Which is the best free website builder and hosting

What’s Important in a Free Website Builder?

what to look for checklistwhat to look for checklistFree website builders may have once seemed too good to be true, but we set out to demonstrate that this is not always the case.

A question we often get asked is just 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 you 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, and combined this with a specific focus on their free plans, paying close attention to 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 IM Creator’s (im-creator.com/free/yourname/yoursite) 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 don’t (we’ve flagged when this is the case). 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 hit this cap.

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 Weebly.

By going through the process of creating a free website with each builder for this article, we’ve been able to give a really accurate first-hand account of the process.

Did you know you can build a website from scratch in just 20 minutes? Below, we present our top picks for the best free website builders that let you do just that—and more. After thoroughly analyzing the most popular solutions in the market, we found Wix is the best option for most users. With its integrated interface, professionally-designed templates that take the guesswork out of web design, and unmatched flexibility, we can safely say Wix is the ultimate tool for beginners and veterans alike.

The Best Free Website Builder for Most

Wix Logo


Best For Most

Create your dream website with the incredible flexibility of 300 plus templates. No matter your business, Set up your user website in minutes. Drag and drop images, text, and other elements that make creating your website an unforgettable experience.

>> Try Our Website Builder Free

Most free website builders lack the control and flexibility required to create a design that you actually want. But Wix makes it easy for anyone to create exactly what they’re looking for using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. 

Wix gives you total control over every aspect of your website, including the colors, buttons, images, and more. It’s the simplest way to create an eye-catching site for free, without any hassles or headaches. Wix also handles all of the backend infrastructure, security, and other technical details, so you won’t have to worry about anything.

The 6 Best Free Website Builders 

  1. Wix – Best for most
  2. Hostinger – Best for easily setting up a site you love in one afternoon
  3. Weebly – Best free website builder for small business owners
  4. WordPress – Best free website builder for blogging 
  5. Strikingly – Best free landing page builder
  6. Site123 – Best free website builder for beginners

When It Makes Sense to Use a Free Website Builder

A good website builder eliminates all the troubles that usually come along with creating your perfect website. It should be simple and easy don’t you think?.

When you’re getting started you don’t have to pay a dime to do it.

Website builders help avoid extra costs that come with hiring a developer. Developers can be expensive and often don’t create your vision how you can.

Instead, a website builder is the perfect DIY solution. 

But, wait, we’re talking about free website builders. I hear you asking, “Can I get the same quality as paying somebody for it?” 

With modern free website builders, you absolutely can, if all you need is a home for your ecommerce site, blog, company website, or the like.

The only investment will be your time in learning and building your home on the web.

#1 – Wix  — Best Free Website Builder For Most

Wix Logo


Best For Most

Create your dream website with the incredible flexibility of 300 plus templates. No matter your business, Set up your user website in minutes. Drag and drop images, text, and other elements that make creating your website an unforgettable experience.

>> Try Our Website Builder Free

Wix offers a free website builder that you’ll fall in love with. It powers more than 100 million websites and its flexibility continues to surprise even the most advanced users of this website builder. 

It’s not only the hundreds of templates that make Wix so customizable—the drag-and-drop editor gives you the power to control what pops off of your web page. 

So, you can create a gorgeous website without knowing one line of code. 


What we also found great was the completely hands-off approach Wix offers. 

If you don’t want to spend time designing your site, the artificial design intelligence (ADI) software will ask you a series of questions and Wix will design your site for you. 

For example, Wix will ask what industry you work in, what services or goods you provide, and a few other questions before putting together the right site for you. 

Another thing we really love is the ability to utilize the hundreds of integrations available in the Wix App Market. Which isn’t something many other website builders offer at the free level. Wix’s app marketplace has more than 280,000 apps available. 

Plus, Wix offers marketing tools and standard SEO optimization free of charge, which will help you rank higher on Google faster while also building your organic web traffic. 

Wix even includes web hosting, live chat widgets, and even more features with its free forever site builder.

Wix’s free plan includes managed security, too. The security pros at Wix monitor their data centers and sites for security vulnerabilities and make sure that everything meets the highest industry standards for data privacy and protection from cyberthreats. You don’t have to do a thing, they handle this for you.

One thing you won’t be able to get as part of the free plan is a custom URL. You can find more information about both the free version and the pricing plans at Wix.com.

#2 – Hostinger — Best For Easily Setting Up A Site You Love In One Afternoon

Hostinger Logo


Easiest for Quickly Building a Site

Hostinger’s rock-solid hosting also includes multiple great site building options. Sign up for an affordable hosting plan and get automatic WordPress installation or use their partnership with Zyro to build your site.

>> Get Started Today

A lot of site builders include web hosting in their plans, but it can be hard to have confidence in the basic hosting offered alongside a free site builder.

With Hostinger, you can solve both problems, because you can pay next to nothing, $1.99 per month for hosting, and get your pick of trustworthy site builders.

Hostinger has an array of powerful yet affordable hosting plans. Yes, that means you’ll have to pay a little upfront, but you get a higher quality of web hosting for your site (which you can still build and publish for no extra cost).

Our recommendations are to use either Hostinger’s WordPress Starter package ($3.99/month for a four-year commitment) or their Premium Shared Hosting plan ($3.49/month for a four-year term).

There are cheaper versions of WordPress hosting and shared hosting from Hostinger (both $1.99 per month for a four-year commitment), so you can save more and still get quality hosting for a single site.

But if you opt for either of the slightly more expensive plans, you also get a free domain name for one year, support for multiple sites, and more storage and bandwidth.

After you determine what platform you want your site to run on and select a plan, Hostinger’s exceptional guided setup will hold your hand the rest of the way.

If you went the WordPress route, Hostinger will automatically install it and even take care of updates automatically. Plus, you can opt for a template during the setup wizard so you can shave even more time off of getting your new site published.

If you go with Premium Shared Hosting, you’ll see an offer in your Hostinger dashboard to use the Zyro website builder.

That’s a great option if you’re a little intimidated by the site building experience on WordPress, which can be complicated because there’s so much you can do on that platform.

With using the Zyro builder, you get extra help in quickly setting up your site. Use one of their templates or even use Zyro’s AI builder to whip your site up based on a few details you’ll provide it.

Either way, you get to go from zero to a ready-to-rock website with Hostinger.

And, while you do have to pay for hosting, our recommended plans won’t cost you much. Four years of Premium Shared Hosting will cost you $167.52 at checkout, but you’ll be set for the long haul on both your website builder and hosting that can scale with your site. The WordPress Starter plan will cost you just under $200 for four years.

If you’re ambitious about your new site, either hosting plan gives you the ability to grow your site and its popularity. The sky’s the limit.

If you want the easiest way to get quality web hosting and a free site builder included, get started with Hostinger today.

#3 – Weebly — The Best Free Website Builder for Small Business Owners

Weebly Logo


The Best Free Website Builder For Small Business

Create your dream website with the incredible flexibility of 300+ templates. No matter your business, Weebly

>> Get Started For Free

Weebly is a user-friendly website builder designed for small businesses. It’s perfect for retailers that want to expand and sell online with an online store.

As a Square brand, you can easily integrate your physical store payments and accounting system with the website. Weebly even lets you set up an in-store pickup option for your customers. 

The drag-and-drop site builder from Weebly is easy to use and requires zero technical knowledge. It’s free and keeps your site modern with nice touches—including a mobile-friendly design.

Weebly stands out from the crowd by providing functional, sleek, and results-driven online stores. The pages are fully customizable, and you have tons of design options to choose from.

You’ll also get inventory management tools included for free. Weebly has built-in SEO optimization tools to help improve your Google search rankings. You can set up designated landing pages and forms to use for lead captures as well.

Weebly has a nice level of features for an online store that’s part of a free website building tool.

Ultimately, though, the greatest level of strength in Weebly’s free tier lies in its ability to give your small business an ability to create a blog for free. Blogs for businesses can be a nice way to generate traffic for your site, to give visitors advice on using your products or services, and to make news and announcements about your business.

If you have any questions about website building, the free Weebly community forum offers exceptional insight. Even on the free plan, Weebly gives you access to chat and email support.

Overall, Weebly has all the resources you need to build an ecommerce presence in a way that’s fast, easy, and cost-effective. 

Whether you’re looking to start a small business online or to take your physical store to the web, you can get started for free with Weebly today.

#4 – WordPress — The Best Free Website Builder for Blogging 

WordPress Logo


The Best Free Website Builder For Blogging

Use this powerful blogging software to create blogs quickly and for free. Enjoy specific templates created to enhance your blog’s success and tailored features designed to make building and running your blog much easier.

>> I’m ready to start my blog

WordPress has all the features you need to run a successful blog in a convenient package. Just pick a website theme from the hundreds of available templates and build your site out to make it look exactly how you’d like.

With WordPress, the sky’s the limit for what you want to do with your blog. It’s eminently customizable because of the dizzying array of themes, plugins, features, and tools available to you.

Now, there’s one key distinction to make here. There are two very similar yet different forms of WordPress to choose from.

First, you have WordPress.com, which is pictured above in the screenshot. This is the easiest, most straightforward way to start a blog today.

All you have to do is sign up for a WordPress account and start building your blog for free. Even on WordPress.com’s free plan, you can utilize one of dozens of themes, have a preinstalled SSL certificate, and utilize the essential features of Jetpack, a plugin that helps with security and SEO efforts.

WordPress.com’s paid plans provide bonuses like a free domain name for one year, more customization, ecommerce tools like accepting payments on your site, and more. Those start at just $4 per month.

But you can start free and build to your heart’s content until you run into any blockers on your growth.

WordPress.com is the best option if you want to quickly get a simple site off the ground in minutes, completely for free.

If you have more robust needs, want a website you can continue building out for months or years, or want complete freedom to design and shape your WordPress site into what you’re dreaming of, consider instead WordPress.org.

The big difference here is that WordPress.org is the open-source platform that WordPress.com is built upon. By using WordPress.org, you can take your site in any direction you’d like. Choose premium themes from one of the many markets on the web, add powerful ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce, and so much more.

Be aware, though, that while WordPress.com comes with web hosting included, WordPress.org does not. It’s up to you to find a hosting provider so your WordPress.org site can go live.

Fortunately, WordPress itself has a list of recommended hosts. And, of those, we think Bluehost is one of the best options you can go with (even if you weren’t running a WordPress site).

Bluehost logo


Most Trusted WordPress Hosting

One of three hosts recommended and backed by WordPress. Includes a free domain name for the first year, one-click WordPress installation, automatic updates and more.

>> Snag your 63% discount!

Granted, while WordPress.org costs nothing to use, paying for hosting makes this a not-completely-free site building solution. But Bluehost keeps their rates extremely affordable, so you’ll actually pay less per month for WordPress.org plus Bluehost hosting than you would for any of WordPress.com’s paid plans.

Plus, you’ll get a free custom domain with Bluehost hosting, sweetening the pot overall for you.

So, if you’re comfortable with paying just over $35 for a year of quality web hosting, you can use the free WordPress.org platform to build a more complex, attractive, and incredible site than you ever could with any of the other free site builders on this list.

With WordPress, you’re really only limited by what you can dream up.

Sign up for a WordPress.com account here, or get started with Bluehost here if you want to use WordPress.org for your site.

#5 – Strikingly — The Best Free Landing Page Builder  

Strikingly Logo


The Best Free Landing Page Builder

Create a simple and stylish one-page website with ease and landing pages that convert and look stunning. No design skill needed.

>> Start For Free

Strikingly offers one of the simplest website editors available. It allows you to make a full one-page website in under thirty minutes. Now that’s fast. 

Within an hour you can have the best landing page you ever created at no cost.

When you first come to Strikingly and start creating your site, you get a nice onboarding tour to walk you through picking a template and how to edit it. 

A landing page is one of the biggest tools for converting prospects, leads, and visitors, so being able to design them so well, so quickly is what makes Strikingly so unique.

You can also create unlimited one-page sites under the free plan and are given 5GB of bandwidth per month.

This is perfect for quickly building landing pages as your marketing campaigns begin and progress. Plus, being able to utilize a potentially unlimited number of free landing pages gives you plenty of opportunity to run A/B testing between strategies or segment leads through individualized pages.

Plus, Strikingly will give you simple web traffic analytics and easily integrate with your Google Analytics account so you can gain quick insight into how your landing pages are performing.

#6 – Site123  — The Best Free Website Builder for Beginners

Site123 Logo


The Best Free Website Builder for Beginners

Site123 makes building a website as easy as 123. Mobile friendly templates allow you to quickly build a professional looking website with ease. While free seo tools, free web hosting and free custom domains eliminate the need for extra software and platform integration

>> Create Your Free Website Today

If you are nervous about using website builder software, Site123 is the best way for a complete beginner to build a website.

In three easy steps you can establish your website and online presence. 

First, you start with selecting your website type. Site123 can quickly set up a page template for a business, a blog, an event page, or even handyman services.

Then, just add your business name and upload your content and images. Site123 will publish your site, with the whole process taking just about one hour. 

Keep in mind, with Site123 you don’t have complete creative control. But for beginners who just need a functional home on the web, this is ideal. 

Even with the array of website types and templates, your website will be mobile-friendly and SEO optimized without any complicated tasks required on your end. 

Also, you receive access to royalty-free images from Site123’s image bank, containing hundreds of stock images with no limitation of use. If you use your own content, you have 250MB of storage to utilize.

One thing to be aware of, though—Site123 only offers ecommerce functionality with its paid plan ($12.80/month). But, for a simple homepage or an online home that attracts visitors to call your physical business, Site123 is as simple and effective as it gets.

It’s okay to be apprehensive about designing your website for the first time. Site123 alleviates any concern you may have, because of their easy, hands-off, all-in-one website creation process. 

Methodology for Choosing the Best Free Website Builder

Free, usually means poor quality right? Well, not always.

With this list of free website builders, you can actually get more than you expect from a free solution. Here is how we examined these free options to pick out the best.   

Flexibility of Design

Having your hands tied when you want to add the one detail that can make your site unique is a terrible feeling. Imagine you want to add a “buy now” button in the header next to your navigation and the option is not available. 

Visitors want easy choices and an easy browsing experience. Having the right templates and color options, along with the freedom to add media where you want it, makes your site stand out and helps it become a conversion machine. 

It all depends on the type of site you want to make. If you need a unique, splashy ecommerce store, Wix and Weebly present the best bets. If you want a customizable blog, WordPress (with Bluehost hosting) is the way to go. For simpler needs, Strikingly and Site123’s free plans can do the trick.

Low Learning Curve

With a free website builder in particular, no one wants to waste time having to learn how to use it.

Wix, Strikingly, and Weebly all have very easy editors and can have you building a website in a few hours, even minutes if you use the artificial design intelligent software baked into Wix. 

If you’re new to the whole concept or a very small business that just needs a simple web presence, Site123 will take care of all the building for you, eliminating any learning curve at all.

Ecommerce Capability

Having the option to sell products or services is a common need for people building their own website. 

Most of the free website builders on this list offer ecommerce functionality and product marketing as part of their free plans. This is huge and gives you the ability to make money with minimal marketing costs. 

Wix even gives you the ability to capture leads using live chat and contact forms, use email marketing tools to make sales and manage campaigns, create promotional videos, and more. 

If you need a web store, make sure ecommerce is an option in your free website builder of choice.  

Minimal Advertising

Have you ever been on a site that had so many ads it was distracting? Weebly and Strikingly don’t put ads or their own branding on your free site, while Site123, Wix, and WordPress.com do (though they tend to be subtle and unobtrusive).

Keep this in mind if any ads are a dealbreaker. 

With Wix, it’s just a little sidebar saying the website was built with its platform. With WordPress, their general ad placements on your site help keep free features free. 

It all depends on what you’re comfortable with having on your site.

Low Cost to Upgrade

Let’s face it, we all want the best deal. Free is great and may be enough to get you up and running, but what if you need more because your website or business is taking off?

This list offers the most comprehensive free plans available, but also includes affordable monthly upgrades to a subscription that can be monthly or yearly. 

WordPress and Weebly’s lowest paid tiers are just $4 per month and $6 per month, respectively. With both, you unlock the ability to use a custom domain and access to more marketing and ecommerce tools.

This gives you the option to select a plan you can grow into and, if you decide it’s not for you, the risk is minimal. 

Wix Logo


Best For Most

Create your dream website with the incredible flexibility of 300 plus templates. No matter your business, Set up your user website in minutes. Drag and drop images, text, and other elements that make creating your website an unforgettable experience.

>> Try Our Website Builder Free


The best free website builder for most people is Wix. Its drag-and-drop builder is easy to use, and the platform can accommodate a wide range of use cases.

With that said, any of the recommendations in this guide are a viable option. Some are better for blogging, while others are best for specialized websites and stunning designs. Regardless of your needs, you can use the top picks and buying guide in this article to find the best free website builder for you.

Written by Jane