Free Website Templates

Free website templates can make building a website much easier. Learn about what free website templates are, where you can get free website templates, and what you need to look for in a free website template to make your web hosting experience successful.

Related article: Free Website Builder

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Free website templates are boiler plate website designs provided free of charge by web hosts and others to help customers build websites. They should not be confused with free web 2.0 templates, which are not for website building, but for blogs, wikis, social net-working, and other web 2.0 applications. One of the big advantages of a free website template is that you can try out more than one with only a bit of time invested.

What Is a Free Website Template?

A free website template is a layout for one or more webpages to create a website. Some of the layout slots (such as images) may be filled in, and some left open for you to supply material. Or they may work by replacing dummy text (often starting with the "words" Lorem Ipsum) that you replace. That is, there is coding for the site, but you supply the content. You don't have to know HTML or XHTML to use the template, and you don't have to plan or know how to create the more complicated elements like navigation. All of this is done for you.

What Types of Sources Have Free Website Templates?

Free website templates are provided by several different types of sources. First of all, web hosts who provide paid services very often provide their customers with free website templates. This is one of the services that is covered in the hosting fee.

Other web-related businesses also use these freebies as advertising or building customer good will. Free web hosts also are often providers of free website templates. The templates can help get your website up quickly and mean that that a newbie needs limited knowledge and money in order to start a website., and meanwhile the free web host can encourage you to upgrade to a paying service.

Web designers who also offer service for a fee can use free website templates to introduce you to their work. Some may collect you email address in order to be able to send you advertising for the custom design services. And they also have an opportunity to point out the differences between their free templates and what they could do for you with a custom-designed site.

The free part can have various interpretations. Some offers of free templates require absolutely nothing of the user. Some are published under Creative Commons licenses and may, for example, require attribution. Some may ask for a link back to the creator's site as part of the agreement to let you have the free website template at no charge.

What to Look for in a Free Website Template?

Here are some questions you may want to ask before you use a free website template:

• Is the template designed for the type of site I want to make:

  • personal vs. commercial
  • type of business
  • pages I need for my site?

For example, for personal use, does it include a calendar? a blog page? a photo page?  audio uploads?

For commercial use, does it include a links page? an about page? a testimonials page?  a map and directions page? a services page? a contact us page? a products page?

  • Which side is the frame on?
  • Is the free website template adaptable at all? How (i.e., what tools/software would I need to modify it?)?
  • What if anything am I obligated to do in return for using the free website template?
  • Is there any restriction on the use of the free website template (e.g., is it specifically stated that it may only be used for personal (i.e., not commercial) websites)?
  • Is the free website image-heavy and therefore possibly time-consuming to load?
  • Are any images used in the public domain and free to use without infringing copyright?
  • Is the free website template designed to have a fixed width?
  • Does the free website template use templates?
  • Does the free website template comply with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards?
  • Does the free website template use valid HTML or XHTML?
  • Does the free website template meet standards for accessibility?
  • Does the free website template using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)?
Related article: Free Website Builder