I’ve been building WordPress websites for over ten years. When I initially sat down to build my first website it was intimidating. I had no idea what I was doing. I bought the cheapest hosting I could find…I didn’t even know how to install WordPress onto a server! Well, luckily, there are many great tools available now that, if they were around ten years ago, would’ve made the process a lot easier.
In this post, I’m going to describe three different methods to build your own WordPress website for free. Notice I said “build” – there is no way around getting your website up and running at a custom domain without shelling out a little for hosting.
Life gets busy. The nice thing about knowing you can build your website for free is that you’re on your own timetable. Normally you have to sign up for website hosting so you have a place to install WordPress, pick a theme, and start building…before you know it, you’ve paid for three months of hosting, and your website still isn’t live.
I’ve been there. That’s why I’ve identified these three tried and true methods to build your WordPress website and launch it whenever you’re ready. The three methods are: Wordify Dev Sites, Brizy Cloud, and Local by Flywheel.
Wordify is a managed WordPress hosting service. Basically, managed WordPress hosting is hosting that is specifically tuned in certain ways to support the needs of WordPress websites. It’s usually more secure and offers features that set it apart from cheap shared hosting. Wordify specifically runs on Amazon servers, offers free SSL, and provides automated backups.
“That’s great, Taylor, but how is it going to help me build my website for free?”
Well, the unique thing about Wordify is that they provide free hosting for development sites. So, what this means is that you can sign up for a Wordify account – for free – click a button to load up WordPress, and start building your website. It’s really that easy. They even provide a temporary URL so you can share your website progress with friends and coworkers.
When you’re ready to go live, just add your domain to your account and sign up for one of their paid plans, starting at $7/mo.
I just recently discovered Wordify, and have been using them myself. I had one issue when moving a website from dev to live, and their customer service was very impressive. I could tell that this is a team that really cares about putting together a quality product.
Brizy is a visual drag and drop website builder for WordPress. Also known as a WYSISYG editor (What You See Is What You Get)…these are WordPress plugins that allow you to visually put together your website without touching any code. Some are better than others, and some are easier to use than others. I’ve used a few visual site builders and I have to say Brizy is one of the best. It’s very easy to use…and there are several website templates and content blocks that you can use as a starting point for your whole site or sections at a time.
With Brizy there is a Free and a Pro version. The free version is actually pretty robust and will allow you to put together a sweet little site. After using the free version, however, you’ll likely soon decide that it’s worth leveling up and purchasing the pro version for a little more advanced functionality. It starts at $49/year which really isn’t bad.
That’s not the best part about Brizy, though. They have another product called Brizy Cloud. It operates exactly like the WordPress plugin, but it’s self-hosted. No need to purchase hosting. You just sign up for a free account and you’re off to the races.
With the free Brizy Cloud account you can design your site, share it, and view it with a temporary URL. Once you’re ready to publish you can either purchase a Pro account and connect your custom domain – this is actually a completely WordPress-free solution. Or, you can sync your site to the server of your choice.
Local is a really cool app from the hosting company Flywheel. It’s a free download that allows you to build your WordPress website right on your computer…no hosting necessary! It’s a tad more technical than the other two options, only because it requires you to transfer it off of your computer once you’re ready to go live.
Don’t let that scare you, though, it’s still super easy to use, and if you decide to host with Flywheel or WP Engine (WP Engine now owns Flywheel) the transfer happens with the click of a button. It even generates a preview link so you can send it around for feedback.
If you opt for a different hosting company, you can use a migration plugin such as Duplicator or All-in-One Migration.
I love firing up websites with Local – I suggest you give it a shot a least once. Sometimes it feels kind of nice to start laying out a website and playing around with ideas, without having to think about web hosting until the time that you’re ready to go live.
There are certainly other ways to start building your WordPress website for free, but these are three services that I’ve used from time to time and had good luck with. If you try one, drop me a line, and let me know what you think!