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Free Website Builders

Most website builders don't want to give you something for free— but with a little research you can make it work.

Last Updated September 9 2020

Steve Benjamins

Written By Steve Benjamins

Limitations are pretty consistent across free website builders.

Most include an ad along the footer of your website— though some ads are definitely more intrusive than others.

All include a free subdomain— though some are too long to be usable.

Only two website builders on this list (Ucraft and Google Sites) let you connect a custom domain name on their free plan.

A few notes:

  • I am rating website builder free plans— not paid plans. For example, I give Wix’s paid plans 4 stars and their free plan 2 stars because it’s quite limited.
  • This doesn’t cover ecommerce. My roundup of the best free ecommerce builders does that.
  • You’ll never find a free domain name. Sorry. There’s no way around this. Website builders often include a free domain name if you buy an annual plan but that’s as close as you can get.
  • Your SEO reputation is tied to your domain name. So if you start with a free subdomain (example: yoursite.jimdosite.com) but plan to upgrade to a domain name later (example: yoursite.com), just know that you will lose any SEO reputation you’ve built up when you change your domain. (You could theoretically fix this with 301 redirects except most free website builders don’t allow 301s.)

Alright— let’s get into it!

Note: My work is supported by affiliate commissions. Read more »

Free Website Builders

Most website builders don't want to give you something for free— but with a little research you can make it work. youtube.com

How To: Add A Custom Domain Name

This is a hack to add a custom domain name to your free website builder— even if it doesn’t allow them. It doesn’t work perfectly but it gets you some of the way there.

Let’s say you built a free website on Weebly at yourgiftologist.weebly.com.

You can actually register yourgiftologist.com with a domain name provider such as Namecheap and set it to redirect to yourgiftologist.weebly.com:

Setting yourgiftologist.com to redirect to yourgiftologist.weebly.com in Namecheap.

Setting yourgiftologist.com to redirect to yourgiftologist.weebly.com in Namecheap.

Now when visitors type in yourgiftologist.com they are automatically forwarded to yourgiftologist.weebly.com.

This isn’t a perfect solution— observant visitors will definitely notice the URL change in their browser— but it would let you put a domain name on your business card.

How To: Add Ecommerce

Most website builders don’t let free plans use ecommerce— other than Weebly and Strikingly which offer limited free ecommerce.

So how can you include ecommerce on those website builders? Use Ecwid.

Ecwid lets you embed an online store onto any website. All you have to do is build the store on Ecwid and then you use their embed code to put it on your website. It’s as simple as embedding a Youtube video.

It's easy to install Ecwid on any website— just copy + paste this code.

It's easy to install Ecwid on any website— just copy + paste this code.

Written By Steve Benjamins

I’ve been building websites for over 20 years and websites have been featured in Wired, The Next Web, Smashing Magazine, The Huffington Post and Forbes. Read More →