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  5. 10 Best (REALLY FREE) Website Builders in June 2022

10 Best (REALLY FREE) Website Builders in June 2022

Ezequiel Bruni Ezequiel BruniWebsite Development Expert May 10, 2022
May 10, 2022
Quick Disclaimer
Several free website builders will let you design a decent site – but the one thing none of these builders will give you is a custom domain. If you want your site to look professional (and keep in tone with your brand), you need a paid plan. As far as I’m concerned, Squarespace is my absolute favorite. It has the best-looking templates around, and even its cheapest plan includes a free custom domain plus unlimited storage. Squarespace has a 14-day free trial, so you can test all of its features before you buy.

Many website builders offer free plans, but sometimes “free” isn’t what it seems. Most times, you start building your site only to discover, after you’ve already invested the work, that the free plan is way too limited to actually use. That’s why I decided to test some of the major website builders out there, to find out which ones will actually let you build a functional site for free.

I mean in-depth tests, too. I took the time to build a full site with each builder on this list, to see what exactly they would and wouldn’t let me do on the free plan. Sure, all free plans have some limitations, but I found that some give you enough freedom to build a unique site.

That said, if you want a custom domain, decent storage space, and a site free from your builder’s branding, a free plan simply isn’t going to cut it. In case you want to upgrade, I’ve also included some useful info on paid plans. This will help you choose the best value plan if you ever decide to take your site to the next level.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Free Website Builders in June 2022

  1. Wix – Provides true drag-and-drop design, loads of customization options, tons of free apps, and much more
  2. SquarespaceA simple builder for minimalistic, eye-catching designs that also offers amazing marketing integrations
  3. SITE123 – A very easy-to-use site builder with useful tools for growing a small business

Jump down to see 7 more free builders we recommend | Comparison Table | FAQ

What We Look For in The Best Free Website Builders

As I explained above, I can’t recommend just any free website builder. These days, for every good bit of software, there’s a lot of trash out there, too. Here’s what I decided to look for when I tested these builders:

  • Beautiful, Functional Templates – You want a website that actually looks good, not one that looks like it was built in the ‘90s.
  • Ease of Use – What good is software that you can’t figure out how to use? A lot of free website builders get a pass because they’re free, but if you’re trying to start a business, you don’t want to find yourself wasting hours trying to figure out the user interface. I especially like site builders that let you easily drag and drop elements onto the page and place them wherever you want.
  • Design Freedom – Just because a builder is free, it shouldn’t mean that you can’t make a website that’s fully your own. Though some of these builders will let you customize your site more than others, they all give you enough freedom to create a site unique to you and your brand.
  • Easy and Affordable Site Upgrades – If your website goes really well, it might start to pay for itself, whether with ad revenue, leads for your business, or what have you. You need to know that if the time comes, you can expand your site’s functionality without having to spend big. 

Wix Homepage
Wix’s free plan is by far the most generous in terms of features

Wix has been at the forefront of the website builder industry for quite some time, constantly evolving. As such, it has one of the most feature-filled site builders around, and it shows.

Wix also has one of the better free plans around, as it grants you access to almost every feature for free, with a few notable exceptions such as e-commerce. There’s truly no reason you couldn’t use Wix’s free plan forever, (so long as you don’t mind having Wix branding and aren’t planning to sell anything on your site). All of Wix’s templates are available on the free plan, and they look good.

Features & Ease of Use

If you’re building your very first site or you just want to try Wix out, here are the features that may interest you the most:

  • 800+ Templates – One of Wix’s best features is the simply massive template library. Wix offers more than 800 templates in over 90 categories. Chances are, whatever you want to do with your website, Wix has the template for it.
  • Complete Drag-and-Drop Freedom – What makes Wix’s editor so popular is the fact that you can drag and drop anything and place it anywhere on the page. Well, almost anywhere, but it’s still a lot of creative freedom compared to other builders.
  • Free Apps – Wix App Market offers a pretty impressive library of apps to extend your site’s functionality, and even integrate it with third-party services. Now, not all of these apps are free. You may have to pay for some individually. But there are enough free apps to get you started with social media integration, advanced forms, event calendars, and much more.
  • Marketing Tools – Need to get the word out about your site? Wix more than has you covered with SEO tools, email marketing, a social post designer – all for free. You’d have to upgrade to a paid plan to access more advanced analytics, the “Site Booster” app, and a few other perks like free ad credits.
  • Blogging Tools – The Wix Blog is technically one of the “apps,” but it’s free, and it’s not that bad at all. You can create engaging, custom-designed blog posts easily enough, though you can’t just drag and drop content around like in the main site editor.
Wix 2

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And now, here’s the one small downside: the creative freedom and extensive site options all mean that building a site with Wix is more complex than with some of the other platforms. It’s not too bad, and you could probably create a great site from scratch in a couple of hours, but it may take some time to get used to how things work.

In addition, I personally found that being able to drag and drop things everywhere means it’s easy to mess up your layout a bit. It’s not a major problem – that’s what the Undo button is for – but it’s worth mentioning.

If you want an even easier way to build your site, you can use Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). It’s a light AI-driven tool that will ask you a few questions and generate a site for you, complete with demo content. I used it to create the demo portfolio above in just a few minutes.

If you want to know a lot more about what Wix can do, check out our full Wix review.

Summary

Are All Templates Free? Yes
Free Site URL username.wixsite.com/sitename
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site 1
Ads Location Top of the page
Ease of Use Small learning curve
Free Storage 500 MB
Free Bandwidth 500 MB
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $16.00 per month

If you eventually decide to upgrade to a paid plan, I’d recommend going with the Combo Plan to get rid of ads, and set up a custom domain name. If you’re getting a ton of traffic, though, the Unlimited plan might serve you better.

If you want to run an online store, you should go straight to the Business Basic plan. Wix has a pretty robust set of e-commerce features, but unfortunately, you can’t access them on the free plan.

2. Squarespace – The Best Builder for Elegant, Visually Appealing Sites

Squarespace Homepage
Squarespace is the ideal builder for elegant, minimalistic designs

Squarespace is maybe one of the most famous builders outs there. There’s a good reason for that. Squarespace is fast, looks good, and it offers almost every functionality that you could think of. The grid editor provides plenty of design freedom, but it maintains just enough structure to make sure that your site never goes off the rails.

squarespace logo alt 2

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Everything from the high-quality templates to the “site styles” editor is made to benefit minimalistic, eye-catching designs.

Squarespace is the only builder on this list that doesn’t have a free plan. What it does offer, however, is a 14-day free trial for you to decide if it’s right for you. While it might not be fully free, I have to recommend that you try it out if you’re serious about your site. I promise, after playing with it for a while, you’ll find it hard not to consider it.

Features & Ease of Use

  • Intuitive grid editor – Squarespace’s grid editor is easy to learn, easy to use, and it produces some stunning results.
  • Over 140 high-quality templates – There are templates for everything from blogs to wedding announcements. In fact, there are 18 different template categories to choose from.
  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage – Upload as much content as you want to your site. You never have to worry about running out of space.
  • Marketing integrations – Squarespace offers just about every tool you need to promote your site. You get social media integrations, SEO tools, and email campaigns to grow your site. 

Its benefits go beyond just good looks. Squarespace also offers advanced SEO features, amazing e-commerce, and access to over 25 third-party extensions. Every one of these features is easy to use without compromising on capabilities. Seriously, the SEO features are some of the best that I’ve seen.

You can read our in-depth Squarespace review for more details.

Summary

Are All Templates Free? Yes
Free Site URL N/A
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site 0
Ads Location N/A
Ease of Use Very easy
Free Storage N/A
Free Bandwidth Unlimited
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $14.00

If you decide to go for one of Squarespace’s paid plans, the personal plan gives you a free custom domain for a year, unlimited bandwidth, and website analytics. If you need a site for your business, the Commerce plan offers just about everything you need to manage and grow a successful online store (so long as you don’t need to sell subscriptions). 

SITE123 Homepage
SITE123 is one of the easiest website builders out there

SITE123 bills itself as “By far the easiest free website builder.” Well, I haven’t tried every website builder in the world (although sometimes it feels like I have), but I can tell you that it’s very easy to get a site up and running with SITE123. Really, I was able to make mine in under 10 minutes, blog pages and all.

A limitation of this approach is that you don’t get complete creative control, but you can use the free plan as long as you need. So long as you don’t mind having a totally random subdomain. That’s right, instead of a custom subdomain with a SITE123 domain, you get a random combination of letters and numbers.

Features & Ease of Use

In general, SITE123’s free features are solid, but they’re very simple. You can get a few more customization options if you upgrade to a paid plan, but here’s the fun free stuff:

  • Modular Design System – So there’s good news and “meh” news. SITE123’s design system is super simple to use, and offers easy ways to make your site fit your brand. Changing colors, fonts, and images is a matter of only a few clicks. The “bad” news is that you can’t just drag and drop things wherever you like. You have to choose from pre-designed page elements. It’s not bad, just kind of inflexible.
    I should also mention again that your customization options are a bit limited on the free plan.
  • Blogging – Yup, you get a built-in blog with the free plan, as shown in the demo site. It’s a simple system with tags, thumbnail images, post scheduling, and a classic, Microsoft-Word-style text editor.
  • Contact and Donation Forms – If you want to build your own custom form or run an online store, you’ll need to pay. But if you just need a simple contact form, or a way for people to donate to your nonprofit, that’s all free.
  • Small Business Tools – Event calendars, appointment scheduling, restaurant reservations, and a few more options are all available in the “pages” menu. Just pick one and go.
site123 logo alt 2

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To give you a more personal perspective on the ease of use, I was able to build my demo site in mere minutes, with little time spent on figuring out how everything worked. Mind you, that does not count the time it would have taken me to put my own content on the site, but I was able to set up the basic structure very quickly.

Read our in-depth SITE123 review for more details.

Summary

Are All Templates Free? Yes
Free Site URL RandomName.site123.me
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site 2
Ads Location Sticky bar on scroll, text at bottom
Ease of Use Super easy
Free Storage 500 MB
Free Bandwidth 1 GB
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $12.80 per month

So funny thing, the FAQ on the “Pricing” page says SITE123 has four pricing plans, but only two options are displayed: Free and Premium. However, if you try to upgrade your free site from within the SITE123 editor, you will see four different plans to choose from: Basic, Advanced, Professional, and Gold.

This is a bit confusing, but at least it’s good to know you have options to scale up. The more expensive the plan, the more storage space, bandwidth, and other resources you get.

Zyro Homepage
Zyro offers interesting AI tools to help you design your site

Thanks to its intuitive drag-and-drop editor, Zyro is another entry that fits comfortably in the category of really easy-to-use builders. It’s not quite as ridiculously simple as SITE123, but it’s up there.

That bit of extra complexity is worth it, though. Compared to SITE123, Zyro gives you a lot more design freedom. The drag-and-drop editor lets you place elements nearly anywhere you want on a page. I say “nearly” because any element you add automatically snaps to a grid. While this can help you keep your site structured, it can also feel somewhat limited.

What really makes Zyro exciting is the the AI features it offers to help you design your site. You get an AI text generator, a logo generator, and a heatmap that shows you where your visitors’ attention is most likely to be drawn on your page. Thanks to these tools and Zyro’s ease of use, you can create an effective site in minutes

Features & Ease of Use

Besides what you’d expect from any respectable website builder, Zyro also offers some standout features like:

  • Text and logo generator – A good logo can make all the difference in the world for a website. The same goes for good content. Zyro AI can help you create both. All you have to do is answer a couple of questions and wait. I wouldn’t recommend using the AI content exactly as it comes out, but it’s a good starting point if you’re ever in a pinch.
  • AI-powered heatmap – Zyro’s AI helps you detect potential areas of interest, as well as areas of your site that might have trouble getting noticed.
  • Over 100 templates – Zyro offers more than 100 high-quality templates in categories such as Portfolio, Entertainment, Community, Blog, and many more.
  • SEO and marketing tools – Every Zyro plan includes features to help you market your site and to rank higher on search engines.

You can read our full Zyro review for a more in-depth look.

My own experience with Zyro was pretty straightforward. It only took me about 20 minutes to build my website, and it would’ve taken maybe 10 more if it was my first time using it. The only place where I struggled a little was with the grid structure, as its exact limitations weren’t always clear. Outside of that, however, my experience with Zyro was about as painless as you could ask for.

Summary

Are All Templates Free? Yes
Free Site URL N/A
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site 0
Ads Location N/A
Ease of Use Super Easy
Free Storage Unlimited
Free Bandwidth Unlimited
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $2.61 per month

Zyro doesn’t offer a free plan at the moment (not if you want to publish your site, at least). You can try Zyro for free for as long as you want, including the AI features and full access to every template. That means that you can fully design your site before having to commit to a paid plan.

If you do decide to upgrade, every plan comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth, a free domain for one year, and a full suite of marketing integrations. The Website plan is amazing for anyone that’s just looking to create and publish a site (and the price isn’t half bad either). All upgrades beyond this simply gives you access to more and more e-commerce features.

WordPress Homepage
WordPress offers fantastic features for creating a blog

WordPress powers over a third of the Internet in one way or another. It started off as a blogging application, and now it’s the single biggest publishing platform in the world. For clarity’s sake, this article is discussing WordPress.com, which is sort of a site builder, not WordPress.org, which is home to the original software.

And though WordPress.com bills itself as a site builder, it works much more like an old-fashioned content management system (CMS). That means it’s very flexible and powerful, but it takes a bit of time to learn. You don’t get the same drag-and-drop functionality you get with other builders.

I should also mention that the free plan on WordPress.com is very limited when compared to the original software (which you should remember is also free, hosting costs aside).

Features & Ease of Use

  • One of the Best Blogs Around – WordPress is, first and foremost, blogging software. You can make it do just about anything else, but that takes time. If you just want a solid blog, or a simple business site with a blog, WordPress.com can do it well.
  • Over 100 Fantastic Free Themes – As an old-school CMS, WordPress is very theme-based. While you do have some control over the layout of your content, most of the design choices will be made “for you” by the theme you choose. Some themes are highly customizable, but not all.
  • Built-in Portfolio Feature – One thing WordPress.com has that the original software doesn’t is the ability to quickly and easily build a portfolio on your site. You basically add pages in the Portfolio section of your site, and certain themes (such as the one in the demo) will display your portfolio pieces automatically.
  • Marketing and SEO Tools – Not a lot to say here: analytics, newsletters, SEO. The gang’s all here. A lot of the more advanced SEO functionality is provided by plugins rather than WordPress itself; plugins, unfortunately, are locked behind the paid plans.

Read my full WordPress.com review to learn more.

WordPress.com is pretty good at explaining what you need to do, but the nature of the software can leave you feeling a bit confused. There’s just… so much. And so many things that are walled off behind more expensive plans.

Listen, I have extensive experience with WordPress, and I love it, but there are definitely easier options on this list.

Summary

Are All Templates Free? No
Free Site URL sitename.wordpress.com
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site 2
Ads Location Sticky bar at top, text at bottom
Ease of Use Medium-to-expert-level learning curve
Free Storage 3 GB
Free Bandwidth Unlimited
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $5.00 per month

WordPress.com recently simplified its pricing structure. It now offers just two plans: WordPress Free and WordPress Pro.

With the Pro plan, you’ll be able to install plugins, access premium themes, and add an e-store to your site. Basically, if you want any advanced functionalities for your website, the Pro plan is the way to go.

6. Jimdo – The Bridge Between Simplicity and Total Freedom

Jimdo Homepage
Jimdo can make some great-looking custom sites

Jimdo has over 100 good-looking templates, a decent site builder app, a good free plan, some addons, and e-commerce features. The templates look good, there’s a strong focus on SEO and marketing features, and Jimdo can handle your business email hosting needs. It’s a solid package all around.

Jimdo falls somewhere between Wix, with its vast selection of customization features, and SITE123, with its simple don’t-fuss-about-the-details design approach. This makes Jimdo a good choice if you need more than just a basic site but don’t want to spend too much time on the design.

Features & Ease of Use

So, what all is in a “middle-of-the-road” feature set? Have a look:

  • A Decent Site Builder – With 100+ free templates to choose from, and a pretty hand off design system, making websites with Jimdo is easy. You don’t get a lot of detailed customization, as all blocks of content are pre-designed for you… but they’re good designs.
  • Online Store – Jimdo offers a fairly complete (for beginners) e-commerce system that lets you take payments from PayPal and Stripe. It also offers integration with Facebook and Instagram for sales, free shipping for large orders, the ability to add product variants, and more. Jimdo doesn’t charge any fees on payments received.
  • A Focus on SEO and Marketing – There a re a range of features and tools for marketing your site, ranging from the usual SEO descriptions, titles, and custom URLs, to an addon that adds the RankingCoach service to your site. You can also generate Robot Meta Tags, URL redirects, and an XML sitemap.
  • Business Listings – The Business Listings addon (costs extra) will add your website to business listing sites all over the web for you. That can save you a fair bit of time doing it yourself.
  • Hire a designer – You can actually hire a designer through Jimdo itself to look at your site, and tell you how to improve it. Again, this’ll cost extra, but it’s a cool service to offer in the first place.

Find out more in our full Jimdo review.

Creating a site was crazy easy. A wizard actually does most of the work for you, by asking you a few questions about your business and industry, and generating most of the site structure based on your answers. It even provides sample text that should, in most cases, fit your business until you can write up copy of your own.

Summary

Are All Templates Free? Yes
Free Site URL sitename.jimdosite.com
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site 1
Ads Location Sticky box at bottom left
Ease of Use Pretty easy
Free Storage 500 MB
Free Bandwidth 2GB
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $9.00

While all the plans are eminently affordable (even more so outside the US), this is one of those rare cases where I’d actually recommend going for the most expensive plan as soon as you’re ready to upgrade from the free plan. That’ll get you every feature including ecommerce, 15GB of storage 20GB of bandwidth, and 50 website pages.

Yeah, for some reason, the most expensive plans have page limits. It’s odd.

7. Elementor – The Best Site Builder Plugin, but the Free Plan Is Limited

Elementor Homepage
Elementor can help you design a wonderful WordPress website

Elementor is a WordPress plugin that gives it proper drag-and-drop site design functionality. You can install it for free on a WordPress site on your own server, or you can pay money to access plugins on WordPress.com, and install it there.

Elementor is on this list for two main reasons. First, it adds the drag-and-drop functionality that WordPress.com is missing. Second, it’s a hugely popular page builder I’d be remiss not to mention.

That being said, Elementor’s free plan is pretty limited, so any site you make with the free version will look quite plain. To unlock Elementor’s more interesting features – such as media slides, animated headlines, and contact forms – you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version.

Features & Ease of Use

To keep a short story short, here’s what you get with the free version:

  • Page and Content Templates – There are loads of templates that will set up entire pages, or just sections of pages, for you. It should be mentioned though, that these templates might clash with the WordPress theme you have installed. Also, most of them (including templates for things like site navigation) are locked behind the Pro plan.
  • Basic Content Widgets – And that’s it. You get text, image embedding, basic image galleries, image sliders, and a few other useful things. You frankly almost get more from the free plan on WordPress.com.
  • Addons – Yep, in the world of WordPress, there are addons to plugins. Basically, these are other WordPress plugins that extend the functionality of Elementor with new kinds of content blocks. Because why not?

Every other feature, from the blogging to the marketing and SEO tools, are all provided by your WordPress site, because Elementor is basically just an easy way to edit the visual aspects of your site, and nothing more. You can read more about it in our full Elementor review.

And here’s the thing, it’s not actually a bad product. If you want to design a custom site based on WordPress without coding, Elementor is actually really good at that. It’s also quite easy to use once you familiarize yourself with the basic controls. The main downsides are that you have to already have some knowledge of design to make anything more than a nearly-blank site, and that the free version has very limited options.

Oh, and the button to access the templates that do the heavy lifting for you is not clearly labeled, which caused me some frustration while writing this review:

Summary

Are All Templates Free? No
Free Site URL N/A
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site None
Ads Location N/A
Ease of Use Easy-ish
Free Storage N/A
Free Bandwidth N/A
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $4.00 per month

Small frustrations aside, Elementor is one of the best site designer apps of its kind, if you’re willing to pay. The Personal plan for one year, also for one site, is fairly affordable, and gives you access to all features. You won’t need a more expensive plan unless you’re planning on using it on multiple sites.

Just keep in mind that on top of paying for Elementor, you’ll have to pay for your hosting, whether that’s on your own server, or a platform like WordPress.com.

8. Webnode – Fast and Pretty Sites

Webnode Homepage
Webnode can help you create simple and charming sites in minutes

The sites you can make with Webnode are fast and pretty, the software is easy to use, and the platform boasts over 40 million users.

That all sounds impressive, and my actual experience with the software was pleasant enough, but the free plan is very limited in terms of what you can do with it when compared to other options on this list. Your storage space is small, and almost all the shinier features are locked away behind the paid plans.

Features & Ease of Use

Webnode’s feature set is for people who don’t have a lot of time to spend on their site, and for people who want to edit their site on the go. If that’s you, you’ll be quite happy with the free features:

  • Lightly Customizable Templates – Though you do get some control over how your content is laid out, most aspects of the look and feel of your site will be determined by the template you choose. It’s a good thing they’re pretty. You can customize fonts and colors, though, so that helps.
  • Mobile Editor – A lot of site builders actually provide a terrible experience, or just don’t work, on mobile devices. Webnode is one of the exceptions – you can easily edit your site on your phone or tablet.
  • Blogging – Again, I do love it when I can edit blog posts in almost the same way I edit any other page. You can add pretty much all the same kinds of content, too, including tables, forms, maps, and more.
  • Google AdSense – Yep, you can throw some ads on your free site. Oddly, Google Analytics is reserved for a paid plan. Go figure.
  • Add (small bits of) Code to the HTML – It’s a minor thing, but being able to inject your own code into the page (such as third-party analytics code) is a nice perk.

Creating my demo site on this service was not difficult at all, and only took me a few minutes. That’s one of the upsides to using a simple, kind-of-limited site builder. Like I said, the overall experience was pleasant, and you know what? There are very few platforms out there that I’d say are genuinely “pleasant” to use.

To find out more, read our full Webnode review.

Summary

Are All Templates Free? Yes
Free Site URL sitename.webnode.page
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site 2
Ads Location Text at bottom, Banner at bottom
Ease of Use Pretty easy
Free Storage 100 MB
Free Bandwidth 1GB
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $3.90 per month

When you run face-first into the limits of the free plan (not “if,” “when”), don’t settle for anything less than the Standard plan. It’s inexpensive and gives you access to all the shiny features, even if some of them are still a bit limited. Only upgrade further when your site has started to make you some money.

9. Strikingly – Excellent One-Page Websites

Strikingly Homepage
Strikingly is a great builder for striking one-page sites

Strikingly’s strong suit is creating one-page websites. It’s also its only suit if you’re on the free plan, as you can’t add more pages to your website without upgrading. Okay, if you add a blog or a store, you technically get more pages, but I feel like that doesn’t count.

Still, this emphasis on simplicity means that creating more complex sites is more or less out of the question. One-page doesn’t mean bad, though. A simple and striking one-page site can do wonders for conveying an elegant feel. 

Features & Ease of Use

As the name might suggest, Strikingly focuses on giving you a visually striking site with little fuss:

  • A Very Simple (Though Limited) Site Editor – Strikingly’s design system is one where you can choose from one of a limited number of templates to start, then choose “sections” or blocks of content to add to your homepage. You cannot create any sort of custom layout unless you pay for one of the premium plans, though.
  • Blogging – Strikingly has solid blogging features, including the usual things like categorizing, tagging, and scheduling posts. I do like that you can edit your blog posts via much the same interface as you use to edit the rest of your site, and you can see exactly what your post will look like.
  • Marketing and Analytics Tools – You’ll find the usual SEO tools here, as well as email and some built-in analytics tools. Newsletter sign-up forms are available as well.
  • Social Integration Features – Beyond simply adding icons that take people to your social feeds, you’ll find a couple of other neat tools in here, like the ability to embed all of your social feeds from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram right into your page.

Strikingly couldn’t be easier to use. Everything about it is geared towards helping you make an impactful site as quickly as possible.
Want to know more? Read our in-depth Strikingly review.

Summary

Are All Templates Free? Yes
Free Site URL sitename.mystrikingly.com
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site 1
Ads Location Sticky box at bottom
Ease of Use Very Easy
Free Storage 500 MB
Free Bandwidth 5 GB
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $8.00 per month

If you’re going to pay, go straight to the Pro plan at least. It’s the cheapest plan that removes the Strikingly branding from your site. It also lets you add 300 products to your store and offers unlimited bandwidth. Plus, you can make up to three sites that all use the Pro features, rather than having to pay for another plan every time you make a new site. Oh, and you get access to the app store.

Square Homepage
Square Online can help you build an e-store for free

Square Online is the place to go if you just need a store, and fast. I was able to create a test shop incredibly quickly, and the website was all set to go in minutes. That said, it’s still a fairly powerful shop builder, with almost all of the features that small-to-medium-sized businesses could want.

Again, the cost of simplicity is a lack of customization features. Your font selection, color choices, and layout options are all highly limited. There is only one “template” to choose from, but it’s a good-looking template. This is a service designed for convenience, not creative expression.

And sometimes that’s fine.

Features & Ease of Use

Square Online’s features are somewhat limited in scope, due to the specialized nature of the service, but that just might work for you:

  • Dead Simple Design Features – There are times when a lack of customization options is sort of the point. This is definitely one of those times.
  • Do All The Online Usual Store Things – Track inventory, offer discounts and coupons, manage shipping, collect taxes based on location, sell both physical and digital products, the works. Just because it’s not as complex as Shopify or BigCommerce doesn’t mean it’s not loaded with features.
  • A Solid Free Plan – Sell unlimited products for free, and get almost all of the major features without ever paying a cent in monthly fees. A small percentage of every transaction goes to Square though, but that’s true on all plans. And you have to use a subdomain (eg. yourstore.square.site).
  • Third-party Integrations – You can sell your products via Facebook and Instagram, and even via Google search results. You can track your purchases with Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel to see which customers like what. Square even has its own (separate) email marketing tool to help you grow your customer base.
  • Hire Professionals – Two less-than-common services offered by square online include: hiring a professional designer to fancy up your site for you, and sending your product line to Square for photos. Yep, you send them your products, they take professional pictures for your store, then send the products back.

Check out our full Square Online review to see what else is on offer.

Setting up my store was easy enough, with clear instructions everywhere, and a knowledge base that you can refer to. Just uh… try and find out if the online store feature is even available in your country before you dive in. It’s not available everywhere. Otherwise, the experience was quick and pleasant.

Summary

Are All Templates Free? Yes
Free Site URL sitename.square.site
Number of Ads/Branding Elements on Your Free Site 1
Ads Location Banner/logo at the bottom
Ease of Use Very easy
Free Storage Unlimited
Free Bandwidth N/A
Price of Cheapest Paid Plan $12.00

When upgrading from a free plan, I’d go straight to the Performance plan. It may not have the fancy shipping features and slightly lower payment processing rate of the Premium plan, but it gives you good value for the price. It has some of the most important features, like advanced reporting, abandoned cart emails, and the ability to accept PayPal payments.

When Should I Upgrade to a Paid Plan?

The answer is generally simple: when you’ve reached the limits of what you can do with the free plan of your chosen site builder, it’s time to pull out your credit card. When you’ve run out of storage, or you’re getting enough traffic to use up the bandwidth available to you, you’re not going to have much of a choice.

Other possible signs it’s time to upgrade:

  • You want to have more control over your branding and choose your own domain name.
  • You want to have more control over your branding, and you’re annoyed by the ads on your free site.
  • You want to have an online store with lots of products in it.
  • You just want access to features (like advanced apps or addons) that the free plan doesn’t have.
For your convenience, here’s a quick comparison table to help make your choice faster and easier:
Free Templates Free Apps Free Storage Space Sell Products for Free?
Wix 800+ Estimated 25+ 500 MB No
Squarespace 140+ 40+ Unlimited No
SITE123 180+ 20+ 250 MB No
Zyro 130+ 8+ Unlimited No
WordPress 40+ No 1 GB No
Jimdo 100+ N/A 500 MB No
Elementor 40+ N/A N/A N/A
Webnode 100+ N/A 100 MB No
Strikingly 200+ No 5 GB Yes
Square Online 1 5+ <500 MB Yes

Which Free Site Builder Is the Best for You?

Many of the free plans for site builders are similar, so I’d strongly encourage you to look at the feature sets on each platform, and what sorts of sites each one is focused on. Even if you’re building a free website, you don’t want to have to make too many compromises.

Do you need creative freedom? You can’t go wrong with Wix, which lets you customize just about every aspect of your site.

Do you just need a basic website you can get online quickly? You’ll love the simplicity of SITE123.

Expert Recommendation: While it’s not free, Squarespace is one of my favorite site builders and I think it’s worth the investment. If none of these free plans look good enough to you, check out our full Squarespace review.

FAQ

What is the best free website builder? It’s all going to depend on what you need. Wix is great if you want full creative control. Want a dead-simple site? Go with SITE123. Want the world’s biggest publishing platform behind your site? WordPress.com is the way to go. If you’re still unsure about which builder to choose, check out our list of the top website builders for 2022.Can you build an online store for free?Square Online offers free e-commerce features (although a bit limited) in the US and a few other countries. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan to get a custom domain and unlock its full range of e-commerce tools, though.Is a free website builder good for SEO? There’s no reason why not. Most site builders have SEO-boosting features of some kind built in, because they all want you to grow your audience, and stay on their particular service. Your SEO might improve a bit when you buy your own custom domain name, but otherwise, I see no real difference. Writing good content is the hard part of good SEO anyway.Which free website builder is the easiest to use?Based on my experience, I’d probably have to go with SITE123 or Jimdo. Just remember that extreme ease-of-use can be a bit limiting when it comes time to do something more complex with your site. There are always tradeoffs. Either way, if you’re interested in building your own site, feel free to read our full guide to creating your own website in 2022.

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Curious
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Wow. Super thorough. Thank you so much. I greatly appreciate your time and effort. Unfortunately, I still don't know which builder to us as there is something that turns me off in each of them. Not sure if it'll be the most effective use of time to go through and decide which issue is the least significant and therefore go with that one or if I should just jump in and start trying them going with whichever strikes my fancy as next and see what happens. O the possibilities. Regardless of my indecisiveness, it is a great article that offers a ton of helpful/useful information and it is a great resource. Thanks so much, Ezequiel! Best article in kind that I have seen, and I have seen a lot of articles like this. Yours definitely stands out and I am bookmarking it for sure.
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Website Planet Team
Thank you for your kind words. In addition to all of the amazing features these builders provide, be sure to choose something you truly need the most. Take your time to decide, and you won't go wrong if you choose any of the options on the list. Best of luck, and stay tuned!
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New Yorker
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Hey blogger - I need to point out that none of the above are free - unless someone is not interested in having a website with a specific domain name. Which is essentially no one.
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noamwsp
Hi New Yorker, You're right - you can't connect a domain for free with any of these builders. You'll be surprised at how many people choose to start their site like that, for plenty of different reasons. Ultimately, if you're building a website for any type of business, you probably will want to upgrade to a paid plan at some point - but it's not a must with any of these builders.
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