Best Free Website Builders: Are They Worth It?

illustration of man in suit raising fists in front of a laptop while it's raining money

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When the cost of everything is going up, it's good to know you can still score a freebie. Thankfully we've rated and reviewed the best free website builders you can purchase for £0 and 0p.

What are the Best Free Website Builders?

  1. Square Online Best All-Rounder
  2. WordPress.com Best for Content Paywall
  3. GoDaddy  Best for Beginners
  4. Wix Best for Custom Design
  5. SITE123 Best for Text Animations
  6. Jimdo  Best for Local Businesses

These are our recommendations – click the links to go to the provider's site directly or scroll down to the review on this page.

When you're trying to publicise your business, you'll need a website to grow your reputation. Now, online sellers should look to the top ecommerce platforms for the best sales features.

This guide looks at the different options for designing and publishing your website. This means hosting is included, which is the service that means your website goes online. However, domain registration isn't, so you'll get a web address with the platform's name in it.

Let's start with an overview of our winners:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0

Square

WordPress.com

GoDaddy

Wix

SITE123

Jimdo

Score
4.8
Score
3.8
Score
3.8
Score
2.8
Score
2.3
Score
2.1
Best For

All-Rounder

Best For

Paywall Content

Best For

Beginners

Best For

Custom Design

Best For

Text Animations

Best For

Local businesses

Transaction fees

1.4% + 25p (UK cards)

2.5% + 25p (non-UK cards)

Transaction fees

10%

Transaction fees

2.8% (PayPal only)

Transaction fees

N/A

Transaction fees

N/A

Transaction fees

N/A

Key Features
  • URL includes “.square.”
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited product listings
  • Discounted shipping
  • Take payments
  • Can’t accept PayPal
Key Features
  • 1GB storage space
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Malware protection
  • Customer data forms
  • Accept tips/donations
  • Paid content area
  • Sell subscriptions
Key Features
  • URL contains “.godaddysites.com”
  • 50 web pages maximum
  • Appointment bookings
  • Take secure PayPal payments
Key Features
  • URL contains “.wixsite.com”
  • 500MB storage
  • 500MB bandwidth
  • No analytics
  • Wix icon in page tab
  • Can’t take payments
Key Features
  • URL contains “.site123.”
  • 250MB storage
  • 250MB bandwidth
  • Multiple websites
  • No AI tools
  • Can’t take payments
Key Features
  • URL contains “.jimdosite.”
  • 500MB storage
  • 2GB bandwidth
  • Free image library
  • No selling features
  • No customer support
Members area?
Members area?
Members area?
Members area?
Members area?
Members area?
Unlimited storage space?
Unlimited storage space?
Unlimited storage space?
Unlimited storage space?
Unlimited storage space?
Unlimited storage space?
App store?
App store?
App store?
App store?
App store?
App store?
Try Square Competitors Try GoDaddy Try Wix Competitors Try Jimdo

What Is a Free Website Builder?

If you want to make your own website, but don't want to pay a monthly subscription – or any charges at all – you can get a free website builder to get the job done.

It's a programme that lets you design and personalise a fully functional website and set it live on the internet without paying a cent. Hosting the service of making your website appear live on the web is usually included, though not always. The trade-off is that you'll probably have ads across your website from the brand you used to make it with.

I see you baby, shaking those ads

All of these free website builder plans come with ads from the provider. This is the reason you're getting a free website – just be aware of how that could affect your site's professional appearance.

1. Best All-Rounder Square Online

✅ Unlimited storage and bandwidth

✅ Online store with no monthly fees

✅ Phone or web chat customer support

❌ Limited design control

Known primarily as a payments company, Square used to be a somewhat sidelined website builder. Since Square took over Weebly, its free plan has become astonishingly generous – offering limitless web pages and human-powered customer support. That's far better than Wix, the provider that often tops the “best website builder” list.

In fact, you'd have to pay £20/month (billed annually) just to get phone support from Wix – while Square offers this for free.

travel insurance themed website preview with left-hand menu showing limited text editing options
You can change the style of text, but not the font.

How much design control do you have with Square Online's free plan?

You can choose colours, basic layout options, and very simple text styles for your website. You'll be able to add numbered lists and bullet points, but don't expect a range of font options. You also won't be able to edit the width of text boxes or position images within frames, either.

Unfortunately, there's no free image gallery (like there is with GoDaddy) or adjustment options like editing the brightness and contrast. You'll have to upgrade to a Square premium plan to access these features.

slice of a website preview showing square logo with "powered by Square" tagline
The Square banner ad on your site is very subtle

If you're taking payments in person, take a look at our Square POS review. You'll find more details there on the different price plans available.

2. Best for Content Paywall WordPress.com

✅ Paid-only website sections

✅ Accept payments with Stripe

✅ Unlimited pages

❌ No customer support

❌ High transaction fee (10%)

A bold new move from WordPress: as of June this year, you can now accept payments, tips, donations, and paid subscribers on your free WordPress site. This is a major new perk for a platform that made a name for itself as a home for bloggers.

However, if you take payments with WordPress' free plan, you'll pay a hefty 10% transaction fee. This move has come in the same month that content creator subscription platform Patreon removed its Lite plan that charged just 5% fees (plus payment processing charges). WordPress Free now looks like a very close contender to Patreon Pro (charging 8% plus four other charges).

However, Square Online charges just 1.4% + 25p (UK cards) or 2.5% + 25p (non-UK cards) per transaction, which seems a far more attractive rate than either WordPress or Patreon. Bear in mind, you can't create a members-only area with Square's free plan. This is why we recommend WordPress for content creators, whereas Square is better suited for selling professional services or physical products.

multiple error messages for AI text assistant appearing within a website editor
WordPress launched its AI assistant in June, but I couldn't get it to work.

What are the limitations of a free WordPress website?

You can't accept PayPal via your free WordPress website, like you can with GoDaddy. You'll also receive no customer support from the WordPress team. This is one of the major reasons we ranked it below Square Online, which gives you access to human assistance without paying a subscription fee.

On top of that, it can be notoriously tricky to use WordPress if you're a total beginner.

3. Best for Beginners  GoDaddy

✅ Very fast to use

✅ Limitless storage and bandwidth

✅ Phone and web chat support

❌ No app store

❌ Maximum 50 web pages

Placing for the bronze medal is GoDaddy – without a doubt the fastest way to get your business online. All you need to do is answer a couple of questions, then it will reveal a prepopulated website with relevant images and a suitable layout.

The best part about GoDaddy is how simple it is to use. You can just click around and you'll find it easy enough to edit without reading any guides. That said, if you're interested in its full range of features, you can find out more in our GoDaddy review.

website preview with thin banner at the top promoting GoDaddy
GoDaddy's banner ad is fixed, so it remains visible as you scroll.

Which free plan is better, GoDaddy or Wix?

With GoDaddy, you'll get unlimited storage space plus unmetered bandwidth, whereas Wix gives you just 500MB of each on its free plan. GoDaddy also has better customer service, offering phone and live chat support, whereas Wix only offers the latter.

However, Wix has more precise editing tools. So, if you're looking for a hands-on web creation experience, you'll have greater customisation with Wix than GoDaddy.

4. Best for Custom Design Wix

✅ Free image library

✅ Precise design editing

✅ Quality AI writing tool

❌ Can't take payments

❌ No phone support

Wix is a market-leading website design platform and offers some of the highest quality editing tools you'll find for non-experts. Unlike GoDaddy, which offers limited layout tweaks, Wix allows you to control virtually everything you see on your webpages.

lefthand menu on a website editor showing several results from a search of 'chef' pictures
Wix's free image library is easy to search through.

One of the reasons Wix only places fourth on our list is because it lacks selling and payment features. Therefore, we wouldn't recommend Wix's free plan for any kind of online retail; Square is a better option for merchants.

We explain why its premium version wins the title of best website builder in our Wix review. Even though its editor is not too challenging to use (far easier than WordPress), you may find yourself in a bind if you struggle as there's very limited customer support on the free plan.

5. Best for Text Animations SITE123

✅ Book support appointments

✅ Dynamic text animation

✅ Goal-based edit option

❌ Site is one long page

❌ Low storage space and bandwidth

If you're looking to engage customers with a bold design and moving text, SITE123 has the free plan you need. Its range of fun text animation options provide a genuinely refreshing approach to web design.

Choose from around 30 different motions for any of the text on your page. Personally, I found the “Wobble” effect enhanced the playful character of my web page. This suited the aesthetic of a vibrant plant retailer (my chosen test business).

website editor loading text animation effect
Make your text stand out with attention-grabbing motion.

Of course, not every business leader is looking for this kind of gimmick. I'd recommend SITE123 for small local businesses with a good understanding of their community. Alternatively, the text movements can work well for media companies and other creative industries.

This isn't an ideal plan for retailers or larger businesses. You'll only receive very small storage and bandwidth (250MB each) and your website will be one long scrolling page.

This is highly unusual and doesn't lend itself to portfolio-based businesses that require separate pages. Free websites aren't designed to give the same level of performance that a business user really needs. A paid Squarespace subscription would be a better option than SITE123 for any industries requiring a high level of consumer trust.

6. Best for Local Businesses Jimdo

✅ Connect Google apps

✅ Free images

✅ Simple design process

❌ Five pages maximum

❌ No retail or payments

Jimdo offers a modest set of features that produce a genuinely neat website. Answer the interactive quiz to whip up a custom design that you can begin to edit within minutes.

We recommend it for advertising local services because you can integrate scheduling apps like Calendly and Google Calendar. This is a handy feature for customers who want to know your availability without making a call.

In our full review of Jimdo, we found it's the best value website builder you can subscribe to. Head over there if you're curious about its premium features.

website preview with dialogue box in bottom left corner that declares the site was built with Jimdo
The Jimdo dialog box on your site is fairly intrusive.

How does Jimdo compare with other free website builders?

When it comes to editing your design, Jimdo is closer to GoDaddy than it is to Wix. This means you can move sections up and down the page, but you've got limited ability to edit within sections.

However, beginners will find Jimdo much more user-friendly than WordPress, and somewhat similar to using Square Online.

There's also handy royalty-free images library – and Jimdo's options are much more attractive than the ones I found in SITE123's portfolio. However, there's no search function, so Jimdo's images are much harder to locate when compared with Wix's catalog.

Is a Free Website Builder Right for You?

Free plans don't usually supply the level of professionalism needed for, say, architecture, counselling, legal, dentistry, and so on. It can be difficult for a new customer to trust your business if your URL contains another platform's name.

Free website builders can work as a temporary or stand-in solution if you aren't sure whether to commit to your business idea. They're also a great opportunity to practice the skills of creating a website from scratch.

If you're curious about taking the first steps, check out our guide on how to build a business website.

How Did We Compare the Best Free Providers?

To give you a fair comparison, I designed a framework of questions to assess the range of features for each website builder. Bearing in mind the priorities of a small business leader, I evaluated each product based on:

  • Customer support availability
  • Bandwidth – the data processing resources allocated to your website
  • Website size allowance – including storage space for media and maximum page numbers
  • Whether or not there was an app store – for adding extra features
  • Options for selling products and taking payments

Each website builder was allocated a score based on its performance against the same objective criteria. Scores were converted into a five-star rating system to produce the final results.

And the Winner Is...

If you're looking for an affordable way to promote your business online, our research into the best free website builders found the following:

  1. Square Online Best All-Rounder
  2. WordPress.com Best for Content Paywall
  3. GoDaddy Best for Beginners
  4. Wix  Best for Custom Design
  5. SITE123 Best for Text Animations
  6. Jimdo Best for Local Businesses

Remember, a website says a lot about the credibility and reputation of your brand. So think carefully about whether it's worth setting up a site with a branded domain name and banner ads.

When you're ready to look at premium options, you can always check out our easy comparison guide for website builders.

FAQs

Which is the best free website builder?
Square Online is the best free website builder because it has unlimited storage and bandwidth. It allows you to sell products and services for no monthly fee (payment processing fee applies, however). Since incorporating Weebly's website builder technology into its site creator, Square has become a much more user-friendly tool.
Is there a completely free website?
Yes, there are several options for building and publishing a website for no money. Our top recommendations are:

  1. Square Online Best All-Rounder
  2. WordPress.com  Best for Content Paywall
  3. GoDaddy Best for Beginners
  4. Wix Best for Custom Design
  5. SITE123 Best for Text Animations
  6. Jimdo Best for Local Businesses

You'll have to upgrade to a paid subscription to use your own domain name (a URL that doesn't contain the name of the platform, such as: www.mybusiness.com).

Is Wix actually free?
Wix has a free plan, with limited storage (500MB) and bandwidth (500MB). However, you can still build a nice-looking website using Wix's editor and set it live without paying for it. This plan comes with adverts on your site.
Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.