Free website maker
When searching for a free website builder the first word or name that pops up in most people’s minds is “WordPress” or “WP”. WordPress is, without any doubt, the world’s most popular website maker offered at no charge to its users. Actually the correct name is content management system (CMS) because the software is capable of doing much more than just creating a website.
WordPress offers 2 different site builders. One can be found on the website WordPress.com and the other one on WordPress.org. The .com version is free but comes with advertisements on your site. Moreover the .com version is very limited in terms of features. You pay nothing and bringing and keeping your site online (called web hosting) is done for you at no charge as well. The company Automattic is the owner of the .com version of WP.
The same company as above also owns the .org version of WP. Despite the fact that no technical skills are required for users, this version offers much more features than .com and is without any advertisements on your website. You can only get this more professional .org site building system if you buy web hosting first. Some web hosting companies offer .org for free and others charge a small fee. The most popular web hosting provider offering a free installation of WordPress.org is Linux Hosts Inc. Almost 3 million of their customers are currently using WordPress.org on their websites. The company’s technical support engineers are all specialized in WP so, if ever you encounter a technical problem, they’ll quickly help you out. Linux Hosts inc. offers a 30 day free trial and after that it costs $ 5.83 a month. If you’re interested to try it out, you can find them on https://linux-hosts-inc.com/hosting They also offer very cheap domain names. Linux Hosts Inc. is one of the few companies giving clients full control over their domain names. This is very important in case you want to change a setting of your domain later on. The link is https://linux-hosts-inc.com/domain-registration
Make a website for free
In recent years, making a website has become more fun and easier: nowadays you don’t need to know anything about programming, HTML or FTP. The biggest challenge is to find the right website builder among the huge range on the market.
As you probably know, there are many providers that offer free packages that allow you to create your own website. These packages are hosted in the cloud, so you don’t have to arrange any web space yourself. All you need is a computer and a web browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge.
That sounds perfect, right? But it is always good to have a look at the pros and cons of the different website builders. And that is exactly what we have done for you.
Which website builders are worthwhile? As mentioned earlier, we think WordPress.org is the best choice. However, below you will find some information about the free packages from other providers.
Table of Contents long version.
This is how you create a free website step by step (6 steps).
For all website builders we discuss here, setting up a website always consists of the following 6 steps:
- Sign up for a free account.
- Choose a template that you like.
- Add pages to your website.
- Customize the content (text, images, video, etc.).
- Optional: adjust the SEO settings.
- Publish your website.
Read below which site builder is most suitable for your website if, for whatever reason, WordPress.org is not for you.
Jimdo Free Website Builder.
Jimdo’s website creator has built an excellent reputation over the years. But what about the free Jimdo plan, can you do enough with that?
Their templates are not only all free, but also fully compatible with smartphones and tablets (responsive). Jimdo offers two versions of its website builder: Jimdo Dolphin is very easy to use and mainly intended for beginners. For people who already have more experience with websites, there is Jimdo Creator. With Jimdo Creator you can even use the online store for free, but for a maximum of 5 articles.
The cheapest paid package starts at € 9 per month and includes a free domain name for the first year. That’s not a bad deal if you later decide to do your website more professionally.
The URL you get for free: yourname.jimdo.com (Jimdo Creator) or yourname.jimdosite.com (Jimdo Dolphin).
We like: If you have a free plan, it will only show a small ad on your website. You get 500 MB of web space, more than enough for most websites. Jimdo (Dolphin) is by far the fastest website builder: within 5 minutes you can have your very first, personalized website ready.
What should be better: More choice of templates (for Jimdo Creator) would be nice. Jimdo does not have an app market either. Unfortunately, you don’t get any support with the Jimdo Dolphin free plan. Another disadvantage is that you can create a maximum of 5 subpages with the free package. Other free website softwares have a little more to offer in that regard.
Web address: www.jimdo.com
Webnode: a modern editor with a number of limitations.
Webnode recently completely revamped their editor and it now looks very modern. The templates that have been added look stylish and are responsive. It is a pity that once you have chosen a theme, you cannot switch to another theme. Working with Webnode is very intuitive and here too you (of course) have the option to opt for a paid package.
Webnode offers a low-cost variant at $ 5.95 per month (called Limited) that allows you to use a domain name you already own and get help desk priority. If you choose this option, there will still be a small Webnode ad on your website. Unfortunately, a webshop is not possible and the blogging function is quite limited.
The URL you get for free: yourname.webnode.com
We like: the small ad in the free package and the responsive templates. There is no limit on the number of pages. You can adjust the SEO settings for all pages.
What should be better: adding / improving functions (blog, webshop). The web space in the free package is quite limited (only 100 MB). SSL encryption should also be added.
Web address: www.webnode.com
Wix: the international heavyweight.
The largest website maker company on this list is undoubtedly Wix. They have more users than any other website builder (with the exception of WordPress of course), which is hardly surprising, as Wix has tons of unique features and beautiful templates. An excellent choice for a paid website, but what about the free package? Is that just as good?
The short answer is no. As with Weebly, their ad is way too flashy. Or actually multiple advertisements because there is not only an advertisement in the footer, there is also a button at the top right.
The URL you get for free: accountname.wix.com/yourname
We like: the spectacular range of templates and the flexibility of the editor. They also have an extensive range of apps and you get 500 MB of web space. There is no limit to the number of pages. You can fully customize the SEO settings. The Connect Domain package is relatively inexpensive ($ 14 per month) and you get your own domain name (with ads).
What should be better: Wix’s ads are way too flashy. The free URL is too long and not easy to remember.
Web address: www.wix.com
Ucraft – Link your domain name for free.
This is an interesting product, because it is the only one with which you can link an existing domain name for free! Even SSL is included at no extra cost. The cheapest package is “Pro Website”. For this you pay from $ 10 per month and that includes professional features such as websites in multiple languages.
Ucraft is a relatively advanced piece of website creation software that allows you to customize the layout of your website such as fonts, colors and white space very well. We found this website builder to be generally less user-friendly than other free site creators, because the editor is less intuitive .
The URL you get for free: yourname.ucraft.net
We like: the possibility to link a real domain name for free. The templates look quite modern and there is plenty of choice. Support was helpful and ad size on free websites is acceptable. SSL is included for free sites.
What could be better: with the free package you can only use basic elements. That means that everything related to articles, social media and e-commerce is not included. The editor loaded quite slowly at times and did not always work well (although it was not a major problem). Overall, the editor is also less user-friendly than other website builders.
Web address: www.ucraft.com
Weebly: A fantastic website building service with one drawback.
Weebly is one of the best-known website creators and ranks high in our overview, but since we mainly look at the free packages here, we are now going to evaluate Weebly on slightly different criteria. Weebly doesn’t score very well when it comes to the free package, mainly because of the large ad in the footer that even has a mouseover.
But in general it is a good product that is very pleasant to use. Weebly even has an App Center where you can find additional features. The paid packages start at $ 8 per month.
The URL you get for free: yourname.weebly.com
Pros: the responsive templates and the App Center with third-party apps. You also get 500 MB of free web space. There is no limit to the number of pages. You can adjust the SEO settings for all pages.
Cons: the only downside is the very eye-catching ad in the footer. And the free plan does not offer SSL encryption.
One.com: not free, but a cheap solution without ads.
One.com is not completely free like the other website creation software, but the entry-level package is very cheap. You pay extra for a domain name, but you can also use an external domain name. You may also have to pay once for the installation. There are no advertisements on the website. There is one caveat: you can make a maximum of 5 pages, after that it gets quite expensive.
If you want a small website with its own domain name and no ads, One.com is ideal. By the way, if you prefer to use WordPress instead of their own editor, you can. In that case you can add unlimited pages!
The URL you get for free: yourname.com (.com, .net, .org, etc.).
Pros: It is very flexible, as you can choose One.com’s own editor or WordPress. One.com is an excellent option if you want to set up a professional website for little money. All templates are responsive and look modern.
Cons: a maximum of 5 pages is very limited. Their own editor isn’t exactly great, but it works.
The renewed Google Sites: for very simple websites.
Google recently revamped their website service Google Sites. It now looks clearer and more modern. After playing with it for a few minutes, two things stood out: 1) it is very easy to use; 2) there are virtually no features: you can choose from six templates, all of which look pretty bare because they don’t contain any sample content. Oddly enough, the new version of Google Sites doesn’t support its own domain names, which is really essential if you ever want to use your website professionally. It seems possible to link a domain name via Google MyBusiness, but that is only possible if you have a company with a physical address.
The URL you get for free: sites.google.com/view/yourname
What we like: your website is of course perfectly integrated with other Google products (Maps, Calendar, Documents, Slides, etc.).
What could be better: more templates and more design elements. You cannot access the SEO settings of the website such as the page title and the meta description (!!!). Their knowledge base is as limited as the editor, which can be very frustrating when you’re looking for an answer to your question (especially if you only find forum posts).
Login to your Google account and go to sites.google.com
Do you want your own domain name?
The free plans from the website creators only offer free subdomains. If you want a ‘real’ domain name, you could consider Linux Hosts Inc. or One.com. Both companies have very affordable packages.
Who actually pays for these free packages?
It is said that the most beautiful things in life are free, but this usually only applies to the intangible things. Hosting a website obviously costs providers money: for maintaining the servers, for promoting their services and of course for the further development of their products.
Free websites are almost always based on a so-called ‘freemium’ model. This means that the free packages are funded by the customers who opt for a paid (or ‘premium’) package.
That’s why it’s worth figuring out which free online website maker is best for you.
What do you not get when you choose a free website?
You will not get your own domain name, because you always have to pay for domains such as .com or .net. Most providers will give you a subdomain, for example yourname.providername.com.
This is generally fine for a private website, but it is not recommended for a professional or commercial website because:
It doesn’t look professional.
A subdomain scores much lower in search engines.
A long name is difficult to remember for visitors.
Moreover, on a free website, advertisements from the provider or other companies are usually displayed and that does not look very professional either.
In addition, there are providers who offer outdated or unattractive designs in their free package and only offer the beautiful designs to their paying users.
What about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
If you want to score high in Google, you not only need to provide good content, but you should also be able to adjust certain settings of your website. For example, you should be able to set a page title and a meta description for each of your pages. Fortunately, this is possible with all tested website builders.
As we saw earlier, all free plans have one limitation in common: you cannot use your own domain name. The domain name is also important for SEO and subdomains generally do not score high in search engines. Another factor that can have influence on your position in search engines is whether your website uses SSL encryption (https). SSL encryption ensures that data that is entered in a contact form, for example, is sent securely. This feature is usually included in the free package of all major website builders.
If you want your website to rank well in Google, then you better consider taking a not too expensive paid package for example at Linux Hosts Inc, One.com or Jimdo.
Free website creation services: our conclusion.
Jimdo and Weebly’s free packs are attractive. But don’t be tempted by the word ‘free’.
It is not always easy to move a website once built to another provider. So also keep in mind what you want in the future, especially if you’re considering ever buying your own domain name with associated email addresses or want a website without ads.
There are many other criteria to consider, such as technical support and additional features such as an online store and the ease of use of the package.
Finally, back to the beginning of this article. In our opinion, WordPress.org is the best choice if you want to make a site for free. Click here for the link.