“Free” is a powerful word. It’s natural to include it when searching for stuff online, just as it is human nature to be skeptical when the deal seems too good to be true. Being frugal, however, doesn’t mean you have to suffer with subpar products.
Website builders offer bloggers, entrepreneurs, developers, and hobbyists a chance to create a stunning and professional website in minutes with absolutely no investment. The 10 best free site builder programs set the bar high when it comes to features such as usability, online stores, and mobile-friendly designs.
1. Wix: Best Free Online Website Builder
In addition to the wealth of premade website themes on Wix, we love that the browser-based builder also affords users the chance to start with a stripped-down wireframe layout or a completely blank slate. Wix offers hundreds of modern, flexible templates that are surprisingly specific and tailored to various uses, but empowering users to strike out on their own shows the ultimate confidence the company has in their website builder.
Signing up requires nothing more than an email, a Google account, or a Facebook account.
More than 90 million people in 180 countries trust their websites to Wix, which gives users 500MB of storage, unlimited pages, secure hosting, and a mobile site as part of their free plan. We find this host and website builder combo to be ideal for beginners, photographers, and bloggers, and it’s even our #1 recommendation for musicians!
2. Jimdo: Best Free Drag-and-Drop Website Builder
With more than 20 million users around the world, the Jimdo site builder platform is a trusted option for those looking to get online quickly and easily. Create and publish your ad-free, SEO-friendly website in less than 30 minutes by taking advantage of drag-and-drop layouts and widgets such as contact forms, maps, blog, videos, and photo galleries.
3. WebStarts: Best Free Interactive Site Builder (with Apps!)
Founded with the goal of streamlining web design, hosting, and domain registration into a single service — while mitigating cost burdens — WebStarts serves as a low-barrier entry point into the wonderful world of website building. Whether you’re looking to build a basic site, blog, or online store, the WebStarts interface is equipped to turn your design visions into reality, offering a “truly what-you-see-is-what-you-get” experience.
The WebStarts editor is easy to befriend. I drafted up my first blog post, added a few made-up products, and customized my shipping and display options within a matter of minutes. It’s worth noting none of that time was spent trying to find a feature or figure out how it works. WebStarts.com embodies intuitiveness and user-friendliness, which is why we love recommending it to first-time site owners and web design beginners.
What really tips the scales in this builder’s favor: There are a myriad of apps available to extend the functionality of your new website. Embed videos, add a guestbook or membership settings, or upload your WordPress blog simply by clicking one of the app buttons and following the on-screen prompts. These apps set WebStarts apart as an excellent free resource for building interactive sites, making it a strong candidate for the top-recommended free builders.
4. Moonfruit: Best Free Business Website Builder
More than 5 million websites have been built using London-based Moonfruit, the UK’s most popular site builder. The drag-and-drop builder feels familiar and comfortable. The traditional-looking interface feels a bit like a word processor and will receive an update and facelift in the coming weeks. The new, modern builder will continue to focus on usability and add functionalities such as responsive page editing tools.
Moonfruit’s builder is free and gives business owners all the time they need to craft a website for their company. You’ll need to make a slight hosting investment when you’re ready to publish, but Moonfruit’s base plan costs less than $7 per month and lets you sell up to 20 products at a time.
5. Duda: Best Free Mobile Website Builder
Several website builders enable you to create responsive websites that adapt to whatever device on which they’re displaying — but what if you want more control over how your site looks and operates on visitors’ phones? Duda is one of the few platforms that features a separate tool for mobile sites. You’ll get the same drag-and-drop simplicity as their responsive website creator but with special added features such as click-to-call buttons and integration with Google Maps.
With such emphasis on strong mobile designs and functionalities, Duda’s full website building platform excels with responsive designs. Users can further customize their site by capitalizing on personalization features that trigger certain events, such as displaying a coupon or notification bar, in particular situations.
6. Webnode: Best (Easy!) Free Website Builder
Boasting more than 27 million users, Webnode excels by offering premium features packaged in a free and user-friendly interface. One of the few site builder programs to include hosting and customer support, along with an unlimited number of pages and an ad-free experience in their free plan, Webnode can help you get your site online in as little as five minutes.
Webnode websites can support more than 20 languages and several levels of site navigation. The drag-and-drop builder will create mobile-friendly versions of your site, or you’ll be able to find some responsive templates in their gallery. Some of Webnode’s strongest features include visitor analytics, contact forms, and strong SEO tools.
7. WordPress: Best Free Website Builder Software
Few web services have more name recognition than WordPress, the open-source content management solution that powers more than a quarter of all websites. The WordPress platform is so pervasive and comprehensive that it’s kind of hard to believe the software is completely free.
Although you’ll have millions of themes and customizable options to choose from, WordPress is not a traditional site builder. Beginners will encounter a steeper learning curve than the drag-and-drop platforms but end up with a site no less spectacular. Hosting is not included with WordPress, but tons of providers offer one-click installations and special WordPress services for less than $5 per month. Read our reviews of the top WordPress hosts if the content management system sounds like the right fit for you.
8. Magento: Best Free eCommerce Website Builder Software
Responsible for facilitating more than $101 billion of annual transactions, Magento is among the most popular and powerful eCommerce platforms around. In addition to cloud-based commercial options, the Magento Community Edition is perfect for emerging small businesses looking to build their first website or online store.
Like WordPress and other open-source programs, Magento provides interchangeable themes that affect your store’s appearance and functionality. Users can add extensions and other tools found in an online marketplace to add features and customizations. Magento, however, also needs a separate hosting account. No matter what you’re selling, the best Magento hosts offer the performance and reliability your business needs for minimal prices. Alternatively, enterprise customers may find Magento’s cloud offering, which does not require an external host, suitable to their business needs.
Top 2 Free “Website Builder and Hosting” Packages
In addition to the options we’ve listed above, several of our favorite web hosting providers have painstakingly created their own website builders to help their customers succeed online. The tool is free and usually comes pre-installed, and customers are able to take advantage of a basket of hosting perks such as free domains, more storage and bandwidth, and more reliable support.
- Integration with Fotolia and Flickr image databases
- Pre-built and customizable content with GridBlocks
- Responsive themes with tablet and mobile editing views
|Money Back Guarantee||90 days|
|Domain Name||FREE (1 year)|
|Website Builder Hosting Plans||www.inmotionhosting.com/boldgrid|
Our Expert's BoldGrid Review
After taking the BoldGrid suite of plugins for a test drive, we experienced how they make WordPress more accessible for beginners and much more efficient for professional developers.
Because BoldGrid requires a separate hosting account and WordPress installation, it is a little more challenging for wide-eyed beginners to get started than it is for other website builders. However, by signing up with a reputable host — we recommend BoldGrid partner InMotion Hosting — you'll be equipped with a helpful support staff to lead you through the setup process.
BoldGrid themes are beautiful, modern, responsive, and come with usable content out of the box. Choose from pre-made page layouts or create your own using GridBlocks, which create clean, modular designs without any coding. Simply drag and drop each element to adjust its position and size. Unlike most other site builders, BoldGrid generates pristine code that is friendly to SEO and developers who want more control.
The two features most appealing to us, however, are the staging environment and editing capabilities for mobile and tablet views. The lack of a staging area has long been one of the few complaints about WordPress, and BoldGrid has solved that issue with aplomb. Use it to test new looks, plugins, or updates before you deploy them to the active site.
Although many other site builder themes boast mobile-optimized responsiveness, BoldGrid is one of the few platforms that give you control over exactly how your site will look in tablet or mobile modes.collapse info -
- Choice of Weebly or WebsiteBuilder by iPage
- #1 Pick for WYSIWYG site building with FREE domain
- 100s of professionally designed, customizable themes
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days|
|Disk Space||100 GB - Unlimited|
|Domain Name||FREE (1 year)|
|Website Builder Hosting Plans||www.ipage.com/site-builder|
Our Expert's iPage Review
Do you want your website built today? If you answered "yes," you should look no further than iPage. In fact, it's possible for you to be online before you even finish reading this article. Thanks to iPage's user-friendly interface, instant provisioning, and free domain name, you can have a live, attractive website in mere minutes.
For those that have been around the Web for a while, you may remember when it took a day to get your server online; thankfully those days are gone. Your site is live the second you complete your order with iPage. A domain name is also included, so the ordeal of purchasing a domain name, setting name servers, and waiting for them to propagate is also extinct. Once that's completed, you are taken to the incredibly user-friendly interface, where you can begin your site creation process.
Powered by their own proprietary builder, iPage's WebsiteBuilder makes it easy to have a professional-looking site created in minutes. It all starts with your choice of template — with hundreds of options available. From there, you can customize color schemes, fonts, and sizes, and add your own pictures and videos. Adding forms for comments, RSVPs, or business contacts is just as simple. Before you know it, you have an attractive, functional website.
From the ease of use to the speed at which you are able to get a site live, iPage leaves us with little doubt as to why we've ranked them #1 on our list of web hosts with site builder functionality. An already incredible value, their 30-day money-back guarantee means that you can feel at ease knowing that iPage stands behind its product, and they're confident that you will be happy with their service.collapse info -
Simple Solutions Show You How to Build a Free Website
I’m certainly willing to splurge on a good product, but I’m a sucker for just about any buy one, get one deal I come across. I probably don’t need that second pair of shoes or an extra box of cereal — but it’s free. Like the BOGO deals, however, sometimes free stuff comes at a tiny price. Don’t shy away from the ultra-affordable hosts who include excellent website builders with their plans.
Looking for more free tools to establish and grow your web presence? TheFreeSite.com has a huge repository of “Webmaster Freebies” you should take a look at. Enjoy!