I recently asked my 8-year-old son if he was interested in web design. He looked up from his video game just long enough to shrug his shoulders and roll his eyes. I turned to his older brother to gauge his enthusiasm for the subject, and I was in luck. It may seem strange for a 10-year-old to be passionate about architecture, but he was gung-ho on building a website dedicated to his love of humanity’s great structures.
For many of us, creating a complete website from scratch might seem like a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. But there are free website builders out there perfect to tackle any project — from eCommerce to wedding sites — and for any user type — from kids to pros. Here, we’ll take a look at the 12 best free website creators to get your projects off the ground.
Skip ahead to the best “website creator” software for…
1. Weebly: Website Creator Software Most Trusted By Hosts
The website builder world has a few giants, and Weebly is one of them. The platform boasts more than 40 million users who are attracting upward of 325 million visitors to their sites each month.
Weebly offers a free plan for basic site creation that includes a drag-and-drop builder, 500MB of storage, SEO features, lead capture, and chat and email support. If you take advantage of this plan, you will have to use a Weebly.com subdomain, and your site will display Weebly ads.
Weebly’s premium plans range from $8 to $25 per month when paid annually, and the features stack up as you move through the different price tiers. The highest tier, Weebly Business, comes complete with unlimited storage, a free unique domain name, HD video and audio, and a comprehensive eCommerce and marketing suite, among other features.
Perhaps the best way to get the most value out of your Weebly site, however, is to go through a hosting provider. Many hosts provide Weebly’s premium services for free as part of their basic hosting packages.
|Weebly Free Site Features|
|Drag-and-Drop Builder||500MB Storage||SEO||Lead Capture|
|Community Forum||Chat and Email Support||Weebly.com subdomain||Displays Weebly Ads|
Weebly for Hosts became popular in the hosting industry because it allows providers to expand their offerings to clients who need a trusted web builder. Even though Weebly offers a free plan, you can get a much more feature-rich version of the web builder by going through a host. And many providers offer hosting packages well below the $8 per month basic Weebly plan.
If you’d like to delve deeper into Weebly features and fully hosted plan options, see below.
- Direct access to the popular site builder offered by most shared hosts
- Fully hosted, drag-and-drop site-building and marketing platform
- Choose from 100s of customizable, professional-looking themes
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days|
|Disk Space||500 MB - Unlimited|
|Domain Name||FREE (w/ paid plans)|
|Website Builder Hosting Plans||www.weebly.com/site-builder|
Our Expert's Weebly Review
Weebly is in the elite clique of drag-and-drop website builders that includes WordPress and Wix.com. The platform is known for its feature-rich functionality that can be easily controlled by novices and seasoned site owners. Our favorite part is that many of the top-recommended site builder hosts have actually opted to offer the Weebly software as their "free website builder included" offering. Nevertheless, you can sign up for a Weebly account and have your site hosted directly through Weebly.com.
If you're just getting started or simply dabbling with the idea of creating your own website from scratch, Weebly does offer a free plan; however, this is not conducive to professional site building as it includes ads and a Weebly.com subdomain. Alternatively, premium plan subscribers get a free custom domain and an ad-free website that they can customize with themes and an intuitive drag-and-drop editor. If you're looking to display and sell products, you have the option to showcase 10, 25, or an unlimited number of items, depending on your chosen plan. Weebly does charge a 3% transaction fee, but that requirement goes away when you upgrade to the Pro or Business plans.
Let the record show, we highly recommend the Weebly software. It's easy to get started and the drag-and-drop editor is about as beginner-friendly as it gets. Those who are on a time crunch and budget-minded, however, might consider using a Weebly-enabled hosting provider instead. Either way, Weebly is an excellent choice for getting a beautiful web presence up and running.collapse info -
2. WordPress: Website Creator Software Most-Picked By Bloggers
Weebly is big, but WordPress is arguably the most popular platform bloggers rely on to build their sites. Powering more than 27% of sites on the web, WordPress allows for the easy creation of websites with hundreds of themes from which to choose.
At WordPress.com, you can find plans ranging from free to $24.92 per month. The free plan offers a choice of customizable themes, 3GB of storage, and community support. As with Weebly’s free tier, if you opt for WordPress’s no-cost option, you’ll have to use a WordPress.com subdomain.
Once again, a better bang for your buck with WordPress will be to go through a hosting provider. Site owners can build their websites for free with the publishing software at WordPress.org and then find a host to get their sites live.
|WordPress Free Site Features|
|Drag-and-Drop Builder||3GB Storage||Customizable Themes||WordPress Subdomain|
Top-rated hosts, like InMotion, offer packages that include unique domain names, unlimited storage, email, and security. You’ll get all the functionality of a premium WordPress account at a very low price point. WordPress is hands down one of our developers’ favorite platforms for managing site content — so much so that it’s the software that powers HostingAdvice.com. Read our thoughts in full in our comprehensive WordPress hosting review below.
- WordPress powers +26% of websites
- The #1 platform for blogging
- FREE to download; install in 1 click
|Money Back Guarantee||90 days|
|WordPress Hosting Plans||www.inmotionhosting.com/wordpress|
Our Expert's WordPress Review
Good news, website owners: The software that powers upward of 25% of websites is free and open for public enjoyment and customization! WordPress is ready for download at WordPress.org, and the team is actively maintaining its core code. So long as you stay current with your WP software versions and install plugins with caution, the site-building possibilities and benefits of WordPress are seemingly endless.
It should come as no surprise that many of the web's most trusted hosts have zeroed in on the popularity of WordPress, offering single-click installations for the software and WordPress-specific optimizations for performance, security, and support.
Once you get up and running with a WordPress host, you can choose from thousands of free and paid themes — premade website templates that expedite your site design process, allowing you to skip to the content and customization. For a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) experience, we recommend installing BoldGrid, a site builder tool that layers on top of the WordPress platform to create a drag-and-drop site builder environment. InMotion will install BoldGrid for you at checkout as well, making WordPress setup a non-issue.
Incorporating additional plugins, apps, and scripts extends the robust functionality of the WordPress interface. From calendar widgets to page caching for performance, there's essentially a plugin for every WordPress need. Integrating payment processing tools, such as Shopify and PayPal, converts your traditional site into a transaction-ready virtual marketplace. Cultivate a following with commenting apps, like Disqus, and link your social media accounts. What's more, WordPress hosts often throw in free paid search advertising credits to help you kickstart your marketing efforts.
WordPress remains the most popular platform for building a beautiful online presence from scratch. It's relied on by hosting novices and seasoned developers alike, and we're confident the software, matched with InMotion Hosting hardware, will deliver everything you need to establish and grow your next website.collapse info -
3. Wix: Website Creator Software for Any Industry or Site Type
Whatever the goal of your website, Wix can help you achieve it. The web builder provides a drag-and-drop environment to build out your site and provides 500MB of storage, 1GB of bandwidth, security, and mobile responsiveness — all at no cost.
With Wix’s free plan, site owners employ a URL address with a Wix.com subdomain and must display Wix branded advertisements. The real value site owners and businesses find in Wix is its versatility. The platform offers more than 100 templates covering multiple industries and purposes.
For entrepreneurs, Wix’s eCommerce and business templates offer stunning storefronts to showcase your products. Creatives can highlight their work with one of Wix’s photography, video, or music themes. And Wix’s restaurant themes give restaurateurs the ability to present menus and their star dishes center stage.
|Wix Free Site Features|
|Drag-and-Drop Builder||500MB Storage||100+ Customizable Themes||Wix Subdomain|
|1GB Bandwidth||Mobile Responsive||Wix-branded Ads|
To enjoy the full functionality of a Wix site, it’s better to go with one of the platform’s premium plans. Subscriptions run from $5 per month for the basic plan to $25 per month for the VIP plan. With the highest-tiered VIP plan, site owners get 20GB of storage, a free unique domain, $300 in ad vouchers, and a comprehensive eCommerce suite, among many other features.
- No coding skills needed with drag-and-drop website builder
- 100s of templates with industry-specific designs
- Add features via the App Market
|Money Back Guarantee||14 days|
|Disk Space||500 MB - 20 GB|
|Website Builder Hosting Plans||www.wix.com/site-builder|
Our Expert's Wix Review
Website building is where Wix shines. The thousands of templates, the intuitive editor, the industry-leading designs that cater to a variety of specific fields and use cases — all these facets represent a platform that excels at facilitating easy web design for the non-tech-savvy user. Sign up with your Facebook account or email address and get started for free.
I'll admit, the Wix Editor may appear daunting when you first meet it, but get to know the interface. Once you familiarize yourself with the environment, you'll realize that what first comes across as overwhelming is actually empowering — the customization functionalities to be had are many, and they're awesome. There's no need for coding of any kind. Just drag and drop elements of your new site and BAM: What You See Is What You Get (i.e., Wix is a WYSIWYG website builder!).
You don't have to design your website from scratch with Wix, though blank templates are available. There are thousands of templates, each one categorized by design need and further classified into industry niches, and the site's look can be molded to match your brand or personality very easily. Layout and design options include parallax themes (where the viewer scrolls down the screen and one page rolls seamlessly into the next), custom sliders, multiple columns, mobile-specific and mobile-responsive displays, and tons of button and menu navigation tricks.
While Wix isn't our favorite host in terms of expert support or top-of-the-line hardware, it's an industry-leading platform for website building. It's popular for many reasons: the simple startup process, the ease of use, the array of customization options, and the WYSIWYG results, as examples. Its reputation precedes it, and we can totally see where the rave reviews are coming from.collapse info -
4. Joomla: Website Creator Software for Devs Who Want Flexibility
Joomla! offers a free, open-source content management system (CMS) and website builder to easily get sites up and running in a matter of seconds. To get started, users choose a Joomla.com subdomain, pick a template that correlates with the look of their brand, and begin customizing their content.
The free-hosted option at Joomla.com is great for people who want an easy way to quickly get their message online. For seasoned developers, however, the open-source software package available at Joomla.org, provides a scalable architecture to build self-hosted custom websites.
Developers find content creation a breeze with the tool’s intuitive CMS. This provides flexibility that allows developers to quickly build out sites without spending hours coding, which comes in handy when managing multiple client projects.
|Joomla! Free Site Features|
|Intuitive CMS||Authentication Protocols||PHP 7 Support||Microdata Incorporation|
Joomla! allows devs to configure a registration system with nine user groups and grant varying permissions and access types. Authentication protocols, such as LDAP, OpenID, and Gmail, are supported as part of user management.
Microdata can also be incorporated with Joomla!, which can work to boost SEO efforts. And, with PHP 7 support, developers have found site performance rises significantly with Joomla!. Browse the best hosting plans for Joomla users to get started.
5. Magento: Top Free eCommerce Website Creator Software
More than 250,000 merchants are running their sites on Magento’s eCommerce platform — and for good reason. Magento offers complete services for businesses selling products online.
Depending on the size and goals of your business, Magento’s eCommerce solutions can range in cost from free for its Community Edition to more than $250,000 for giant enterprise-level corporations. Shero Designs provided a comprehensive look at the different price tiers, but, for our purposes, we’ll just take a glimpse into the free offering.
Magento’s Community Edition is an open-source eCommerce platform perfect for SMBs. The free platform offers a store template for businesses that want to quickly get sites online without the need to code. Better still, many of the best hosting providers offer Magento-specific plans that feature single-click installations for the popular software, making it super easy to get your online store up and running.
|Magento Free Site Features|
|eCommerce Templates||Open-Source||Marketplace of Extensions & Themes||Community Support|
The Magento Marketplace provides a wide array of extensions and plugins to enhance your store’s functionalities — many of which are offered free. The platform’s community forums also provide a community of developers and merchants from whom site owners can learn best practices and how to best improve their sites.
6. Wix, Again: The New “Kids Website Creator”
If you’re like me and trying to get your kids interested in web development, you may have heard of kidswebsitecreator.com. The platform helped more than 2 million users (many of them kids) get sites online. Kids Website Creator no longer provides site-building services; however, the site has partnered with Wix to endorse the platform as an easy way children can create the websites of their dreams.
Using Wix’s free site builder plan, children can choose a template and drag-and-drop their way into the web. With Wix, there are no technical skills needed. The intuitive environment makes it easy to customize pages.
|Wix Free Site Features|
|Drag-and-Drop Builder||500MB Storage||100+ Customizable Themes||Wix Subdomain|
|1GB Bandwidth||Mobile Responsive||Wix-branded Ads|
Wix comes highly recommended by the online magazine Kids, Code, and Computer Science, which published a complete tutorial kids can follow to get their sites live. Whatever the topic your kids want to broadcast, Wix has the tools to help.
7. Corel: Website Creator Software for Interactive Sites
Corel offers code-free website design software that gives users the ability to easily design and develop interactive websites. The software will set you back $199; however, a 30-day trial version of Corel Website Creator is available for free.
The trial version grants all the functionality of the full version so users can determine if the software is a fit for their purposes. The software allows site owners to add interactive features, such as audio, video, and other embedded applications, onto their pages.
With an intuitive CSS3 design grid and professionally designed templates, users find it simple to produce the sites they’ve envisioned. Everything is done in an easy-to-use drag-and-drop environment, from text to images and Flash videos.
|Corel Free Site Features|
|HTML5 Video||HTML Audio||CSS3 Design Grid||Image Carousel|
8. Google Sites: Yes, a Google Website Creator (Genius!)
You heard that right. Google now offers a website builder! It’s free and everything you’d expect from the search engine giant.
How it works: G Suite admins have the ability to turn Google Sites on or off in the administration console. Users with sites turned on can create and manage the websites within the admin’s domain. From there, the admin can decide who gets what permissions to view and access sites and determine whether a site is public or viewable only to those in the user group.
|Google Free Site Features|
|Drag-and-Drop Environment||Intuitive Visual Editor||Customizable Templates||Simple Administration|
Setting up the actual site couldn’t be easier. When you click on the Create button in the New Sites area of the console, a drag-and-drop environment is loaded. Once you’re there, it’s time to add content. Pages are easily customizable, and the visual editor makes it simple to embed different apps such as video and other dynamic content.
9. Homestead: Website Creator Software Aimed at Attracting Customers
If you’re looking to broadcast your brand and attract a targeted customer base, Homestead might be the web builder for you. Homestead offers hundreds of professionally designed templates in 100 different business categories. The templates can be customized to fit your brand with its visual editor, and users are given access to a library containing more than 1 million photos.
Users who make a home on the platform enjoy personalized domain names to make finding sites a breeze, and Homestead’s SEO experts can even recommend the best name to boost your search rankings. Branded email addresses are also included in Homestead accounts.
What makes Homestead so valuable for online businesses is the platform’s all-inclusive marketing suite. The suite’s tools were built to improve business presence in search sites, including Google, Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, and Bing Maps.
Forms can be added to sites to collect valuable visitor information that can be used in promotional campaigns. The goal is to convert customers, and Homestead delivers.
|Homestead Free Site Features|
|Hundreds of Templates||100 Business Categories||Access to Image Gallery of 1M+ Photos||30-Day Free Trial|
Homestead plans range from $7.99 for the basic package to $62.99 for the Business Plus plan. The platform offers free 30-day trials for all its plans, so sign up at no risk to see if it’s a good fit for your business.
10. Jimdo: An Easy Website Creator Tool for Beginners
If you have a great online business idea but don’t know a thing about web development, Jimdo has your back. All you have to do is pick out one of the platform’s professional templates, customize it with images relating to your brand, and add your message. It’s really that simple.
Jimdo’s templates are easily customizable and built to work for businesses of any kind. The web builder includes themes to showcase portfolios, highlight products, and house blogs, among an array of other use cases.
All Jimdo templates are responsive so your site will look its best no matter the device on which it’s being viewed. Site owners can also edit their websites from any location and on any mobile device using the Jimdo app.
|Jimdo Free Site Features|
|Professionally Designed Templates||Mobile Responsive||Management App||500MB Storage|
The platform’s free plan gives beginners a Jimdo.com subdomain, 500MB of storage, and 2GB of bandwidth. The paid plans range from $7.50 per month for JimdoPro to $20 per month for JimdoBusiness. These premium plans are feature-heavy, so, depending on your site’s goal, moving up to one of the paid options might be a good choice.
11. The Knot: The #1 Wedding Website Creator Platform
Not very long ago, after the big question was answered with a “Yes,” couples would send out hardcopy announcements of their nuptial plans, complete with registry information. Now, it’s almost a prerequisite to have a complete wedding website in place before your big day.
Couples have found a easy way to send the news of their engagement and wedding plans with The Knot. The platform has more than 100 themes from which to choose to get their wedding sites online. The good news? It’s completely free!
The bride and groom can keep all their registry items in a central location. So, Aunt Mary is sure to buy the right blender, and Uncle Dave will get you the toaster oven you’ve been pining over.
|The Knot Free Site Features|
|Professionally Designed Templates||Drag-and-Drop Editor||Guest and Registry Lists||Budgeting Tools|
Guest lists can be formatted in a drag-and-drop editor, which makes it simple to organize addresses and RSVPs. And with The Knot’s Budgeter tool, couples can plan their wedding based on their budgets.
12. Duda: Best Mobile Website Creator Software
It’s not news that more and more people are using their phones to surf the web to find products, which is why it’s so important for businesses to have effective mobile sites. In fact, 57% of users will leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Luckily, Duda provides a solution. Duda offers a vast library of mobile website templates to use as the foundation for optimal mobile experiences.
The platform’s reliable hosting and use of Google PageSpeed ensure high availability and quick load times, which work to prevent customer drop offs. Duda’s free plan offers analytics and tracking, web hosting on Amazon, and community support. With the free service, site owners can choose a URL with a Duda subdomain (mobile.dudamobile.com/site/mysite), and must include Duda-branded ads on their pages.
|Duda Free Site Features|
|Professionally Designed Templates||Google PageSpeed||High Availability||Analytics|
|Amazon Web Hosting||Community Support||Duda Subdomain||Duda-branded Ads|
Premium plans range from $7.20 to $9.99 per month. The paid options come with additional features and include a custom domain name.
Are The Creative Juices Flowing Yet? Let Your Host Help
While we’re still in the inspirational phase of our site, my 10-year-old son and I plan on using one of these easy-to-use options to build out his architecture-themed idea. He’s excited to feature the Eiffel Tower on the homepage and is already asking for tickets to France to do research.
My son’s obviously not concerned with cost, but I know I am. That’s why I’ll be going through a hosting provider that offers the premium functionalities of some of the web builders covered here as part of a hosting package. Here are a few of the top-rated hosts that provide web builder services and unique domains as part of their low-priced plans.
- 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 -
- FREE WYSIWYG builder: BoldGrid sits atop WordPress
- FREE domain, with tons of options to customize and scale
- 500+ easy-to-edit blog, gallery, and eCommerce themes
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days|
|Domain Name||New or Transfer|
|Website Builder Hosting Plans||www.inmotionhosting.com/site-builder|
Our Expert's InMotion Review
If you're aiming to build a dynamic, user-oriented website — an active blog, a photo gallery, an eCommerce store — check out InMotion Hosting. The InMotion team is extremely knowledgeable in the hosting industry, and they're attuned to the ever-evolving needs of the end-user — from the ultra-novice to the über-experienced. Evidence of the team's attention to user needs can be found in BoldGrid: the in-house-built website builder platform that was received so well by the market that InMotion decided to spin the web builder off into its own company.
BoldGrid functions on top of WordPress, bringing intuitiveness and ease of use to a content management environment notorious for bringing beginners frustration. With hundreds of templates and a nice WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, getting started with a new site is a fairly quick and easy process. You can play around with the plethora of site templates, preview the site that could soon be yours, and get a feel for which look most closely matches your intended design or brand. Ready to start selling online? Stress-free integration with PayPal, Authorize.net, and 2Checkout makes starting that online store a simple endeavor.
BoldGrid comes free on all of InMotion's shared hosting packages, which come with all the essential hosting goodies and some of the best support money can buy. Each plan offers powerful hardware, a free domain name, and free data backups — that last one being an extremely valuable feature. InMotion does have lengthy signup periods for their best deals, but they offer a 90-day money-back guarantee to help you feel confident that they are the right host for you.collapse info -