7 Best Free Website Builders 2023: The Definitive List

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In our rigorous research and testing of free website builders, Wix is our overall winner. Its free plan comes with a generous number of features and dependable support channels, plus Wix is well-liked by customers.

GoDaddy places second because of its easy-to-use ADI builder, attractive SEO tools, and speed at which you can get online. Square Online completes our top three recommendations thanks to its free plan which permits selling – a feature that’s usually reserved for premium plans.

We’ve tested hundreds of website builders over the years, so we know what matters when it comes to the best free plans. As we navigate difficult economic climates, free website builders might be a wise option to explore.

You can see the full list below, and discover our expert insights on the top seven free builders:

The 7 Best Free Website Builders

  1. Wix Best overall free website builder
  2. GoDaddy Best for getting online quickly
  3. Square Online Best for small businesses
  4. Webflow Ideal for those with building experience
  5. Site123 Best for hobbies and projects
  6. Jimdo Good for simple websites
  7. Pagecloud Best for web designers

We used our own independent research to create this list, providing you with accurate and reliable recommendations. It’s no secret that free website builders aren’t the best way to build a website – they often come with various limitations, such as displaying ads on your site or a lack of ecommerce tools, making them less than ideal for long-term growth.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve made sure to include all of the facts in this article – including what each builder does and doesn’t offer.

At Website Builder Expert, we want to share data-led recommendations with our readers. To bring you the best free website builders on the market, our in-house research team has put over 50 builders through our expert research process. To review and compare the builders fairly, we investigate important areas such as:

  • Website features
  • Design flexibility
  • Value for money
  • Help and support
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Ease of use

For this list of the best free builders, we’ve stuck to our overall 2023 scores instead of dedicating unique scores to the best “free” platform. We’ve focused on the top-scoring products and examined the free plans on offer to formulate our seven recommendations.

We also get groups of everyday people to test these builders and share their feedback with us – giving us real reviews to analyze when comparing the products. This is especially helpful when creating our ease of use and customer satisfaction scores.

Lastly, we try the website builders ourselves, creating demo sites that allow us to get first-hand experience with a platform’s strengths and weaknesses. We aim to create a site that’s as authentic as possible, containing multiple pages and elements.

Do you still have questions about our research process? You can read our dedicated page about how we conduct our website builder research if you want a more detailed explanation.

Compare the Top 7 Free Website Builders

In a rush? Get all of the key information at a glance with our helpful comparison table:

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1. Wix

Best Overall Free Website Builder

Wix is by far the best all-around website builder on the market today.

Editor's Choice


Best overall website builder



out of 5
  • 800+ customizable designs
  • Easiest builder to use
  • Tons of creative freedom

Free plan available

Paid Plans: $16 - $59 / month


  • Plenty of features on the free plan
  • 250+ apps to add more power to your site
  • Free SEO wizard helps gain more traffic


  • Free plan ads are very noticeable
  • Can’t switch templates after publishing
  • Cheapest upgrade costs $16/month
Read Review

Wix: At A Glance

Our top choice for best free website builder is Wix, scoring 4.8 out of 5 in our overall research and maintaining its high score from last year’s research. Wix is extremely easy to use, comes packed with features – even on its free plan – and gives you total creative control over your site’s design thanks to its drag-and-drop editor.

Its free plan comes with up to 500MB of storage and bandwidth, and access to essential features, including SEO tools.

Although Wix’s free domain isn’t the catchiest, you can customize it to reflect your brand. This gives Wix an advantage over other builders, such as Site123, where you’re given a domain that you can’t edit.

Expert Insights: What We Thought of Using Wix

We used Wix to create a free website for an imaginary business called Lucy’s Cupcakes – and the whole building process took about half a day. Wix was easy to use, but still gave us all the creative freedom we needed to make our site look exactly how we envisioned it. We especially like the fact that our template came with the Wix Restaurant app already built-in!

What we liked about Wix:

  • Customization options – we could drag anything anywhere, making it easy to line things up exactly how we wanted them!
  • Template choices & designs – our chosen template already had a menu built-in.
  • The undo option – simply hit CTRL + Z to undo changes you’ve made. This is a small but surprisingly useful feature.
  • Ease of use – changing text, images, and backgrounds only took a few clicks. Wix even has an image library on hand, which made it even faster!
  • Improved SEO features – we noticed a real improvement to Wix’s SEO offering, including a partnership with keyword support tool, Semrush.
  • Mobile editor – see how your website looks on mobile devices thanks to Wix’s mobile editor and make sure your pages are optimized for every visitor.

What could be improved:

  • Onboarding – although Wix is super easy to use, it can feel a little overwhelming when the editor first loads since there are so many options and features to choose from.
  • App market – it’s hard to tell which apps are free to use and which apps cost money. We also encountered a lot of loading issues when trying to explore the app market.
  • Locked template – you can’t swap your template once your site is live, so make sure you’re really happy with your chosen theme ahead of publishing.

Our Wix demo website: https://carnagelucy.wixsite.com/lucyscupcakes 

Wix has the highest ease of use score out of all the builders on this list, scoring 4.4 out of 5 thanks to its intuitive and beginner-friendly editor. For some, the overwhelming number of features and level of customization can seem like a lot to wrap your head around when starting out – but Wix is on hand to help you at every stage.

In fact, we’d recommend Wix to anyone looking for a super easy builder to get started with, especially if you’re a total beginner. One of our website testers said:

“It’s really intuitive to use, a beginner would grasp it easily!”

Wix scores an incredibly high 4.6 out of 5 for its design functionalities, making it the strongest option on this list. This is largely thanks to its drag-and-drop editor, ADI builder, and its large range of templates to choose from.

With a selection of more than 800 templates, it’s no surprise that Wix scores a perfect 5 out of 5 for its themes, seeing no change from last year’s score.

Most of the templates are free – and when combined with Wix’s huge choice of tools and elements, like galleries, buttons, and social media icons, Wix makes building a website incredibly easy.

Wix guides you through the setup process – you can choose the type of site you want to create, your industry, and your template before starting to build.

For our demo site, we chose the “Restaurants & Food” industry during setup, which gave us 68 tailored templates to pick from. We chose the “Ice Cream Parlor” template.

Selection of restaurant and food-themed website templates by Wix

Our chosen template came with the Wix Restaurant feature pre-installed, which made editing the example menu quick and easy.

Using Wix's website editor to change a menu element on the page

Most Wix templates are available to users of its free plan – including the one we used to create our demo website.

You can’t use a personal domain (a custom website address) with Wix’s free plan – your domain will follow the format yourusername.wixsite.com/yoursite. So instead of lucyscupcakes.com, you’ll be stuck with a much lengthier domain, like this one: carnagelucy.wixsite.com/lucyscupcakes. Quite a mouthful!

Because of this, make sure to choose a professional username as well as a short brand name – you’re restricted to 20 characters for the “yoursite” part of the address.

Wix’s free plan also caps your storage and bandwidth at just 500MB. This will prevent you from using too many images or videos on your site, as well as potentially limiting how many visitors you can receive. And, if you’re looking to sell online, you’re out of luck with Wix’s free plan.

Wix’s premium plans start at $16 per month, billed annually. We know this might seem expensive, but with Wix, you get what you pay for – and that’s a ton of impressive and powerful features. It has the highest features score out of all the builders we tested – a mighty 4.8 out of 5 – and its prices reflect this.

Among other things, Wix’s $16 per month Combo plan removes any ads from your site, lets you use a custom domain, and increases your storage to 3GB.

Wix’s most popular offering is its Unlimited plan, aimed at entrepreneurs and freelancers. For $22 per month, you can use a personal domain, and it provides unlimited bandwidth – as well as 20x more storage space than the free plan!

Wix’s free plan includes a banner ad for Wix which stays in place as you scroll down the site. It’s not too in-your-face, and it’s pretty subtle in comparison to other builders, but it’s still intrusive.

Grey banner featuring a Wix ad at the top of a free Wix demo website page

The banner says “This site was designed with the Wix.com website builder. Create your website today.” – this signals to your website visitors that your site isn’t as professional as others. We’d recommend investing in a paid plan to remove the banner when you can.

Although you can start creating a Wix website for free, you’ll need to upgrade if you want your website to take secure payments. To sell products you’ll need to get the $27 per month Business Basic plan. For this price, you’ll unlock unlimited products to sell, 50GB of storage space, and the ability to sell via your social media channels.

Wix logo 165

Looking for the Best Free Website Builder?

Wix’s free plan is our top choice. Wix is a great all-around builder, and users love its beginner-friendly editor, choice of templates, and powerful features.

More Information

  • Wix Review: If you’re looking for more information on Wix, then our detailed review is a great place to start.
  • Wix Pricing: We take a closer look at the costs of each Wix premium plan and what you get for your money.

2. GoDaddy

Best for Getting Online Quickly

GoDaddy’s ADI makes it easy to build a website in no time at all.


Best for getting online quickly

Very Good


out of 5
  • User-friendly with ADI
  • Quickest builder to use
  • SEO Wiz to help optimize

Free plan available

Paid Plans: $6.99 - $469.99 / month


  • Plenty of features on the free plan
  • Switch templates when you want
  • Improved site performance


  • Lack of creative control
  • No mobile editor
  • Upgrade for custom domains
Read Review

GoDaddy: At A Glance

GoDaddy is ideal for anyone looking to create a clean, basic website in a short period of time. With its decent free plan, GoDaddy secures second place in our list, scoring 4.2 out of 5.

It’s pretty user-friendly, coming in second for ease of use in our rankings, thanks to its ADI functionality that builds your website based on a few answered questions – saving you tons of time and getting your site online quickly. But, since the last time we tested the builder, GoDaddy hasn’t updated its design process significantly, meaning its templates don’t stand out too much when compared to its competitors.

With that in mind, we’d recommend GoDaddy for smaller sites and businesses, or anyone looking to build something quite simple in nature.

Expert Insights: What We Thought of Using GoDaddy

When we created our demo site with GoDaddy, it was clear that the builder is nice and simple to use. After answering just a handful of questions, GoDaddy got to work producing a sleek site that came with customization tools at the bottom to add a personal touch. You get to play around with themes, fonts, color schemes, and CTA buttons.

What we liked about GoDaddy:

  • Easy set up – like Wix, GoDaddy asks you what sort of website you want to create and what your business name is, and then gives you custom themes to work with.
  • SEO features – by heading over to “Get found by Google” in the Settings, you can start optimizing your website in just a few clicks. No need to soak up any SEO knowledge before building!
  • Efficiency – GoDaddy saves you tons of time thanks to its ADI functionality, making it one of the fastest website builders on the market today.

What could be improved:

  • Lack of mobile editor – GoDaddy supposedly optimizes your site for mobile devices itself, but it’s a shame you aren’t given greater control over this.
  • Limits on creativity – when it comes to design elements, you can’t move or resize it that drastically. This is especially annoying if you’re trying to make the website layout unique to your brand.

Our GoDaddy demo website: https://lucyscupcakes.godaddysites.com/ 

Seeing no change from last year’s research, GoDaddy maintains its ease of use score of 4.1 out of 5, making it the second easiest free builder after Wix. You won’t need any prior experience to get started with this builder, and its free plan – combined with GoDaddy’s ADI functionality – means your site will be live in a flash.

You have a business contact page available in each free template, but it’s definitely more limited than other website builders in terms of creative freedom. Still, GoDaddy’s ease of use really depends on how unique you want your site to be. If you’re pretty happy to stick with the template’s design, GoDaddy will work in your favor.

For its design functionalities, GoDaddy scores an excellent 4.1 out of 5 – a slight drop of 6% since last year’s research. With so many other builders out there offering impressive templates, it’s tough to stand out!

You get 20+ templates to choose from when building a free website with GoDaddy, scoring 3 out of 5 in our template-specific analysis. Now, this is pretty limited in comparison to Wix’s 800+ templates (most of which are free), but GoDaddy’s selection range is broad in terms of the overall design.

The only downside is that the templates aren’t that personalized to the industry you’ve chosen. For example, with our demo website, Lucy’s Cupcakes, the templates didn’t seem very food-related which is what we were after.

Essentially, you get what you pay for! If you’re going for a free GoDaddy plan, there are quite a few features that you won’t have access to. For example, you’ll have to deal with on-site ads – in this case, GoDaddy slaps a “Powered by GoDaddy” banner in the footer of your website.

Additionally, GoDaddy’s free plan doesn’t come with a custom domain. Instead, it’ll look something like this: https://lucyscupcakes.godaddysites.com/. You also won’t have access to the full suite of customization tools, either.

If you want to get your hands on a custom domain and an ad-free website, you’ll have to upgrade to one of GoDaddy’s premium plans.

GoDaddy’s cheapest plan is its Basic plan which costs $9.99 per month when billed annually. With this plan, you get access to a custom domain, and the ability to send 100 emails per month for your business, along with a bunch of extra features.

If your business is looking to expand, the Premium plan will work in your favor. For $14.99 per month (billed annually), visitors can book online appointments with you, and you’ll have an impressive limit of 25,000 emails per month.

But, if you want to dive into the world of ecommerce, the dedicated Commerce plan is your go-to, setting you back $16.99 per month. It has everything you need – from selling on Facebook and Instagram, to connecting with marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy.

With your free GoDaddy website, you don’t need to worry about pesky GoDaddy banners clogging up your website. The only mentions of GoDaddy in a free website are visible in your URL and at the footer of the page – it simply says “Powered by GoDaddy”. For a free website ad, this is pretty subtle!

GoDaddy demo website page featuring contact details and a "Powered by GoDaddy" banner at the bottom of the page

This example shows the website and has a tiny mention of GoDaddy in the bottom corner. In comparison to Wix’s large sticky banner that follows you around as you scroll, this feels less intrusive.

The short answer is no. GoDaddy’s cheapest plan with sales features is its Commerce plan which costs $14.99 per month. It offers basic sales features, allowing you to sell up to 5,000 products. If you need an unlimited product allowance, you’ll need to upgrade to the Commerce Plus plan for $29.99 per month.

To accept payments via GoDaddy, transaction fees across all plans are 2.3% + $0.30.

godaddy logo

Want to Create a Website Quickly?

GoDaddy’s free plan will get you a professional site in a matter of minutes with its straightforward ADI builder.

More Information

  • GoDaddy Review: Our in-depth look at GoDaddy will tell you everything you need to know about this free website maker.
  • GoDaddy Ecommerce Review: Everything you need to know about building an online store in a flash!
  • Wix vs GoDaddy: We compare the differences between Wix and GoDaddy to help you decide.

3. Square Online

Best for Small Businesses

Square Online’s free website builder is ideal for small businesses since you can sell on its free plan.

Square Online

Best for small businesses



out of 5
  • Sell online for free
  • Speedy set up
  • Mediocre templates

Free plan available

Paid Plans: $12 - $79 / month


  • Good value for money if upgrading
  • Simple to navigate dashboard
  • Unlimited products on free plan


  • Hard to customize
  • Pay for the best features
  • Weak design options
Read Review

Square Online: At A Glance

Taking the coveted third spot on our list, Square Online scores 3.7 out of 5 overall in our recent research. What sets Square Online apart from most of the other free website builders on this list is that its free plan allows you to start selling without spending a cent.

Though its editor and design options can feel restrictive, Square Online makes the setup process super quick, meaning you can get your business out there as soon as possible. Because of this, we’d recommend Square Online for small businesses, entrepreneurs, or startups who want to find their footing in the digital market.

Expert Insights: What We Thought of Using Square Online

Our demo website with Square Online didn’t take too long to set up – the onboarding process was fast, and you can get your claws into designing right away. That being said, its editor didn’t feel very user-friendly or intuitive, especially in comparison to the likes of Wix.

Its section-style editor limits what you can do with your site, and to unlock advanced design features, such as buttons and icon sets, you need to upgrade to a paid plan.

What we liked about Square Online:

  • The ability to sell – it’s rare to find a free plan that’s suitable for small businesses, and it was very easy to add new products to the website.
  • The dashboard – while the editor felt a little clunky at points, Square Online makes navigating between the backend dashboard and your website super smooth.

What could be improved:

  • Customization options – Square Online suffers when it comes to design, scoring 2.6 out of 5 in our research, which makes it one of the least customizable builders we’ve tested.
  • Help and support – while it does offer phone and live chat support, along with a support center, Square Online doesn’t provide a 24/7 service.

Our Square Online demo website: https://lucys-cupcakes.square.site/ 

Square Online scores an average 3.5 out of 5 for its ease of use in our latest round of research. When building our demo website, we found its editor to be a little frustrating, especially when trying to tweak simple elements like a text box. Without the user-friendly drag-and-drop style editor, Square Online can feel restrictive when compared to Wix.

For some, the limited nature of Square Online won’t work, but for others, it takes away the hassle of creating something stunning. As one of our website testers said:

“It gave you just the right amount of options – it never felt like it was overloading you. This always makes the process easier when you’re not getting overwhelmed with choice.”

Square Online’s approach won’t be right for everyone, and if you do want more creative control, we’d recommend Wix or Webflow.

As we’ve already mentioned, Square Online is one of the worst website builders for design, scoring a low 2.6 out of 5 – putting it just above Site123 and Pagecloud.

What really lets Square Online down is its lack of a drag-and-drop editor, and limited design options when it comes to templates and elements. For example, we weren’t impressed that Square Online puts your site in mobile view to choose a template, and you can’t switch to a desktop view until you’ve made a decision!

Still, if you’re simply after a basic website – especially if you’re a small business – then Square Online could be for you. Instead of creating a beautiful site, Square Online focuses its design attention on highlighting products and information.

Square Online’s free plan comes with a generous amount of features:

  • The ability to sell
  • SEO tools
  • Accept multiple payment types
  • Delivery and shipping management

That being said, the free plan does come with a subtle ad and you’ll need to upgrade if you want to connect a custom domain. On Square Online’s free plan, your site’s URL will look like this: https://lucys-cupcakes.square.site/.

If you do decide to upgrade your Square Online plan, you can rest assured knowing that it’s one of the best value for money builders, scoring 4.1 out of 5 and sharing second place with GoDaddy.

After you’ve outgrown its generous free plan, you can choose the Plus plan for $29 per month (billed annually), or the Premium plan for $79 per month (billed annually). This can seem like quite the leap from $0, and it seems considerably more expensive than other starting prices on this list, but you have to remember that these are ecommerce-specific plans.

While Wix’s cheapest plan starts at $16 per month, you’ll need to opt for Wix’s Business Basic plan for $27 per month if you want to start selling – not too different from Square Online.

Square Online’s free plan features an ad, but it doesn’t take up a large chunk of your website. In fact, it’s a small footer on your site that says “Powered by Square”.

Bottom banner ad on Square Online demo website

Yes! You can sell with Square Online’s free plan. While you won’t have access to every feature or the best sales tools, it’s a great place to get your business started.

square logo

Want to Sell Online?

Square Online’s free website builder lets you start selling right away, giving users unlimited products and delivery management tools.

More Information

4. Webflow

Ideal for People With Building Experience

Webflow is best suited for web designers and those that can handle large amounts of customization.


Ideal for people with building experience

Above Average


out of 5
  • Advanced customization
  • Section block editor
  • Industry-specific themes

Free plan available

Paid Plans: $14 / month


  • Virtual design assistant
  • Ideal for experienced builders
  • No ads on free plan


  • Overwhelming for beginners
  • No drag-and-drop editor
  • Hardest free builder to use
Read Review

Webflow: At A Glance

Webflow scores an overall 3.4 out of 5 in our recent research, largely supported by its impressive design tools. To put it simply, this website builder has web designers in mind, rather than beginners.

Instead of the usual drag-and-drop editor that Wix and GoDaddy offer, Webflow works with padding and section block areas. This format will feel familiar for website owners used to large amounts of customization – but for your first website, this could be quite an overwhelming design process.

Expert Insights: What We Thought of Using Webflow

We went ahead and tested Webflow for ourselves with our fake business, Lucy’s Cupcakes. The building process did take a couple of hours because of how different it is from the popular drag-and-drop editor. And it’s safe to say that without any prior knowledge of using section block areas and overlays, it’ll be a little difficult to navigate at times.

Thankfully, Webflow has a virtual design assistant that gives you an in-depth demo of how everything works before it leaves you to it!

What we liked about Webflow:

  • Template choice and designs – Webflow makes it clear which templates are best for which industries, and offers a pretty big range of free templates compared to other builders.
  • Creative freedom – Webflow gives a lot of creative control to users and its free plan comes with an array of customizable features.
  • Efficient navigation – Webflow relies on the use of short keys and right-clicking to remove or add elements, which streamlines the whole design process.

What could be improved:

  • Ability to drag elements – although Webflow is designed with web designers in mind, it would be useful to include a drag-and-drop editor functionality to make it more beginner-friendly! We’ve seen how well this works with Wix, especially in terms of improving its user experience.

Our Webflow demo website: https://lucys-cupcakes-e53b96.webflow.io/ 

If you’re not familiar with section block areas and overlays, you may find Webflow a little tricky to get your head around! For that reason, it receives an ease of use score of 2.1 out of 5 – making Webflow the hardest builder to use on the list.

Webflow relies pretty heavily on the use of short keys and right-clicking to remove or add elements. While this makes the design process very efficient, it’s not ideal for beginners and there’s little onboarding to help you get started. We’d recommend Webflow for someone that has prior knowledge of padding functionality and won’t too feel overwhelmed with large amounts of customization.

In comparison to its low ease of use score, Webflow scores a great 4.6 out of 5 for its design flexibility.

With both free and premium templates, Webflow covers a wide range of industries, scoring 5 out of 5 for its template offering – putting it on par with Wix. Webflow does a good job of identifying which templates are going to be best for your individual requirements.

That being said, there’s no actual search functionality that limits the number of templates you can browse at once.

Unless you upgrade to Webflow’s premium plans, you won’t have access to a custom domain name or advanced design tools. Paid plans start at $14 per month, billed annually.

Your domain name will also look something like this: lucyscupcakes.webflow.io. A bit clunky!

Webflow offers two types of paid plans: General and Ecommerce plans.

Of the “General” paid plans, there are four to choose from. When billed annually, the Basic plan costs $14 per month, the CMS plan costs $23 per month, the Business plan costs $39 per month, and the Enterprise plan is custom-built to suit your business.

We’d recommend these plans for content-driven websites or blogs because it gives you creative freedom but doesn’t permit too much traffic.

As for Webflow’s “Ecommerce” plans, there are three options. When billed annually, the Standard plan costs $29 per month, the Plus plan costs $74 per month, and the Advanced plan costs $212 per month.

Like most of the builders on this list, the free plan is a great place to start – but you’ll unlock powerful features and tools if you opt for a paid plan.

One great thing about Webflow is that there are no ads on its free plan – you’ll only have “Powered by Webflow” at the very bottom of the page in small writing.

Footer of a Webflow website example featuring a small line of text to say it's "Powered by Webflow"

No, you can’t sell for free with Webflow. You can start an ecommerce store by integrating certain apps that help you sell your products, but the apps will cost money and they vary in transaction fees too.

Looking for Advanced Customization?

Webflow is ideal for users who want to get more out of their design process, but it’s probably a little too advanced for beginners.

More Information

5. Site123

Best for Hobbies and Projects

Site123 is a simple builder, ideal for personal websites and hobbyists.


Best for hobbies and projects



out of 5
  • Uses ADI to build sites
  • Bountiful app market
  • Basic website features

Free plan available

Paid Plans: $12.8 - $97.5 / month


  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Get online quickly
  • No ads visible when page first loads


  • Unprofessional, non-customizable domain
  • Outdated template designs
  • Extremely limited creative control
Read Review

Site123: At A Glance

Site123 is ideal for beginners who want to create a nice, simple website – ideally something personal rather than professional. While it’s super easy to set up, especially thanks to its ADI builder, Site123 won’t be the right fit for you if you’re looking to get creative and push the boundaries of your site’s design.

It’s very limited, scoring 2.8 out of 5 overall in our recent research which is a 16% drop since last year’s research. This puts Site123 miles behind our top free website builder choices.

Expert Insights: What We Thought of Using Site123

The main thing we noticed about Site123 was the design assistance it offers while you build. From creating your basic site for you to providing font pairings and complementary color suggestions, it feels like someone holding your hand from start to finish. That being said, you aren’t given that much control over your site’s design!

What we liked about Site123:

  • How friendly it was – if you have zero tech skills and want a fairly hands-off building experience, Site123 is a perfect choice.
  • 24/7 chat support – Site123’s live chat is there to help throughout the building process, which is great if you get stuck.
  • Building support – simply choose your industry and site name, and Site123 takes care of the rest for you. It builds you a basic site, and even offers font and color suggestions!

What could be improved:

  • The quality of design – it’s no secret that Site123 provides limited creative freedom, scoring 1.9 out of 5 in our design research. This would be less frustrating if the designs were stylish and modern, but they’re very outdated. Our Lucy’s Cupcakes site was easy to build, but the result looked old and bland, especially compared to the Wix site we made.
  • The free domain – the domain you get with your free Site123 plan is a jumble of letters and numbers, and you’re unable to customize it. This makes your site look incredibly unprofessional.
  • Basic website features – Site123 offers very simple website features and limited storage with its free plan. While you’ll get a little more power with its paid plans, it still feels like the bare minimum.

Our Site123 demo website: https://5f35237f568e3.site123.me/ 

One thing that makes Site123 so user-friendly is its design-assisted technology. It scores 3.2 out of 5 in our ease of use research category. All you have to do is choose your industry from the 16 options provided, enter your website name, and Site123 does the rest. It creates a basic site for you that you can then customize.

Site123's ADI at work with a tracker to state its 92% of the way through designing a website

When customizing, you don’t need to know any code – Site123 is suitable for beginners with zero building experience.

As one of our website testers said:

“It’s good for people with no design experience who want a website up and running quickly.”

While it’s helpful that Site123 offers to build your site for you, its design options are incredibly limited. Scoring 1.9 out of 5 in our design research category, Site123 is let down by the basic and outdated templates on offer, as well as the lack of creative control it gives to users.

Its free website templates can be browsed by industry, and with over 100 options including “CV” and “Restaurant”, we awarded Site123’s template choice a score of 3 out of 5.

If you’d rather Site123’s ADI handle the design portion of website building for you, you can simply select the style you want and tweak it if necessary. Despite this, Site123’s customization options aren’t the most exciting or attractive – with the lowest design score of all the builders on this list, we don’t recommend Site123 if you want a stunning website.

Not being able to connect a custom domain is a common drawback with free website builders, but with Site123, it’s a big problem. That’s because Site123’s free domain is a randomly generated jumble of letters and numbers – and you can’t customize it.

The result is an unprofessional, impossible-to-remember domain that looks like this: 5f35237f568e3.site123.me.

This isn’t ideal for businesses or people looking to promote a service to potential customers, especially since the domain doesn’t even show the name of your website. For this reason, we’d recommend Site123 for personal or hobby sites.

When you first view Site123’s plans on its website, you’ll see two options: its free plan, and a premium plan that costs $12.80 per month, billed annually.

However, once you’ve created a free account, you’ll discover a wide range of plans. When billed annually, the plans are priced as follows:

  • Basic plan costs $12.80 per month
  • Advanced plan costs $19.80 per month
  • Professional plan costs $28.80 per month
  • Gold plan costs $34.80 per month
  • Platinum plan costs $75 per month

While the cheapest paid plan, Basic, removes floating ads from your site, it doesn’t remove them all. So if you want a totally ad-free site, you’ll need to upgrade to the Advanced plan for $19.80 per month.

It’s also worth noting that Site123 often has a sale running, so make sure you check for discounts if you do decide to upgrade.

Site123 has a bottom banner ad that says “I built my site using Site123” and it remains visible as you scroll and navigate other pages.

Site123 demo website for Katie's Cakes, featuring a white banner ad for Site123 at the bottom of the page

Depending on the style of your site, the ad can be pretty subtle because it’ll blend into the bottom of your page design neatly.

No, you’ll need to upgrade to one of Site123’s premium plans to store and sell products. You can create a website and online store for free, but if you want to sell, you’ll need the Basic plan which costs $12.80 per month. This plan will also allow you to connect a better domain than the mess of letters and numbers Site123 offers on its free plan.

site123 logo

Want to Build a Personal Site?

Because of its simple features and designs, we’d recommend Site123’s free plan for personal use, ideally for hobby sites or side projects.

More Information

  • Site123 Review: Our detailed review tells you all you need to know about this free website builder.

6. Jimdo

Good for Simple Websites

Jimdo keeps things basic with its free website builder, but it’s not the easiest to use.


Good for simple websites



out of 5
  • ADI website builder
  • Limited support offered
  • Simple domain name

Free plan available

Paid Plans: $9 - $24 / month


  • Upgrade with affordable premium plans
  • Subtle footer ad on page
  • Set up your site quickly


  • Drag-and-drop tools are difficult to use
  • Outdated template designs
  • No 24/7 support
Read Review

Jimdo: At A Glance

With an unexceptional overall score of 2.7 out of 5, Jimdo likes to keep things simple with its free website builder so users can jump right in. This is at the expense of its features and ease of use, meaning you’ll find Jimdo pretty difficult to navigate and lacking in tools that other website builders offer, such as blogging functionality or SEO support.

All in all, we’d recommend Jimdo if you need a quick and easy website to showcase simple information to users – nothing too fancy.

Expert Insights: What We Thought of Using Jimdo

Jimdo values simplicity and this is obvious as you build. There are question mark tool-tips scattered throughout the editor to help you along, and uploading elements such as text or images is straightforward.

What we liked about Jimdo:

  • Design help – Jimdo offers an impressive ADI editor that essentially creates your website for you. And its restrictive style can be helpful for anyone less confident creatively.
  • Industry templates – the onboarding questions at the start result in a unique template that’s specific to your chosen industry, which is a really helpful starting point.
  • Subtle ads – the free plan stamps an ad in the footer of your website, but it doesn’t stand out too much. Plus, Jimdo’s cheapest paid plan removes all ads from your site.

What could be improved:

  • Limited website features – Jimdo scores an incredibly low 2.1 out of 5 for its website features, making it one of the weakest builders in this research category. It lacks a lot of the basics you’d expect to see, including limited blogging, marketing, and SEO tools.
  • Ease of use – we’ll get into this in more detail later, but Jimdo’s website builder can be difficult to get to grips with.
  • Help and support – Jimdo’s really let down by its support channels, scoring 2.3 out of 5 in our tests. If you want responsive and dependable help and support, you need to upgrade your plan. The more you pay, the more support you’ll receive.

Our Jimdo demo website: https://lucys-cupcakes.jimdosite.com/ 

Jimdo’s ease of use score has dropped by a whopping 35% since last year’s research, resulting in its new score of 2.2 out of 5. While it’s simple in nature thanks to its limited editor, many of our website testers found Jimdo complicated:

“There are so few options for features that I find it difficult to understand how anyone could manage a full website from this service.”

And even Jimdo’s ADI couldn’t save Jimdo’s ease of use score:

“The ADI feels helpful at first and it does give you a unique template but you then have limited feature options based off that industry you’ve chosen.”

If you’ve tried out Wix or Square Online, you’ll find Jimdo a bit lacking in comparison when it comes to design. With an average score of 3.3 out of 5, Jimdo’s limited templates make it tricky to create a website that’s truly your own.

For example, we chose our industry during setup and were then provided with a selection of templates. But not all of the designs were relevant to the food industry we picked – it would’ve been nice to receive more bespoke designs. Because of this and its lack of options, Jimdo scores 3 out of 5 for its templates.

That being said, the prompts at the start of the building process mean you can get your website set up really quickly and avoid becoming overwhelmed with choices.

The domain name format is fairly standard: your-site.jimdosite.com. For our demo, ours was lucys-cupcakes.jimdosite.com. This is nice and simple, but it does signal to all of your visitors that you don’t have a personalized domain name. Also, it’s worth noting that “jimdosite” is quite long, so if your site name isn’t short and snappy, then your URL could look unnaturally large.

Jimdo has two sets of plans – one for building a website, and one for creating an online store. Its website builder plans start at $9 per month (billed annually) with the Start plan, but you can upgrade for more features with the Grow plan for $14 per month (billed annually).

If you want to build an online store, you can opt for the Business plan which costs $18 per month (billed annually), or the VIP plan which costs $24 per month (billed annually).

Upgrading from the free plan guarantees you faster support response times, a free custom domain, the removal of ads, more storage and bandwidth, and extra features to support your website, such as email accounts.

There are no banner or pop-up Jimdo ads with the free plan, just a tiny note in the footer. This is great news! Your website visitors won’t be bombarded with messages to create their own site via Jimdo, helping your free site come across as more professional.

Contact form on Jimdo demo website page, featuring a small ad in the form of a tiny grey box in the lower left corner to signal its "Built with Jimdo"


You can’t sell products on Jimdo’s free plan. If you want to set up an online store, you’ll need to upgrade to Jimdo’s Business plan which costs $18 per month, billed annually.

jimdo logo

Need a Simple Website?

Jimdo’s free website builder keeps things super simple, and if you do choose to upgrade, its paid plans are pretty affordable.

More Information

7. Pagecloud

Best for Web Designers

Pagecloud’s free website builder is more suitable for people with technical experience.


Best for web designers



out of 5
  • Not ideal for beginners
  • Lots of customization
  • Drag-and-drop editor

Free plan available

Paid Plans: $20 / month


  • Unique website elements
  • Build with other people


  • No autosave feature
  • Difficult to navigate
Read Review

Pagecloud: At A Glance

Completing our list of the top seven free website builders is Pagecloud, scoring 2.5 out of 5. While it’s still impressive enough to make our final list, Pagecloud’s let down in almost every research category, particularly when it comes to ease of use.

Typically, users looking for a free website builder are beginners or building their very first website, and Pagecloud has a steeper learning curve than most.

Expert Insights: What We Thought of Using Pagecloud

When building our demo website with Pagecloud, the editor and dashboard were fairly easy to navigate but it didn’t feel as intuitive or user-friendly as other builders, such as Wix. In fact, we faced a lot of slow loading times when editing and some steps felt unnecessarily complicated. For example, you can edit text directly on the page, but editing an image opens up a separate menu.

We were also disappointed to find out that Pagecloud’s free plan only allows you to publish one page. If you want additional pages, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan.

What we liked about Pagecloud:

  • Customization – Pagecloud gives you a ton of creative freedom thanks to its detailed editor, and if you have the time to figure it all out, you can build something wonderful.
  • Drag-and-drop editor – the familiar drag-and-drop style makes it easy to format the pages to your liking.
  • Icons and buttons – we really love Pagecloud’s library of icons and buttons to add to your website since we haven’t seen that from other builders.

What could be improved:

  • Autosave feature – without an automatic save function, it’s incredibly easy to lose progress accidentally.
  • Site speed – when building our demo site, the editor took a while to load and it even crashed our browser at one point.

Our Pagecloud demo website: https://lucys-cupcakes.mypagecloud.com/ 

The usability of Pagecloud really depends on your experience with website builders. Based on our research, Pagecloud scores 2.7 out of 5 for ease of use – it’s not an ideal starting point for most beginners.

We appreciate its drag-and-drop functionality, but Pagecloud’s overall editor contains a lot to wrap your head around. Not only does it list a number of features on the left-hand side of the editor, but whenever you click on an element, an additional pop-up toolbar appears for more detailed edits.

Plus, without an autosave feature, it’s painfully easy to lose changes you’ve made to your website.

As one person involved in our user testing said:

“I hated that there was no autosave. One of the reasons my template didn’t look too different by the end is because I made changes that I then lost because I forgot to save.”

Unfortunately for Pagecloud, its design options aren’t stellar, scoring 2.2 out of 5 in our recent round of research. When onboarding, Pagecloud asks you about your site’s purpose, but you’re then presented with pretty generic templates to choose from. As a result, Pagecloud’s template score is an equally low 2 out of 5.

One thing we did appreciate about Pagecloud that’s pretty unique is that multiple people can access and edit your site if you grant them permission, meaning you can share the task of designing a website with those you trust. If you don’t want to design the site yourself, give it to someone else!

Pagecloud’s free plan – referred to as Pagecloud Start – has its limitations. To begin, you’re restricted to publishing one page so if you don’t want to upgrade, you’ll need to squeeze all of your information on a single page.

You also can’t add the following features on the free plan:

  • A blog
  • Team members for editing and management
  • Custom domain
  • Redirects
  • Ecommerce tools

Without a custom domain, Pagecloud’s free plan will present your site like this: https://lucys-cupcakes.mypagecloud.com/.

When you’re ready to upgrade, Pagecloud’s plans are pretty expensive and a long way away from other competitors, such as Jimdo’s $9 per month starting plan.

There are three website builder plans to choose from:

  • Small Business costs $20 per month (billed annually)
  • Business costs $36 per month (billed annually)
  • Pro costs $79 per month (billed annually)

If you’re looking to sell online, Pagecloud offers three ecommerce plans. When billed annually, the Starter plan costs $29 per month, the Advanced plan costs $59 per month, and the Unlimited plan costs $89 per month.

A small “Made in Pagecloud” ad will feature on your free Pagecloud website, hovering in the bottom left corner. Nothing too intrusive!

Pagecloud free plan ads on demo website

You can’t sell for free with Pagecloud’s free website builder. Its website features are pretty limited, and you’ll need to upgrade to one of Pagecloud’s three ecommerce plans if you want to sell online. These plans start from $29 per month, billed annually.

Pagecloud logo

Ready to Try Pagecloud?

We’d recommend Pagecloud for web designers or people with prior website-building experience since its editor isn’t too beginner-friendly.

More Information

What’s Important in a Free Website Builder?

Clipboard with a checklist of what matters with a free website builderFree website builders might seem too good to be true, but we’re here to demonstrate why that isn’t always the case.

A question we often get asked is: how do these free website builders make their money? Is there something sketchy going on? Luckily, it’s all super safe and above board. These website builders operate on what’s known as a “freemium” business model, whereby the customers who want to pay for extra features effectively fund those who are happy with a limited plan – no strings attached.

That said, there are some elements that you should pay close attention to when deciding on which free website builder to choose.

To create this ranking of the best free website builders, we drew upon our extensive research and user testing for each website builder as a whole. We then combined this with a specific focus on their free plans, investigating whether or not the builder ticked these boxes:

Clear Domain Name

Free website builders won’t let you link up a custom domain name – but what does the auto-generated one look like? For example, a format like Site 123’s domain (https://5f35237f568e3.site123.me/) could make your site look quite unprofessional.

Low Upgrade Cost

Upgrading to a paid plan comes with clear benefits, so it’s good to know how much this would cost.

Minimal Advertising

You don’t need us to tell you that a website plastered in ads won’t look as good as one without! Our screenshots should help you evaluate the ads of each website builder, and decide on the least intrusive option for you.

Free SSL Certificate

Most website builders include a free SSL certificate as standard, but a couple of them don’t. Without an SSL certificate, your website will display as “Not secure” to visitors. You can buy an SSL certificate separately for around $10/year.

Sufficient Storage

Most free website builders have a cap on the amount of content you can upload to your site. If you know you want to include lots of images or videos, be mindful of how quickly you’d reach this limit.

Easy to Use

There’s no point in finding a website builder that ticks the boxes above, only to discover it’s clunky and frustrating to use. We’ve given an indication of how easy each website builder is to use, based on our research and user testing.

Ecommerce Functionality (Optional)

If you need to sell through your free website builder, this limits your options a little. Keep an eye out for website builders we’ve flagged as allowing you to sell on a free plan, like Square Online.

How Do I Create A Free Website? (Step-by-Step)

One thing all the website builders in our ranking have in common, aside from being free, is that they are easy to set up – they wouldn’t have made the cut otherwise! The process and learning curve differ slightly from builder to builder, but here are the steps you can expect:

  1. Sign up with the website builder. This will require an email address, password, and possibly a username.
  2. Choose a template, or answer questions for the design assistant. This is the first fork in the road – most builders will let you select a template to work off at this stage, but some will use design assistance to mock up a website for you based on your answers to a few questions. We’ve specified when this is the case.
  3. Add in your own content. Get rid of placeholder text and images, and replace these with your own.
  4. Tweak and customize your design. If you want to, you can customize your design further by testing out new layouts and colors, or even switching to a new template. Most builders let you switch templates after publishing, but keep in mind that Wix doesn’t.
  5. Press publish! At this point, your domain name will be generated, and your site will be live for the world to see.

This process could take anything from 15 minutes to a few hours, depending on how much you switch up in steps three and four.

Is It Worth Upgrading to a Paid Plan?

As we’ve seen, free website builders can do a lot – but paid plans allow for a lot more. And paid doesn’t have to mean expensive – you can take advantage of premium features for as little as $9 per month.

The most common advantages of paid plans include:

Removing Ads

When you’re trying to give a professional image, it’s better to have no ads instead of subtle ads – and upgrading your plan will leave your site ad-free.

Connecting a Custom Domain Name

Again, yoursite.com is a whole lot better than yoursite.yourwebsitebuilder.com, and a whole lot more memorable, too.

Access to More Storage and Bandwidth

As your site grows and your traffic increases, you might outgrow your free plan. You may need to upgrade to have enough storage or make your website accessible to more people. Many paid plans offer unlimited storage and bandwidth, so you can have total peace of mind.

Ability to Sell

Most free website builders – apart from Square Online which does let you sell on its free plan – won’t let you unlock ecommerce capabilities until you’ve upgraded to a premium plan. If you’re a small business or want to sell products and services to customers, you won’t be comfortable with a free plan for long.

Advanced Website Features

The features and tools needed to take your business or hobby to the next level will often be waiting for you in that premium plan, so make sure you at least take a look!

While there’s no pressure to upgrade to a paid plan at any stage, we think it’s always worth checking out or trialing a plan at some point. We know it can be nerve-wracking to invest money in a new business, project, or hobby, but there’s an element of “fake it till you make it” here. With the added professionalism of a paid site, nobody needs to know that you’re not far more established.

In a rush? Take our free and speedy quiz to find out which website builder is perfect for you.

Take our free quiz!

Best Free Website Builders: Conclusion

We’ve guided you through the pros and cons of seven free website builders, as well as the advantages of upgrading to a paid plan if necessary. Let’s have a quick recap…

Our list of the top seven free website builders ranks Wix as the best overall website builder with a score of 4.8 out of 5, thanks to its impressive and generous free plan.

GoDaddy sits just behind, taking the silver medal – it offers a speedy setup time and a beginner-friendly ADI builder. And, rounding out our top three, we have Square Online which allows you to sell online for free.

The 7 Best Free Website Builders

  1. Wix Best overall free website builder
  2. GoDaddy Best for getting online quickly
  3. Square Online Best for small businesses
  4. Webflow Ideal for those with building experience
  5. Site123 Best for hobbies and projects
  6. Jimdo Good for simple websites
  7. Pagecloud Best for web designers

Just remember that free website builders nearly always limit the features and functions that are available to you – while this might be acceptable at the start, it could prove extremely frustrating further down the line.

We suggest making the most of available free plans to build, play, and experiment with the different website builders out there, but we don’t recommend staying on a free plan forever.

If you’re serious about your website and want other people to take it seriously too, then you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan at some point.

There’s no rush, though – none of the builders on this list have a time limit on their free plan, so you can stay on them for as long as you’d like. That is until you’re ready to take your site to the next level.

In the meantime, enjoy trying out our favorite free builders – come back and let us know which one you liked the most!


It’s done in a number of ways. The main method is through a ‘freemium’ model, in which the paying users can sustain everyone else. Another way for website builders to make money is through advertising on your site (the ads can be removed by upgrading your plan).
Free websites are not very SEO-friendly because you cannot connect a personalized domain. This means your website is actually part of the website builder’s own site, which makes it harder for search engines like Google to find, crawl and index your web page.
Wix really does offer a free plan, letting you build a website for nothing. Its features are pretty limited, though, restricting you to 500MB of storage and bandwidth. Your website will also come with an assigned domain and ads on your page. If you want access to advanced features and more power for your site – as well as no ads – then you’ll need to upgrade to one of Wix’s paid plans.
Yes – website builders make it super easy to create professional looking sites for no money at all. With these free platforms you get most of the features you need to get your site up and running, but, of course, upgrading your plans gives you access to better tools.
You can upgrade to a paid premium plan whenever you want to. Doing so will provide you with far more tools, templates, storage space, and other important features for growing your website. All of our recommend free website builders come with paid plans if you’d like to upgrade.
Yes, they are totally free to use. You can sign up, create, customize, and publish your site without paying a thing. However, most website builders lock certain features unless you upgrade to a paid plan, but these costs are completely optional, so the overall costs are up to you.
Wix came top in our research for ease of use. Its intuitive drag-and-drop design makes it easy to create a professional looking site without any tech knowledge. It also gives you tons of creative control so you can build a really developed, personalized site.
Of the seven builders on our list, we’d recommend Wix for blogging. Not only is it our top choice overall since it offers a great all-around service, but Wix has excellent built-in blogging tools. You can schedule posts, collaborate with a wider team, and write content on the go with the Wix Owner app.
Jimdo’s $9 per month starting plan is the cheapest option if you’re looking to upgrade from a free website builder. Following that, GoDaddy’s $9.99 per month plan is also very affordable.
Wix is our winner for best free website builder but it’s also our highest-scoring builder for website builders for small businesses. However, you won’t be able to sell online with Wix’s free plan, so you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan. If you’re looking to sell online without spending a cent on a website builder plan, then Square Online is your best option.
No! Hosting is all taken care of by the website builder, so this isn’t something you’ll have to buy separately. Keep in mind though that, like storage, free plans often have a cap on bandwidth, so you may need to upgrade to a paid plan in order to access more resources once you start getting higher traffic levels.
Yes! All the platforms featured on this list should reformat your site so it displays properly on mobile. It’s always worth double checking this though, either as a preview or once your site is live.
We really rate Squarespace as a website builder, but unfortunately it doesn’t offer a free plan, just a 14-day free trial. The seven builders featured on this list all offer a free plan you can stay on for as long as you wish, with no pressure to upgrade.
Looking for a hosting provider rather than a website builder? Why not check out our article on the Best Web Hosting Services to help you find the right one.

There are currently no free services, but check out our article on the Best Cheap Web Hosts if price is your main consideration when choosing a provider.

Written by:

I’m a Senior Writer at Website Builder Expert, which means I’m part of a great team that produces and updates content for the website. I specialize in writing highly-researched and accessible guides, comparisons, and reviews that provide readers with everything they need to know about getting started and growing online. I’ve also written about small businesses for Startups.co.uk, video optimization for Industry Today, and HTML for Digital Information World. While working for Website Builder Expert, I’ve gained expertise in website builders, ecommerce platforms, and hosting providers through hands-on testing and research analysis. I’ve also attended expos to further my industry knowledge – all of this helps me pitch fresh article ideas for the website. Additionally, I manage our website’s comments which allows me to have a good understanding of what you, our readers, care about.

Researched by:
Natasha Willett Lead Researcher

I love to understand human behavior and the cognitive biases that drive us to do what we do. For over nine years I have worked as a mixed method researcher – research using a mix of numerical data and personal experiences – across a range of sectors, from insurance and policy development to finally arriving at Website Builder Expert five years ago. Fascinated by consumer decision-making, I meticulously built our leading ranking methodology to explore where providers like Wix sit within a competitive industry and what value they truly bring to our audience.

As a member of the Market Research Society, I’m an advocate for high ethical, commercial, and methodological best practices. All of this combines to give you the most ethical recommendations based on real data.


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