Because we are often asked if it’s possible to make a website without paying anything, we felt it necessary to write this brief post. Thankfully, there are many ways to do that.
We’ve been taught nothing is free, so many of us regard free web services with suspicion. In reality, there’s nothing suspicious about them. Once you understand how they work, everything will fall into place.
Option #1: Free blogging services
If you need to create a blog, then Blogger or Tumblr are probably some of the easiest solutions. These are so easy to use and customize, that you can start posting within minutes.
However, by hosting your content on these platforms, you’re sacrificing some of the control and creative freedom other DIY web services provide. They do let you customize the look of your blog with a little bit of HTML wizardry, but you still don’t have those deep customization capabilities that more advanced platforms offer.
Option #2: Free website builders
If your project goes beyond just blogging, you need something more powerful. Some of the best free website builders that we can recommend are uCoz, Weebly, Wix and Zoho sites.
These site builders are versatile platforms that let you create various types of sites: blogs, business sites, online portfolios, forums and also webstores. Most are based on visual editors where you can create pages by simply dragging elements into place. Here are some quick facts about each of them:
uCoz is a free website builder for advanced users. It’s a smart system of highly customizable construction blocks called modules. Users can enable and alter these modules to get the desired functionality. For instance, if I want to build a simple 5-page site with uCoz, I will enable the FAQ module, Guestbook, Web Polls, Site Search and Blog. All uCoz modules are free, except for the E-shop.
Weebly is a drag-and-drop site builder for beginners. Its free version is quite generous: you get a library of free website templates, secure hosting, unlimited pages and basic eCommerce features with the ability to sell up to 5 products. As a bonus, you get a $100 Google AdWords voucher (after spending $25).
Wix is also a popular option. Its forte is its rich library of beautiful responsive themes in over 70 industry categories. It’s more a visual-focused platform. Wix offers both in-house apps and third-party integrations. You can sign up and publish your site to a Wix subdomain for free.
But benefits are never the full story. Using a free web service means displaying ads on your website as well as using a subdomain instead of a custom domain name.
The good news is that you can remove these limitations through upgrading your account, which is about $4-$10 a month. The only site builder that doesn’t put its ads on free sites is Zoho Sites.
Zoho Sites offers one of the best free web publishing solutions. It lets you design and publish an ad-free website with unlimited pages for nothing. You can even purchase a new domain and connect it to your Zoho site without having to upgrade your account.
Here are SWB, we believe that free accounts are good for tests only, and that it’s impossible to build a decent, nice-looking website using a free version. We highly recommend that you consider upgrading, since there’s a greater cost associated with not paying for your website.