So, you have the vision to start a website, but your budget is next to none, so you can’t pay for a website builder.
Not to worry! We’re here to help. Fortunately, there are tons of free website builders out there.
But what are these free website builders? What do they offer? And are they any good? After all, it’s imperative your website looks professional, as users might stop using your site if it’s poorly designed.
In light of that, we've put together this guide to help you get a feel for some of the best free website builders on the market.
There's lots to cover, so grab a cup of coffee and let's dive in!
Best Free Website Builder for the UK: Site123
Site123 is an easy-to-use, user-friendly, and efficient website builder. Its simple interface makes it a brilliant option for beginners. In addition, Site123 includes a 24/7 live chat option, helpful tips, and tutorials to guide you through the website building process.
When you sign up to Site123, you're asked a couple of questions:
- What type of website do you want?
- What's the name of your website?
From there, Site123 will steer you in the right direction. It offers more than 180 templates to choose from. Simply scroll through until you find the one you like, or narrow your search using template categories.
These categories include:
- Online store
As you browse through the templates, you’ll see mock-ups of how they look on both computer screens and handheld devices. Then, by clicking on the template you like, you can preview a working version of it in both formats too.
All Site123 templates are free to use. However, the free plan only allows you to use templates in their most basic form. This means your customization freedom is limited – so much so that what you see is pretty much what you get. You can make minor tweaks to the colors, fonts, and design elements, but this is restricted to just a few tweaks.
To unlock further customization options and other features, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan. However, this should be enough for you if you want to build a site for personal use, such as a blog or portfolio, or you just want a simple yet attractive business website.
Unfortunately, most of Site123's features come with its paid plan. However, they still offer some excellent free features that are perfect for novice website builders, personal use, and small business owners.
With a free plan, you get:
- 250MB storage
- 250MB bandwidth
- A subdomain
- You can add up to 200 web pages to your website.
- Access to Site123's free images
- Free SEO tools
- Access to their free, mobile-friendly templates
- It's effortless to use
- It's fast to set up.
- Access to excellent customer support- Site123's live chat is open to anyone, registered or not, to contact 24/7. They're very responsive and usually get back to you within a couple of minutes.
- You get access to responsive designs suitable for both desktop and mobile use.
- Limited customization: if you care about the finer detail, Site123 isn’t for you. The free plan's customization features are very limited and provide little flexibility for design.
- The templates are similar: the range of templates available are relatively similar in look to one another, meaning your scope for individuality is even less.
- No drag and drop editing: Site123 doesn’t have a drag and drop interface to move web elements around- what you see is pretty much what you get.
Who Should Use This Website Builder?
Site123 is the perfect option for those wanting minimal fuss and a quick, easy way to set up a website for free. As we've already hinted, it’s great for beginners, those who want to launch a personal website, and small businesses.
This could be the right option for those who don’t care too much about lots of customization and changing template elements.
However, this website builder won't meet your needs if you have a large business, want your own domain, or simply want more customization and design features.
Best Free Website Builder for the UK: Square Online
Square Online is a website builder that's great for beginners looking to launch an online store with no previous experience in website building or coding.
Signing up is simple and involves answering a few questions about your business.
This website builder is also a brilliant option if you're looking to sync with a brick-and-mortar shop – especially if you're already using Square's POS system.
Square Online offers an extensive range of website templates, which you can easily filter through. Here are some example template categories:
- Personal: blogs, portfolios, personal CVs templates
- Business: Online stores and restaurant templates
- Professional services: including photography and weddings
If you’re unsure which template best suits your business, simply click ‘help me choose.’ This will prompt a quick survey about your business, the answers to which will point you in the right direction.
Alternatively, if you feel confident enough, you can build your website from scratch with a blank slate.
Once you’ve chosen a template, you can modify it. With Square, you can customize the text, upload your business logo, and add new pages to your website. Your template will have pre-determined sections, such as headings, your mission, and your location and hours, but you can add more if you want.
You can also change the layout of your website. Again, Square provides you with layout options. However, you can’t drag and drop items, so there isn’t much flexibility over what goes where.
With Square Online’s free plan, there's no monthly fee. Instead, you pay 1.9% for credit card processing fees per transaction from the UK and 2.9% per transaction from non-UK cardholders.
Like other sites, there are paid packages to choose from, but the free plan provides many features to enjoy.
- 500MB storage and bandwidth
- You can list unlimited products.
- You can sell on Facebook and Instagram.
- You have control over your pickup, delivery, and shipping options.
- Access to SEO tools
- Sync with Square POS: Square’s Point of Sale system is available as a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices. It allows for online payment processing, sales reports, inventory tracking, digital receipts, etc. Square's POS also comes with free and paid options.
- Access to inventory management features
- No coding or experience is required.
- It's simple and easy to use
- You can list unlimited products.
- There's no monthly fee for the free option.
- There's a community forum, live chat, phone and email support for free customers, and an Instagram integration.
- It's easy to load products onto pages.
- It integrates with other eCommerce solutions such as WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and GoDaddy.
- You need to upgrade to a paid plan to enjoy all the features.
- Shipping prices can be a problem because you need to decide on free shipping or a flat rate for all your products. This can be tricky when selling items of different sizes, weights, and varying price ranges.
- Issues with account stability have been reported.
- There's a lack of customization flexibility over your website's layout.
- You can’t accept Paypal payments.
- You can’t list product reviews.
Who Should Use this Website Builder
Square Online is best suited for those new to running an online store – especially if you already have a brick-and-mortar store. It provides easy-to-use functions and beautiful templates that you can filter through to match your store's purpose.
Best Free Website Builder for the UK: Weebly
Weebly is another fantastic option if you’re launching your first website. Unlike the two website builders mentioned above, Weebly offers a drag-and-drop editor, making it easier to create the website you envision. That's as well as access to several sleek, mobile-friendly templates that are easily customized.
Regarding website customization, you can modify the text, images, and titles and add slideshows, maps, contact forms, site search features, and more.
To add an element, simply drag and drop it onto your web page. Then, if you want to edit the element, simply click it, and your editing options will appear.
What’s also great is that if you get fed up with your theme later down the line or simply want a change, you can switch themes at any time. This isn't possible with website builders like Wix!
Weebly also makes SEO optimization a breeze by providing all the levers Google needs to index your site. For instance, you can edit your page title, URL, and website description.
You also have access to a wide range of free and paid-for third-party apps that you can download and use to extend the functionality of your Weebly website.
- A free SSL security certificate
- 500MB storage
- SEO optimization tools
- You can publish lead capture and contact forms.
- Access to customer support via email, live chat, and a community forum
- There are 40+ mobile-friendly themes to choose from
- A subdomain
- Access to an app store
- Intuitive drag and drop customization
- The drag-and-drop interface is effortless to use
- As free website builders go, you get access to decent customization features in changing texts, fonts, adding pages, etc.
- Access to an app store
- Mobile-friendly compatibility
- You can’t use your own domain name.
- There's no personal restore option- if your site goes down, you have to rely on them to fix it.
- You still don't have complete design flexibility with their site builder.
- Content categorization is limited, which can be challenging for larger websites with lots of content.
Who should use this website?
Weebly is an excellent option for those who want to publish stylish, simple websites. So, suppose you want a personal blog, portfolio, or a straightforward site for your small business. In that case, you can’t really go wrong with Weebly.
Best Free Website Builder for the UK: Mozello
Suitable for experienced and beginner website builders, Mozello is easy-to-use with a free option that lets you set up a website for free in just a few minutes.
They offer 48 free, ready-to-use themes, which allow for basic customization using their site editor.
One of Mozello’s stand-out features is that it supports multiple languages. This is pretty impressive and not something most other free website builders provide.
Mozello has a free plan and two other reasonably priced paid plans, so it wouldn't break the bank if you wanted to branch out and unlock more of their features.
- Mobile device support
- You can create multilingual websites.
- Access to marketing features
- Access to customization features
- An SSL security certificate
- 0.5GB storage
- Page headlines are SEO optimized.
For online stores:
- You can list up to five products
- 0% transaction fee
- You can accept PayPal transactions, cash, and bank transfer payments
- Access to 48 stylish themes
- You can create multilingual websites
- You can offer customers a decent array of payment options
- Set up is easy
- There's no drag and drop design function
- It lacks API support
- It lacks marketing features like discount coupons or the option to sell digital products
- There aren't any user guides or video tutorials available
Who Should Use this Website?
Mozello is a reasonably basic free website builder. That's compared to other options, it has limited templates to choose from, and it doesn’t offer a drag-and-drop interface. As such, design layout and flexibility are reasonably limited.
However, customization possibilities step up a notch if you’re an experienced website builder with coding know-how. If that sounds like you, this could be the perfect fit.
Also, if you're looking to create a multilingual website, Mozello is worth considering.
Best Free Website Builder for the UK: WordPress
WordPress has two options: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.org is an entirely free, open-source framework. In contrast, WordPress.com is a self-hosted solution that also offers a free plan. The latter is more newbie-friendly, so that's what we'll focus on.
WordPress is an ideal website-building option for those interested in creating blogs. This is namely thanks to its built-in features like RSS feeds, analytics, and comment boxes.
WordPress is relatively easy to use, though perhaps not as simple as the other platforms already mentioned. WordPress’s free plan includes a subdomain, free themes, and community support.
Their free plans are reasonably minimalist, so it could be a win if that’s the look you desire.
- Access to lots of free themes
- A pre-installed SSL certificate
- Access to Jetpack essentials such as stats, social, basic SEO
- 3 GB Storage Space
- It's great for blogs and offers good customization options
- Websites are quick to create
- It’s a full-fledged CMS (Content Management System)
- You can tinker with the source code for more granular customization
- It's harder to use than other tools
- It's best for those with coding skills
- There's no official support if issues arise.
- Requires maintenance
Who Should Use this Website
WordPress is ideal for those who want to create blogs. There are a wide variety of themes to choose from and plenty of customization opportunities.
Best Free Website Builder for the UK: Jimdo
Though it may not be as well-known as other website builders, Jimdo has a good amount to offer those wanting to create a website for free. For starters, it’s easy to use, and you can get online quickly.
Jimdo allows you to create professional-looking websites perfect for blogs, businesses, and online stores. However, in terms of eCommerce, you’re limited on how many products you can sell (a maximum of five items per store). In addition, you’ll incur transaction fees unless you decide to upgrade to a paid plan.
However, this is still a good option if you want to try out selling online and don’t want to waste time and money creating an expensive website that amounts to nothing. You can also enable customers to make PayPal payments.
- All designs are mobile responsive
- You can accept PayPal payments
- 2GB bandwidth
- 500MB storage
- You can create one password-protected area
- Access to responsive designs
- You can list five products
- A subdomain
- HTTPS security
- You can publish contact forms
- Access to an image library
- You can make up to five website pages
- It's easy to use
- It's a great option if you're looking to dabble in eCommerce.
- Access to professional-looking templates (there are over 100 to choose from).
- The sign-up process is simple.
- It's not as creatively intuitive as some other website builders we've mentioned.
- Some templates are reportedly not as responsive as others.
- Limited plugins are available.
Who Should Use This Website
This platform is excellent for those who want a simple, personal website or for those looking to sell a small number of products on a website before committing to a paid plan.
Best Free Website Builder for the UK: Webnode
Webnode offers an intuitive, easy-to-use website builder, with the ability to upgrade to reasonably-priced paid plans later down the line, should you wish to. In addition, they offer modern, responsive, and stylish themes to choose from.
However, a drawback is that once you choose a theme, you can’t change it. So you have to be 100% sure you love the theme before committing to it- no pressure…
Blogging tools are available, but you’ll need to upgrade if you want to access more of their features. If you wish to trial an upgrade, they offer a 15-day money-back guarantee.
However, there are over 100 templates to choose from with the free plan, categorized to make your search easier. You can also create as many pages as possible, access customer care, and reliable, free web hosting.
- SEO tools
- Responsive design templates
- 100MB storage
- Access to a modern website editor
- You can create unlimited websites
- You can create unlimited web pages
- It's easy to use
- You can only access fairly limited features unless you upgrade to a paid plan.
- There's no app store
- eCommerce features are limited
Who Should Use This Website Builder?
This website builder is perfect for those who want a simple, easy-to-build website building platform. There’s minimal hassle involved and many themes to choose from, making it an excellent option for personal use.
Other Platforms Offering Free Trials
Suppose you don’t like the sound of any of the above or have the budget to build a website but want to try out a platform's features first without commitment. In that case, taking advantage of free trials is worth doing. That said, let's take a look at a few platforms offering exactly that:
Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial. This allows you to use their features and get to know what they offer before committing to a paid subscription. In addition, they don’t require credit card information to sign up for the trial period.
Suppose you’re still unsure about using Squarespace after the 14-days. In that case, you can extend your trial period by another 7-days. Once your trial period has expired, you will be asked to upgrade to a paid plan.
During the trial, you'll have access to nearly all of their features- meaning you can see what works for you and what's a bit redundant for your needs. However, your site is private, so it won’t be a fully-fledged, live website until you subscribe to a paid plan.
Wix is another option that allows for a 14-day free trial. However, they only offer a 14-day free trial period for their premium plans. You have to use your credit or debit card to enlist in this free trial. You also have to cancel the free trial before the end of the 14 days. Otherwise, you'll be charged.
Strikingly also offers a 14-day free trial for their Pro plan. With this plan, you can play around with features such as designing your website, customization, embedding your own code, and using third-party apps.
Which Is the Best Free Website Builder in the UK?
The answer to this depends on what you're looking for and your level of experience with website building. For instance, WordPress could be a good option for those who have web building and coding experience.
However, if you’re a beginner and just want a simple, functioning, but an attractive website, most of the options above will provide that for you. Most offer a good range of features on their free plans, some more than others, and some with more flexibility and customization options.
The important thing is knowing what you want the website for and what your goals are. Only then can you decide on the best website building platform for you.
In terms of moving to a paid plan, considering a free trial is a great way to test out whether the features on a paid plan are worth splashing the cash on. Sometimes you’ll find it is; other times, you’ll find the features on the free plan suffice.
Good luck and happy website building!