Looking for free freelance websites? Whether you’re planning to freelance full-time or make some money on the side, freelance websites are the go-to avenue for anyone looking for temporary jobs. Unfortunately, not all freelance websites are free.
Some of today’s most popular freelance marketplaces come with ridiculously exorbitant joining fees that defeat the purpose of working side gigs. Aren’t freelancers all about capitalizing on the extra time they have? Having to pay expensive membership fees to find work just seems totally counterproductive.
To save you from having to do your own homework, I rounded up 10 free freelance websites you can choose from – cherry-picked based on customer reviews and my personal experience. Pros and cons are also listed for each, so you can better weigh your options. Ready to sign up for freelance websites free of charge? Let’s begin.
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The 9 Best Free Freelance Websites
The following websites are selected based on customer reviews and my personal experience using them. Before diving in, it’s important to define what ‘free’ means when we say ‘free freelance websites’. When we say ‘free’, we’re talking about freelance marketplaces that do not charge membership or sign up fees.
Granted, not all freelance websites that seek out paid membership are to be completely shunned. Some of the best freelance platforms, like SolidGigs and FlexJobs, actually have joining fees. This is often warranted, however, due to the top-notch service and extra features they provide.
While this list includes websites that are totally free to join, they will still take a percentage cut out of your total earnings. Charging on top of every transaction is normal among freelance websites. After all, we understand the need to cover operational and transactional fees.
While totally free ‘freelance’ websites abound (hello, Craigslist), these freelance marketplaces do not come with features that protect both clients and freelancers from scammers like payment protection, escrow, and dispute resolution.
If you’re looking for freelance jobs with free registration, the ones listed below have the best reviews and are the most reputable.
- Pros: A solid freelance platform dedicated to writers with an exceptional help desk with freelance writing training free of charge
- Cons: A great way to make some extra cash, but not a great choice for full-time work.
WriterAccess is a free freelance writing website that offers a myriad of writing assignments to freelance writers. While some would describe it as a content mill, WriterAccess’ pay is actually better than other content generation websites.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an aspiring writer or one with years of experience, if you’re well versed with the written word, this writer’s haven will definitely have jobs lined up for you.
Here, writers are tasked to write a range of materials, including banners, articles, brochures, blog posts, presentations, press releases, video scripts, product descriptions, newsletters, and others.
The WriterAccess system takes note of the jobs you’ve completed, the word count for each, the pay for every job. Writers get paid every two weeks through PayPal. Those who have earned over $600 from the platform in a year will receive a 1099 tax form at the beginning of the following year.
How to join WriterAccess
Signing up for WriterAccess is completely free. While it doesn’t charge for membership, it takes 30% off your total earnings. To join the platform, writers have to fill up an application while going through a series of writing tests.
Writers will also have to submit a resume with a short bio and photo and submit work samples. The platform takes around two weeks to review your application.
- Pros: Unlike Guru or Upwork, clients come to you without having to bid on projects
- Cons: If you’re not an established freelancer, landing clients can be difficult due to fierce competition
There is a slew of freelance marketplaces available online, but Fiverr is definitely one of the most popular. This one-stop-shop is one of the best free freelance websites and with good reason – it has more than a decade of experience and a database of over 3 million gigs of which one is bought every four seconds.
Just like other freelance marketplaces, freelancers can list their services (which Fiverr likes to call ‘gigs’) for buyers to browse through. The platform works as a middleman to make sure both parties are satisfied.
After the seller completes the assignment and the buyer confirms the delivery, the freelancer is paid within two weeks or earlier (Fiverr withholds 20% of every transaction).
A lot of sellers consider Fiverr their full-time job, while others can keep their 9-5 while using the platform to generate extra income.
How to join Fiverr
The Fiverr sign up process is straightforward. Freelancers will have to set up their profile and add gigs to start making money. The platform will notify you once you receive an order, and all communication is conveniently held within the system.
- Pros: Chocful of features geared towards designers with detailed assignments that leave out the guesswork
- Cons: Design challenges may force designers to work without guaranteed pay
For designers, 99designs is arguably one of the best free freelance websites as it specializes in connecting design-oriented freelancers with top-notch clients.
Unlike other platforms, 99designs focuses solely on designers with features that make completing assignments easier. This means that every assignment comes with complete information (e.g. information about the company, detailed assignment description, preferred colors, a comprehensive graph with the client’s design preferences).
99designs offers design-oriented freelancers two ways to work with clients. You can either work with them directly or join a design contest. When working directly with clients, freelancers can set their own rates, match with clients who fit their style and get paid upfront. A slew of file management and communication tools are available to make your work a lot easier.
Those who choose to join a design competition and compete with the community will have to submit original concepts based on a client’s design briefing. This is a great way to expand your portfolio and work with global clients!
How to join 99designs
The acceptance rate at 99designs is highly competitive (a designer has only two chances to apply before their application is declined permanently). To join, designers will have to complete an application that includes a series of design tests.
Once your application is approved, you’ll be granted a designer level based on your experience (the higher your level is, the more additional benefits you get).
- Pros: Access to big-name clients, exceptional courses, and an opportunity to brush shoulders with world-class talent
- Cons: An extremely high barrier to entry
Toptal is a global network of world-class talent, claiming to only accept 3% of the 100,000 freelancers who apply to the platform each year. Unlike Upwork, the platform only accepts designers, software developers, product managers, finance experts, and project managers.
As one of the best free freelance websites, Toptal offers freelancers high financial rewards, time flexibility, courses, and hundreds of top-notch projects from big-name companies. Freelancers can also communicate, discuss, and learn from other Toptalers to improve their knowledge and skills.
How to join Toptal
The Toptal interview is notorious for being very comprehensive and challenging. Aspiring freelancers will undergo an English language and communication interview evaluation and an in-depth skill review where each applicant’s problem-solving ability and technical knowledge is tested through different types of assessments.
Those who are lucky enough to pass must go through a live screening, where each candidate is interviewed by ‘Toptal screeners’. These screeners are experts in their chosen field. During the live screening, screeners look for depth of experience, creativity, and communication ability through specific live exercises.
Only 3.2% of applicants pass the last round where each candidate is assigned a test project. These test projects may take as long as one to three weeks.
- Pros: Thousands of top-notch clients to choose from and the ability to set your own rates
- Cons: Sending proposals takes time and credits
Upwork is arguably the most popular free freelance website on the Internet. Born out of a merger between Elance and oDesk, this ‘premier freelancing website’ claims to have over 12 million registered freelancers and over 5 million registered clients. Every year, the website posts 3 million jobs while generating over $1 billion worth of work yearly.
In Upwork, freelancers get to work on projects they’re interested in through a bidding process. Clients post jobs on the platform while freelancers create a comprehensive profile and apply to these jobs by sending proposals.
This proposal may include a cover letter and their bid (freelancers can bid higher or lower than the client’s budget). The client then selects the best freelancer among the pool of applicants.
Do note that the number of proposals a freelancer can send per month is limited. Proposals are paid for with ‘Connects’, and non-paying freelancers only get 10 freelancer free bids each month.
Joining Upwork is completely free, but freelancers may choose to upgrade to a Plus Plan for $14.99 a month. This plan includes 80 Connects, allows the freelancer to see how much his competitors bid on a project, and makes him more discoverable with a customized profile URL, among others.
Upwork charges each freelancer a sliding service fee of 20% to 5% of every job, depending on how much the freelancer has earned from the client.
How to join Upwork
Signing up for Upwork is as easy as creating a customized profile on the Upwork website, adding a professional-looking photo, and showcasing your work.
- Pros: An extensive network of clients, the ability to choose your rates and create your own packages
- Cons: Tough competition against other freelancers
PeoplePerHour prides itself on having a solid team of expert freelancers and top-notch clients, making it one of the best free freelance websites for people looking for side jobs.
Aspiring members need to complete an online application that is thoroughly reviewed and approved by the platform’s moderation team. Once approved, the freelancer will receive a stream of projects from PeoplePerHour’s international client community.
Freelancers in the platform can create personalized profiles that display their career experience, define their skills, and tell their stories. The platform then matches each freelancer with the most suitable projects based on their profile. Just like Upwork, freelancers in PeoplePerHour may only send a limited number of proposals for free or buy additional credit.
Once you’ve found a job that you like, you’ll have to complete a proposal and respond to the client you’re interested in. Freelancers have the ability to set realistic budgets and achievable milestones for each project.
PeoplePerHour is similar to Fiverr in that it also allows freelancers to create their own self-tailored offers and packages. Members can sell custom services through bitesize offers while also setting their own rates.
For each client you score on PPH, the platform skims 20% on your first £500 earned. This percentage decreases the more you earn from the client. If you’re looking for Upwork alternatives, PeoplePerHour is a great choice.
How to join PeoplePerHour
Aspiring freelancers need to complete a 5-step application form in order to join the platform. You’ll have to provide a genuine profile picture, upload work samples, select your skills, add references, and set your on-site preferences (freelancers can work on-site or remotely).
- Pros: Great opportunities for freelancers in technical professions, and a stellar online school for skill building
- Cons: The platform only accepts freelancers in specialized fields
If you’re in the field of programming, coding, web design, and the like, Aquent is one of the best free freelance websites for you. This temporary staffing agency specializes in technical professions and now employs more than 10,000 people each year across eight countries.
One of the things that make Aquent one of the best online freelance platforms is its online school, which it calls the ‘Aquent Gymnasium’.
Here, freelancers can develop crucial skills in different fields including Coding, jQuery Building Blocks, Responsive Web Design, and UX Fundamentals, among others. The platform works with its clients to develop a curriculum for skills that are in high demand.
How to join Aquent
Aspiring freelancers must apply online and create a MyAquent account where they can check the status of their application. An Aquent agent will reach out to you if you’re the right fit for the job, so the platform advises that freelancers keep applying for positions they like.
Once you find a match, you’ll have to go through your first interview. Freelancers who pass the interview will have their profiles available to all of Aquent’s agents.
- Pros: Easy entry (anyone can open a Freelancer.com account)
- Cons: Users often complain about low-paying clients
Freelancer has over 25 million registered users which have completed a total of over 12 million projects. Just like Upwork, Freelancer.com is arguably one of the most used free freelance websites, and with good reason.
It’s incredibly easy to get started, and communicating with clients is a breeze with its on-page features. Freelance.com has over 750 work categories in its Jobs page which range from web development to writing, marketing, and accounting.
Freelancer.com’s fees vary depending on the type of project they bid on, as well as the type of plan they’ve signed up for. For reference, completing fixed-price projects comes with a 10% or $5 fee (whichever is greater), or 10% for hourly projects. For services, a 20% fee of the total service price is skimmed off.
Just like Upwork, freelancers may only submit a limited number of proposals each month or opt to upgrade to a paid account.
How to join Freelancer.com
To join, aspiring freelancers must create a presentable profile that showcases their personality, portfolio, and skills. The more comprehensive your profile is, the easier it will be to bring in clients. Once set up, freelancers can start finding projects and bidding for them by checking the Jobs or Contests page.
After successfully landing a job, the freelancer must align with the client in terms of deadlines, project scope, and milestone payments. Freelancers may opt to get paid through Moneybookers, PayPal Wire Transfer, or their local bank account.
- Pros: Thousands of projects and low service fees
- Cons: Customer service is a common issue
If you’re a freelancer looking for online work, there’s a chance you may have come across Guru. This freelance marketplace has been around for more than 20 years and is very similar to Upwork and Freelancer.com in terms of function.
Here, freelancers make bids to projects while the platform mediates and handles the payment. Guru limits the number of proposals you can send per month, but you can increase this with a paid account.
Long-term and short-term contracts are available on Guru, which means that you can take on single tasks or year-long projects. Both the client and the freelancer can post feedback and ratings for one another at the end of the contract, so you can weed out bad clients from the good ones.
Are you a starving artist looking for freelance work? One of the best things that make Guru a great free freelance website is its low service fees.
Guru charges up to 9% of your earnings with options of fee-splitting or letting your client shoulder half of the service fees (the freelancer may ask you to pay 4%, while they shoulder the other 5%).
How to join Guru
First, create a free freelancer account at Guru.com. Here, you must list down your services, upload your portfolio, your rate per hour, and your skills and expertise, among others.