A great portfolio website puts your work in front of the right people — and makes you look good while doing it.
While you can build your own website to share your work, most free portfolio websites often already have a built in community of like-minded designers who can help you make valuable connections for future work and clients.
With the virtually endless amount out there, though, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. That’s why we want to help.
We’ve gathered the 10 best free portfolio websites on the web below (with a bonus #11). Later, we’ll also give you a few great tips on how you can optimize your portfolio to suit your needs.
10 best free portfolio websites to show off your designs
We’ve divided them into three sections: Free, free trial, and build your own.
BUILD YOUR OWN
Let’s dive in.
Below are six portfolio websites that are completely free to use. That means no payment is necessary to start uploading and sharing your designs!
Behance is one of the most popular free design portfolio websites out there — and for good reason. Users can share their designs in detail via large photos, and they can also receive feedback on your work from other designers. Their built-in community of UI/UX designers, illustrators, and photographers gives you an opportunity to make connections and learn from some of the most talented creatives out there.
And it’s not just for digital design. Behance is a platform for many different kinds of creative jobs like fashion, photography, illustration, graphic design, marketing, and videos. If there’s a visual aspect to what you do, chances are you can create a Behance portfolio for it.
With all the talent on the site, it’s no wonder why companies and recruiters looking to hire designers frequently turn to Behance for talent. The website also offers a robust jobs listings board for careers for those looking as well as Talent, a LinkedIn-esque website that helps you connect with even more people.
Dribbble offers creatives in the visual space such as designers, photographers, and illustrators an opportunity to share their work with a huge community of artists. What separates Dribbble from some of the other portfolio websites on this list is that it allows users to show off their projects in progress. That means it doesn’t have to be finished yet for you to put it in your portfolio.
And it’s simple: Make a free account and you can begin uploading small screenshots of your work in various stages of the design process.
Recruiters from the brands and companies such as Google, Apple, AirBnB, and Lyft have all used Dribbble to find talented designers for new gigs and careers. The site also has a jobs board for designers actively searching for a new role too.
Whether you’re creating a single splash page website or traditional website with a full gallery for your work, Portfolio allows you to easily create a beautiful portfolio to show off your talent.
Rather than using a pre-built platform like Behance or Dribbble, you’ll be able to customize the way your portfolio more.
Profiles come complete with a massive font library, password protection, as well as easy integration with Behance.
This one could be in any of our three categories. It’s a means of customizing your own site, and is free… if you have a Creative Cloud subscription.
Coroflot is a website much in the same category as Dribbble and Behance. Designers can craft profiles and portfolios to share their work with a community of other designers. It’s also one of the most popular design communities out there with more than 150,000 projects published every month from designers, photographers, and artists.
The site also comes with a jobs board for designers that allows you to look for your ideal UI / UX design job position. You can also view their detailed “Salaries” section to see if the price is right for your next job. A very cool feature for anyone on the job hunt.
And if you’re hiring you can find talent through Coroflot’s Employers area. Companies such as Fuseproject, Nokia, Microsoft, Nike, and Sony have all used it to find new talent.
PortfolioBox is another simple but effective online portfolio builder. It’s also tailored specifically towards designers to help them craft a website for portfolios of any types like musicians, artists, designers, illustrators, and even models. With the drag and drop features, creating a portfolio suited to your needs will be easy. Also, the site comes with a ton of different customizable themes so you won’t have to worry about finding one that’s good for you.
It’s free to use and comes with 30 images and 10 pages. The price for a premium subscription is $6.90 / month and comes with even more features such as a domain name, 24/7 support, and unlimited pages.
Below are portfolio websites that give you a free trial period before jumping into a paid premium membership..
Founded in 2011, Fabrik is a relatively newer portfolio website — but it still comes with enough features and benefits to let them hang with the best of them. The portfolio website allows you to easily integrate different types of media such as video, audio, and images. It also gives designers the opportunity to customize their website with their intuitive website layouts and themes.
Designers can sign up for a 14 day free trial period. After that, you have the option to sign up for one of their premium subscriptions. Descriptions of each are below:
- Personal ($9 / month). Comes with unlimited blog posts, 10 portfolios, 50 projects, and 2GB of storage.
- Professional ($11 / month). Comes with unlimited blog posts, 20 portfolios, 100 projects, and 5GB of storage.
- Unlimited ($21 / month). Comes with unlimited blog posts, unlimited portfolios, unlimited projects, and unlimited storage.
Carbonmade is a popular portfolio website with more than 1.9 million portfolios created using the platform. You can also create your portfolio in minutes since the service leverages drag and drop layouts.
The website comes with a free trial with limited features. If you want to make the jump, paid subscriptions start at $8 / month and comes with 8 projects. Descriptions of each tier is below:
- Beginner ($8 / month). Includes eight projects, basic blocks, limited support, and SD video and audio uploads.
- Professional ($12 / month). Includes 25 projects, premium portfolio grids, premium blocks, and HD video and audio uploads.
- Expert ($24 / month). Includes unlimited projects and pages as well as everything else in the previous tiers.
This is a great platform if you’re looking to connect with other designers as well via their portfolios page. There you can search through their archive of portfolios for inspiration, networking, or just to seethe with jealousy at.
Cargo is a very simple portfolio creator — but don’t let the simplicity fool you. The portfolios created with Cargo are beautiful and easily customized.
And all designers have to do is create an account and they can get started crafting a portfolio that’ll blow potential clients away.
Prices are $99 / year or $13 / month and includes their library of templates, fonts, and images as well as unlimited bandwidth.
BUILD YOUR OWN
Below are the platforms you can use to build your own website. This allows you to get really deep with customizing your portfolio and lets you own your own platform. That means you won’t be beholden to another service to show off your work.
WordPress is one of the most popular website builders on the Internet with more than 30% of all websites using the platform.
This is likely because it is incredibly customizable as you can just go straight into the HTML and CSS, or you can leverage a massive library of templates to start your website. The site also comes with a set of analytics tools to help you understand your site’s performance.
It gives you everything you need to create a great personal website along with important metrics to help you get your portfolio in front of more people. It’s completely free to use if you install on your own domain and server at WordPress.org — BUT if you want to host on WordPress.com and have a customized domain name, you’d better pick up a subscription. Prices start at $3 / month.
SquareSpace is an excellent website to show off images and designs — and it’s practically tailor made for newbies and people with no coding knowledge. It leverages drag and drop themes with customizable layouts, so you’ll be able to create a website unique to you and your portfolio.
Like a few other options on this list, SquareSpace is completely free to use but has premium offerings starting at $9 / month.
Honorable mention: Semplice
Semplice is a paid website portfolio builder — but it’s so good, we think it’s worth a mention on the list. It was launched in 2014 so it’s fairly new to the scene. Semplice is based on WordPress and comes with its own visual content editor that allows designers to craft their own portfolio.
It also comes with a lot of features such as customizable typography presets, page transitions, and the ability to add animation to your content.
Prices start at $99. Descriptions of each tier is below:
- Single ($99). Comes with a license, content editor, custom fontsets, and fullscreen cover.
- Studio ($138). Comes with an Instagram and Mailchimp module, a gallery module, and Semplice Blocks — their predefined layout templates.
- Business ($599). Comes with all the features of the previous two as well as 10 licenses for commercial use.
Dos and don’ts of your portfolio website
Now that you know about a few great websites you can create your portfolio for free, let’s take a look at some best practices for approaching your portfolio.
Do have a goal in mind
Your portfolio website should have a goal. This will help guide all your decisions from what to put on the portfolio to the text you’ll include on it.
So when you’re building it, ask yourself: What do you I want users to do when they get to this portfolio? Do I want them to contact me about work? Do I want them to sign up for my newsletter? Do I want to connect with them on Behance or Dribbble?
When you have a concrete goal, you’ll be able to recognize the steps you need to take with your portfolio to help get you there.
Don’t showcase absolutely everything you’ve done
Think of your portfolio as your resume. You want to tell a story about your career while showing off only the best pieces of you have to offer. That means including the things that you’re proud of while leaving the rest to the cutting room floor.
For example, that web page you created as part of a class project in undergrad might have been pretty cool at the time — but is it something you really want to show off now in your career?
On the other hand, if you just finished a design that wowed your employers and really helped your users, then that’s something you should include!
Do keep everything up to date
To give prospective clients and users a better idea of who you are and the kind of work you do, you should always have recent work on your portfolio. That means including recent projects that you’re proud of as well as ones that might be germane to the types of clients you want to draw in.
After all, you want your portfolio to be representative of your talents and skill level now rather than years ago.
Don’t sleep on testimonials
There might not be a better marketing tool than a satisfied customer who’s willing to sing your praises. That’s why it’s important that you include testimonials and recommendations when you can throughout your portfolio.
And it’s simple: As soon as you complete good work for a client, ask them for a testimonial. You can even make it easier on them by pre-writing it and simply getting their approval.
Do be yourself
As important it is to remain professional when creating your portfolio, you also shouldn’t be afraid to inject a bit of your personality into it as well. This can come in a variety of different forms including how you write the copy, how you design the website, to even the projects you choose to show off.
It helps remind potential clients that you’re human too — and potentially someone fun and personable enough to work with.
by Tony Ho Tran
Tony is a content marketing consultant and freelance writer. His work has been seen in Business Insider, MSNBC, Hootsuite, and GrowthLab.