With so many freelancing platforms out there, it can be hard to navigate landing on the best one for you.
Freelancing platforms can serve as valuable tools to grow your career, whether you’re still in the stages of figuring out how to start freelancing or already an expert at your craft.
How can the right platform help you?
Simply put, the best freelance websites for beginners and experts provide a seamless and straightforward process to connect you to valuable job opportunities and clients.
Of course, there are positives and negatives to consider for any given site, depending on your specific freelancing needs and preferences.
So, to make it easy for you, I’ve selected 21 of the best freelance websites with clear information on each, including the pros and cons.
Ready to find the top freelance jobs online? Let’s dive in.
21 best freelancer sites for beginners and experts to find jobs online
Fiverr is a freelancing marketplace that connects businesses straight to freelancers in a range of fields, like graphic design, marketing, and more.
As of 2021, they have 3.42 million active clients, making it easy for freelancers—new and veteran—to land opportunities.
One thing to note is that Fiverr’s service fees are higher than most at 20% due to their vast opportunities and ease of use. Also, depending on your level on the site, it takes longer to get your payout—from 7-14 days.
Due to their immense popularity (and for good reason), they’re one of the more competitive marketplaces too. With more competition comes more pressure to lower your prices, which can make it challenging to charge the rates you may want.
But once you get the ball rolling and earn good reviews, the platform boosts you, and clients will keep on coming to you.
- Beginner-friendly website and app
- Simple to price and package your services
- Certificate courses
- Long wait for payment clearance
- High service fees
Upwork is the largest freelancing platform with over three million jobs posted annually, making it a great place to dive in and start getting opportunities immediately.
You can pursue many different types of freelancing on Upwork, too, and choose from short to long-term contracts and fixed or hourly rates.
Upwork has a sliding service fee for your payouts, with the highest being a fee of 20% away from profits of $500 or less.
Another thing to keep in mind is the cost to apply. Upwork uses a tool called “Connects”—think of them like credits that freelancers use on Upwork to submit proposals to job opportunities. Upwork gives new users 80 free Connects when they create an account. After that, they cost $0.15 each and are sold in bundles starting at ten connects.
All in all, Upwork is one of the best freelancer sites for beginners and experts alike due to their endless stream of opportunities and potential for long-term work with clients.
- Payment protection
- Prevents clients from asking for free work
- Tons of opportunities for beginners and experts
- Highest service fees
- Connects are required to send proposals
- Takes a while to build your reputation
Like other freelancing platforms, Thumbtack offers freelancers and businesses an instant and easy way to connect with one another.
Where Thumbtack does it differently is their focus on local communities and small businesses. Whether you’re a writer, a graphic designer, or a lawnmower, their platform is set up to help you find work.
It’s also completely free for freelancers to join, and they offer refunds and protection to help you out when a job’s not a good match.
Another added bonus to Thumbtack is their custom job pipeline. You can enter in the types of jobs you want, and clients will reach out to you with jobs that meet your specifications.
The one drawback is that you’ll need to pay for your client leads. The pricing starts at $1.50 per lead and increases depending on competition and other factors.
- Easy to use site and app
- Insights to help you understand your competition and performance analytics
- Targeting preferences to help the right clients find you
- You pay for leads, even if they don’t hire you
- High competition
Freelancer.com is another large freelancing marketplace that can provide you with a wide range of opportunities.
Freelancers can browse their extensive job boards and bid for work. And, once hired, you can easily chat live with clients and track your progress.
One added benefit of Freelancer.com is the opportunity to compete in contests to earn extra money and reviews to help your profile stand out.
As far as fees go, the platform takes a 10% fee on projects and contest winnings.
- Team of advisors to help you get hired
- 24/7 customer support
- Contests for increased earnings
- Fake/spam clients and jobs
- Complex interface
Behance is actually a creative-focused social media platform owned by Adobe, but they have a robust job board for categories like logo design, photography, illustration, and more.
The social nature of the site can be a great benefit for freelancers too. Behance highly promotes networking and allows you to make connections, potentially leading to more work opportunities.
It also happens to be a great place to host and show off your portfolio to their 10+ million members.
As for their job board, you can easily scroll through hundreds of available opportunities or use their search feature to put in a specific keyword, select “freelance,” and add a location and creative category.
- Free to use and apply to jobs
- Networking and portfolio exposure
- Personalized job recommendations
- Highly competitive platform
- Issues with image loading and compression
Flexjobs is one of my favorite marketplaces for both remote jobs and freelance work opportunities. They currently have over 30,000 jobs available in more than 50 categories.
On the hunt for the best freelance sites, there are a couple of key ways Flexjobs stands out.
Perhaps most importantly, they place a high priority on job legitimacy. They’re known to hand-screen every single job and company to ensure a trustworthy environment for freelancers.
They have a highly personalized, advanced search tool too, which helps save you a lot of time. Instead of scrolling endlessly through irrelevant jobs, you can narrow down your search to jobs that match your exact work preferences.
To find and apply for jobs on their site, you’ll have to sign up for one of their subscription plans, starting at $6.95 for one week or $14.95 monthly. These jobs pay well and often have less competition.
However, if you end up feeling unsatisfied in your first 30 days, they offer a money-back guarantee.
- Ad-free and scam-free
- Reliable customer service
- Career coaching services
- Lower competition
- Paid service
- Website can feel overwhelming to navigate
- Some premium listings can be found on other sites
Guru is another popular freelancing marketplace that boasts 800,000 clients worldwide with a 99% customer satisfaction rate.
Many different types of freelancers are welcome on Guru, too, like programmers, designers, writers, and more.
One unique benefit to Guru is the ability to collaborate and add members to your freelancing team with a progress tracking feature.
Their free membership allows you to send out ten bids per month with a 9% service fee taken from your payout. However, free members are prevented from chatting about jobs with clients ahead of time.
As for their paid membership, it starts at $11.95 per month, with the service fees sliding down from there.
Paid members can actually jump the line in front of their competition by getting their ranking boosted and having their quotes stand out to clients.
- 24/7 support
- Lower fees
- User-friendly website
- Premium monthly members are boosted ahead of free members
- High competition
Like Behance, Dribbble is a leading global community for creatives to build their portfolios, get inspiration, and connect with other designers and potential clients.
Freelance designers, illustrators, and more can easily display and promote their work to gain exposure to new job opportunities.
The more people like your portfolio “shots,” the more your work is boosted over others too.
Their job board is pretty straightforward, providing useful search filters to find jobs that meet your criteria.
One awesome feature their job board has is the ability to filter your search by project budget, ensuring you don’t waste any time on gigs beneath your rate.
The downside with this one is that users need to upgrade their account to Dribbble’s premium subscription in order to apply to freelance jobs, ranging from $5-12 per month.
- Networking and portfolio exposure
- Quick access to high-paying jobs
- User-friendly website
- Freelance job board only available to premium users
99designs is a graphic design platform that connects freelancers in over 90 design categories with clients around the world.
There are two ways you can get work on 99designs: freelancers can work directly with clients on a 1-to-1 project with payment upfront, or you can compete with other designers in contests to earn money and win new clients.
One benefit to 99designs is that they encourage long-term connections between freelancers and designers.
Whether you worked on a project or participated in a contest, you can seamlessly continue working with the client afterward on the platform.
Keep in mind the fees, though—there’s a $100 introduction fee that’s spread out over the client’s first $500 charges, as well as sliding platform fees based on your “designer level,” which start at 15%.
- Pricing structure that prevents low-ball offers
- Ability to collaborate
- Quicker payout
- Complaints of stolen designs
- High service fees
- No live chat support
Toptal is a freelance marketplace that boasts connecting clients with the top 3% of freelancers around the world.
Because of this, their application screening process for freelancers is extensive and difficult, making it tough to get approved and definitely not beginner-friendly.
Once you’re approved, though, it’s so worth it.
Toptal works with top brands, like Airbnb and Shopify, giving you the opportunity to land lucrative freelance gigs.
They also take a very hands-on approach, matching their clients directly to freelancers from five different categories: developers, designers, finance experts, project managers, and product managers.
Another awesome benefit that makes Toptal stand out among freelancing sites—they don’t take any fees from freelancers’ earnings.
- High-paying opportunities
- No fees for freelancers
- Great for experts
- Rigorous screening process
- Toptal is directly involved in all phases of your projects
PeoplePerHour is a UK-based freelancing platform that has connected over 1 million clients and freelancers on hourly and project-based work around the globe.
As a freelancer, you’ll need to apply and get approved by their moderators to join.
Once approved, you can build your profile, search existing projects available, and create custom packages that best represent your services.
Like other freelancer platforms, it’s important to focus on making a winning profile in order to attract clients and stand out.
The downside here is that freelancers face 20% fees, but they slide down the greater the cost of the project.
- Ability to collaborate
- Automatic invoicing
- User-friendly website
- High service fees
- Poor customer support
- Spam accounts
11. We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely claims to be the largest remote job marketplace in the world.
Though the platform primarily focuses on remote employment (and programming jobs), they have a contract job section for freelancers to browse a pretty solid range of options with leading companies like Google and Amazon.
Their advanced search feature is more extensive than a lot of other job boards too, helping you find and narrow down the best freelance jobs online with ease.
It also happens to be completely free to look around and apply to any jobs that catch your interest.
- Opportunities with leading companies
- Learning portal with guides and coaching
- Slack community with other members
- Freelance jobs in some categories are updated less often than others
- Not a platform—you can’t get hired and coordinate payments through them
Freelance Writing gives real-time access to freelancing jobs online, pulling information from around the web.
As the name indicates, this website is a tool for freelance writers, whether you’re a copywriter, blogger, journalist, or other writing-related professional.
This is a great option for freelance writers to save time hunting for available opportunities. You don’t need to sign up or pay to access the listings.
The site is easy to use and also offers resources for writers, such as guidelines and current writing contests.
Keep in mind, though, that while FreelanceWriting.com serves as a helpful job board, it is just a job board. It doesn’t offer the same security or streamlined process that a freelancing marketplace does.
- Free to use
- No sign-up required
- Pulls information from other job boards, saving you time
- Job board only–you need to apply, get hired, and coordinate payments on your own
If you want someone else to do the work finding you great clients, then Aquent could be a helpful option for you.
They’re a recruitment and staffing agency that uses AI to auto-match freelancers in categories like creative, tech, writing, and more with clients looking for quick to long-term projects.
How it works: Aquent’s Book auto-tags your portfolio, filtering things like your rate, availability, location, and other preferences to match you with the right client.
You can also search their job board for available listings with advanced search features.
It’s worth noting that you’ll work directly with Aquent, who acts as the middle-man for your project opportunities and client interactions.
- Auto-matches you to clients
- Offers training and development
- Website is confusing to navigate
- No rate negotiation
- Freelancers are tested as part of their vetting process
Contently is an agency-style platform that provides freelance creatives opportunities to connect and work with top clients on high-paying projects.
Joining their network streamlines the job hunt for freelancers. You can get paired with top brands, pitch ideas, submit projects, and instantly receive payment through their platform.
Keep in mind that to get approved, you already have to have a strong portfolio. They have big-name companies as clients, so they’re careful to screen their applicants for top talent.
Because of this, Contently is a particularly good option for already-established freelance writers.
- Free and intuitive to use
- Access to high-paying projects from companies like Microsoft and Coca Cola
- Can be difficult to get approved
- You have to wait for jobs to come to you
FreeUp is a smaller general freelance marketplace that pairs over 85 different types of freelancers with clients.
After that, it’s smooth sailing. You’ll be able to connect with clients, apply, and quickly start working.
How does FreeUp compete with other, bigger marketplaces? They’re able to provide hands-on, fast customer support in a way that bigger platforms tend to lack.
Interestingly, they also limit clients to spending 10-15 minutes with you before making their hiring decision. The aim here is to accelerate the process—allowing freelancers to get work fast.
- 24/7, responsive support
- No services fees for freelancers
- Community to connect with other freelancers in online group chats
- 3-step approval process to join
- Advertises low freelancer rates with no minimums
Like 99designs, DesignCrowd is a creative marketplace for graphic designers that offer one-on-one projects with clients and crowdsourced design contests.
You can directly compare the differences between the two here.
Basically, DesignCrowd is much more contest-focused and even offers contest participation payments to freelancers.
Designers worldwide can compete by submitting samples of their design work based on a client’s brief, and the client grants the winner based on their favorite.
Since design experts typically aren’t needing to focus on portfolio-building contests, this may not be a good option unless you want to flex your skills.
It is, however, a great option for beginners with a competitive spirit: you can improve your skills, build your portfolio, and, of course, earn money in the process.
Fee-wise, DesignCrowd takes a 15% cut of all earnings.
- Contest participation payments
- Great for beginners to grow their portfolio
- Free, easy sign-up
- Lower freelance rates
- High competition
Coroflot is a somewhat lesser-known but still awesome creative platform like Behance and Dribbble.
Their members represent a range of design categories, such as fashion, architecture, UX, and more.
Where Coroflot shines is their returning client profile of industry leaders like Nike, Sony, Microsoft, and more.
Not to mention, their staff is run by designers, which gives them a unique, first-hand understanding of what freelance designers want out of a creative job board.
- Portfolio exposure to multinational companies
- Free, easy-to-use website
- Must be approved to join
- Fewer opportunities available
- Limited search capabilities on job board
Codeable is a freelancer platform specifically designed to help you get a job as a WordPress developer.
One thing that’s particularly awesome with Codeable is their dedication to avoiding the “race to the bottom” problem that freelancing marketplaces are sometimes plagued with.
How they manage this is pretty interesting too.
Basically, they use a special algorithm that throws out both undercut and over-priced estimates, showing only one price estimate to clients regardless of how many freelancers applied.
They also offer fair, guaranteed minimum hourly rates of $70-120 USD.
The only real downside money-wise is their 10% fees, but that’s still better than other freelancing platforms.
- Networking with knowledgeable, hand-picked community
- Pro rates with fair minimums
- Coaching and support for career growth
- Lengthy vetting process and 45-trial period
As far as best freelance writing sites go, Contena is one I often recommend. Here’s why I like it:
Contena has a simple process for placing the highest-quality writing jobs at freelancers’ fingertips by efficiently pulling information from around the web.
Their fundamental goal is to help freelance writers save time and find jobs faster.
Another way they achieve this is by sending you email alerts for the best jobs that meet your unique specifications.
You do have to pay for their premium service, but with the membership also comes courses, coaching services, lucrative rates, and the ability to grow your portfolio with their easy-to-use publishing tool.
- Access to great jobs
- User-friendly website
- Provides tools and courses to help you grow as a freelancer
- Must apply to join
- Costs to use service
20. Working Nomad
Working Nomads is a remote job board that curates interesting opportunities across five different job categories: customer service, DevOps and Sysadmin, Golang, Nodesk, and sales and marketing.
They’re a much smaller, tighter platform—basically, their service is about as simple and straightforward as it gets if you’re looking for a job in one of those categories.
You can easily scroll through a robust list of hand-picked jobs by typing in a keyword, preferred location (even freelancers have to think about time zones), and a category.
From there, you can apply on the spot.
And if you need help applying, they also provide a helpful resource to teach you how to write an effective resume, CV, and cover letter.
- Hand-picked job opportunities from around the web
- Easy and free to use
- Education resource
- Just a job board—you need to apply, get hired, and coordinate payments on your own
Solidgigs is another one of my personal favorites. They find opportunities for freelancers and deliver the best 1% straight to your inbox.
So, instead of wasting hours of your time scrolling through listings, you don’t even have to lift a finger with them, and the opportunities simply come to you.
Another top benefit to their service is the training they provide to freelancers, teaching you how to pitch successfully, set your rates, and more.
You’ll have to pay to subscribe to their service, but this is a great option for anyone who prioritizes saving time.
- Saves time with hand-picked job opportunities sent to your inbox
- Courses and training
- High-quality opportunities
- Costs to subscribe
- No platform to streamline landing gigs/getting paid
How do freelancing websites work?
Most freelancing websites either fall under the marketplace or job board category.
Both types often have unique features (like a community aspect or recruiting help) and aim to connect freelancers to job opportunities.
On marketplaces, you’ll typically put together a profile, scroll through available opportunities, and have the perk of a secure and streamlined process throughout your application, client communication, and payment.
The security and hand-holding that comes with freelance marketplaces do come at a fee, though.
On the other hand, job boards usually come with helpful search tools so that you can easily find and apply to current opportunities posted by clients in your field.
With job boards, you’ll have to go through the actual project on your own and occasionally have to pay for memberships too.
BUT, you’ll have the added benefits of not having to out-bid other freelancers, maintain perfect profile reviews, or sometimes even have to sign up at all.
How to choose the best freelancer site for you
How We Chose Top Freelance Websites
Here are the main criteria I paid attention to when putting together the 21 best freelancing websites for you:
- Pricing and service fees
- Freelance categories offered
- Website usability and features
- Value of opportunities available
- Site popularity
- Payment protection
- Customer service
Different Types of Freelance Website Pricing models
When it comes down to it, one of the most important things to look at with freelance sites is their pricing and fees.
Freelance website costs are crucial to pay attention to as you build your freelancing business, especially in your beginning stages.
Here are some types of pricing you’ll see on different sites, so you can weigh the best options for you:
- Fee charged from a percentage of your payout
- Flat monthly membership fee
- Flat fee for bidding, leads, or recruiting
- Contest fees
Freelancing platforms can be awesome tools for beginner freelancers and pros alike.
As I mentioned in my how to become a freelance writer article, I especially recommend beginners start their freelancing career in a marketplace instead of trying to do their own networking at first.
Regardless of your experience level, you’ll need to be able to market your skills, set your rates accurately, and pitch yourself well to succeed on freelancing sites. Making sure you earn great reviews is especially helpful to distinguish yourself from the competition too.
While you can be encouraged that there are a ton of sites and opportunities for you, I know that picking the right freelance website to fit your needs can be a little overwhelming.
Hopefully, you should now have a solid understanding of the best freelance websites available to you and are feeling comfortable diving into one (or a couple) and start growing your career.
If you’re still completely fresh into freelancing and wanting some of the more basic questions answered, like “how much can I make” or “what type of work can I do,” then no stress. I recommend checking out my what is freelancing article where I cover the fundamentals for you.