Reviews and expert opinionUpwork

Lucas Turner
Lucas Turner
Freelance Jobs Expert

With a clunky user interface, fake freelancer profiles and an unreliable rating system, Upwork is no longer what it used to be.

The good news is that there’s a great alternative out there. OnFiverr, you can hire a freelancer for as little as $5 to complete a project for you. Read on to find out more.



Upwork Is No Longer What It Used to Be

Upwork is one of the biggest freelance websites online today, but bigger doesn’t always mean better. In fact, that is why it has been downgraded. If you need a freelancer, we recommend you head over to Fiverr – you can hire a freelancer for as little as $5.

Besides its size, Upwork offers several other advantages. Advanced search filters make it easy to find what you’re looking for. You can view freelancers’ past work history and feedback to get an idea of their professionalism, and the messaging system makes it easy to communicate with potential candidates. There’s also a convenient mobile app and desktop time tracker.

That said, Upwork might not be what it seems. In recent years, the quality of work has gone down. In many cases, the positive feedback you read on freelancers’ profiles isn’t really true – past clients leave high ratings and glowing reviews just because they’re afraid of retaliation.

I’ve even come across quite a few freelancer profiles that were fake. You hire someone for a job, thinking they’re from London or Los Angeles as stated on their profile, only to later discover they’re from a different part of the world and hardly qualified for the job at hand. This can be incredibly frustrating, not to mention a waste of time and money.

With the new pricing, Upwork is no longer suitable for you if you are not a big corporation looking to hire dozens of people. They limit you with invitations of up to 15 people, and if you want to invite more (and of course you do, as many won’t accept the invitation and you want to get a few offers for your project) you need to pay $500 a month for the expensive plan, or trick Upwork and open multiple identical projects, which is annoying. Fiverr is a much better option for starters.



Keeping Ahead of a Fast Developing Market

Upwork is not new to the scene. However, they are growing at an accelerated rate, primarily due to the variety of gigs on offer, the quality of freelancers showcased, and their user-friendliness.

One issue that every freelance site faces are spammers and whilst Upwork does an excellent job of fending them off, its popularity exposes Upwork to spam techniques that have corrupted other sites.

Despite the fact that freelancers need to really apply themselves before they gain the highest verification level on Upwork, many persistent unskilled newbies from Third World countries are flooding in on this site. Hopefully, Upwork will sort out the problem of unskilled workforce and remain a safe harbor of respect for skills, not cheap deals. Our advice is to only hire freelancers with complete verified profiles, positive feedback and at least some Upwork test badges. If you are willing to try out a novice freelancer, we advise you offer him/ her a test assignment to begin with and if you are satisfied with the quality, then go for it.

The quality of the work at Upwork is heterogeneous. However, the general stats are in favor of moderately-priced fine-quality work. This is not a site where A-list freelance pros make money on the side. But some lucky finds for your projects are possible. The demographics of Upwork’s population are rather tilted towards the different sides of the planet. The most classic schemes on Upwork are USA or UK employers hiring a European or Eastern European freelancer.Explore Upwork Templates



All You Could Wish for and More

The Upwork team does not limit its developing features. You can find anything, from promotional badges for your private website, to advanced time-tracking software and a Master Card issued by Upwork especially designed for foreign workers.

The hiring scheme on Upwork deviates slightly from other sites and you can hire or interview a freelancer to discuss the project’s details. Bear it in mind that Upwork will most certainly conceal your e-mail details submitted through private massages, due to its direct contact non-disclosure policy. But a Skype account address will go unrecognized. Freelancers and employers’ performance alike is rated through a 5-star based feedback system. Only completed and paid projects can get feedback.

Registering as a freelancer, there’s quite a lot you need to do to setup a noticeable profile, like upload portfolio items, take skill tests that prove your abilities, verify your identity and add personal information. While this can take you a while, Upwork makes the entire process very easy, by sending you email reminders and notifying you of missing profile elements.

Contract can be made on a project or hourly basis. Hourly contracts require freelancers to download a time-tracking software, that allows employers to see what the freelancer is working on in real time. While somewhat controversial, it does help to build trust between the 2 sides of the deal, so you don’t have to worry about being scammed.See full list of features

Ease of use


Fresh And Polished

Upwork’s visuals are glossy, colorful and stylish. The active designers’ team has changed the site’s layout 3 or 4 times within a few months.

The navigation is perfectly intuitive, except for the “See my profile as others do”. It keeps migrating with each design makeover on UpWork. The neat private messaging box is also an advantage that UpWork has over other freelance sites. The initial registration process requires nothing but your e-mail, password and a desired username, which you can always change as an employer – however, beware of making this mistake when registering a freelancer’s profile. You must use the name that is written in your passport to register.See if Upwork is Right for You



They Are Really There for You

Customer support is where Upwork truly delivers – you can get help 24/7 using any one of the many contact means available. There is also an extended and well-written FAQ section where you can find answers to just about anything.

  • 24/7 Live-chat
  • Support ticket system
  • Comprehensive FAQs
  • Phone support line
  • Direct phone calls might turn out pricey



The Beauty of Simplicity

Unlike some other sites with undecipherable payment policies and multiple membership-based discounts, Upwork has a set rule – 20% – 5% of the freelancer’s pay is charged to the client. Additional fees are charged when freelancers withdraw funds from Upwork. Upwork funds’ withdrawal fees amount to $2.50. Freelancers are allowed to withdraw amounts no lower than $20 + the withdrawal fee).

There are no premium accounts on Upwork, given their advanced scam-proof verification procedure for making the freelancers’ profiles more attractive on the site.

The payment system is easy – you deposit money from PayPal or your credit card into your Upwork account and begin the hiring process. Upwork only provides dispute arbitration and resolution for hourly-billed projects that had been tracked through the Upwork Team application on the freelancer’s side. Upwork does not resolve disputes over fixed-price projects.

For clients using the Enterprise Upwork Plan, prices vary according to needs.

  • Payment System – Credit card or PayPal
  • Payment Protection – Upwork Team time and performance tracking software is responsible for securing your project and money.
  • Payment Disputes – Only available for hourly-billed projects tracked through UpworkTeam application


How does Upwork match up to the competition?


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Matthew McMahon
January 22, 2021
I quit

I've hired over 30 freelancers on Upwork over 2 years, spending 120k+ with various groups of folks. I finally quit recently when I've just had the worst time with the most unreliable people I've ever met! Everybody wants to "try to help" you for money, but what they do is create unnecessary complexity, make excuses, and lead your project to technical debt doom! I need a higher caliber of worker to get my project to the next level. The people I've met on here are some of the most frustrating experiences I've ever had. I couldn't even think about hiring another one of them to waste my time.

December 09, 2020
Not fair to freelancers at all. Client scammed me and Upwork gave full amount of escrow to client.

I am so upset with Upwork. I have been working on this platform for years and made more than $100k. The first time I got a client who hired me, I completed the project, submitted my work to the client and he just blocked me. Upwork team did nothing. It was a stupid chat between the client, me, and the support team. The support team cannot judge and take any decision. So they asked me to pay $300 to file a new AAA dispute!!! So I had to pay $300 to file a dispute and fight for $250 !!!which I wanted to get from my client as my pay!!! Are you serious guys?? Do I need to pay money to get paid for my time, my work, and my efforts? So eventually I got nothing!!! My client got the product from me, blocked me, and got his money back. What a scam platform!!! Horrible service!!! Do not work with them!! Go to People Per Hour!!

Ramon Burks
December 08, 2020
Terrible job

This is the first time I've encountered incompetent employees of this scale. A test task was compiled, where everything was indicated in detail, the freelancer provided a terrible final work, which required extra time for execution. the horror!

November 18, 2020
Quickly find

Quite a good service. I was looking for a programmer here, I needed to make a script for parsing data. It was convenient to set tasks, quickly enough and immediately received several requests. I worked with several people and chose one, we are working!

Charles Cox
September 23, 2020
The search was successful

I needed to find a team of content managers for my information site, went through all the circles of hell until I found the right performers on this site. I hope in the future the creators of the service will make it much easier to search for freelancers, which is now a nightmare

September 09, 2020
Way too many fraud companies!

I applied to 4 different companies. Spending the credits I had to to do so. And all 4 were fraud companies trying to siphon money from me. Will never go through this site again, and I suggest others do the same. You are using up credits to apply for certain jobs for them all to be fake?? What a ripoff

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Bottom line on Upwork

I was asked to compare Freelancer to Upwork. I asked my editor to allow me to tell user to ignore both and simply use Fiverrwhich is much better, but he insisted on these two, so read here to find out more.

Upwork is the best freelance website available today, serving both employers and freelancers. It is totally intuitive and free and stands out among other platforms which charge extra money for every action you perform on the site. The motto of the site is: Changing the World of Work. It is a real change to look forward to and we wish all other freelancer sites adopted this steady, competent and work-alike approach. Upwork is a significant starting platform for hiring freelancers, as well as a pleasant surprise for people who have dealt with other freelance websites in the past.

Lucas Turner
Lucas Turner
Lucas is a full-stack web developer. He serves as an essential part in the creation of various startups from the proof of concept to acquiring market leader positions.

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