May 27, 2024

15 Free Online Tools for Web Designers on a Budget

About two years ago when I became a full time freelance web designer, I made it a point to operate with little overhead. Even though I was confident I could make it as a freelancer, there was some fear that things might not go as planned. Because of this, I didn’t go out and spend lots of money on equipment and expensive software. My focus was on being frugal and saving money where I could. One way I was able to do this was using free online tools or web apps to perform my everyday tasks as a web designer. Here are 15 free online tools that you will find very useful.


web apps

Pixlr is a powerful online image editing application. Although it can’t do everything Photoshop can do, it has some very impressive features considering it is all done within the browser.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is probably the most popular free analytics tool available. It has loads of features including custom views and reports, access sharing, and integration with adsense.


Typography Tools

The Typetester is an online application for comparison of the fonts for the screen. Its primary role is to make web designer’s life easier. As the new fonts are bundled into operating systems, the list of the common fonts will be updated.

CSS Type Set

Typography Tools

CSS Type Set allows you to visually and interactively style text and it generates the CSS.


web apps

net2ftp gives you a fully featured ftp client within your browser. There’s even a skin designed for the iPhone.


Typography Tools

WhatTheFont allows you to scan in or provide the URL of a font and it will tell you what it is.

Color Scheme Designer

Color Scheme Designer

Color Scheme Designer has been around for a while, but was just recently updated with a brand new interface and a new color scheme generating engine.


Typography Tools

FontStruct lets you quickly and easily create fonts constructed out of geometrical shapes, which are arranged in a grid pattern, like tiles or bricks.



Kuler is a community driven web app that lets your browse color palettes created by others. You can also create your own by using the color wheel, harmony rules, and color sliders.


web apps

Bespin is an online code editor by Mozilla. It allows you to write and edit code, share projects, and connect to existing open-source projects.

Adobe BrowserLab

web apps

Adobe BrowerLab gives you the ability to preview and test your websites in multiple browsers and operating systems. Since building a website to be cross-browser compatible is one of the more annoying aspects of web design, this should be a valuable web app to all of us.

W3C Markup Validation Service

web apps

The Markup Validator is a free service by W3C that helps check the XHTML and CSS validity of Web documents.


web apps

ViewLikeUs allows you to check out how your website looks in the most popular resolution formats. It’s all powered by Ajax & PHP.



As well as being a useful way to choose colors, ColoRotate looks cool and is actually fun to use. Instead of using two dimensional viewers, it presents color palettes to you in 3d and in real time.

Pingdom Tools

web apps

Pingdom Tools allows you to run load time tests on your web pages. It mimics the way a page is loaded in a web browser. The load time of all objects is shown visually with time bars. You can view the list of objects either in load order or as a hierarchy. The hierarchy view allows you to see which objects are linked to in for example a CSS file.


Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.


  1. D'Juan Reply

    Awesome list!

    I hate to be a downer, but BrowserLabs is misspelled. 🙁

    Other than that, it’s a fantastic list! Typetester, W3C, & Kuler are indispensable. 🙂

  2. Rudolf Bos Reply

    I hardly ever see any 3D tools that are free for use. I would love to see some simple 3D applications that can do simple 3D effects with text or vector shapes with a bit more power and functions than the Illustrator 3D tool.

    Hope you can help me in the future!

  3. Stone Reply

    As someone who will soon be undertaking a business partnership with another, in which, I will be responsible for a great deal of the visual marketing – crafting, formulating, designing, implementing all of those vital elements/vehicles/etc. that get your name and product out to the world….for the first time!!!! (in the sense of not being indentured to someone else’s “GIG”)
    I will be greatly served (THANK YOU!)by tools, such as these. It will no longer be a head-scratch, half-mission, “I’m trying to…..” mental death wrestle when trying to render ideas, colors, styles, and pictures of the mind to life. This makes many necessary known and unknown design tools free, and accessible, and allows me to dream, and produce a top quality, competitive product…..SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

  4. crusher Reply

    Really very useful tools for web designers. Thank you for presenting the links nicely. I’ve added in my Stumble Upon blog and shared it with Delicious.

  5. Sudeep Mukherjee Reply

    Great site, if i had found this earlier it would have made my life much easier and those frustrating hours much shorter. Thanks man

  6. Lokesh Reply

    Really good tools… most of us were aware of google services, w3c validator and adobe…

    Thanks for providing info about other tools..

    Please provide some similar Offline Tools for web designers.. (Freewares)..

  7. Nick - digital designer Sydney Reply

    Whatthefont also have an iPhone app that can make your life that much easier by giving you direct access to the site anywhere and time you spot a font you might like. I know I find it very useful.
    There are a few in this list I will be checking out as well

  8. George Reply

    Do you know a tool online to manage projects and deal with clients, were you can upload your art and they can lift comments??

    Thanks a lot

  9. Healthcare Reform Reply

    Very useful tools. I especially like the adobe browser lab! With so many people using different browsers that tool has a lot of power.

  10. Stickers Reply

    What The Font is awesome. So many time we get artwork we have to recreate for our sticker designs and finding a similar font can be tedious.

    Another one you can add to your list is for simple raster to vector conversions online.

  11. Calgary Web Design Reply

    Good list of tools – Google Analytics and Pixlr for sure if you’re starting out (or beyond when it comes to Analytics frankly).

    Good suggestion on the CSS Typeset – I’ll have to take a peak at that, thanks!

  12. Antwan Gliwski Reply

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  13. Edenphost Reply

    Thanks for sharing tools. Yes, we are always finding online tools which are free of cost or of low budget. It becomes very important to utilize advanced tools and technologies to save time and money. I think your tools will
    help me a lot. Keep sharing your blog to get further information.

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