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How To Build A Website For Free In 2022

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
  • UPDATED

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

If you want to build a website online for free and take payments online, you’ll need to find a good free online store builder.

The best free website makers have payment options so that in-person and online sellers can accept digital payments, affiliate marketers can advertise online, creators can monetize their content, and influencers can promote their brands.

Keep on reading to see our top choices.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Square Online

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  • Best for selling online and in-person
  • $0-$79/month
  • Online payment processing starts at 2.9% + $0.30
  • Best for selling online and in-person
  • $0-$79/month
  • Online payment processing starts at 2.9% + $0.30

Start Trial

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Shift4Shop

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  • Most free online product sales capabilities
  • $0-$229/month
  • Custom-quoted payment processing rate from Shift4 Payments
  • Most free online product sales capabilities
  • $0-$229/month
  • Custom-quoted payment processing rate from Shift4 Payments

Start Trial

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Sellfy

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  • Best for selling print-on-demand merch
  • $0-$1459/year
  • Payment processing using PayPal & Stripe
  • Best for selling print-on-demand merch
  • $0-$1459/year
  • Payment processing using PayPal & Stripe

Visit Site

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Mobirise

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  • Best low-commitment option for landing pages, small online stores, and donation websites
  • $0-$149/year
  • Payment processing using Stripe & PayPal
  • Best low-commitment option for landing pages, small online stores, and donation websites
  • $0-$149/year
  • Payment processing using Stripe & PayPal

Visit Site

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Weebly

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  • Best for building an eCommerce store fast
  • $0-$29/month
  • Payment processing with Square, PayPal, & Stripe
  • Best for building an eCommerce store fast
  • $0-$29/month
  • Payment processing with Square, PayPal, & Stripe

Visit Site

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WordPress

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  • Best for affiliate bloggers, content creators, and individuals who want a highly custom website
  • $0-$59/month
  • Payment processing with Square, Stripe, & PayPal
  • Best for affiliate bloggers, content creators, and individuals who want a highly custom website
  • $0-$59/month
  • Payment processing with Square, Stripe, & PayPal

Visit Site

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Show Fewer Options

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Best Free Website Makers For An Online Store

The best free website builders for an online store will have nice templates, allow you to take multiple forms of payment, are secure, and can help you manage inventory. Square, Shift4Shop, Sellfy, Mobirise, Weebly, and WordPress are some of the best platforms to help you build a website online for free.

1. Square: Overall Best For Small Businesses

Square Online


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Pros

  • All-in-one sales solution
  • Strong inventory management
  • Suits a variety of business types
  • Affordable in-person sales hardware

Cons

  • Basic-looking websites
  • Limited storage

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 feature on the Square Online free plan:

  • Free website builder with Square subdomain
  • In-person selling capabilities for restaurants and retail businesses
  • Online ordering and self-serve ordering kiosk menu for restaurants
  • Marketing and social media selling on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok
  • Built-in inventory and shipping management
  • Physical and digital product sales
  • Sales and coupon codes to run marketing campaigns
  • Online forms so customers can fill out requests, contact you, etc.
  • Online appointment booking page (great for stylists, consultants, etc.)

Square Online web builder

Square 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
  • Professional: $16/month ($12/month with annual billing)
  • Performance: $29/month ($26/month with annual billing)
  • Premium: $79/month ($72/month with annual billing)

Note: The pricing above is for Square Online stores. Square also offers Square for Retail and Square for Restaurants, two custom software packages that are industry-specific.

Hardware Cost

In-person sellers can purchase a Square contactless credit card reader for $49 and start taking debit, credit, and mobile card payments with minimal setup.

You can also take in-person payments without any point of sale hardware by having customers scan a QR code placed somewhere at your store, popup stand, etc. The QR code is a  Square Online payment link that will take customers right to an online order page. You can also send customers a payment link via email or text.

Payment Processing

Square requires you to use the company’s in-house payment processing system, and charges the following payment processing rates for small business owners on the free plan:

  • In-person Payments: 2.6% plus $0.10
  • Online Payments: 2.9% plus $0.30

Once you upgrade to the highest Square subscription plan, your payment processing fees will be reduced.

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.

Why Square Shines To Build A Free Website For Your Store

Square is the overall best choice for small business owners, especially business owners who sell in person, because of how nicely the Square Online web builder integrates with Square’s in-person point of sale software/hardware package.

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.

Get Started With Square Online

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

2. Shift4Shop: Overall Best Online Store Features

Shift4Shop


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Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Must use Shift4 Payments as payment processor
  • Not great for in-person sales

Shift4Shop Website Builder & eCommerce 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 will make checkout faster (and increase 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

Shift4Shop free website builder

Shift4Shop Pricing

Shift4Shop offers the following monthly pricing plans:

  • End-To-End eCommerce: $0 (includes everything in the Pro plan)
  • Basic: $29/month
  • Plus: $79/month
  • Pro: $229/month

Hardware Cost

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.

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

Payment Processing

To use Shift4Shop’s free website builder to build a website online for free, you must use Shift4 Payments to process all payments. Shift4 Payments does not openly advertise payment processing fees. You must get a custom payment processing quote and sign a merchant contract to use Shift4Shop’s free plan.

Otherwise, you must pay for a monthly subscription plan.

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 and unexpected fees, so make sure to read any contracts before building a website with Shift4Shop.

Why Shift4Shop Shines To Build A Free Website For Your Store

Shift4Shop’s free End-to-End eCommerce plan comes with more features than just about any other free website builder software out there. You can sell everything from subscriptions to dropshipping products, to custom creations. Shift4Shop websites are fully functional, very sleek, designed with SEO in mind, and completely customizable.

If you want to sell something like subscriptions or start a dropshipping business for free, and you’re alright with using Shift4 Payments to take online payments, then Shift4Shop may be the right website builder for you.

Related: If you’re specifically interested in selling subscriptions and memberships, read our post on the best subscription eCommerce platforms to set up an online site and take recurring payments.

Get Started With Shift4Shop

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

3. Sellfy: Best For Selling Merch & Print-On-Demand Items

Sellfy


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Pros

  • Built-in print-on-demand sales
  • Integration with Zapier and Patreon
  • Newsletter, contact forms, and blogging
  • Fast and easy setup

Cons

  • Limit of 10 products on free plan
  • No digital downloads or subscriptions on free plan
  • Must use PayPal or Stripe to take payments

Sellfy Website Builder & eCommerce Features

Sellfy is a fast and easy online shop builder for influencers and content creators to sell branded merch and connect with customers. That’s why Sellfy offers the following feature set:

  • Free website builder (with Sellfy subdomain and Sellfy ad in website footer)
  • Built-in print-on-demand capabilities
  • Integration with Patreon and Zapier
  • Built-in blogging feature
  • Add shop links to existing blogs, social media accounts, etc.
  • Contact and newsletter opt-in forms
  • Coupon codes
  • PayPal and Stripe payment gateway support

Sellfy website builder

Sellfy Pricing

Sellfy offers the following pricing plans:

  • Free: $0 (limit of 10 product listings)
  • Starter: $29/month ($22/month billed annually)
  • Business: $79/month ($59/month billed annually)
  • Premium: $159/month ($119/month billed annually)

Hardware Cost

Sellfy does not offer any hardware, as the platform is geared towards online influencers and digital content creators.

Payment Processing

Currently, to take payments on your Sellfy site you can use PayPal, Stripe, or both.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Sellfy offers month-to-month, annual, and biannual contracts that are straightforward, especially because the web building platform does not actually do the heavy lifting of payment processing.

After purchasing a paid plan, you have up to 30 days to request a refund.

Why Sellfy Shines To Build A Free Website For Your Store

Sellfy is loved by digital content creators because of how easy it is to build and run a store on the platform. It has an incredibly minimalist user interface for business owners, which helps break down the barriers of actually getting started selling that band merch you’ve been meaning to post online or that beautiful print design you made to put on t-shirts and bags.

If you’re a content creator with 10 or fewer products to sell, Sellfy is an excellent option to start making money on your print-on-demand designs today. You build the site, then Sellfy does the printing and shipping for you, so you can focus on building brand deals, growing your following, and monetizing your content on other platforms.

Get Started With Sellfy

Jump back to comparison chart

4. Mobirise: Most Low-Commitment Option

Mobirise


Visit Site

Pros

  • 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

Cons

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

Mobirise Website Builder & eCommerce Features

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

The Mobirise desktop app offers excellent features, including:

  • Free desktop website builder (with unlimited data and no Mobirise ads)
  • Mobile-responsive drag-and-drop blocks
  • Custom form builder for customer contacts, requests, etc.
  • 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, etc.

Mobirise free website builder

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 (it’s not as complicated as it sounds, promise.)

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.

Hardware Cost

Mobirise does not support in-person purchases, so you would have to integrate your store with a point of sale system.

Payment Processing

Mobirise does not support payment processing, but the shopping cart extension supports payments through PayPal and Stripe.

You can also place a buy button on your website, a donate button, or a “pay-what-you-want” button URL (generated using PayPal, Stripe, or another online payment provider) in a Mobirise button element to take payments without purchasing the shopping cart extension.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Mobirise does not require you to sign any contracts.

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

Why Mobirise Shines To Build A Free Website For Your Store

Mobirise does not require you to sign any 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 or what you need it to do, what web hosting and domain names are, and why these things can cost money, start with Mobirise. 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.)

Those who love their simple Mobirise webpage designs and don’t need their website to do a whole lot can stick with the web builder, while others can purchase the code injector extension or switch later on if they need more functionality.

Get Started With Mobirise

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

5. Weebly: Best eCommerce Templates

Weebly


Visit Site

Pros

  • Unlimited physical product/gift card sales
  • Delivery tracking
  • Beautiful, simple store templates
  • Multiple payment processor options

Cons

  • Weebly branding
  • No digital/subscription sales
  • Storage limits

Weebly Website Builder & eCommerce Features

Weebly (now owned by Square) is an eCommerce website builder that offers the following free features:

  • Free website builder (with Weebly branding)
  • Unlimited number of physical product sales
  • Offer customizations/product variants
  • Several eCommerce store templates
  • Buy online, pick up in store
  • Delivery tracking
  • Automated tax calculations
  • Coupons and discounts
  • One-page checkout
  • Lead capture forms
  • Square gift card sales

weebly review

Weebly Pricing

Weebly offers these pricing plans:

  • Free: $0
  • Personal: $9/month ($6/month billed annually)
  • Professional: $16/month ($12/month billed annually)
  • Performance: $29/month ($26/month billed annually)

Hardware Cost

Weebly does not offer hardware, as the store builder is not focused on in-person sales (especially the free plan.)

However, you can purchase Square hardware to sell in person and still maintain a Weebly site.

Payment Processing

Although Weebly is owned by Square, you can take payments through Square, Stripe, and PayPal.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Weebly contracts can be month-to-month or annual. Some users report having difficulty canceling their Weebly account without being charged a fee, so watch out for this if you want to cancel a paid Weebly account.

Why Weebly Shines To Build A Free Website For Your Store

Weebly is powered by Square. However, unlike Square, Weebly offers eCommerce templates and a little more freedom when it comes to payment processors. Weebly’s eCommerce templates make it easy for sellers to get online fast, and the easy-to-use backend makes it easy for sellers to get their eCommerce business organized.

For individuals who want to sell an unlimited number of items online, manage inventory, offer delivery tracking, and use a beautiful eCommerce template, Weebly could be the free online store builder for you.

Get Started With Weebly

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

6. WordPress: Most Customizable Website & Blog Builder

WordPress


Visit Site

Pros

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

Cons

  • No plugin access on free plan
  • No built-in payment processing

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:

  • Free drag-and-drop website builder (with WordPress branding)
  • Excellent blogging features
  • Lots of social media integrations
  • Eventbrite Checkout, reservation, and event calendar embed
  • Appointment booking, contact, and newsletter subscriber forms
  • Place 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

WordPress free website builder

WordPress Pricing

WordPress has the following pricing:

  • Free: $0
  • Personal: $7/month ($4/month billed annually)
  • Premium: $14/month ($8/month billed annually)
  • Business: $33/month ($25/month billed annually)
  • eCommerce: $59/month ($45/month billed annually)

Most of WordPress’s power comes from the almost unending number of add-on software (called plugins) that you can add to your website. Plugins allow you to do anything from selling raffle tickets to creating entire learning platforms.

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

Hardware Cost

WordPress is not designed for in-person sales, and the only way to take payments on the free plan is to embed a buy button URL in a button.

On paid plans, you may add WooCommerce to your site for free, then add WooCommerce-compatible payment providers such as Stripe, Square, or PayPal. You may source your POS hardware from your payment providers.

An alternative option for paid WordPress site owners is to add the WooCommerce POS plugin to your WooCommerce site and integrate it with the Stripe Terminal.

Payment Processing

Free WordPress sites do not have built-in payment processing. You can add a buy button that links to a buy button from a provider like PayPal.

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, then you’ll have to pay.)

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.

Why WordPress Shines To Build A Free Website For Your Store

WordPress is another low-commitment web builder that’s easy to work with. It’s the most versatile cloud-based website building software out there, hands-down, with more website themes and customizations than any other web builder.

There are several blocks for general websites, blogs, custom code, and links to external web pages. Affiliate bloggers that want to direct readers out to affiliate products, content creators, freelancers, marketplace sellers (e.g. Etsy, Amazon), and even people selling a few physical items could benefit from a free WordPress site.

If you decide you like WordPress, upgrade to a paid plan and install the WooCommerce plugin. Then, your selling capabilities will be virtually limitless.

Get Started With WordPress

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Why We Don't Recommend These Website Builder Options

GoDaddy

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.

Wix

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.

Which Free Website Maker Is Right For Your Business?

To build a website online for free, you will have to get a little creative and make some sacrifices. For example, you have to choose between having a basic-looking website with fully integrated in-person and online sales and creating a fully customizable website with a separate payment processing solution.

If you want to sell online and in-person, Square is probably your best option. If you’re an online-exclusive seller, then Shift4Shop is an excellent fully-integrated web builder and payment processor.

Influencers can easily design and sell print-on-demand merch using Sellfy, a platform that is limited but also a complete sales solution.

For more customization, you can use WordPress or Mobirise to create a website, then add buy buttons or some other form of payment link to your website. These two are also great options for bloggers and content creators.

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.

Read our post on how to start an eCommerce business if you haven’t quite solidified your online sales strategy. Also, read up on how to monetize your website if you want to make money without actually selling physical products.

FAQs: 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, Shift4Shop, Wix, Weebly, Sellfy, Mobirise, or Big Cartel.

Which free website builder is best?

The best free website builder depends on what you’re selling, if you sell strictly online, sell in person, how much work you want to put into making a website, and what you want your website to look like.

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

Sellfy is a great platform for influencers to quickly start selling merch.

WordPress and Mobirise are slightly more involved, but much more flexible website builders. Bloggers and content creators may really appreciate the numerous design elements both these web builders offer.

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.

Shift4Shop is also a decent platform for you to take online orders and maintain an online presence.

In Summary: Best Free Website Makers For An Online Store

  1. Square Online:
    • Best for selling online and in-person
    • $0-$79/month
    • Online payment processing starts at 2.9% + $0.30
  2. Shift4Shop:
    • Most free online product sales capabilities
    • $0-$229/month
    • Custom-quoted payment processing rate from Shift4 Payments
  3. Sellfy:
    • Best for selling print-on-demand merch
    • $0-$1459/year
    • Payment processing using PayPal & Stripe
  4. Mobirise:
    • Best low-commitment option for landing pages, small online stores, and donation websites
    • $0-$149/year
    • Payment processing using Stripe & PayPal
  5. Weebly:
    • Best for building an eCommerce store fast
    • $0-$29/month
    • Payment processing with Square, PayPal, & Stripe
  6. WordPress:
    • Best for affiliate bloggers, content creators, and individuals who want a highly custom website
    • $0-$59/month
    • Payment processing with Square, Stripe, & PayPal
Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Expert Analyst & Reviewer
As a small business owner, contributing writer Nicolette Kier has been sharing her knowledge on all things related to freelancing and eCommerce since 2019. She earned a BS in Physics and a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh.
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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