Website Builders

The 13 Best Free Website Builders of 2020: Their Pros & Cons

Best Free Website Builder

Building a website has never been more accessible than ever. Numerous free website builders out there mean that you can quickly turn your idea into reality without needing to spend big. One of the issues with wanting to make your webpage on a budget is that not all free options can create a quality product.

Even so, that doesn’t mean that free website builders are a lost cause. With some digging, we’ve found some of the best choices out there for those who want to make a webpage for free. These free website builders have plenty of benefits, and we’ve evaluated them on several factors.

While these website builders do a lot well, they also have their drawbacks. Since these website builders are free to use, they can have issues like restricted storage or unappealing advertising. Each recommended builder will give their pros and cons, so you can make the most informed decision possible.

With that in mind, let’s get down to the products at hand.

13 Best Free Website Builders

Here’s a quick rundown of the website builders we’re going to cover.

  1. Wix – Best variety in design
  2. Webnode – Simple and quick setup
  3. Ucraft – Best custom domain name offer
  4. Weebly – Excellent Fit for Small Businesses
  5. Webstarts – Best Free Storage Limit
  6. Carrd – Best One Page Website Creator
  7. SITE123 – Best for Least Overwhelming Setup
  8. Webflow – Best for CMS Use
  9. Jimdo – Best for Site Editing on the Go
  10. WordPress.com – Best Blogging Option
  11. Strikingly – Allows for Template Updates After Launch
  12. SimpleSite – Great Fit for Self-Service Promotion
  13. Mozello – Free Access to a Multilingual Site

Our goal is to help you better understand the pros and cons of these different free website makers so you can fully understand what you can get out of them and what you’ll lose out on by not paying for the service.

Wix – Best Variety in Design

Wix has plenty of advantages when it comes to being a free website builder, and a lot of those pros are in the realm of what it allows in terms of design. Wix provides a vast number of templates to work with, and none of them are behind a paywall. When you combine this aspect with the drag and drop design setup, it’s simple to build and create a design you enjoy.

 

While Wix does provide upgrades plans, its free options still give you plenty to use. You’re also free to stick with your free site forever, though moving to a paid plan can enhance your storage and bandwidth, as well as open up options like selling products. These plans are also reasonably priced, with the lowest costing $13 per month, but you can still get plenty of use from the free option if you want to stick with that.

For all its customizable options, though, you’re stuck with the template you selected after your site has gone live. The free plan also has restrictions like ads on your website, which can be very obtrusive. The free plan domain names are also very clunky and look like https://sitename.wixsite.com/sitename, which isn’t very convenient whatsoever.

What We Like
Numerous features on its free plan
A wide variety of templates
Drag and drop functionality is easy to use
Allows for extensive customization
What We Don’t Like
Doesn’t allow for template updates after the site goes live
Free plan ads are very noticeable
Free plan domain names are very clunky

Related content – The Best Website Builders in 2020 – Comparison List

Webnode – Simple and Quick Setup

Webnode provides another simple to use website builder that gives you some flexibility to utilize. Overall, the provided templates are simple to adjust to your liking, and they’re stylish enough to help make your website look slick from the outset. Updating the site and improving features is also very intuitive.

Webnode’s design allows for SEO settings adjustment across all pages on your site, which will help make it into Google and search engine rankings. There is also no limit on the number of pages you can set up, letting you create a great site if necessary. The lowest level paid upgrade is the $3.95 per month “Limited” plan, which gives you benefits like premium customer support and use of your domain name.

While Webnode doesn’t impose a hard limit on the number of pages you create, the low storage limit will ultimately become an issue. You’ll also have to stick with the template you’ve chosen after your site goes live. There isn’t an ecommerce option, and the blog features are minimal at best, meaning you should pick another option if you want these types of sites.

Pros:

  • Free plan ads are unintrusive
  • No page limit
  • Allows for SEO setting adjustment
  • Templates are responsive and stylish

Cons:

  • The storage limit is low, even for a free plan
  • Does not have any extensive blog or ecommerce features
  • Doesn’t allow for template updates after the site goes live

Ucraft – Best Custom Domain Name Offer

One of Ucraft’s most notable features is its allowance of a custom domain name on its free plan. You’ll still need to pay the cost of owning a domain name in the first place, but not adding fee onto your website creation budget has its perks. Even without this expense, the subdomain name (https://sitename.ucraft.net) isn’t too bad. Since this builder is one of the only ones that allows for free custom domain name use, it definitely stands out among the other choices.

This free plan is another one that allows for unlimited pages. Additionally, it’s compatible with Google Analytics, which will enable you to receive valuable information pertinent to helping your site grow. SSL security protocols are also part of the free website plan. The first level free plan available costs $10 per month, and it allows for the creation of a multilingual site.

Free plan Ucraft users will have to put up with a full-width ad, though it does at least only display at the bottom of the page. Other useful features, like ecommerce capability, aren’t accessible on the free options, either. While you can create appealing site designs, putting the pieces into place isn’t as simple as some of our other recommended website builders.

What We Like
The free plan allows for custom domain names
Connects well to Google Analytics
SSL included in the free plan
Allows for unlimited pages
What We Don’t Like
Full-width ad at the bottom of pages
The editor isn’t the most intuitive
The free plan restricts some helpful features

Weebly – Excellent Fit for Small Businesses

Weebly’s drag and drop design features make it simple to set up your website design within a few hours. While other free website builders have more templates to choose from, there’s still plenty of variety to consider. Whatever option you decide with Weebly, know that your design will display well on both desktop and mobile browsers, which can be essential.

The provided free plan domain name is rather simple (https://sitename.weebly.com), even if it isn’t as good as having a fully customizable choice. Weebly even provides SEO checklists and recommendations to help your site rank better. These features are excellent, and they’re also part of what makes this free website builder a reliable choice for small business websites. The first upgrade plan can cost $9 per month a la carte, or $6 a month if you select that annual billing plan.

The free plan does display a popup ad on your website’s corner, which can be visually distracting. The free plan’s provided features are somewhat on the limited side, including creative restrictions that can hinder your vision. The paid plan can alleviate this, which is something worthwhile for a small business to consider, but you’ll have to deal with these limitations otherwise.

What We Like
Intuitive to use
Helpful SEO features
Sites display well on desktop or mobile browsers
A good fit for small businesses
Simple free plan domain name
What We Don’t Like
Has some creative restrictions
Popup ad in the corner
Limited array of free features

Webstarts – Best Free Storage Limit

For those interested in building a serviceable ecommerce site for free, Webstarts is notable in that its free plan lets you set up the sale of ten products. The variety of free plan features also extends into blog compatibility, and setting up your website is an intuitive process, letting you customize as you like. However, the number of templates is on the lower side, even for a free plan.

Another strong aspect of Webstarts is that it provides 1 GB of free storage space without paying for it, which is much higher than the average. You’ll also have plenty of SEO settings control, down to working with individual pages. While this free plan does require you to have an ad displayed on your webpages, it runs as a bottom banner, and visitors to your site can quickly close out of it. Paid plan pricing starts at $7.16 per month.

For all that Webstarts does give you, the lack of a mobile-optimized site on its free plan hinders your ability to make a design that works for people who aren’t viewing your site on a computer—which is often the majority. There’s also missing SSL encryption, which can pose a security risk, and some of the backend features could stand to use an upgrade.

What We Like
The free online store allows for ten products
SEO settings control
Footer advertisement is closable by visitors
1 GB of storage space
What We Don’t Like
The free plan doesn’t allow for a mobile-optimized view
Website control and building feel somewhat outdated
No SSL encryption

Carrd – Best One Page Website Creator

While many websites employ multiple pages, sometimes all you need is the one page to get your point across. If this is the type of site you want, then Carrd is easily the best choice for this approach. After all, Carrd’s design and functionality specifically focus on creating one-page websites that work with both desktop and mobile devices. Pulling together the resources for these pages is more intuitive than making the same in some other free website creators.

The free plan has an ad integrated into it, but the intrusion on your website overall is minimal. While you have a lot of creative freedom with the free plan, the paid upgrades are also inexpensive, starting at $9 per month. The available subdomain is simple (https://sitename.carrd.co). With the variety of themes available, you’ll have no issue creating an appealing design.

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With all that said, you won’t be able to create anything more than a one-page design with Carrd, so it does have limits. You also won’t be able to use anything like a blog or ecommerce page with this product. For one-page websites, though, it easily performs the best out of our available choices.

What We Like
Optimal functions for one-page websites
Minimal ad intrusion
Cheap upgrade plans
Simple free subdomain
What We Don’t Like
Is only usable for one-page websites
No blog or ecommerce functionality

SITE123 – Best for Least Overwhelming Setup

While having creative control over your website can allow you to make a fully customizable design, but it can also be overwhelming for some. If you don’t want to go through that process, then SITE123 will give you a recommended template to use. This advantage can also help you with quickly putting together a site without much hassle.

SITE123 helps users out further by providing excellent customer service. Their 24/7 live chat service means that you can get help whenever you need it, no matter what time you’re working on pulling your webpage together. The free plan requires the display of an ad on your site, but it’s small, and it only displays after a visitor starts to scroll down, making it as little of a distraction as possible. The lowest level of the paid plan costs $10.80 per month.

While SITE123 will make it as simple as possible to pick out a template, the available designs could use some upgrades. This simplicity is also a double-edged sword, as you can only make minimal customizations, so you’ll want a different free website provider if you want more creative control. The free domain name uses “.me” instead of “.com,” though it’s not the worst possible alternative.

What We Like
The site will select a template for you
Reliable customer service available 24/7
Small ad banner only appears after you start to scroll
What We Don’t Like
Website template designs are somewhat dated
Creative restrictions
The free domain uses “.me” instead of “.com”

Webflow – Best for CMS Use

Webflow has a lot of powerful features if you’re willing to learn how to use them. While the designer doesn’t require you to code, you can still take advantage of the flexibility involved with some knowledge. If you don’t want to feel restricted by templates and have a clear idea of how you want your web design to look, Webflow makes that more than possible.

Webflow’s free plan also gives you access to a content management system (CMS). This feature enables collections, which can help you present consistently formatted content with ease. The free plan does have an ad on it, but it’s small and scrolls smoothly with your site. Webflow has two types of plans: the essential site plan costs $12 per month, and the Lite version of the paid account plan is $16 per month.

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While Webflow has near unparalleled flexibility in terms of design, this free website builder has a steep learning curve in comparison to the others noted on this list. Navigating their plans can also be a bit confusing to navigate. For the free option, you’ll want to set up your site with the “Starter” Account plan.

What We Like
Extensive flexibility
The free plan includes CMS
Nonintrusive ad
What We Don’t Like
The substantial learning curve in comparison to other website builders
Somewhat confusing plans layout

Jimdo – Best for Site Editing on the Go

Jimbo has another reliable free website builder with some excellent benefits. All of the available templates are compatible with mobile devices, but you can also work on your website on the go, as its editor has mobile functions as well. The free plan doesn’t have any page limitations, and the 500 MB storage capacity allows you to take full advantage of this feature.

On the free plan, you’ll also receive SSL encryption for your website, which helps with security. Jimdo’s features also allow you to set up blog functionality. Ecommerce settings are available for up to five items available in your store. The free plan ad is small so that it won’t get in the way of your design too much. The cheapest upgrade plan is available for $10 per month.

Jimdo’s biggest drawback is its array of templates, which are on the limited side. While you can customize these templates well, having the same structures in your site as another doesn’t help things stand out. This issue could have a relatively simple fix on Jimdo’s end, but, for now, it does provide a downside.

What We Like
Mobile editing available
Small ad
500 MB in storage and no page limit
Blog and ecommerce capable
SSL encryption
What We Don’t Like
Needs more template variety

WordPress.com – Best Blogging Option

If you’re aiming to create a blog, then WordPress.com brings everything you could want to the table. While it’s technically possible to make other webpages through it, you’ll struggle more that way than with other site builders. The variety of available templates and potential customization capability allow for a unique setup when it comes down to it.

WordPress.com provides plenty of support, and its popularity means that you can count on the extensive community as well. The free plan domain name has the potential to not include “WordPress” in it at all, instead of providing a piece connected to your site’s focus, such as http://sitename.food.blog, which is an excellent addition without needing to pay to use a domain name. Upgrading to a paid plan starts at the cost of $4 per month.

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WordPress.com isn’t as suitable for other types of websites because the included templates focus so heavily on blogging. To get the best out of this site, though, you’ll also need some coding knowledge to get all the benefits of WordPress.com.

It’s also notable that WordPress.com provides different pros and cons from WordPress.org, which is a different content management system. WordPress.org does require knowledge of coding and website design to use, so it isn’t as convenient to use or as cost-effective.

What We Like
Ideal blog setup
Simple free plan domain name format
Wide variety of templates
What We Don’t Like
Focus on blogging limits other uses
Need some coding knowledge to get the most out of it

Strikingly – Allows for Template Updates After Launch

Another option for creating one-page websites comes in the form of Strikingly. Building sites on this free website builder is simple, and it’s possible to set up everything very quickly and head into launch. While some other options on this list lock you into the template that you select whenever you go live, Strikingly allows you to change this later on, as many times as you like.

Strikingly provides 24/7 customer support through live chat, giving you easy access to assistance if you need it. The free plan ads that display only appear after a visitor has started to scroll; the screen space they take up is minimal. You can sell one product on your site on the free plan, and if you want to make multiple sites, Strikingly also allows this. Upgrading to the limited plan costs $8 a month.

Like Carrd, Strikingly only can create one-page sites. The free plan also doesn’t include an SSL certificate, which is a drawback for your security, especially if you plan to utilize the ecommerce features. If you’re still drawn to it, though, you’ll find yourself spending money eventually.

What We Like
Live chat support available 24/7
Some ecommerce functionality
The small ad appears after you start to scroll
Allows for change of template after you go live
Capability to make multiple free websites
What We Don’t Like
Limited to one-page websites
No SSL certificate on the free plan

SimpleSite – Great Fit for Self-Service Promotion

SimpleSite is a suitable pick for people trying to promote a self-service, though it has other uses as well. The free plan is also rather extensive in terms of features, so you can get a lot of customization out of them without having to delve into the paid plans. If you do want to upgrade, the lowest available paid plan costs $9.99 per month.

The free plan does require an ad displayed on your webpages, but it’s small and out of the way. When it comes down to how you edit your site, mobile editing is also powerful, letting you adjust your website while on the go. Overall, SimpleSite has been around for a while, and its setup works well for users who have a lot on their plate.

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Despite its well-done mobile editing, the desktop editor doesn’t let you adjust the mobile version of your site, limiting your workflow. This flaw is easily one of the most frustrating, and it starts to take away from the mobile editing potential. The free plan also doesn’t include an SSL certificate for security, and SimpleSite’s customer support does leave some things to be desired.

What We Like
Mobile editing available
The free plan has an extensive number of features
Suitable for promoting self-service
Small free plan ad
What We Don’t Like
No SSL certificate included
Some limited desktop editing
Could have better customer support

Mozello – Free Access to a Multilingual Site

If you plan to create a multilingual website, then Mozello allows you to do so while remaining on a free plan. Not everyone will need this feature, but you can take advantage of this to greater spread your content online. The free plan domain name is also clean-cut (http://sitename.mozello.com), so it won’t get too in the way.

The free plan advertising only takes the form of a subtle text bar in the corner, which means that it doesn’t stand out in the slightest. The functionality allows for plenty of options, like ecommerce for five items and blogging features. You can also work with some of the SEO features to help enhance your site, and the 500 MB storage limit has plenty of space. You can upgrade to their Premium plan for $7 a month.

While you can create different websites with Mozello, the customization and design features are more on the limited side. SSL security certificates are also missing from the free plan, which takes away from the free plan ecommerce capability. There’s even some missing security from the site editor, which makes it concerning to use overall.

What We Like
The free plan allows the creation of multilingual sites
Subtle advertising
The free plan allows for ecommerce settings
Allows for blogging
What We Don’t Like
No SSL security
Lacking customization and features

Is it Worth Upgrading to a Paid Plan?

While all these free website builders mean you can make a site without any monetary investment, they also provide additional features on paid plans. Depending on the service, these plans tend not to be very expensive. You can enhance your site’s features for a little extra cash. Many basic options are available for as little as five dollars a month, which is readily affordable.

Of course, whether upgrading is the best choice for us depends on what type of site you have and your plans for it. The different benefits to a paid plan will vary depending on the service, but here are some areas that you may consider paying to have.

Ad Control

Free websites can have advertisements on them, whether in the form of popups or banners. Depending on the image you want to have on your site, this may not be what you want for your brand. Many plan upgrades will let you remove the ads from your pages, keeping your website free of additional distractions.

Since free plans will include an ad in some form, it’s also essential to understand what kind of ad you’ll be getting. Some have distracting popups, while others only take up a small space on your website’s screen. If you’re going to have an ad, it should be one that won’t impact your visitors’ experiences when on your site.

Custom Domains

Your domain name is a simple but essential aspect of your website. Free website builders will let you control your domain, but they’ll also have other elements, such as www.yoursite.simplesite.com. The result is that your domain name is more prolonged, making it harder for visitors to remember it.

A customizable domain will take out this issue. You’ll still need to go through obtaining a domain name, which will cost money, but paying for the ability to change your web address as well can be well worth it for your traffic.

Online Stores and Accepting Payments

How free website builders handle online stores can vary. Some will need upgrades to expand your available stock, while others will require paid plans to accept payments directly. Other providers won’t even allow you to set up an online shop without investing some cash.

As things stand, if you plan to run an ecommerce site, you will need to spend at least some money for the best possible experience. The website builder you choose will determine whether that time will come sooner or later.

Upgraded Storage and Bandwidth

Another common drawback of free websites is that they have data caps on bandwidth and storage, impacting your site’s capability and performance. This factor isn’t much of an issue for a starting website, but these restrictions can hinder you as you start to see growth.

If you know that you want to use a lot of media, like photos and videos, you should prioritize the available storage levels. Bandwidth is just as important, and having too little can limit how many people are able to access your site.

Thankfully, most website builders provide multiple tiers, so you can steadily increase your caps as you need them. Some providers will even allow you to receive unlimited storage and bandwidth.

Marketing Tools

Free website plans often have some essential marketing capability, such as emailing features. If you want more advanced tools, such as site statistic analysis and automated abandoned cart updates. If you’re serious about spearheading your site’s growth, these upgrades will let you better understand what areas on your website to improve and the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Given the rather inexpensive cost of some basic plans, it’s easy to see how upgrading your free website could be beneficial. For online stores in particular, some of these features are essential to success. Take some time to look at the potential upgrades and price points before you upgrade, and slowly scale yourself up as your website grows.

FAQs

How do free website builders make money?

Most free website builders have premium plans which give additional features to their users. Depending on the product’s structure, free users may have advertisements displayed on their webpage until they upgrade. Other website builders will use the payments of the premium members to sustain the free users as well.

Can I upgrade my website in the future?

One of the most significant benefits of free website builders is that their paid plans let you enhance your website. These offerings also come in tiers, which means that you can improve as your website’s needs change over time.

What’s the easiest free website builder to use?

When it comes to simple access, Wix is easily one of the simplest to use, even if you don’t have any previous tech experience on your hands. The level of customization is also impressive, allowing you to make a personalized site that stands out. Aside from the few recommendations on our list that integrate coding knowledge, our mentioned products are overall intuitive to help you get started.

Which free website builder is best for ecommerce?

Ecommerce sites are challenging to run on free plans, as they mostly limit in terms of how much product you can sell and how you can receive payment. Mozello stands out in terms of starting product availability and multiple language capacity, though the design options are rather sparse. Strikingly works in the opposite, as it gives you more design options and allows for one product in stock on its basic level.

Which free website builder is best for blogging?

WordPress.com easily comes out on top in this category. While other website builders will allow you to create a blog, WordPress.com has the most advanced features in this area thanks to its built-in blogging tools. You also have features like RSS feeds and social bookmarking to help connect to visitors.

Best Free Website Builders: Conclusion

With everything that we’ve gone over, you should have a strong grasp on what your best options for free website builders out there. We’ve also delved into the advantages of upgrading to a paid plan, along with answering plenty of other common questions. You should have all the information you need to pick out a free website builder to suit your needs.

Wix has some of the strongest accessibility features out there, and its simple to use for beginner website builder users. Additionally, Weebly makes a great fit for small business owners hoping for a place to promote themselves, while WordPress.com gives some of the best blogging features out there. Smaller scale, one-page websites will benefit the most from the use of Carrd.

While all these free website builders will serve you well without any financial investment, a free plan can only go so far. Each builder will give different features and levels, each of them coming in at multiple price points. If nothing else, it’s worthwhile to know the cost of moving up to the first tier of a paid plan, as well as which levels you’ll need to reach to get the features likely most important to you.

Now that, eventually, a free plan won’t sustain you in the long run. Even so, the financial investment is well worth it in the end, as it can greatly benefit your website in the long run. Even so, it’s well worth it to consider what upgrading your site on your chosen website builder will look like in the future. Free trials can help you get a handle on what the paid experience will look like!

Of course, nothing is stopping you from changing which website builder you work with later on, but it’s worth it to take the time to make a solid decision from the start. One of the most significant benefits of free website builders is that you can try out different ones to find which ones you like to work with the best without any monetary cost.

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