It is definitely possible to use a free website builder in 2022— if you are okay with some tradeoffs.
I spent the last month testing the free plans of website builders and here’s the truth: website builders aren’t scrambling to give away something for free but with a little research you can definitely make it work.
To be clear, free means a free website indefinitely— not a free trial that expires after 14 days.
Best Website Builders
Best-in-class website builders. Highly recommended.
What To Like
Square is the best overall free website builder.
- Excellent Ecommerce Features — Most website builders lock up critical features like ecommerce on free plans in hopes that it drive users to upgrade. Not Square. Square includes curbside pickup, Apple Pay, digital products, Instagram shops, gift cards and shipping calculator in free plans. Plus, unlimited products.
- Easy To Use — Square Online is what I’d recommend to anyone who doesn’t feel tech savvy.
- Customer Support — Unlike other website builders, Square includes customer support including phone support!) on free plans.
- Customization — Pages are built by adding pre-designed sections. You can toggle individual elements on and off but you can’t add additional elements.
The free plan includes a small ad in the footer of your website:
This ad is included on Square free websites.
Overview of Square Online's free plans (1:18)
Great Website Builders
These website builders are an excellent choice.
What To Like
Webflow is powerful but has a learning curve. It’s what I recommend if you would like to design your own theme from scratch.
- Design Your Theme From Scratch — Webflow gives you the flexibility of front-end coding without actually requiring you to code.
- CMS — Webflow also includes a CMS in the free plan. This CMS lets you create custom content types called Collections. For example, you could create a Collection of articles that will automatically generate new pages for every new article.
- Learning Curve — Understanding the fundamentals of web design will help.
Webflow includes a small ad that scrolls with your website. It’s not very noticeable.
Webflow includes a small ad on free websites.
Overview of Webflow's free plan (1:26)
Note: Webflow’s Free Plan Is Called ‘Staging’
Navigating Webflow’s pricing plans can be confusing.
You’ll want to sign up for their free Account plan and then choose the Staging plan for a free website.
I asked Webflow to confirm that the Staging plan could be used for publishing a website and here’s what they had to say:
I would think of it like this: Webflow is free until you want to have more than 2 projects, if you want to host a website on a custom domain, or if you want to export code from a project.
Carrd is a website builder for one-page websites. It has an excellent free plan— so if you need a free one page website, I’d recommend Carrd.
- Built For One Page Sites — Unlike other website builders, Carrd is just for one-page websites. So themes and features are all purpose built.
- Affordable — If you do decide to upgrade, you’ll find that Carrd is extremely affordable. Plans start a $9 per year. That is WAY, WAY cheaper than website builders with multiple pages such as Squarespace or Wix.
- Customizable — There’s a wide variety of style customizations that you can make— people have even re-created Amazon pages with Carrd.
- Learning Curve — You’ll need to wrap your head around concepts like containers and CSS classes.
Carrd includes an extremely small ad on free websites:
Most visitors probably won't even notice this ad.
Google Sites is the only website builder that is 100% free. They don’t even offer paid plans.
- Connect Custom Domains — It requires some technical understanding. but Google Sites lets you connect a custom domain name.
- Integration With Google Products — One interesting thing is that Google Sites integrates well with other Google products like: Google Calendar, Maps, Docs, Slides, Sheets and Forms. Plus you can restrict your website to users in your Google Apps organization.
- Lame Themes & Theme Customization — There are 6 “themes” which aren’t really themes. They are just a tweak to the colors and fonts. No actual change to the layout. You can only choose one accent color. You can’t even choose a custom font. Text must also span the whole page— it can’t be organized into columns.
- No blogging and no ecommerce. Features that are standard on other website builders are missing from Google Sites.
Ad isn’t even the right word. It’s more a scrolling icon that the visitor has to hover for more information. Here’s what it looks like:
This is so small... I wish Google gave the option of removing it!
Overview of Google Sites
Average Website Builders
These website builders can still work but may have a drawback.
What To Like
Can connect domain names but a big ad. Read More
- Connect Domain Names — Ucraft lets you connect a custom domain name on their free plan. That’s huge!
- Free plan is difficult to find — Readers have complained to me that Ucraft funnels them to paid free trial when they are trying to sign up for a free plan. In my tests I’ve found it confusing too!
- Big Advertisements — Big ad that scrolls alongside your website. The free website builders I recommend all have smaller ads.
An example of the Ucraft ad:
Ucraft includes an ad that scrolls along your website.
Jimdo is simple and straightforward with a small ad on free websites.
The main reason isn’t in my recommended free website builders is Jimdo’s free plan has a 5 page limit.
IM Creator has no ad on free websites. That’s awesome.
Doesn't this look nice? A free website with no ads.
Unfortunately the subdomain they give free websites is long and difficult to read. Unfortunately there is no way to edit it:
Webnode is a basic website builder with excellent templates and a small ad on free websites:
The ad on free Webnode websites is pretty small.
Unfortunately Webnode limits free sites to 1 GB of bandwidth— which doesn’t get you very far. None of the free website builders I recommend have a bandwidth limit.
Poor Website Builders
These website builders have something that gives me pause.
What To Like
Wix’s free plan is too limited to recommend.
For starters, there’s an ad that scrolls alongside the top of free websites:
This ad scrolls alongside free Wix websites.
And the free subdomain is not as friendly as other website builders:
A better URL would be something like:
Finally Wix has a 500 MB bandwidth limit on free websites. That’s really low— especially since the Wix template we tested was 1.4 MB.
GoDaddy has a sections-based editor similar to Square Online.
But unlike Square Online, GoDaddy doesn’t include ecommerce features and has a large ad that scrolls alongside your website:
GoDaddy's ad on free websites is too big for me to recommend.
Strikingly is a one-page website builder— similar to Carrd.
But unlike Carrd, Strikingly includes a pretty large ad on their free plans.
Site123 has a free plan but I don’t recommend it.
For starters the free subdomain is a random string of numbers. When we signed up, our website was:
Plus the advertisement on free websites scrolls alongside your website:
Finally even if Site123 didn’t have a large ad and a bad subdomain, I still would not recommend it because Site123 isn’t a visual, drag-and-drop editor. Instead you edit your website by filling out forms. It’s not ideal.
The ad WordPress.com puts on free websites is just too intrusive for me to recommend:
Note: WordPress.com is not WordPress.org. WordPress.org is what most people mean when they talk about WordPress— it’s the free, open-source CMS. WordPress.com is more like a website builder.
Bandwidth & Storage Limits
To the best of our knowledge this the bandwidth and storage limits for each website builder as of December 2020.
|Website Builder ||Bandwidth ||Storage |
|Square Online ||Not Known ||Not Known |
|Webflow ||Unlimited ||Not Known |
|Carrd ||Not Known ||Not Known |
|Google Sites ||Unlimited ||Unlimited |
|Jimdo ||2 GB ||500 MB |
|GoDaddy ||Not Known ||Not Known |
|Ucraft ||Unlimited ||Not Known |
|IM Creator ||100 visits per day ||50 MB |
|Strikingly ||5 GB / month ||500 MB |
|Wix ||500 MB ||500 MB |
|WordPress.com ||Unlimited ||3 GB |
|Site123 ||1 GB ||500 MB |
|Webnode ||1 GB ||100 MB |
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get a free domain name?
You can't. There is no way to get a domain name for free, though most website builders will give you a free first year of your domain name— if you're on a paid annual plan.
What about WordPress?
There are two reasons I have not included WordPress: (1) WordPress is free for download but you'll still need to pay for a host. (2) WordPress is a CMS— not a website builder.
Does Google have a free website builder?
They do— and it's quite good. It's called Google Sites.
What is the easiest free website builder?
I think Square Online is the easiest free website builder.
What is the cheapest website builder?
Carrd. Read more in my roundup of the Cheapest Website Builders.
Can you make a free Squarespace website?
Squarespace has a 14-day free trial but they do not have a free plan.
Is there a free version of Shopify?
No. The cheapest version of Shopify is Shopify Lite which costs $9 / month.