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How To Build A Website For Free In 2023

Finding a website platform that's free and easy may be a lot easier than you think. Check out our top picks and get your website up and running quickly.

    Nicolette Kier

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

To build a website for free, you’ll need to find a free website builder. The best free website builders allow individuals and business owners to easily create an online presence, show off projects or products, add blog content, and allow website visitors to contact you.

We evaluated 15 free website and free online store builders to help you find the right web building software you can use to make a website without spending any money at all.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Square Online

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  • In-person selling features, product/service management, industry-specific features (e.g. appointment booking)
  • $0-$79/month
  • Annual contracts on paid plans
  • In-person selling features, product/service management, industry-specific features (e.g. appointment booking)
  • $0-$79/month
  • Annual contracts on paid plans

Start Trial

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  • All features included for free, no Shift4Shop ads on free sites, one-page checkout
  • $0-$29/month
  • Custom contracts and payment processing fees
  • All features included for free, no Shift4Shop ads on free sites, one-page checkout
  • $0-$29/month
  • Custom contracts and payment processing fees

Start Trial

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  • Offline desktop website builder, can upload sites to any web hosting provider, free blog and chat system
  • $0-$149/year
  • Forever free desktop software download
  • Offline desktop website builder, can upload sites to any web hosting provider, free blog and chat system
  • $0-$149/year
  • Forever free desktop software download

Visit Site

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  • Highly customizable, good for blogging, lots of templates available
  • $0-$70/month
  • No contract required for software download
  • Highly customizable, good for blogging, lots of templates available
  • $0-$70/month
  • No contract required for software download

Visit Site

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  • Unlimited number of project/landing pages, collaborate with team members, several custom blocks available
  • $0-$89/month
  • No contract required
  • Unlimited number of project/landing pages, collaborate with team members, several custom blocks available
  • $0-$89/month
  • No contract required

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

Best Free Website Builders For Small Business & Projects

The best free website builders for an online store or professional portfolio are easy to use, have nice templates, are secure, and allow you to manage products/services if needed. Square, Shift4Shop, Mobirise, WordPress, and Brizy are some of the best platforms to help you build a website for free.

1. Square Online: Overall Best Free Website Builder For Small Business

Square Online

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Free to $79/month



Equipment Cost



  • In-person sales with affordable card reader
  • Strong inventory/appointment management
  • Retail, restaurant, and service-based business software
  • Social media marketing and selling


  • Limited customization options

Square Online web builder

Why We Chose Square Online For Best Free Website Builder

We believe that Square is the overall best choice for small business owners, especially business owners who sell in person. The Square Online web builder integrates with Square’s in-person point of sale (POS) software and the $49 Square card reader, which allows you to take debit, credit, and mobile wallet payments. Square also offers a free magstripe swipe card reader with new accounts, or you can use Square Online checkout links to sell via text message, URL, and/or QR code.

The platform also allows you to sell on social media channels, manage shipping and delivery, run marketing campaigns, and build an appointment booking page, making Square the most comprehensive (free) sales solution for many small business owners.

If you’re looking to consistently sell goods or services online and on-location for free, Square is the right website builder for you.

Related: These are the best free POS systems to take in-person payments while you’re on a budget.

Square Online Pricing

While Square’s free plan is very generous, small business owners may need to upgrade to a paid plan as their business grows.

Square Online has the following pricing plans:

  • Free: $0/month
  • Performance: $29/month, billed annually
  • Premium: $79/month, billed annually

Note: The pricing above is for Square Online stores. Square also offers Square for Retail, Square for Restaurants, and Square Appointments, all industry-specific sales and business management software.

To sell in-person with a card reader (which will lower your payment processing fees), you’ll need the $49 Square card reader.

Square Website Builder & eCommerce Features

Square is an eCommerce and point of sale giant, specifically because it offers such a great free plan for small business owners. You’ll find the following features on the Square Online free plan:

  • Free website builder with Square subdomain
  • In-person selling capabilities with affordable Square POS hardware
  • Online ordering for shipping, delivery, or in-store pickup
  • Marketing and social media sales, including selling on TikTok and making shoppable Instagram posts
  • Built-in inventory and shipping management
  • Physical, digital, and subscription product sales
  • Sales and coupon codes to run marketing campaigns
  • Online forms so customers can fill out requests and contact your business
  • Online appointment booking page (great for stylists, consultants, etc.)

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square contracts are straightforward and month-to-month, with a discount on annual contracts. There are no early termination fees, penalties, or hidden fees.

Get Started With Square Online

Read our in-depth review

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2. Shift4Shop: Most eCommerce Features Available


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  • No Shift4Shop ads or storage limits on free plan
  • Free domain name (for the first year)
  • Enterprise-level eCommerce sales features
  • Websites thoroughly optimized for search engines


  • Must use Shift4 Payments as payment processor on free plan
  • Not great for in-person sales
  • Users report poor customer service

Shift4Shop free website builder

Why We Chose Shift4Shop For Best Free Website Builder

We are impressed by the fact that Shift4Shop’s free End-to-End eCommerce plan comes with more features than just about any other free website builder software. You can sell everything from subscriptions and custom creations to dropshipping products with a fully functional website.

However, it is important to note that you must process at least $500/month with Shift4 Payments, the company’s in-house payment processor, to qualify for the free plan. Shift4 does not offer the most transparent payment processing fees, and unlike providers like Square, you get locked into long-term contracts with early termination fees.

If you believe the free eCommerce plan is worth the potentially poor merchant agreement involved with getting software and hardware from Shift4, then Shift4Shop could be the free online store builder for you.

Shift4Shop Pricing

Shift4Shop offers a completely free plan for businesses that process at least $500/month through Shift4 Payments. If you process less than this amount, you’ll pay $29/month to use the Shift4Shop web builder.

Shift4 Payments offers custom payment processing fees for companies, and this payment processing model tends to be more expensive than flat-rate payment processing for smaller, newer businesses.

If you do not want to use Shift4 Payments, you can pay $29/month to use PayPal for accepting online payments.

Shift4Shop Free Online Store Builder Features

Shift4Shop offers enterprise-level eCommerce store builder features, including the following:

  • Free customizable website builder (with no Shift4Shop ads)
  • Websites are SEO-driven, which means your site is more likely to get found in search results
  • Free domain name (for the first year, then you are billed annually)
  • One-page checkout, which makes checkout faster (and increases online sales)
  • Physical item, digital download, subscription, print-on-demand, dropshipping, and gift certificate sales
  • In-store pickup and delivery (with real-time delivery tracking)
  • Sync products with sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Google, and Facebook
  • Coupons, discounts, and reward points program
  • Email marketing capabilities

Shift4, the company that owns Shift4Shop, also offers merchant services (Shift4 Payments) and hardware from Harbortouch. You can contact Shift4 for pricing on hardware purchases and leasing information (although Merchant Maverick typically doe not recommend leasing, as you’ll end up paying more over time than if you purchase your POS equipment outright).

If you can’t afford to purchase point of sale equipment outright, read our post on equipment financing.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Shift4Shop offers the End-to-End eCommerce plan, complete with enterprise-level eCommerce website builder features, on the condition that you process payments using Shift4 Payments, the company’s in-house payment processor.

Square also requires you to use its in-house payment processor, but Shift4 Payments doesn’t have the good reputation that Square has. Some Shift4 Payments customers have reported lengthy contracts, unexpected fees, and poor customer service, so make sure to read any contracts and test out the customer service for yourself before building a website with Shift4Shop.

Get Started With Shift4Shop

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3. Mobirise: Most Low-Commitment Website Builder


Visit Site


  • No upfront contracts or commitments
  • Publish site as a file and upload to any web hosting provider
  • Beautiful block-based website builder
  • Contact form, blogging, and URL button features


  • Limited functionality
  • Not many third-party integrations
  • Shopping cart and code injection extensions cost extra

Mobirise free website builder

Why We Chose Mobirise For Best Free Website Builder

We appreciate that Mobirise does not require you to sign contracts or work with any specific web hosting provider or domain name registrar the way that cloud-based platforms do. You can make your entire website from your desktop and publish it with a Mobirise subdomain, or you can pay for a custom web domain and hosting provider.

If you’re not sure what you want your website to look like, what you want it to do, or where you want your website to be hosted, start with Mobirise. You can create your entire website and upload it to any web hosting provider later.

You can also consider using Mobirise as a quick landing page builder if you’re just looking to get customers from somewhere like a social media platform to somewhere else like an online course platform (e.g. a landing page for a graphic design course on Skillshare or for a special event). Mobirise landing pages look sleek and professional, which can help build your brand.

Mobirise Pricing

Mobirise is free to download, with no contract required. You can publish your site for free with a Mobirise subdomain and web hosting, or connect to your own custom domain and web hosting provider. If you want to move your website away from Mobirise hosting, just save your website as an FTP file and upload it to another hosting provider.

You can build a website for free with Mobirise, but most of the features you’d expect to have for your website cost extra. For example, most of Mobirise’s pre-built industry-specific templates cost $49/year, the smart shopping cart extension costs $59/year, and the code injection extension costs $69/year.

You can get all of Mobirise’s extensions and themes for $149/year, which is actually a pretty good deal compared to other “all-in-one” website builder packages.

Mobirise Free Website Builder Features

Mobirise is not a cloud-based website builder like the other options on this list. It is a desktop app that’s completely free to download and use.

The Mobirise desktop app offers excellent features, including:

  • Free offline desktop website builder app
  • Mobile-responsive drag-and-drop blocks
  • Custom form builder for customer contacts and requests
  • Built-in blogging feature
  • Built-in chat feature
  • Insert external links to other websites such as mobile ordering systems, social media feeds, phone numbers, emails, and PayPal

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Mobirise does not require you to sign any contracts.

Paid extensions and themes are purchased on a yearly subscription basis through 2Checkout (also known as Verifone). If you want to cancel your subscriptions, you must do so using 2Checkout.

Get Started With Mobirise

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4. WordPress: Most Customizable Website & Blog Builder


Visit Site


  • Highly customizable website/blog builder
  • Several web themes available
  • Lots of content blocks for all types of creators
  • Embed custom code in web pages


  • Must buy web hosting and domain name
  • Can be difficult to work with

WordPress free website builder

Why We Chose WordPress For Best Free Website Builder

We believe that WordPress is the most versatile cloud-based website building software, with more website themes and customizations than any other web builder. This is because the platform is so popular that an entire community of developers is constantly working on new themes, blocks, and plugins to add more functions to websites.

There are several blocks for general websites, blogs, custom code, and links to external web pages. Anyone can use WordPress sites, including affiliate bloggers, artists, freelancers, and social media users.

Note: WordPress offers two separate products. WordPress-hosted websites made by software from are completely free because they are hosted by WordPress. However, there are much fewer customization capabilities than websites made with WordPress’ open-source software (found on

WordPress open-source software allows for complete customization, but you have to find your own web hosting to launch your website online. Web hosting typically isn’t expensive but does technically disqualify as a 100% free product.

WordPress Pricing

WordPress’ downloadable open-source software (found at is completely free. To get your website online, you’ll have to pay for web hosting. This can cost as little as $2/month or as much as $20/month, depending on your web hosting provider and the features you’re looking for. You may also need to pay for a custom domain. offers free and paid plans, which range from $9/month to $70/month (billed monthly) or $4/month to $45/month (billed annually.) We recommend just paying for a web hosting provider and using WordPress open-source software instead of paying for a WordPress-hosted site.

Most of WordPress’ power comes from the almost unending number of add-on free and paid plugins that you can add to your website.

The majority of eCommerce functionalities come from WooCommerce, WordPress’ most popular commerce plugin. This plugin is free, but the plugin provider also has paid extensions available.

WordPress Website Builder & eCommerce Features

The majority of websites are built using WordPress, probably because the website builder is so versatile and easy to use. The free version of WordPress offers the following:

  • Drag-and-drop website builder
  • Excellent blogging features
  • Lots of social media integrations
  • Eventbrite Checkout, reservation, and event calendar embed
  • Appointment booking, contact, and newsletter subscriber forms
  • Custom URLs with buttons
  • Custom CSS code to modify the style of your website
  • Several free themes to choose from
  • Custom HTML and Javascript code embed

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Free WordPress sites require nothing but your name and email address.

Paid WordPress plans are month-to-month or annual. If you opt into a paid plan, you may get a free domain or web hosting (usually only for the first year).

Most importantly, you cannot add WordPress plugins until you’re on the Business plan. Keep this in mind when considering whether you need plugins to make your website work for you.

Get Started With WordPress

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5. Brizy Cloud: Best For Landing Pages & Collaborating On Projects


Visit Site


  • Can create an unlimited number of projects
  • Can collaborate on project sites with team members
  • Built-in blog, numerical counter, form builder, and event countdown timer
  • Very intuitive and user-friendly


  • Only one project website can be published at a time

Brizy Cloud best free website builder

Why We Chose Brizy Cloud For Best Free Website Builder

We love that Brizy Cloud allows you to create an unlimited number of projects and work with an unlimited number of collaborators to make landing pages, company bios, present projects or initiatives, and make personal portfolios. Users get a lot of blocks of the drag-and-drop website builder for free, and the free templates are beautiful, mobile-responsive, and relatively customizable.

Brizy is easy to use, completely cloud-based, and never asks for anything more than your email address to get started.

Note: You may create an unlimited number of projects, but you can only have one website published at a time. If, for example, you wanted to create unique landing pages for a quarterly event signup, you would just unpublish the previous landing page. You can even duplicate the previous landing page, then just update the dates and signup link.

Brizy Cloud Pricing

Brizy Cloud offers a complete “free forever” plan but also has paid tiers ranging from $13/month to $89/month ($9/month to $69/month with annual billing).

Brizy Cloud Free Website Builder Features

Brizy’s cloud-based web builder includes these great features:

  • Create an unlimited number of projects from one user account (great for creating individual landing pages for announcements, different events, product launches/updates, etc.)
  • Collaborate on projects with multiple users with different levels of user access (great for students and coworkers to create, present, and comment on projects)
  • Add blog posts with custom post layouts that you can save and reuse
  • Edit individual parts of blocks on-page with a visual editor (e.g. zooming into images with a slider bar instead of having to type in scale/pixel dimensions)
  • Embed forms, images, videos, audio, maps, buttons, real-time increasing counters (great for donation pages), real-time countdown timers (great for event signup pages), and more to your website
  • Inject custom HTML code in any part of your website
  • Save blocks, layouts, colors, fonts, etc. as global assets that you can use throughout your site to effortlessly maintain brand consistency

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Brizy offers free forever, monthly, and annual accounts.

Get Started With Brizy

Jump back to comparison chart

Our Methodology For Choosing The Best Free Website Builder

To find the best free website builders, we evaluated 15 popular and lesser-known website builders based on ease of use, design elements, storage space, online sales capabilities, and extra features like marketing options. We considered different use cases and what individuals and businesses would need from their free website or online store builder when evaluating systems.

We relied on our own website building experience, extensive use of product demos and free trials, and recent unincentivized reviews from real users on sites like G2, Capterra, and Software Advice when choosing the best software to make a website for free.

Read about how we rate website builders at Merchant Maverick.

Why We Don't Recommend These Website Builder Options


GoDaddy websites are not actually free, but rather an extended free trial. You can build a fully functional website for free, but after that trial, you have to upgrade to actually maintain the site and take payments online.


While Wix allows you to build your own website for free, you cannot sell items for free. To take payments, you need to sign up for a paid plan.


Weebly was acquired by Square in 2018 and has been completely incorporated into Square’s suite of business tools. If you were interested in Weebly website builders, you can make a Square account and start building your website with Square Online.


In addition to free email marketing, MailChimp allows you to create a website for free. However, MailChimp’s general website features are limited compared to website builders like Square, and this provider requires you to upgrade your plan to actually create an online store and accept payments.

How To Build A Website For Free

To build a website for free, you’ll need a website builder that hosts your website on a server for you and provides you with a free subdomain name. Every builder on this list except for the downloadable software offers this (the version of WordPress will host your website for you if you really want to use WordPress without spending money).

These are the steps you’ll take to build your free online store, personal portfolio, landing page, and/or blog.

Decide What You Need For Your Website

Most websites are broken down into two categories: personal websites that are meant to help you establish an online presence or present a project, and eCommerce websites that are meant to help businesses establish an online presence and even sell online.

Before you choose a website builder, decide what type of website you’re building and what you’ll need for your specific website.

If you’re an artist or student looking to present projects or a professional work history, you’ll need a website that has sufficient storage, beautiful layouts, and potentially a contact form. It may also be helpful for your website builder to connect to your social media or LinkedIn profile and support embedded videos and downloadable files, but these features are not completely necessary. Your website won’t need any product management or payment functionalities.

Most customers expect businesses to sell online now, so businesses should choose an eCommerce store builder instead of a regular website builder. You can use an eCommerce site to sell physical and digital products, as well as services. If you want to sell in person, you should find an online store builder that either has built-in POS software or connects to a POS system.

No matter what type of website you build, your website needs to load quickly and work well.

Choose Your Website Builder

Choose your website builder based on your specific website builder needs, how customizable you want your website to be, any specific features you want to include, and how quickly and easily you want to get a website up and running.

For example, if you want to get a portfolio website up very quickly, you could use a simple website builder like Brizy or Mobirise to create a clean-looking website. If you have a business and want to sell online and in person, a website builder that has built-in product sales (like Square) is a better option.

Organize & Design Your Website

Most website builders will have you choose a template or theme before you begin your site creation process.

When making your choice, be sure to select carefully. You want to pick a template that reflects the industry you’re in and can accommodate whatever feature additions you plan to make.

Once you’ve picked a template or theme, it’s time for you to organize your content. Keep the following in mind when creating your site:

  • Multi-Page VS One-Page: If you have a business, blog, or want to show off several projects in detail, use a multi-page website to fit all of the content you will be uploading. If you’re only using a website as a portfolio, landing page, or expect most of your web traffic will come from smartphone users, a single-page website might be best for you.
  • Call To Action: Consider adding a prompt (typically a large, obvious button) to your website to encourage visitors to subscribe, sign-up for free, learn more, get started, or schedule an appointment. Call-to-action buttons are the primary way individuals and small businesses can interact with your website instead of passively viewing it.
  • Contact Page: For most professionals and small businesses, your contact information page will be the most important part of your website. It often marks the beginning of your relationship with a potential customer, client, or employer. Make sure your contact information is clear to understand, and don’t make your site visitors jump through hoops to find it.
  • Content: One of the most exciting parts about making a website is adding your content! Once you have your site’s design, form, and structure figured out, you can begin filling in the blanks. Keep your content simple and streamlined while still showing off some personality.

Set Up Policies & Payments (If Applicable)

If you’ll be offering products or services for sale on your website, you’ll need to have a payment processor. Many website builders have a native payment services provider (PSP) that will require minimal setup on your part.

However, if you choose not to use their PSP or one is not offered on your website, we can help you choose the best option for your business. Check out our complete guide to accepting credit card payments online to learn the basics, and then start your search with the best credit card processing companies.

Make sure to be clear on your website about your policies regarding payment, shipping, returns, no-shows, and late cancellations.

Connect To Other Marketing & Business Tools

Professionals and business owners can connect their websites to marketing tools such as email marketing software or social media profiles to reach more people online.

Business owners can connect their websites to things like loyalty programs, accounting, appointment, and shipping management tools, depending on what they need to streamline their operations and increase revenue.

What Is The Best Free Website Builder For You?

To build a website online for free, you have to get a little creative and make some sacrifices. For example, you will need to use a subdomain name, which makes it harder for people to find your website. You can embed a PayPal buy button link on a free website, but this won’t be easy to manage and won’t give your website a cohesive feel. You can use a website builder that provides business tools, but you will get a basic website and be locked into one payment processor.

Before you decide on a website builder, consider how long you plan on maintaining this website and whether you’ll need to pay for features down the line. Nothing is more irritating than migrating your website to a new website builder platform or web hosting provider, so take your time when choosing between these best free website makers.

FAQs: Best Free Website Builder

Can I build a website for free and take payments?

You can build a website for free and take payments using a free online store builder like Square or Shift4Shop.

What is the best free website builder?

The best free website builder depends on the purpose of your website, how you want it to look, and how quickly you want to get a website up.

Square is best for most small businesses, while Shift4Shop is another excellent choice for online-first businesses.

WordPress is excellent for customization but takes more effort to put together.

Brizy is a very easy-to-use landing page, blog, and portfolio builder that does not allow you to take payments.

Mobirise is an excellent downloadable low-commitment option that you can migrate to your own paid web domain when you’re ready.

Can I build a free website for my restaurant?

You can build a free website for your restaurant.

We recommend Square for Restaurants since you can easily sync your online, in-person, and third-party delivery orders together.

In Summary: Best Free Website Builders For Small Business & Projects

  1. Square Online:
    • In-person selling features, product/service management, industry-specific features (e.g. appointment booking)
    • $0-$79/month
    • Annual contracts on paid plans
  2. Shift4Shop:
    • All features included for free, no Shift4Shop ads on free sites, one-page checkout
    • $0-$29/month
    • Custom contracts and payment processing fees
  3. Mobirise:
    • Offline desktop website builder, can upload sites to any web hosting provider, free blog and chat system
    • $0-$149/year
    • Forever free desktop software download
  4. WordPress:
    • Highly customizable, good for blogging, lots of templates available
    • $0-$70/month
    • No contract required for software download
  5. Brizy:
    • Unlimited number of project/landing pages, collaborate with team members, several custom blocks available
    • $0-$89/month
    • No contract required
Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Expert Analyst & Reviewer
Nicolette began writing on small business topics in 2020. After hundreds of hours researching, testing, and assisting small business owners with web building and point of sale software, she is now an expert on all things eCommerce and point of sale. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Nicolette Kier
View Nicolette Kier's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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