What are the best freelance websites?

Freelancer working at a desk

As a freelancer, finding work will be a top priority and there are lots of websites you can use. Some don’t pay brilliantly and the quality of work on offer can be low. Others provide brilliant opportunities to connect with clients all over the world for exciting, well-paid projects.

Read our guide for more information on how to navigate freelance websites and the best places to showcase your specialist skills.

How do freelance websites work?

Most freelance websites have a simple model: employers post jobs they need doing and freelancers apply to do them.

Some sites also manage the work approval process as well as payment and invoicing. Depending on the site you use, you could be paid hourly or by project.

The global nature of the most popular freelance websites means that competition for work is high. This can lead to eroded fees, short deadlines, and unreasonable expectations.

On the other hand, these websites create opportunities for freelancers on a global scale.

What is the best site for freelancers?

The global nature of the most popular freelance websites means that competition for work is high. This can lead to eroded fees, short deadlines, and unreasonable expectations.

On the other hand, these websites create opportunities for freelancers on a global scale.

There are a huge range of freelance websites to choose from, depending on your skills. We’ve collected some of the biggest, together with some lesser-known options that are absolutely worth exploring, as well as specialist sites.

Five freelance websites for any specialty

There are a number of online marketplaces that can potentially connect freelancers skilled in anything from  website design to translation services – with clients who need support.


With over three million employers, Fiverr is probably the best-known freelance website.

Here’s how it works:

  • freelancers are known as ‘sellers’
  • jobs are known as ‘gigs’
  • employers are known as ‘buyers’

As a freelancer, you post your skills such as copywriting, web design, or voice overs with set prices for individual projects. Businesses can then browse Fiverr, buy a gig, and brief the freelancer.

With the minimum rate for Fiverr projects set at $5, it can be a useful platform for freelancers who can mass produce something and sell it frequently.


Upwork is a similar size to Fiverr. Freelancers and employers from all over the world can use it to connect.

As a freelancer, you’ll need to set up a profile on Upwork. You’ll need to include as many details about yourself as possible, as well as examples of your work.

When employers are looking for freelancers, they’ll look at freelancers’ profiles so you need to make sure yours stands out.

To get work on Upwork, you can:

  • offer a predefined service in the product catalogue
  • respond to a job post by an employer
  • create an ‘agency’ with other freelancers to work on bigger projects

Is Upwork better than Fiverr?

Although Fiverr and Upwork are very similar in terms of size and available jobs, there are some key differences:

  • freelancers pay Upwork between five per cent and 20 per cent, depending on how much work they do, whereas Fiverr takes a 20 per cent commission fee of all projects
  • both sites are free to join with no subscription fee, but Upwork users sometimes have to pay a small amount when bidding on projects
  • Upwork has a paid service called Freelancer Plus that can help you to stand out from your competitors

Does Upwork pay well?

Research from Upwork found that 60 per cent of freelancers who left a full-time job to go self-employed made more money than they did in their previous roles.

It says that some of the highest paid jobs on its site are programmers, CRM managers, developers, and online marketers.

The more you earn using Upwork, the lower the commission fees you’ll pay. Fees are taken as a percentage of your lifetime earnings with each employer:

  • 20 per cent for the first $500 you bill your employer
  • 10 per cent for total billings between $500.01 and $10,000
  • 5 per cent for total billings over $10,000


PeoplePerHour has a similar model to Upwork and Fiverr. It’s based in the UK, so all jobs are priced in pound sterling. This means the earning potential for freelancers can be slightly higher.

Freelancers using PeoplePerHour can earn a fixed fee for their work or get paid at an hourly rate.

Once you’ve set up your profile, you can send 15 proposals a month for free and pay for any extra on top of that.

PeoplePerHour takes a 20 per cent commission fee for project earnings under £250. It decreases to 7.5 per cent for earnings between £250 and £5,000, and 3.5 per cent on project earnings over £5,000.

LinkedIn and LinkedIn Services 

No matter your skill set, it’s important to have a LinkedIn profile. But the site now has a feature allowing businesses to find freelancers to carry out projects for them.

Using LinkedIn Services, potential employers can filter by specialty, and sort through matching profiles for the best fit. You can set up a dedicated Service Page on LinkedIn, promoting the work you’re able to carry out and showcasing your brand and skills. Potential employers will then be able to invite you to submit a bid and proposal for their project.

For a better chance of being found by potential clients, include examples of your work and past reviews from customers. As this is just an add-on service for LinkedIn, the platform doesn’t charge any fees for connecting businesses and freelancers.


Bark describes itself as “the Amazon of services”. It’s used by bookkeepers, builders, personal trainers and other professionals to find new customers. Set up a profile, and the platform will send you leads matching what you do, and allow relevant customers to find you too. 

Bark will give you the phone number and e-mail address of each potential customer so you can reach out with a pitch, charging a fee per introduction. Each fee is calculated based on the service you provide, the value of the job, and the supply and demand in the area. 

Three more freelance websites for specialists

Other freelance websites offer to connect experts in one area, such as writers, with potential clients. Depending on what you do, you might find the following niche sites useful.

The Freelance Creative, by Contently 

Formerly just Contently, this site is suitable for a range of content creators, including copywriters, journalists and videographers. Branded publications look for freelancers with experience in niche areas – finance and accounting or dermatology and skincare, for example. 

You can quite easily set up a one-page Contently portfolio showcasing your skills and experience. The platform will then push you out to relevant clients. It’s important to include all the projects you’ve worked on across the areas that you specialise in, and fill in your bio with information about your niche expertise and beats. 


Guru is the biggest online space for voice over artists looking for work, with 37,989 freelancers signed up. If this is your specialty, you can build a profile displaying your skills, location and price for potential clients to find, and add ratings and reviews. 

Freelancers can choose the paid membership (from $11.95 to $49.95) with additional features that are supposed to help you attract more employers. The job fee percentage you need to pay reduces at higher membership levels (from 9% down to 5%).


Over 3 million creatives use Dribbble to find freelance design work. You can showcase your creative work for potential clients to find, display your rates, and search for live jobs.

Employers can post jobs and search for designers through the platform. They pay $10 per day for unlimited access to the site (otherwise they’re only allowed a limited preview). Freelancers can choose to pay $8 per month for Dribble Pro, which lets you access more profile features that are intended to make you stand out to employers. 

Getting hired through a freelance website

As we’ve mentioned above, adding detail to your profile such as your work history and examples of your best work will help you stand out in a competitive market. It’s also important to:

  • pitch for jobs – the more jobs you pitch for, the more work you’re likely to get. Make sure to only pitch for jobs that you can complete to a high standard and fit with your workload and salary expectations
  • ask for reviews and feedback – positive reviews can help to build trust and make you more appealing to employers, while feedback can help you to improve your work on future projects
  • build relationships with employers – if you build a good working relationship with an employer, they’re more likely to hire you regularly. They may even want to work with you outside of a freelance website, which could increase your earning potential

Freelance writer Annette Yates notes that while freelancers may always be looking for work, it’s important for them to choose the right clients. 

“I’ve found that even the most unlikely of contacts can become a customer! But do listen to your instincts. If someone is raising doubts in your mind from the start or making you feel uncomfortable, you can simply (and kindly) say no. Much better to do that from the start than discover further along the line you were right, and you wish you hadn’t said ‘Yes’.”

Tax and insurance for freelancers 

Alongside finding work, freelancers need to make sure they’re paying tax correctly and have the right insurance.

From early 2024, HMRC made significant tax reporting changes that freelancers need to be aware of. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr and even marketplaces like Etsy now need to report how much money people are making on the platform. HMRC will then pass this information on to the tax authorities. This means that authorities will have the same visibility of income for those who earn money from these digital platforms as they would a traditional business.

The new changes will only affect those who aren’t reporting, or are underreporting, their income to HMRC. When it comes to paying tax, you’ll either need to submit your return as a sole trader or limited company.

If you’re a sole trader, you’ll need to register as a freelancer with HMRC. If you set up a limited company, you’ll need to register with Companies House and complete a company tax return.

Having the right freelance insurance in place can help to make sure you’re covered if something goes wrong and allow you to focus on running your business.

Some popular covers for freelancers include:

Read our ultimate guide to becoming a freelancer in the UK for more on paying tax and getting the right insurance.

In your experience, what are the best websites for freelancers? Let us know in the comments below.

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Lucy England

Lucy England has been writing for and about small businesses for around ten years. Initially working as a journalist covering tech startups, Lucy has extensive experience writing about insurance, fintech, tax and financial services for brands including Moneycorp and Muse Finance. Lucy has also supported a number of small businesses with their marketing, across industries as diverse as engineering and management consulting.

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