We’re glad to represent you the Best Free Website Builders Review of 2016. In this collection we’ve listed the most advanced and trusted free web builders software that could be the great solution for free website development. Nowadays there are great amount of different free website builders and it’s not so easy task to understand this diversity. Each website builder strive to be better than the others – to be more comfortable, more powerful, more functional. In fact not all web builders are equally good. We’ve analyzed tens of free website builders, weighed their advantages and disadvantages, and according to this we’ve created the current rating. As selection criteria we took into account: functionality of free version, features and usability of visual editor, presence of drag&drop editor, number of available free web templates, their quality, special options, SEO friendliness, possibility to upload your own layouts and much more. And of course – all selected by us website builders allow to create free sites without any special skills in programming, HTML or web design. This is so easy that even a child can do this.
Why did we make an accent of FREE website builders? It seems weird, but all free site builders have paid plans as logical extension of opportunities for free websites. But unlike absolutely paid platforms, free website builders allow to use free opportunities as long as you need it without any trial limitations. At the end you can always stay on free plan – your website won’t look worse, just functionality will be a little bit lower. In case you want to customize your website (for example, add online store) you can easily do this by using one of premium plans. We hope that this review of the best free website builders will help you to make right decision.
WIX [ create free website ]
It’s obvious that WIX is the most popular free website builder. WIX specializes on search engine friendly HTML5 websites. If you’re looking for easy-to-use and at the same time advanced drag&drop website editor, huge collection of professional looking websites templates and lots of templates categories to choose from – then WIX will be a perfect solution. With its help you will be able to create any website: a personal page or online portfolio, any business website or even one-page resume. Alongside with free hosting your free website built on WIX will have second level domain, limited to 500MB storage space and to 1G bandwidth, built-in Google Analytics, quality support and Wix brand ads on all pages of your website.
Here is a great Wix video tutorial that will make your work on creating a website on Wix much easier:
WebsiteBuilder [ create free website ]
Market of free website builders provide us professional website builder with quite obvious name WebsiteBuilder.com. WebsiteBuilder.com will allow you to create your professional looking website absolutely for free. One of the main advantages of this website builders is a great collection of website designs – hundreds of gorgeous website templates cover many popular categories. With their easy to use drag&drop editor you really won’t need any HTML/CSS skills to launch your website. As well as other free website builders WebsiteBuilder.com will add a banner in a footer and give you a free sub-domain name for your free website.
IM Creator [ create free website ]
IMCreator.com makes the process of creating free website quite simple with their intuitive drag&drop editor. Like other free website builders IMCreator with its free package offers you free domain name of second level and 50MB of storage. But the main thing about IMCreator free website builder is their regularly updated collection of website templates – each month you’ll be able to find dozens of new template with modern and creative designs. And thanks to adherence to web-standards your free website on IMCreator will look perfect on all browsers as well as on mobile phones.
SiteBuilder [ create free website ]
Let’s continue our list of best free website builders with a brand new website builder SiteBuilder.com allowing to create stunning free websites. SiteBuilder.com can offer you a really impressive collection of free professionally designed website templates divided on many different categories. Alongside with free web template you will get a free domain name on a sub-domain and opportunity to create more than one free website. Drag&drop editor is very easy to use, many additional options allow to create really beautiful website and even add a blog to your free website. As well as other free website builders SiteBuilder.com offers to create free website only with a promotional banner in a footer.
Sitey [ create free website ]
If you’re in need of creating a professional looking website then you should definitely check Sitey.com. This is quite new but at the same time very powerful free website builder. For free plan Sitey.com offers 50MB storage, 5MB file upload and 1GB bandwidth. Also you will get a mobile version of your website, access to 100+ professional website templates and image gallery, easy to integrate social media links. And all listed features are free. As all the rest website builders Sitey.com leaves a small ads on your free website.
Weebly [ create free website ]
Another great free website builder in our list is Weebly. Weebly exists for a pretty long time on website builders market and knows what to offer its users. Weebly offers absolutely free plan with standard options: domain name on sub-domain, free hosting without limitations, unlimited number of pages and even opportunity to create basic online store but with 3% transaction fee. And with new modern website templates that can be easily customized in drag&drop editor you will get a chance to receive beautiful website without spending a penny.
Jimdo [ create free website ]
Created in 2004 website builder Jimdo.com became one of the most popular website builders all over the web. It allows to create mobile friendly HTML5 websites absolutely for free. One of the most obvious advantages is the opportunity to create free online store, of course with limited number of products – you will be able to sell only 5 items but without any transaction fees. 500MB of storage, free domain name on sub-domain and friendly customer support are also included into free plan.
ucraft [ create free website ]
Another great website builder allowing you to create your website for free is ucraft. ucraft is a quite new brand on the market of website builders but it allow to create SEO friendly website with the help of easy drag-and-drop editor. If you choose free plan by ucraft you will be able to get 1 page website with free ucraft subdomain and as usual with ucraft branding. Website templates provided by ucraft are fresh and stylish. So, it’s a great solution if you want to create a personal or landing page.
SITE123 [ create free website ]
SITE123 is claimed as the easiest, the simplest and the fastest website builder. And you can check this by creating your own free website with their help. Alongside with the pro package SITE123 offer to their client the free one. It will allow you to create a free SEO friendly website on subdomain and with floating “Powered by SITE123” tag. 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth will be a pleasant addition to your free website. And unlike some other website builders SITE123 offer website templates that are compatible with mobile devices.
WebStarts [ create free website ]
Let’s move further and the next free website builder we want to share is WebStarts providing a standard range of services with some insignificant difference. Free version of your website will include 5 pages, limited web storage and bandwidth (10MB and 5GB/mo accordingly) and WebStarts footer displayed on all pages of your free website. They’ve recently made an update of their free website design and at the moment they offer pretty interesting collection, though it’s not so impressive like competitors have but you will be able to find some interesting solutions.
Moonfruit [ create free website ]
Moonfruit.com is an easy-to-use free website builder with plenty creative templates. Free package from Moonfruit includes only 1 website with max 15 pages on a second level domain, 20MB of storage and 1GB bandwidth, no customer support and some Moonfruit ads. Pleasant feature that alongside with web version of your website Moonfruit software automatically creates a mobile optimized version and can push your entire shop into Facebook with just a few clicks.
Webnode [ create free website ]
Webnode.com offers free versions for personal websites and online stores. Both have similar limitations such as 1GB bandwidth and small storage space (10MB for on-line store and 100MB for personal website). Number of products that you can offer in your free online store is also limited to 10. Free website has mobile version.
Webs [ create free website ]
You can create your free website with Webs.com. Free package includes 1 website with ads as well as mobile version of your website also with ads, limited to 500MB bandwidth and 40MB storage space. If you decide to create online store then web store items will be limited to 5 items.
Yola [ create free website ]
Offer from Yola.com looks very interesting. Free package from Yola provides you 5 websites instead of standard 1, banner-free hosting, quality customer support, build-in website statistic and 1GB storage per site. And as usual your website will be on a second level domain. Of course, Yola provides many interesting features but the main thing is 5 websites on one account and no banner and pop-up ads. Pay attention!
The A to Z From The World of Website Builders
Many people with a need to create a website do not understand what’s the difference between website builders and CMS with open code (for example- WordPress), they don’t know what advantages will they have by using free website builders and how will change opportunities of their website in condition of buying premium packages. About all this and other things related to free website builders we will tell you below:
What is online website builder?
The name explains it all – a website builder is a tech-tool that lets you create a website. These builders are available in the form of cloud based Graphical User Interface tools as SaaS ( Software as a Service), or as downloadable packages that can be installed on local machines. Website builders leverage important components such as template repositories, widgets, WYSIWYG interface, pre-populated content, etc. to deliver simple, swift, and affordable website creating services to users. Most free website builders are simple enough to be used by anybody having working knowledge of GUI software usage. Website builders are focused towards enabling web users to create a functional website with a whole gamut of additional features, without necessitating any knowledge of web development frameworks and coding languages.
How do website builders work?
If you’ve had any experience of creating a web page in the traditional manner, that is, using HTML coding, you’d knowhow time consuming and energy sapping an experience it can be. Isn’t is amazing, then, how online website builders tool enable you to create professional looking websites in minutes? It’s natural for anyone to wonder how these tools enable a novice to create stunning websites so easily, without knowing anything about coding languages. Let’s, then, explore the question – How do online website building tools work?
To start, let’s break our primary question into smaller components, which we will then address individually. In terms of the core working, here’s what we will explain about online website builders:
- How do they create beautiful looking websites?
- How does an ordinary web user succeed in creating his/her personalized website using such a tool?
- How do these tools help you own a website name?
- How do these websites become available online?
- How does ‘ownership’ of website work when you use these tools?
How do they create beautiful looking websites?
Well, most successful online website builders have mustered up their reputation riding on their ability to deliver beautiful websites that can match any professionally designed website on the globe. These website builders deliver stunning websites by leveraging preset collections of images, backgrounds, headers, footers, fonts, icons, etc. and clubbing them together in the form of coherent layouts called templates. The quality, quantity, and variety of templates are, arguably, the primary factor of differentiation between competing online website builders.
Modern website builders bring responsive templates to the fore, which adjust as per the screen size they are viewed on. You can expect a sophisticated online website builder to offer free templates spread across popular categorizes like medicine, sports, news, portfolio, commerce, technology, arts, photography, etc.
How does an ordinary web user succeed in creating his/her personalized website using such a tool?
Having the option of a stunning template is just the beginning; you need to marry it to your content, presentation style, core idea, etc. Online website builders allow you to do so, majorly, by allowing you access to WYSIWYG styled editors. These editors open your chosen template, and allow you to drag and drop content elements, reposition text and image content boxes, add widgets, play around with typography, etc.
Whereas professional web designers and developers conventionally achieved this using HTML and CSS coding, online website builders take the technicalities out of the job, and just enable web page creation through visual management of content elements. Most online website builders allow you access to libraries of royalty free images and fonts to help you give a unique and appealing look and feel to your websites.
How do these tools help you own a website name?
This can work in two different ways. If you are just experimenting with an online website builder, you can create a website that will be hosted on the website builder company’s domain. So, your website called MyFirstWebsite will have a URL that’ll look something like MyFirstWebsite.WebsiteBuilderCompany.Com.
Of course, this is bound to be a concern for those looking for a useful, professional, and sustainable website. In such cases, these online website builders allow you to use your own purchased domain name, or connect you internally to website domain name purchase/registration services.
How do these websites become available online?
Publishing your website for the global community of web users to access, and for the dozens of search engine bots to recognize and hence publish in search results, involves steps such as creating and submitting sitemaps. In order to deliver the complete website creation and usage experience to user, online website builders also take care of this aspect. You can use the Publish option in your online website builder to make your content live. Plus, these tools generate and create sitemaps and submit them to respective search engine bots. Also, in order to enable your website to feature high on web page search results for relevant target keywords, these online builders even offer SEO (search engine optimization) management features. These include keyword research, meta titles, URL optimization, basic SEO housekeeping, analytics, etc.
How does “ownership” of website work when you use these tools?
Well, as long as you own the domain of your website, your content will be live. Of course, you’ll need to regularly update the content, and hence will need your website builder service subscription to be active. Most online website builders offer affordable monthly subscription plans, with varying features, based on your needs.
In this manner, these online website builders offer a means to quickly create a functionally awesome and aesthetically appealing website, without having to hire a developer for the purpose.
What are the undeniable advantages of the best website builders?
The most salient advantage of using online website builders is, of course, the facility of accessing a WYSIWYG styled editor, wherein users just need to drag and drop content elements, add their custom content, leverage settings to fine tune the appearance of these elements, and put together some great web pages. Plus, there are more prominent advantages, which include:
- Anyone with working knowledge of the web and GUI software can use online website builders without knowing a single line of coding to create a website.
- Responsive HTML templates and free stock images in the web builder’s repository ensure that the user does not need a graphic designer.
- Free website builders are useful enough for anybody to create a basic website. Premium website builder services, decked up with advanced features, are reasonably priced, and help anybody create a great website at a fraction of the cost of hiring a developer and designer.
What’s the difference between free website builders and paid website builders?
For obvious reasons, free website builders are more popular as compared to their paid counterparts. Naturally, these come with some limitations, which are alleviated in the premium versions of these services. Here are some of the major differences between the paid and unpaid website builders.
- Most free website builders are restrictive in terms of forced hosting on their own sub domains, which takes the fizz out of your website’s URL. Plus, free website builders are known to add branding pop ups, banners, footer labels, and sidebar advertisements to your websites. In most cases there is an illusion of control which lets you choose the size of the banner, placement of the ad or the time of the pop-up, but factors like frequency of the ads, the kind of advertisements cannot be controlled by the users of free services. Premium website builder services, on the other hand, allow you to host your website on a domain host of your choice, and don’t add any inadvertent advertisements to your pages.
- Search Engine Optimization: Usually most of the free website hosting services do not provide SEO friendly attributes. Only the best free website builders can be the same SEO friendly as premium ones. At the rest… Most paid services, on the other hand, offer a gamut of SEO functionalities to kick-start the search engine success of your website.
- Most contemporary website building services give the users the freedom to choose from a variety of packages. But in case of free services, users can only use a minimum bandwidth which is not always enough for video clip transfer, photo sharing, and embedded live maps. The customer experience you can deliver with a free website builder is rather limited because of bandwidth restrictions. Paid services do not impose any such restrictions and the speeds are undeniably faster.
- Generally, free website builder services offer only the most basic level of customer support, whereas paid website builders offer dedicated account managers, tech support helpdesks, 24 x 7 email and telephonic support, and fully decked up FAQ and Guidebook databases. With free website builders, the learning curve can get challenging because of absence of fully fledged support. And that is not so surprisingly because the most famous free website builders have tens millions of free users.
The other factor which sets the paid ones apart from the free website builders is the quality of their templates. Most of the templates offered by premium website builders are unique, differentiated, customizable, and value adding. Websites built on free web builders often experience downtime which impacts traffic, business, and drives away customers. An exception – the most advanced free website builders like WIX, Weebly etc.
Needless to say, if you want a professional website which is completely functional and free from glitches you should opt for paid website building services. Most of the renowned e-commerce websites also use paid services of reliable online website builders for the best performances.
Classification Of Website Builders
Most of the website builder services on offer market can be categorized as offline website builders and online website builders. A few of their defining characteristics have been described below:
Offline builders are downloadable tools offered under different licenses, and require a basic knowledge of both HTML and CSS, for users to create functional web pages. Almost all the offline website builders are more expensive compared to their online counterparts, for a comparable set of features. Hence offline website builders are more suited for professionals who are ready to involve graphics designers and web developers for sophisticated website development, in return of more sophisticated and functionally comprehensive websites.
Online website builders allow their users to create websites using visual interfaces, without any knowledge of HTML or CSS. These website builder interfaces are delivered through the cloud, are easy to use and are ideal for anybody looking to have a smart and feature rich website in minimal time and at reasonable prices (if not free).
Online website builders can be classified into 3 categories depending on their functionality. These categories are not always mutually exclusive; here’s a simple overview of the categories:
- Business: Whether you want a professional website for your company or your personal practice, you can easily set it up within just a few hours. Most free business website builders come with special templates attuned for the needs of businessmen. These responsive template contents can be replaced with your custom content. Most of these builders come with basic SEO functionality and round the clock customer support.
- Ecommerce: Ecommerce website builders provide the most sophisticated website building experience even for beginners. All you need to do is pick a template, swap the demo content with real content, add products to the website, and leverage the settings and features to define pricing, tax and inventory management, product variants, etc. Most of these builders come with functionalities such as one-click checkouts, interactive shopping carts, direct shipping calculation, social sharing options, etc.
- Portfolio: Creating an online portfolio for photographers, designers, models and freelancers is easier than ever, using these portfolio website builders. Most online website builders offer full customization with free fonts, SEO support and retina ready features for portfolio websites. You can choose a suitable template from the thousands of options the modern portfolio website builders have to offer.
From The History: Who Was The First One?
Primitive website builder services were available as early as in 1990s. Unlike the swanky auto-pilot styled website builders of this day, the first website building services were based on manual HTML coding. Gradually the workload was reduced with the help of pre-coded blocks and modules. Dreamweaver emerged as the leader of visually empowering online website builders as early as 1998. Dreamweaver was one of the very first builders to use a WYSIWYG editor philosophy. But with the emergence of W3C standards Dreamweaver and similar contemporary website builders were scorned upon for not being compliant. As a result of the demand of W3C compliance Amaya, the first open source tool was created. This was initially crafted to be a CSS/HTML authoring system.
Innovations: what technologies are used in modern website builders?
Demands of users, competition in the market, and proliferation of revolutionary web technologies – all have ensured that modern website builders are constantly reinventing themselves. Here we take a sneak peek at the defining technologies being leveraged by web builders of the 21st century.
- Integrated Big Data Analytics – Premium website builders integrate data analytics capabilities into their service packages, helping administrators understand traffic, campaign success, and eCommerce KPIs like never before.
- Mobile Apps – Imagine being in control of your website and your web store even when you’re on the move; with website builders offering dedicated apps to help you control your website’s back end, that’s possible.
- Responsive layouts – Most templates offered by the modern free web builders are responsive and retina display ready. This boosts the aesthetic appeal of websites, and makes the websites accessible from mobile devices.