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Today, I'll introduce you to 11 website builders that let you create a free website and connect your own custom domain at no cost.
This means you can buy your own custom domain or get it free elsewhere, set up a website on one of these platforms, and connect a custom domain for free.
Usually, using a custom domain is considered a premium feature.
Many website builders, like Wix and Weebly, let you create a website for free, but if you want to use a custom domain, you'll need to upgrade to their premium plan, which can cost upwards of $5/month.
Otherwise, your website will be hosted under their subdomain, indirectly promoting their brand. For example www.yoursite.WixSite.com.
This list is the culmination of over a hundred hours of me personally trying & comparing website builder platforms and figuring out which platforms actually allow you to create a website and connect a custom domain 100% free.
So, no matter if you're building an eCommerce store, a personal website, a business marketing site, a portfolio, or a blog, I'll show you the cheapest way to build a free website with a custom domain.
Let's dive right in.
Hubspot started as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool back in 2006 but has since grown into an all-purpose marketing software conglomerate today.
Their Free Marketing Hub is a combination of free tools like CMS, email automation, team inbox, etc you can use to power your business, like starting a website and then using a custom domain on it..
To get started with creating a free website on Hubspot, just head over to their Free Marketing Hub page and select "Get started free".
In my opinion, there's a ton of value to using Hubspot's free tools, especially if you're a small business that needs a marketing site :
Being a listed company, part of their strategy is to offer a ton of free tools and resources to get customers in the front door in hopes they'll upgrade in the future. And that's what Hubspot is doing with their free Marketing Hub.
Hubspot offers a ton of free value, but you should know what you're getting into before you get started!
Small business owners who need a marketing site should take advantage of Hubspot's free website & marketing tools (while they're still free). Looking at their feature sets, you can get far with pretty much zero cost.
GetResponse was one of the pioneers in email marketing for small businesses back in the early 2000s, but they've had multiple rebrands and expansions ever since.
Their latest product release?
A website builder that allows you to connect to a custom domain, even on the free plan!
I've tried the website builder myself, and to my surprise, it's relatively easy to set one up. Here's the website I set up with GetResponse in under 10 minutes.
How GetResponse Website Builder works:
What you should know about building a website using GetResponse
Should you use GetResponse?
In my opinion, GetResponse is great for small businesses that just need a simple branded website or landing page that collect leads.
The website builder is simple enough for beginners to set up, and you get to set up an email list leveraging GetResponse's existing email marketing tools.
ConvertKit is an email marketing platform that has grown much more since its inception in 2013.
Their mission now is to become THE marketing platform for online creators and to help them grow and monetize their audience.
To do that, they've launched an indispensable free landing page builder to help online creators capture leads and interests for their expertise.
And yes, their landing page builder allows you to add a custom domain name for free!
You can create all sorts of landing pages with ConvertKit, such as a newsletter sign-up page, webinar sign-up page, waitlist for your product launch, ebook landing page, personal profile page, product sales page, and more.
That's not all. When you sign up for Convertkit on their free plan, you also get to:
It's a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before you sign up for a free ConverKit account:
All-in-all, ConvertKit offers a ton of value upfront. You can get started on your site easily and free of charge too. More importantly, you can start building a branded site early on with a custom domain name on a free ConvertKit account.
Just be mindful of the cost adding up as you grow your subscriber count. But if you're monetizing your audience (what ConverKit is intended for), it should more than pay itself in the long run.
UPDATE: Ucraft no longer allows you to connect a custom domain on their free plan, but it is still a great free website builder plus, they have just updated their template library, and they all look sleek!
Ucraft is an excellent web design tool for anyone who doesn't have a lot of experience and wants an easy drag-and-drop website builder for their website.
While there are many features to learn, it’s a pretty intuitive experience even for those who aren’t tech-savvy. Their interface is full of explanations for every single button and function.
The free version has enough features to make a cool personal website. Best of all, Ucraft is one of the few website builders that let you connect your domain to your site for free!
Other Ucraft benefits on their free plan:
Ucraft is also known to provide great customer service, even if you’re on a free plan.
If you plan to add a custom domain to your site, which can be relatively complex for a beginner, there’s a step-by-step video guide to show you how to do that.
And if you get stuck, there is a chat button to offer help whenever you need it.
Note: If you decide to sign up for a free Ucraft account, make sure you click on the “Get Started” link on the Free plan. The default Get Started link signs you up for a 14 days trial for the Pro plan, which you need to pay to keep the website online after the trial ends.
While you’re on the Ucraft free plan, there are a few limitations you need to know.
Ucraft branding — Ucraft will add a watermark “This website is created with Ucraft” at the bottom of your site.
Limited customization — You won’t be able to set custom fonts, customize sign up forms, and use advanced layouts for your site.
No eCommerce — eCommerce features are only reserved for paid plans (starting $10/month).
Limited SEO features — You won’t be able to customize titles and descriptions for SEO.
Landingi is more advanced than the average landing page builder mentioned previously, as they specialize in building landing page for lead generation efforts.
Some advanced features they have include (that their competitors don't) are:
And yes, they do allow you to add a custom domain to your landing page on the free plan.
Note: you will have to integrate with an email marketing platform as Landingi only supports landing page and lead capture form. But they have over 100 integrations with leading CRM, email marketing platforms, chat groups, eCommerce solutions, etc.
What you should know before signing up for Landingi:
Verdict on Landingi
Landingi is great if you with the best-in-class tool and landing page design.
I believe Landingi is designed for marketing agencies, consultants, and freelancers who either work with clients or sell their own products.
It's great if you want to maximize your lead generation efforts. For example, you can use it to gather leads for event or webinar pages, encourage customers to sign up for ebooks or discount coupons, or secure pre-registered users for a new product launch.
Branchbob is a versatile eCommerce platform that comes with a generous free plan. One that allows you to use a custom domain for your online store!
Usually, adding a custom domain is an advanced feature reserved only on paid plans.
However, Branchbob is one of the few eCommerce platforms that allow you to add a custom domain for free while also giving you access to other advanced features, such as:
What’s great about Branchbob is that you can build a complete online store free of charge and without restrictions.
You’ll be able to set up unlimited products to sell, accept payments via popular payment methods (Paypal, Stripe, or invoice), add support for various currencies, languages, and yes, you can add a custom domain to your store.
Note: You won’t be able to purchase a custom domain via Branchbob. Instead, you have to get the custom domain through a third-party domain name registrar (e.g., Namecheap, GoDaddy) and redirect it to Branchbob.
If all that sounds too technical for you, luckily, BranchBob has a step-by-step guide to show you how to add a custom domain to your store.
It also helps that Branchbob has a friendly and responsive customer support team. Based on my experience, you can expect a same-day reply to any questions you have about the platform.
Basic theme design — Don’t expect premium storefront design, and the options to customize are limited unless you feel confident about editing some code. Although, Branchbob intends to release premium themes you can purchase in the future.
Limited third-party apps — Sadly, there are very few integrations available to help extend your store. Fortunately, existing Branchbob features allow you to run a fully functional (and scalable) eCommerce store for free.
Branchbob branding — Branchbob includes their brand logo in your site footer.
Freewebstore is one of those underrated online store builders that most people have never heard of until now :)
After messing around with the store builder and building a free web store on my own, I conclude that it's pretty decent for anyone who wants a fuss-free and cost-free way to start their eCommerce business.
I reckon it'll be great for students, mom-and-pop, and even some independent businesses because the onboarding experience is very beginner friendly (with a chatbot guiding you, no less), and they highlight each step you need to take to launch your store.
That aside, here are the main benefits of Freewebstore:
All things considered, it's a good online store builder that offers a ton of great value for free.
Sure, you won't be able to customize your site as much, but their templates are actually good.
Shift4Shop is a complete and robust eCommerce platform known for providing outstanding technical support 24/7/365.
Their best offer?
A complete eCommerce solution to build your online store for free! The catch is that you have to reside in the US.
If you’re not from the US, then, unfortunately, Shift4Shop isn’t that great of a deal for you.
Otherwise, you get to use all of Shift4Shop’s premium features for free. Included but not limited to:
Since Shift4Shop is such a versatile eCommerce platform, you can build all kinds of stores, whether it’s selling subscriptions, print-on-demand products, hardware, brand merchandise, event tickets, or even a dropshipping store.
Unlimited Free plan for US customers only — If you live outside of the US, unfortunately, you have to pay upwards of $29/month to get access to all the advanced features.
Powered by Shift4Shop — You get to use all of Shift4shop's premium features for free, but the catch is they'll place a "Powered by Shift4Shop" branding at the footer of your site. You can remove this by paying a monthly fee (starting $29/month).
Basic theme design — Shift4Shop has over 100 free online store themes, but most of them look slightly dated (you can check them out yourself). But they give you full access to all the files that make up your theme, so you're free to edit it if you have coding knowledge or you can hire someone to do it for you.
Building a free online store on Shift4Shop is as good as it gets, assuming you live in the US. You get all the advanced features other platforms charge hundreds of dollars per month for free on Shift4Shop.
What’s more? They’ll even migrate your current eCommerce website to Shift4Shop free of charge.
Don’t be intimidated by the name. Big Cartel is a beginner-friendly eCommerce platform for makers, artists, and creative professionals to set up a simple store and sell their products.
Big Cartel is inexpensive compared to alternatives like Shopify and BigCommerce. Its free plan, in particular, allows you to create an online store with a custom domain.
It also gives you various ways to set up a store with a few clicks, and you can set up different variations of products to sell.
Design wise, you can tell by their website templates. They’re unique, full of personality, and the layout is designed to highlight the artist’s creative work.
Each built-in theme has its own available set of customization options. It’s easy to upload a header, logo, or background image, add a slideshow, adjust color and font settings, and make other adjustments to your theme layout - no coding required.
Here are some great examples of Big Cartel stores:
Note: You’re only allowed to sell up to 5 products on the Big Cartel’s free plan. It comes with free themes, real-time stats for your orders, custom domain, shipment tracking, discount & promo code, and auto-calculated sales tax.
Despite the limitation, Big Cartel’s platinum plan ($10/month) is worth signing up for If you decided to upgrade. You can sell up to 50 products plus time-saving features such as inventory tracking, bulk editing, and advanced store customization.
Lacks integration — Big Cartel doesn't offer many integrations. So you will find yourself spending time copy-pasting info from your shipping service, social media pages, etc.
Lacks cross-channel selling — Big Cartel also lacks direct integration with other sales channels like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. So there’s going to more work involved if you want to set this up.
If you need a simple online store to sell your work (physical, digital products, and services), Big Cartel is a great inexpensive platform for it. But if you need a large, multifunctional online store, you won’t find enough Big Cartel features to support your business.
This may come as a surprise, but creating a Google Site is as simple as making a Google slide.
It’s 100% free — there isn’t a paid plan, and there’s no plugin to purchase — you’re also allowed to add a custom domain for free to your site.
Part of Google Site’s appeal is that they’ve simplified the website design process as much as possible.
For example, instead of limitless customization, there are only a handful of layouts to use.
And there are only a few page elements for you to add to the site — Image, text, button, table of content, and image carousel.
Every element you add snaps and align neatly like a lego piece.
By placing these limitations, Google ensures your website will work on all screens and devices regardless of how you build it.
Once you’re done, just hit publish, and you have a fully functional website with a link to share with anyone.
Other notable features that Google Site offers.
Google Site is great if you need to set up a free, simple, and practical website with a custom domain as fast as possible.
Design and customization are not a priority for you. You don’t mind a basic-looking website as long as it works and displays all the information you need.
Wordpress isn’t a website builder per se, but it is one of the most popular platforms for building a website.
To set up a Wordpress site, you have to get a custom domain and dedicated web hosting.
And since Wordpress is free, it is often the preferred choice for many web developers.
Also read: Wordpress vs Squarespace vs Wix vs Weebly
If you need a general-purpose website for your business, then Hubspot is a great place to start. Tons of free templates (thanks to their collab with Themeforest) and marketing tools to help you get traction.
If you’re creating an eCommerce store, go with BranchBob, FreeWebStore, or Shift4Shop. They’re all free and come with robust features for you to sell online for free. Although, if you reside in the US, Shift4Shop has a slight advantage as they have more advanced features built-in.
But if you need maximum customizability, advanced plugins, and blogging features, Wordpress is undoubtedly the best tool for it.
Website builders such as Hubspot, BranchBob, and ConvertKit allow you to create a free website with your own domain.
These particular Youtube tutorials teach you how to set them up:
You can get a free custom domain from FreeNom and Github (if you're a student) and connect it to one of the website builders that allow you to add a custom domain for free.
Best is pretty subjective in my opinion, but after dozens of reviews, I can say Hubspot is best if you just need a free marketing site.
However, if you need an online/eCommerce store, then Shift4Shop and Branchbob come to mind.
If you want to create a personal website, then the best free website builder is Wix, Weebly, and Ucraft as they have a flexible web editor with well-designed templates.
If you want to create a free landing page, then the best website builder for it is ConvertKit. They have tons of pre-made, well-designed landing page templates that you can use to quickly kickstart your project or business.