Whether you’re a blogger or a business owner, find the best free website builder by reading our quick comparison of our top 6
We’re in a golden age of website creation: anyone can do it, and without paying a penny.
But how, I hear you ask? Well, many popular website builders work on a ‘freemium’ model. That’s to say they offer a free, more basic version of their service, which is effectively supplemented by paying customers.
Great, yes – but some free models are a lot more advanced than others. We’ve rounded up our top 6 free website builders, all of which will help you create your dream website free of charge.
Wix came out on top overall – it’s a great all-rounder with a fairly generous free plan – but there are plenty of other strong candidates around, too.
Let’s take a look.
What’s on this page?
The best free website builders 2019
The best free website builders in 2019 include: Wix, Mozello, Weebly, WordPress.com, IM Creator and Site123:
|Mozello||Best for ecommerce businesses|
|Weebly||Best for small businesses|
|WordPress.com||Best for bloggers and freelance writers|
|IM Creator||Best for image-based portfolios|
|Site123||Best for ease of use|
With over 100 million users, it’s fair to say Wix has snowballed over the past few years. And no, that’s not just down to its celebrity endorsers!
The fact is that Wix is a really great website builder. There’s huge scope for creativity if you want it, or you can sit back and let Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) do the hard work for you.
Their free plan is unlimited, and includes many of the same features as the premium plans (which start at just £3/month). Storage is capped quite low though (500MB), so you might find you run out of room for images and videos. You’ll also get Wix ads on your site, and a fairly long automatically-generated domain name.
- Whether you’re creative or not, Wix has you covered
- With 500+ templates on offer, you’re guaranteed to find your perfect fit
- Generous free plan, which includes most of the same features as paid (premium) plans
- If you want to upgrade, paid plans start at just £3/month
- You can’t switch templates once you’ve settled on one
- The free plan has limited storage and lots of Wix advertising, although this is to be expected
- The domain name that free plans receive is also very long (www. accountname.wixsite/customername) and isn’t memorable
▶ Find out more: Wix Review 2019
Best for ecommerce businesses
With most website builders, ecommerce functionality (the ability to sell things online) is only available as part of a paid package. Not with Mozello!
Mozello lets you add up to 10 products to your free site (that’s twice as many as Jimdo). You can connect your payment with PayPal, and there’s no daily sales cap (unlike with Webstarts). You can also customise delivery options, and launch your site in multiple languages. It’s a great way to test the water with a new launch, but you can upgrade from just £5/month to remove the Mozello advertising and add more products and payment options.
- Multilingual functionality makes going global easier than ever
- 0% commission and no sales caps, even with the free plan
- Modern templates you can switch between at any time
- The free plan has a cap of 10 items (but you can upgrade for just £5/month)
- Fewer template options than Wix, and although you can switch designs, they’re much more rigid and limiting than those of other builders
Best for small businesses
Weebly is most often compared to Wix, as they have a lot in common. Weebly doesn’t quite have as many features as Wix, but it’s considered to be slightly easier to use. And unless you’re after a very specific kind of website or have a specific look in mind, you probably won’t miss the extra features anyway. Plus, unlike Wix, you can switch between templates if you fancy a new look further down the line.
- Very easy to use, with a ‘drag-and-drop’ approach
- Plenty of scope to upgrade means your website can develop as your business does
- You can change your template further down the line
- Templates are good, but not as polished or stylish as the Wix ones
▶ Find out more: Best small business website builders
Best for bloggers and freelance writers
The chances are that most of the time you hear WordPress mentioned, people are talking about ‘Wordpress.org’. This is the CMS (Content Management System) that powers over 31% of the web. It’s possible to build a website with WordPress.org with no prior experience, but it’ll be a steep learning curve as you’ll need to learn to code.
However, WordPress also created WordPress.com: a website builder that ‘anyone can use’.
WordPress is a huge name in the online world, so of course their website builder has a lot of good stuff to offer. However, it’s definitely got more of a ‘blog’ feel than a business one. If you’re a blogger or freelancer then great – if not, best look elsewhere.
- ‘Wordpress Reader’ allows you to easily subscribe to other blogs, and for other people to subscribe to yours
- Loads of plugins available to add extra features to your site
- Templates can be personalised to some extent, but are much more rigid than those of other website builders
- Limited selection of free templates – the better ones cost upwards of £33
- Not the most user friendly
▶ Find out more: How do bloggers make money?
Best for image-based portfolios
If you’re a designer, architect or photographer, you know how much images matter when attracting new clients. When choosing a website builder for your online portfolio, you need to ensure that they’ll take centre stage.
Wix has a range of bold, modern templates to suit. Squarespace is also pretty popular, although it doesn’t have a free version. IM Creator is less well-known, but shouldn’t be overlooked: their templates really pack a punch, are easy to fill in quickly, and have a lot of great features too.
- Eye-catching, modern templates that are stylishly pre-populated for easy setup
- Very noticeable IM Creator advertising with their free plan
- Only 50mb storage (compared to the 500mb offered by most free website builders)
Best for ease of use
All of the website builders listed on this page should be relatively simple for anyone to use, with no prior web design or coding experience required. However, if ease of use is your main concern, chances are you’ll get on well with Site123.
Like many website builders, Site123 has a ‘drag-and-drop’ functionality. Perhaps it’s because it has a more stripped-back feature set, but we think Site123 is the easiest of all the website builders to use. Plus, there’s 24/7 live chat in place if you get stuck – a very rare feature for a free website builder.
- Very easy to use
- Great 24/7 customer support
- As you’d expect, the scope for customisation, range of designs and features are all quite limited
Overall, we’d definitely rate Wix as the best free website builder. The templates are modern and fresh, there’s huge variety and scope to upgrade and grow, plus it’s always updating and evolving. What’s more, even customers using their free model get a pretty sweet deal.
That’s not to say that Wix won’t be pipped to the post in certain areas, as our analysis and comparison has demonstrated. There are plenty of great free website builders out there – it’s just that Wix will always be a good, reliable option.
But we’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: there’s no such thing as a free lunch! With the free versions of all these website builders, you’ll have the builder’s own advertising on your site. Plus, your domain name will include the builder (eg. www. accountname.wixsite/customername for Wix).
Upgrading to a paid plan typically only costs a few pounds a month, and will instantly make your site look more professional. It’s worth checking out the paid plans of all the website builders on this list, and the ones in the article below which don’t offer free plans.
▶ Find out more: Best website builders 2019
If I upgrade my plan, should I buy my domain name through the website builder?
Paying website builder users will be able to add their own domain name to their website. This makes it look a lot more professional, and makes your site easier to remember. You can buy a domain name through most website builder platforms, and sometimes this is even offered free for the first year. After that though, you’ll normally find it’s about £5-£10/year more expensive than if you buy the domain name through GoDaddy or an equivalent to begin with.
How long does it take to make a website using a website builder?
No time at all! Allow two hours maximum – you’ll actually be up and running much faster than that with most builders.
▶ Find out more: How to make a website in 3 simple steps