many other systems in this space, HelpSpot allows users to create and deploy knowledge bases for customers. On top of that, the service also lets you configure automation for your tickets. For example, you can automatically send canned responses to customers when they reach out to you. You can also set automations that, among other things, escalate tickets if they are open for a given amount of time or remind agents of outstanding tickets.
The paid editions of HelpSpot allow more users to be added to the service. Three to five agents costs $599 per year, and pricing goes all the way up to $59,999 for up to 2,000 agents. The company does not lock any features behind tiers, so you are not missing anything by using the free version that you would from spending thousands of dollars. Therefore, the system is perfect for very small teams that want to use the same features enjoyed by enterprises.
What HelpSpot Is Missing
HelpSpot has strong email and web ticket management functionality. The system is also able to connect with Zapier for custom integrations. However, the service is not natively able to connect data with outside business software. If you want your help desk service to work as part of a larger business software ecosystem, we suggest looking at Zoho Desk. That service connects with Zoho’s other products as well as a host of third-party apps.
What Users Think About HelpSpot
Many online reviews report that HelpSpot is effective, easy to use, and reliable. They also enjoy the fact that it does not hide any features behind a paywall. However, there are some users who wish that the service would natively support web chat ticketing.
Where to Find HelpSpot
HelpSpot offers a strong core set of ticketing features. However, what makes it truly special is the fact that it gives free users all of the advanced features that enterprise-level clients can enjoy. This is ideal for small support teams that want a complete support solution. Click the link below to get started with HelpSpot today.
Zoho Desk: Best Ticketing System for Zoho Customers
Zoho Desk is a help desk ticketing system that comes with features for email and web ticketing for three agents at no cost. It has a paid version for small businesses as well one that costs $12 per agent, per month. What makes Zoho Desk unique is its seamless integration with the company’s suite of more than 40 products, including Zoho CRM, BugTracker, and Analytics. The service is great for any business that utilizes Zoho’s comprehensive business software ecosystem.
Zoho Desk Pricing
Zoho Desk’s Free version includes features for basic ticket handling, collaboration, and reporting. The Professional version costs $12 per agent, per month and adds support for phone and social media ticketing. The Professional package is $20 per agent, per month.
Zoho Desk Features
Like many other free trouble ticket systems, Zoho Desk’s Free package supports ticket management over email. It also allows businesses to offer private knowledge bases so that customers can find information regarding your products or services. That, along with live human email support, make it a solid contender in the space.
Free Zoho Desk features include:
Ticket Management & Channel Support
Like most free services, the Free edition of Zoho Desk offers the ability to accept customer tickets over email only. Unfortunately, it cannot accommodate tickets made over social media like Freshdesk can. This means that you will not be able to connect with customers who prefer to communicate over Twitter and Facebook.
Zoho Desk Free allows agents to add comments onto tickets. This is a useful feature, as agents can share information on each individual ticket and work collaboratively. This is similar to the functionality that we have seen in other free solutions.
Zoho Desk’s Free package allows you to deploy knowledge bases in multiple languages. It also comes with a free mobile app so that your agents can work on tickets even while they are away from their office workstations. Access to 24-hour email support on weekdays also helps this Free offering feel like a complete customer service suite.
The paid versions of Zoho Desk add support for social and phone ticketing as well as the ability to connect ticket data with outside business software. The Professional version of the service offers agent collision features that help prevent agents from working on the same ticket. Companies that outgrow Zoho’s Free version will find a lot of additional functionality should they choose to upgrade.
What Zoho Desk Is Missing
Zoho Desk is a powerful trouble ticket software system, but it does not offer much in the way of customization. If you have the technical skills and want to customize everything about the way your software looks and feels, we suggest looking at osTicket. The free, open-source software gives you complete control over your system’s features, interface, and aesthetics.
What Users Think About Zoho Desk
Users like Zoho Desk’s interface, saying that it is very easy to understand and use. They also commend the software’s native integration with other Zoho apps. Common complaints about the service include the fact that the setup process can take a long time and that email ticketing sometimes fails to work.
Where to Find Zoho Desk
Zoho Desk is just part of Zoho’s large lineup of popular business applications. The service works well enough on its own, but it truly stands out when it is integrated with the company’s other office productivity and customer relationship management systems. Click the link below to try out Zoho Desk for free and see all it has to offer for yourself.
osTicket: Best Free Help Desk Software for Tech-savvy PC Users
osTicket is a free help desk ticketing system that supports ticket management over email, social media, and live chat. osTicket is also fully customizable for PC users in the sense that you can configure how the platform looks and feels for your business. Because the solution is open source, it is freely available and may be redistributed and modified by anyone. osTicket is a great fit for tech-savvy business owners who want full control over their help desk solution.
osTicket has a free Open Source edition that you host yourself. There is also a cloud-hosted edition that costs $9 per agent, per month and also comes with guided help and regular updates. The free version is best for companies with IT staff or anyone capable of hosting and maintaining a solution.
osTicket’s Open Source version includes support for email ticketing, ticket management, and agent collision detection. However, because the service is open source, you can add and edit features as you see fit. The company’s community forums provide a wealth of information on finding and installing extensions.
Free osTicket features include:
Ticket Management & Channel Support
The base Open Source version of osTicket includes support for email ticket management only. However, it is possible to build channel support for social media, SMS, and virtually any other channel you’d like. A capable developer at your company could build this, or you could hire a freelancer through sites like Fiverr. Other than that, osTicket allows for creating custom ticket forms, ticket assignment rules, and auto-response for tickets.
osTicket comes with an agent collision avoidance module that allows workers to lock tickets that they are currently working on. This prevents other agents from interrupting your interaction with a customer. You can also add other agents to tickets and work on the item together. This matches other systems in this respect.
Customizability helps osTicket stand apart. The Open Source plan, as its name implies, lets you change anything you want about the solution. This includes the user interface (UI), features, and branding. You can also customize your customer portal to reflect your brand identity. osTicket has the best customizability we’ve seen in a system of this kind.
The main difference between the Open Source and cloud-hosted editions of osTicket is that you do not have to host the Cloud version yourself. This means that, whenever osTicket gets a software update or new feature, it will automatically be added to your solution. You also get access to live support and a free walk-through session of all of the platform’s features. This works in a very similar fashion to Freshdesk, Zoho Desk, and other mainstream offerings.
What osTicket Is Missing
osTicket’s Open Source edition lets you host and configure your own trouble ticket software. However, making those changes is beyond the skill level of many business users and may be easier to use on PCs than on other operating systems. If you are looking for a more traditional self-hosted system, and you use Linux or MacOS, we recommend Request Tracker instead.
What Users Think About osTicket
osTicket customers love the fact that they can customize the system as they like. They enjoy the wealth of third-party integrations available on the market as well because it essentially means they can add any missing features that they want. However, some users find the setup process to be daunting.
Where to Find osTicket
osTicket is an open-source, free ticketing system that lets you fully customize it to suit your unique business needs. There are also many plugins available on the web to add functionality as you see it. Click the button below to get started with osTicket today.
Request Tracker: Best Self-hosted Ticketing for Mac & Linux
Request Tracker is a free help desk solution available for Linux and Mac devices. The service comes bundled with email ticket support, although you can get support for other channels thanks to APIs and plugins. The service also offers hosted versions for small businesses starting at $125 per month. Request Tracker also has the best utilities for Mac and Linux users, making it great for businesses with those machines that can host their own free, powerful solution.
Request Tracker Pricing
If you want to host Request Tracker yourself, the solution is completely free to use. However, the company also offers hosted versions for small businesses that range from $125 to $350 per month and that also include live support, security notifications, and other features.
Request Tracker Features
Request Tracker comes free with a core set of features for managing email tickets. It also comes with the ability to create custom workflows that route tickets automatically based on whatever criteria you set within the system. While osTicket, another free self-hosted platform, offers Linux and Mac versions, many users find Request Tracker easier to work with on the platforms. Additionally, you can add features as you see fit, thanks to integration via APIs.
Free Request Tracker features include:
Ticket Management & Channel Support
Like osTicket, Request Tracker only comes bundled with support for email ticketing. However, you add a number of third-party extensions to add support for social media, phone, and more. The service also comes with custom workflow tools that can automatically route tickets based on the customer, subject of the ticket, and other criteria.
Request Tracker is missing many of the collaboration features found in services like Zoho Desk or Freshdesk. Unless you add the option yourself, agents will not be able to communicate with one another while working on customer tickets. This is best suited for teams that are fine with using outside tools like Slack for collaboration.
Request Tracker offers a mobile app for iOS and Android devices, just like most of its competitors. The app is very basic in nature, but it offers most of the functionality of the desktop version. osTicket also offers a mobile app, but Request Tracker offers a more intuitive interface.
The paid versions of Request Tracker simply offer hosting and live support over the free on-premises version. Pricing is based on how many tickets per month you want to handle. A paid edition of Request Tracker also gives you access to company-provided security, which could be a good fit for businesses that do not have advanced security on their own network.
What Request Tracker Is Missing
Request Tracker makes it easy to create and add a knowledge base to your support channel. However, it does not have as intuitive a knowledge base builder as Hesk. Hesk is a free trouble ticket solution that is easy to use and comes with a strong set of features.
What Users Think About Request Tracker
Users have mixed opinions on Request Tracker. Many find that the service has a strong feature set, but it is harder to use than other services. They also find that some features, like search, take too long and that the service has bugs.
Where to Find Request Tracker
Request Tracker is a free solution that you can host on your Linux or Mac workstation. The platform is free, has a core set of features, and there are many extensions on the market to add to the system’s feature set. For more information on Request Tracker, click the button below.
Hesk: Best Free Help Desk Ticketing System for Knowledge Bases
Hesk is a free, basic help desk solution that offers ticket management functionality as well as a customer portal, email support, and phone support. It requires a web server in place with PHP and MySQL support. It also has among the best knowledge base building functions we’ve seen, and is great for business owners who want to offer their customers self-service help.
Hesk is completely free to use. The only paid versions available remove Hesk branding and offer one month of email support from Hesk in the event of a problem. This is a one-time fee of $39.95 or $199.95 for up to five installations and one year of email support.
Hesk comes with a basic core set of features for accepting tickets, managing them, and looking at agent activity. It also supports tickets made by telephone, which is a rarity for a free solution.
Hesk features include:
Ticket Management & Channel Support
Hesk supports tickets over web form, email, and phone channels. Additionally, it comes with the ability for agents to organize tickets and see which ones have not yet been opened. It does not come with automatic ticket assignment like other systems. Still, it should be enough to meet the needs of small teams.
Hesk lacks the collaboration features of Freshdesk and other leading services. Therefore, you will not be able to chat with agents in real-time when using the service. This is best for companies that already have chat apps in place for collaboration.
Hesk is a relatively basic help desk solution. However, it comes with one of the better self-service help modules in the category. Its knowledge base builder is very easy to use and comes with many options for formatting and editing your knowledge base contents. It also comes with dedicated modules for building frequently asked questions (FAQs) pages and user guides. This is great for those who want to help customers solve their own problems.
Upgrading to the paid versions of Hesk removes their branding from the system, so that your clients will not see Hesk branding during their ticketing experience. You also get dedicated email support, which could be useful if you are a novice in hosting your own solution. However, tech-savvy managers and IT staff will likely be fine without this.
What Hesk Is Missing
Hesk is free, but it requires you to host the service locally. This takes more technical expertise than using a cloud-based service like Freshdesk. If you do not want to deal with the time and effort involved in hosting a solution, we suggest looking at that service instead.
What Users Think About Hesk
Customers find that Hesk is a useful solution, but many find the software to be very basic. It is a good tool for basic ticket management, but does not have any integrations with outside software. Still, they find the solution very easy to use.
Where to Find Hesk
Hesk is a free solution with all of the help desk tools you need to assist your customers. Best of all, it comes with tools for building guides, knowledge bases, and other content so that your customers can help themselves. Click the button below to start using Hesk today.
Trouble ticket software is essential for solving your customer’s problems and keeping them happy. These systems let you turn customer issues into tickets, along with tools to manage and organize those tickets. These systems come in many forms, ranging from free software to thousands of dollars per month.
We recommend Freshdesk for any small business owner looking for a free help desk solution. The system is powerful, easy to use, and comes with advanced features to help you better solve customer problems. Click the button below to start using Freshdesk for free today.