5 best free website builders for small businesses

The best things in life aren’t free – but you can still set up a pretty decent website using the free plans or trial versions offered by these five platforms.

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BEST FOR
Free plan
Free trial
Cheapest paid plan
Visit

Wix

GoDaddy

Weebly

Jimdo

Squarespace

Best all-round website builder for small businesses

Ease of use and simplicity

Value for money

Creating a website in under an hour (thanks to its ADI platform)

Design flexibility & businesses looking to scale

Connect Domain – £3.50 per month

Basic – £5.59 per month

Connect – £4 per month

Start – £9 per month

Personal – £10 per month

10% off with code STARTUPS10

Out of the five best free website builders for small businesses, our top choice is Wix, followed closely by GoDaddy.

With an incredible 4.8/5 overall score, Wix is by far the elite website builder. The fact it offers a free plan that gives you access to its abundance of great features, high level of support and ease of use, makes it our number one choice for those businesses needing a free website builder.

GoDaddy isn't far behind in second place and is a solid all-round choice with an array of relevant features for those with small site offerings, scoring an overall rating of 4.4/5.

The majority of website builders we recommend have free plans to get you started, which is why the likes of Wix and GoDaddy score so highly. However other providers on our list, including Squarespace, only offer a free trial, which has an effect on our overall rankings.

The free versions/trials mentioned in our review usually limit the number of features you can access, or force you to host banner ads on your website pages. Some will also still charge you for a custom domain.

However, you can rest assured that we’ve really put these platforms through their paces to compile this list of the best free website builders.

Each website builder has been subjected to rigorous user testing, and then ranked on the six key factors that our small business audience told us matter most: ease of use, features, value for money, design flexibility, help and support, and customer score (i.e. how likely a user would be to recommend the product to a friend).

Whether you’re looking for a low-cost way to get your business online or a free version of a website builder to test your options before committing, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about choosing the best free website builder for your business.

Wix website builder
Our top pick: Wix

We think Wix's free trial and plan make it the best choice of free web builder for small businesses. Start with a free trial today.

Free Trial Find out why Wix is number one

Wix

Feature-rich, easy to use, offering heaps of support, and with universal approval from its own customers, Wix is our highest ranked website builder overall scoring a solid 4.8/5, and the platform we think offers the most for non-paying users.

You can get your Wix website up and running without spending a penny, and you’ll never be obliged to upgrade to a paid plan.

Most of its 500 templates are available with the free version, as well as a range of essential tools and services.

So, what’s the downside?

  • Visitors to your website will be exposed to Wix banner ads, which follow you as you scroll down the page
  • You’ll also be forced to use a branded domain, e.g. www.startups.wixsite.co.uk, instead of www.startups.co.uk
  • You won’t be able to set up an online shop

How much does it cost to upgrade to a paid plan?

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Read our full Wix review here

GoDaddy

GoDaddy has made big strides since we reviewed the website builder back in 2021. Its overall score has seen an impressive 33% increase, jumping from 3.3 to 4.4/5 stars and making it the second best free website builder on our list.

There are plenty of reasons why, but its array of small business centric features, and user-friendly design make it the ideal choice for those startup and micro businesses requiring small site offerings.

It certainly offers the quickest and most efficient website building experience, and its free plan comes with 100s of modern, professional templates and built-in tools for SEO, social media and email marketing to help your business grow.

So, what's the downside?

  • You won't be able to use a custom domain until you upgrade to a paid plan
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not available on the free plan
  • Marketing tools are very limited, and you'll need to upgrade to access the better options

How much does it cost to upgrade to a paid plan?

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Weebly

If you’re looking for an intuitive design process, a decent range of features, and great value for money, Weebly is the website builder for you. But don’t just take our word for it: 90% of its customers say they would recommend it to a friend.

With the free version, you get to choose from a selection of quality templates – all of which are mobile responsive. You can also access an easy to use dashboard of tools, including SEO optimisation.

Like Wix, you’ll have to use an assigned URL with the free plan, but the on-page ads are far more subtle. The more advanced features offered by Weebly are only available with paid plans, and you won’t be able to use the ecommerce functions.


How much does it cost to upgrade to a paid plan?

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Price

Connect

Weebly pro

Weebly business

Jimdo Dolphin

Jimdo Dolphin is a great option for small business owners that want to get their website up and running quickly and with little fuss.

Its ADI functionality means it will ask you a series of questions to figure out the type of website you want before you select some simple options (like colour palettes). From this it will create your website for you, saving you time and effort dealing with complex designs and editing processes.

The ADI functionality is available on the free plan, which is great for those businesses who want a simple, basic website that does the job. This automation, unfortunately, makes Jimdo's website builder capabilities limited compared to its competitors, especially when it comes to customisation and feature offering.

The free plan also comes with a dedicated mobile editor view to help optimise your site for mobile formatting.

So, what's the downside?

  • You'll need to upgrade to have access to a custom domain
  • Visitors to your website will be subject to Jimdo ads
  • Social marketing and SEO aren't available on the free plan

How much does it cost to upgrade to a paid plan?

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Price

Start

Grow

Grow + Legal

Unlimited

£9 per month

£15 per month

£20 per month

£39 per month

Squarespace

Squarespace homepage

Unlike Wix, the only free option offered by Squarespace is a 14-day trial.

However, you can save 10% off Squarespace when users enter the code STARTUPS10 when purchasing a plan.

With the 14-day free trial, you’ll be able to access a wide range of features, templates, and tools during that trial period, and Squarespace won’t take your credit card details until you decide that it’s the right platform for you.

Squarespace came second in our ranking of the best website builders, scoring highest for design flexibility, as well as second highest for help and support and value for money. It offers a great range of slick and stylish templates, as well as advanced ecommerce functionality.

The only real downsides of Squarespace are:

  • It’s a little pricier than other platforms (though you’re paying for a quality product)
  • It’s harder to use than rival platforms – the initial steps are easy enough, but the editing platform can be challenging

How much does it cost to upgrade to a paid plan?

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Price

Personal Plan

Business Plan

Basic Commerce

Advanced Commerce

Read our full Squarespace review here

Next steps and roundup of the best free website builders

From our review of each free website builder, it is clear to see why Wix is the best provider.

Not only do you get to enjoy the vast majority of excellent features that make Wix the best website builder for small businesses, but you aren't put under any pressure to upgrade and with the functionality available at the free plan level, you don't need to. You also get the option of a free trial once you do make the decision to upgrade and this makes Wix the only provider on our list to do this.

GoDaddy has really stepped up its game since our last deep dive analysis in 2021, and its 33% increase in overall score says a lot about its second place position in our list. With its UX and design functionalities vastly improving.

Squarespace, although a brilliant website builder, doesn't quite hit the mark as it doesn't offer a free plan, only a free trial. But the good news is, you can use the code STARTUPS10 to save 10% off any Squarespace plan.

As you’ve seen, whichever option you choose, you’re going to be limited in some way.

Depending on your ambitions for your online presence, this may or may not matter. But if you want to build a professional looking website, and to have access to all the tools and features you need to make your online presence a success, then it’s worth upgrading to a paid plan sooner rather than later.

Check out our ranking of the best website builders for small businesses here. Alternatively, find out more about how to create a business website here.


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Henry Williams headshot
Henry Williams Content Manager

Henry has been writing for Startups.co.uk since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also acted as project lead on many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Business Ideas, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides.

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