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Google Sites Review: Why Don’t We Recommend It? [2024]

Andrés Gánem Andrés Gánem Website Development Expert

Though it can be useful for specific cases, Google Sites lacks the depth needed to create a great professional website for you or your business. If you’re serious about your website, you’d be better off with a builder that offers more design and functionality tools. With its user-friendly interface and array of features, Wix is a much better choice1 for most.

Overview

Google Sites at a Glance

💯Free PlanYes
📄Number of Templates17
🔌Apps/IntegrationsYes
🛒E-commerce ToolsNo
Shared Reseller Dedicated Cloud WordPress
Homepage made with Google Sites
You can create very simple websites using Google Sites
1

Google Sites offers a simple and free way to host information online. However, for anything more ambitious than a presentation with .com at the end (which you’ll have to buy yourself), Google Sites simply won’t cut it.

It’s not all bad. The experience is clean, and it seamlessly connects to any other Google Cloud product. It’s also available in over 70 different languages, which is a lot more than almost any other website builder.

Still, when I tested how far I could take a Google Sites website, the answer was: not very. I still think it can be an invaluable tool for school projects, internal wikis, or to hold an information hub for you and your friends. It can also be a good place to start if you have absolutely no website-building experience.

However, you won’t be building the next hit blog or massive e-commerce enterprise with it anytime soon. If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly option that can still give you a competitive website, I recommend taking a look at Wix instead1.

Alternatively, check out our expertly curated list of the top 10 best website builders in 2024.

2.0

Templates

With So Few Templates, Can You Build a Unique Site?

Google Sites offers a very limited selection of 17 generic templates. Though each template is supposed to be designed with a different purpose in mind, the variation between them is so limited that you’re really only getting 17 different arrangements of the same heading, subheading, and image structures. They’re also limited in scope and not specifically designed to promote products and businesses.

Google Sites template options
Google Sites templates lend themselves well to collaborative projects

While the selection is pretty limited, every template is at least clean and mobile-friendly. However, they’re not exactly industry-leading designs. Google Sites’ templates are pretty simple and uninspiring, and there’s nothing that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Google Sites is free, and you can’t expect the world from a free service. Right? Well, Wix’s free plan comes with 800+ modern templates1. So, there’s really no excuse for such a tiny, uninspiring template library from Google.

Design and Customization

Since there are only a handful of templates available, you might be wondering whether you can create a distinctive-looking site with this builder. But the good news is, you can customize any of the 17 templates a fair bit.

We’re not talking about complete creative freedom, of course, but you can change colors, font styles, as well as the layout of your text and images. For its limited customization, it’s worth noting that Google Sites offers hundreds of different font choices.

Google Sites template with instructional filler text
Google Sites template layouts match their stated purpose well, like this Project layout

Another thing I like is that each template comes with snippets of filler text that provide instructions and recommendations for content, instead of the good-old “lorem ipsum” filler. You still have a sense of what the text will look like on each page once it’s published, and you also get a bit of guidance in terms of copy.

2.0

Features

Is Integration with the Google Suite Enough to Add a Wow Factor?

I was hoping that Google Sites would have a few innovative features that would really impress me, but unfortunately, the main attraction is its seamless connection with all other Google products. Noticeably missing are many standard website builder features, like SEO tools or the ability to add third-party apps.

Unfortunately, Google Site’s features just aren’t varied or powerful enough to compete with the big names in website building. For example, Wix offers just about everything Google Site does1 (and more), like a comprehensive app store, e-commerce capabilities, complete creative freedom over your site, a complete set of blogging and branding tools. The list goes on, really.

Incorporate Content from Nearly Any Google App

Since Google Sites is part of the massive suite of Google apps, it’s incredibly easy to connect files from various tools and group them together on your site. Your site is connected to all of your Google accounts via your email address, so you have instant access to anything saved on your Google Drive.

You can embed files on any page, and they will appear as thumbnail previews. You can adjust the size of each thumbnail and link to charts, spreadsheets, documents, etc, or link to the actual files – just be sure to set the permissions so the right users can open them. This is incredibly useful for aggregating project files, resources, or other documents related to a project.

Here’s a list of the apps you can directly incorporate content from:

  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Slides
  • Calendar
  • Forms
  • Charts
  • Maps

Search Google Images or YouTube Directly from the Interface

Adding documents and such from your personal Google Drive is useful, but not really unexpected: Google likes to connect all of its products. What really impressed me is the ability to directly search Google Images and YouTube from the Google Sites interface (and then add those images or videos to your website).

In other words, if you want to embed a YouTube video, you don’t have to use a separate tab in your web browser. You just search from a pop-up box and place the video wherever you like on your page.

Google Sites built-in YouTube search feature
I love that you can embed virtually any video directly from the Google Sites editor

You can do a Google Image Search in the same way. This search box filters images to bring up those labeled for commercial reuse, which means you can legally use them without paying fees. Just be sure to verify that commercial reuse is actually allowed (since Google warns that the filter isn’t perfect), and give credit to the original source if required.

Collaborate on Your Site in Real-Time

If you’re used to collaborating with others and sharing files on Google Docs, you’ll find that Google Sites works similarly. You can provide editing access to the collaborating team members, and those with draft access can edit in real-time, just as you would in a Google Doc. This is a huge asset to collaboration, regardless of what you’re working on.

You’ll also have extensive control over who can view your website. Google Sites can be published only to certain people or groups, such as an internal team or your entire company. And of course, you can also make it public so it appears in internet searches like a typical website.

Announcement Banners

This last feature is really useful and I was impressed by its simplicity. You can easily add a customized announcement banner to your site with the option to place it sitewide or on a single page.

Google Sites homepage with announcement banner
Adding an announcement banner (in purple above) can provide an eye-catching CTA

Customization for the banner is limited to color and text, but it’s an easy way to provide visitors with important information or direct them to a useful resource for getting started on your site.

5.0

Ease of use

Is Google Sites as User-Friendly as Other Google Apps?

Google is good at understanding users’ needs and meeting them effectively. This carries over to Google Sites, which offers an intuitive, streamlined interface without a lot of clutter. Even if you’re not familiar with Google’s other apps, it’s super easy to find your way around Google Sites.

When you create your first site on Google Sites, you’ll get a series of pop-ups guiding you through the process of setting up your website. Plus, if you need a quick refresher, you can click the three dots on the menu bar and select Take a tour! to open these pop-ups again.

Clean, Simple Interface

The Google Sites editor interface is really pleasing to look at and almost soothing to use. Its free of clutter and expanding menus, focusing only on the essentials. There’s really only one place to look to find what you need, so it’s very straightforward and you can start building your site quickly.

The Google Sites editor interface
I like how the Google Sites editor is organized, but wish it had more content block and font customization options

The downside is that Google Sites lacks numerous features, resulting in this achievable simplicity. Expansive menus aren’t necessary due to the limited range of available actions.

However, Google Sites is not the only website builder that offers a simple user experience. Wix’s drag-and-drop editor and user-friendly interface make it just as easy to use1 while giving you full control over your website’s design. Wix also offers user-friendly options for tweaking your site’s SEO, blogging, marketing, and e-commerce, none of which are available with Google Sites.

Premade Content Layouts

Google Sites uses a drag-and-drop editor on a grid layout. Essentially, you can move elements where you want them, but they’ll always snap into the existing design grid to keep everything aligned. You can use individual content blocks to design your own layout, or you can choose from a small selection of existing layouts to save time and effort.

Content layout options - Google Sites
Google Sites’ layout templates streamline your design experience

If you want to create your own layout, take some time to explore the various content blocks. There are a few unique ones that you won’t find in other website builders. These include collapsible text, where the paragraph text is only visible when the subheading is clicked, a table of contents, and a placeholder block that you can fill with embedded content from your Google Drive, Google Calendar, or other sources.

Autosave

Like other Google products, your Google Site will automatically save any changes you make in real-time. It also keeps a version history so you can review edits made by different collaborators and revert to earlier versions at any point. You do need to manually click Publish to ensure your changes go live, but you’ll never lose your work if your system crashes.

3.0

Support

There’s No Live Support Option – Which Is Pretty Disappointing

Google Sites has very little in the way of support. There are no live support options – not even an automated chat – so you’ll have to rely on the series of support documents and the community help forum if you have issues.

The support documents are fairly comprehensive, but I still found questions that they couldn’t answer. The community help forum is pretty hit-or-miss, too. It’s always worth checking to see if someone asked your exact question and received an answer, but there are a lot of repetitive questions along with ones you could solve by reading the support documents.

This help structure might appear strange for a large corporation like Google, but consider Google Sites similar to Google Docs or Sheets. You wouldn’t anticipate live support for a word editing or spreadsheet program, and this is essentially a continuation of those tools.

Note that there are 24/7 support options available for those who pay for G Suite, a set of business tools that provides a few extras on top of the standard free Google Apps.

Google Sites troubleshooting support documentation
Google Support attempts to help you solve issues on your own, but doesn’t always succeed

All of that said, one thing I really appreciate about Google’s support documents is that they list specific error messages you may receive and give instructions for dealing with each message. In other words, they don’t just provide generic troubleshooting to work through the most common problems – they give you steps to directly solve the problem you’re experiencing.

The lack of live support options is honestly disappointing. Even though Google Sites is pretty simple, I can still see complete beginners running into problems like connecting custom domain names or understanding accessibility.

This is yet another reason why I recommend Wix for complete beginners1. It offers a more extensive knowledge base, more video tutorials, and even 24/7 live chat and callback support.

5.0

Pricing

Google Sites Is Free. What’s the Catch?

Google Sites is completely free and comes with your Google account. Every feature and function is available for free on personal accounts (except for 24/7 customer support). But there are limits to this. If you’re using a free, personal account to set up your site, you’ll only get 100MB of storage per site (and note that any attached files count against this). Want any more than that? You’ll have to upgrade to Google Workspace/G Suite, which starts at $6/month.

If there’s a catch, it’s that you get what you pay for. Google Sites is more of a collaboration and presentation tool than a fully functioning website builder. However, just because it’s free doesn’t mean you should settle for mediocrity. Wix’s free plan1 comes with blogging features, advanced design tools, and even some of the best built-in accessibility features on the market.

Comparison

How does Google Sites match up to the competition?

1WixCompareOur Score4.9Compare
1SquarespaceCompareOur Score4.8Compare
1Google SitesCompareOur Score3.4Compare
1SimpleSiteCompareOur Score2.5Compare

Google Sites REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

Ultimately, I’m pretty disappointed in Google Sites as a website builder. There’s so much potential, but it settles for providing a few nifty tricks rather than becoming a website building powerhouse.

Google still offers a great user experience, and it lives up to its reputation of connecting all your work across Google apps and tools. However, Google Sites isn’t meant to be anything other than a collaboration and presentation tool, and sadly, trying to make it into a full-fledged website builder just won’t work.

That doesn’t mean Google Sites is completely useless. If you need a free builder to create a quick, simple site for an event, a professional portfolio, or a different kind of small-scale project, it can be a solid option. However, I wouldn’t recommend you use Google Sites beyond this.

If you’re looking to create a more advanced website for free, Wix’s free plan gives you access to every one of its advanced design features1. This means that as long as you don’t mind a Wix subdomain, you can create a completely original site without spending a dollar. What’s more, Wix is still incredibly easy to use while still giving you complete control over the design and functionality of your site.

We’ve also tested and reviewed a lot of other website builders, and you can read our recommendations in our list of the best website builders for 2024.

FAQ

Is Google Sites really free?

Yes. Google Sites is an app that you can access for free, so long as you have a Google account. That said, there are storage limits unless you pay for Google Workspace – and even then, its features are fairly limited. This makes it difficult to build a complex website.

Is Google Sites any good?

That depends on what you need. If you want to publish a very simple landing page or portfolio, Google Sites might work for you. But if you’re looking to build a proper website with a contact form, booking system, small store, or any other extra functionality, you’ll be better off with a more comprehensive solution like Wix.

How can I access Google Sites?

From your Google account, access the drop-down menu for Google apps and click on “More from Google”. Scroll down to see All Products, and you should be able to spot the Sites app straight away.

You can also integrate other products from Google Cloud into your Google Sites website directly from your editing dashboard.

What is the best website builder?

It all depends on your specific needs. Some website builders give you a lot more design freedom but are a bit more time-consuming, while others let you create simple but high-quality sites in minutes. If you want to find the perfect builder for you, check our list of the best website builders in 2024.
Andrés Gánem Andrés Gánem
Andrés writes about a variety of topics aimed at helping business owners and merchants grow and manage their ventures. These topics include (but are not limited to) website building, web hosting, project management software, and credit card processing. Andrés has 3+ years of experience as a writer and content creator. He’s also worked as a project manager, website designer, and social media manager for a variety of science communication groups.
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I disagree i like Google sites

It is a great alternative if you do not want to spend money. I've been using it to build my online store. Sure it does not offer a cart or checkout but you can buy a widget and implement it Google sites. Or you can have customers directly contact you through a whatsapp button etc. Template wise you can edit basic fonts and colors and add columns to make it look more professional.

avatar
Harry bones, USA
October 20, 2022
5
“Upgrade” from previous to new Sites broke team wiki

I work for a large company that is also a Google Apps customer. I am on a 14-person highly technical team. We use Sites for our team wiki, and routinely update pages, often 2-3 of us making separate updates to different pages at any one. Since the rollout of the "new" sites, editing and publishing is only for the entire site, meaning one user cannot publish a page when done if someone else is also editing a page. Google touts this as a collaborative tool, but this one feature-failure is our greatest pain. The new version dropped support for tables. Tables were introduced to HTML in the early-mid-90s, but Google decided to drop it from Sites in 2020. You can imagine we use(d) tables all over the place in our team wiki. They are a basic feature when laying out things like settings, selections that differ by environments, and so on. Tables are an everyday thing. We routinely get page edit errors requiring a reload of the page, often losing content we created along the way. If you have any serious edits it is best to create the content in gDocs then copy over. This sort of works, but still requires finish editing for formatting mismatches from gDocs to Sites. This seems insane to us. Partly because gDocs does tables that do not paste into Sites...but that's just me banging on the tables again. Sure, we could try to learn to embed gDocs and gSheets elements into a page...to recreate BASIC features that used to exist in Sites, but honestly we are simply too busy to try to solve Google's shortsitedness with kludgy workarounds...I mean "integrated features that only sorta work." All that for a wiki, which normally is a relatively simple thing to maintain. Google is deaf to complaints, even from a Fortune 100 company. Someone thought the new Sites would be better, but it is, in the opinion of a technical team with a few centuries of collective experience, barely worth the effort to try.

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Scot Harkins, USA
April 06, 2022
2
Creates a site without bells & whistles, but do we really want them?

I made myself a 22 page Google site for a hobby project. I didn't use any templates so made it from scratch. Do I want flashing gifs or auto scrolling gizmo's, adverts popping up etc? No I just want to show the photo's and descriptions of my vintage lathe and it's numerous accessories. Some of the free website builders don't auto reduce the pages for iphone so pleased that Google does. It's really easy & I have a drop down menu for all the pages. I wish there was an option to make photo's enlarge but apart from that I'm happy

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Vic Newey, Great Britain
January 11, 2022
4
Be creative

Behind an interface that seems simplistic, Google Site actually lets you do what you want! You just need to be imaginative and creative. But it seems people are more used to choosing from a list. I concede that at first, it is a bit confusing, but after doing several minisites, I have realized that the possibilities are much greater than they seem. You can resize and organize everything as you like. And finally, it goes a lot faster and is a lot more fun.

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Laurent, Thailand
July 16, 2021
5
Google Sites is great!

If you want a simple interface that you can easily work with, Google Sites is perfect. It's modern-looking, clean and unencumbered. The only ones who don't like are web-techies and websites like this who can't earn income from it. The web isn't all about business and income, so website building should be judged against those criteria. But sites like this are driven by referrals and $, so they would never recommend a freebie like Google Sites. If you are service- or people-oriented, if you want to pass on information in a simple, clean way OR if you are your own web techie, then Google Sites is ideal.

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Terry, USA
April 05, 2021
4
Google Adsense can’t be used

Good insight, however, you have mentioned that on Google Sites it is easy to use Google Adsense. What I read on Google Sites terms and conditions that no advertising is allowed on their platform. Google Adsense can only be used for websites deployed on Google Cloud, which is a paid platform.

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Destination Bangalore, India
January 26, 2021
3
Google Sites does the job for a simple website without any features

Funny how you guys show the "Get a Wix website" pop-up. Seems biased to me :D and this is just the option that gives you the highest commission. As stated above, google Sites does the job for a simple website without many features. You can use it to write blogs, present your services and products (not sell them though) and have your virtual business card in place. Why spend money on more if you don't need more?

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Robert, Germany
November 26, 2020
5
It could be better, but I’m happy

I use Google sites for fun, and it meets my needs... mostly. The problem is that there's no way to put a comment in there. Basically, I have to create a Google form, copy the link, and then create a button on my site and put the link in it! I have to check my email all the time for comment forms, and then manually put the comment on my website! It's exhausting, and unlike other websites, the comment won't be there immediately! But besides that, and no blogging tools, I like Google sites.

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anonymus, USA
November 26, 2020
3
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