Freelance websites are becoming increasingly important due to the growing number of both employers and employees who embrace freelancing. This is driven by a global trend of remote work and companies becoming more open to outsourcing parts of their businesses.
Whether you are looking for freelance work or to hire a freelancer, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of freelance marketplaces, remote jobs boards and gig websites. This article will cover:
- The difference between freelance platforms, remote job boards, and gig marketplaces
- What are freelance platforms?
- What are gig marketplaces?
- When to use remote job boards
- Things to consider about freelance websites
- Best freelance websites
- Best remote job boards
- Best freelance writing websites
- Best sites to find remote development work
- Best sites to find remote design work
- Best sites to find remote marketing work
The difference between freelance platforms, remote job boards, and gig marketplaces
Before we dive into the list of best freelance websites, let’s specify the differences between freelance websites, remote job boards, and gig marketplaces.
What are freelance platforms?
Freelance platforms are websites where clients post their job requirements, and freelancers bid on them. This is either for an hourly rate job or a fixed rate project.
These platforms are usually operated as marketplaces, meaning that the site will take a percentage cut of each transaction. These fees can add up quite a bit in the long term, but it’s far from being the only difference against other alternatives such as remote job boards.
As a business owner looking for freelancers on a freelance website, the benefits are that you get a lot of proposals with different prices and experience. You can choose any of the freelancers without the hassle of sourcing them in the first place, adding them to your payroll and engaging in long-term employment. (Though you may end up adding freelancers to payroll if they contract is long enough.)
You can hire someone to work on your tasks and let them work with a fair amount of autonomy. What’s more — the freelance website will usually take care of all the work-related logistics, such as invoicing, sending payments, escrowing the funds and even acting as a mediator should there be a dispute.
Most freelance sites will also provide some management tools, such as time tracking with screenshots and communication tools.
As a freelancer looking for jobs, these sites are also very different from looking for work on remote job boards. You are essentially running your own business and have to worry about things such as taxes, utilization rates, sales and client relations, to name a few.
The platform just gives you as a freelancer the medium to find and discover the jobs and gigs available. However, to win business, you still have to come up with amazing proposals and go on sales calls with the clients.
This can take a lot of your time and as you start out, you might spend as much as half of your time prospecting and sourcing clients, without being directly paid for it.
This means that you have to have a very commercial mindset, on top of your core skill that you offer, to figure out your utilization rates and best projects to bid on. That way, you can account for the time you will spend prospecting, the site’s fees, and other expenses.
While very similar to freelance websites, gig marketplaces are usually used exclusively for one-time projects and quick work that clients need to get done. It’s not uncommon for gig marketplaces to specialize in a niche.
As a business owner, these are great if you need something done very quickly and have good control of the costs, as these sites usually have set price projects.
As a freelancer, don’t expect to find long-term work on these sites and expect to do a lot of marketing, bidding, and in some industries, even entering competitions to win the project and be paid.
Remote job boards
Remote job boards are just like any other job boards, except they are focused on remote employees. Expect to screen the CVs, then shortlist and interview candidates as potential employees or contractors.
Many companies opt for freelance websites to find long-term freelancers, as they don’t have to worry about payroll, invoices, payments, etc. But remote job boards are certainly still a great option for many companies, and solutions such as Hubstaff takes a lot of the hassle out of managing a remote freelance workforce.
Time tracking, payments, and much more
As a freelancer, remote job boards are a great way to find long-term work the old fashioned way — by applying to the companies and positions that pique your interest. You still might have to worry about things such as taxes if you join as a contractor, but this is the easiest option without having to constantly pitch to get new business.
The differences between well-known freelance websites
Even the freelance websites themselves differ quite a bit on various criteria, such as fee structure, niche, geographical markets, and the prices clients expect to pay.
As a client looking to post a job, it’s usually free to do so before you hire anyone. Then, you can expect to pay a percentage of each freelance payment, usually between 5%-20%.
Another thing worth considering is the number of freelancers that use these services, as well as your niche and specific requirements from the platform.
You will be able to compare top platforms in the list below and easily find the right one for you.
As a freelancer, the fee structure becomes more important. Plus, you will usually have to account for a membership fee. Upwork and Freelancer offer both free and paid subscriptions, with the latter starting at as low as $5 a month.
Each site has different benefits for their paid memberships; some let you access a bigger pool of clients, others give you more tools within the platform or let you apply to more jobs than free members can.
The main cost of doing business, however, will never be the membership fees, as all of these websites charge transaction fees on the actual work and projects. That’s on top of any membership fees.
The service charging the biggest transaction fee is Fiverr. If you use it, you will get 80% of the total gig value. So if you do a $5 gig, you are entitled to $4 for its successful completion.
Best general freelance websites
1. Hubstaff Talent
Hubstaff Talent’s greatest benefits are that it’s 100% free with no middlemen fees for client nor freelancer. You can choose how and when you pay or get paid, how the contract is setup, and how the communication between parties takes place. Full flexibility with no fees.
For companies, Hubstaff’s freelance talent website is a perfect option. It helps businesses find quality contractors who work on an hourly basis. The wide range of profiles on Hubstaff Talent are rich with information, and rates are clearly communicated.
Get started by describing and submitting your project for free. Posting a job takes only a few minutes. Once the listing is up, you can wait for responses or request freelancers who match your description to apply.
With Hubstaff’s time tracking software, you only pay for work performed and get a clear picture of what your freelancers are working on while billing time.
You can also use Hubstaff’s innovative time tracking software to control budgets, record hours worked down to the minute, see activity levels to gauge productivity, get automatic reports and automate payments right from within your Hubstaff account. The Hubstaff software makes it easy to work with remote freelancers so you can focus on growing your business.
Upwork’s strengths are its easy-to-browse freelancer profiles, money-back guarantee, payroll services, and Work Diary that shows screenshots taken at 10-minute intervals.
Upwork is a popular freelancing site that allows you to hire, manage, and pay freelancers from around the world.
Freelancers from this platform are flexible and can operate on projects that are short, ongoing, individual, team-based and more. It’s the perfect option for many freelancers, especially ones in the early years of their freelancing careers.
As a business owner, the site is very easy to use and has everything you need to hire a freelancer right away. Just post a job, hire your freelancers, track their work hours and then pay them by linking your credit card, bank account or PayPal. All of this is done via Upwork to make it easy to focus on your project instead of logistics.Hire freelancers, collaborate on projects, monitor their work and pay for their services all on @Upwork Click To Tweet
As a client, you will pay 3% payment transaction fees, but the freelancer will pay anywhere from 5%-20% on the total contract amount.
It’s important to consider the fee on the freelancer side as some freelancers account for it in their hourly rate. For the first $500 billed to a specific client, the freelancer pays a 20% fee, for the next $500.01-$10,000 the freelancer will pay 10%. On anything above $10,000, it’s 5%.
For clients, you don’t need a membership to post a job and use the site, but nonetheless, Upwork provides extras as part of two paid memberships. These memberships start at $49.99 per month or $499 a month for larger businesses.
Read Hubstaff’s FAQ on Upwork.
Outsourcely is a popular freelancing site that allows you to browse freelancer profiles, interview, and recruit freelancers to assemble your workforce. Before you hire, you can read all about a freelancer and even communicate with them and interview them.
Outsourcely services don’t stop once you’ve hired a freelancer. They also allow for real-time communication (voice, video, and chat), and document sharing.
It’s easy to find freelancers on this platform. Just post a job, get recommended freelancers, hire your freelancer and begin work.
The site provides the tools you need to finish your project, from collaboration tools to payments.Use @outsourcely to find freelancers, get daily reports, and complete projects Click To Tweet
Another option you have is to find freelancers by browsing profiles for freelancers whose skills meet your needs.
Outsourcely’s work categories include Design & Multimedia, Web Development, Programming & IT, Writing & Content, Business Services, Mobile Applications, Administrative Support, Customer Support and many more, so consider using this site if you are a freelancer in one of those categories and looking for more work.
As a client, it’s free to post one job. After that, you can select a membership ranging from $19 to $229 per month. The memberships are determined by the number of job postings, the channels you want open for direct conversations with freelancers, and the number of user accounts.
Time and work tracking. Free for 14 days.
Overall, the fee structure on Outsourcely applies to both sides. The freelancers can have a free profile or a premium, featured profile at $10 per month.
The site doesn’t take any cuts on the work done.
Freelancer is the world’s largest freelancing, outsourcing, and crowdsourcing marketplace. Their extensive network of employers and freelancers spans 247 countries, regions and territories, and they have hosted more than seven million projects since 2001.
In order to find a qualified freelancer for your job, just post a project and receive bids within minutes. Then compare proposals and price, select the freelancer you want to work with, and begin work. Freelancer provides communication tools and secure payment services. Freelancer will only release your payment when you are satisfied with the work provided by their freelancers.Leverage @Freelancer's extensive network to find a skilled and qualified professional for your project Click To Tweet
Freelancer’s work categories include Websites, IT & Software, Mobile, Writing, Design, Data Entry, Product Sourcing & Manufacturing, Sales and Marketing, Business, Accounting & Legal, and more.
A client pays a 3% fee or a minimum of $3 for fixed price projects. There’s a 3% transaction fee on any payment for hourly projects.
It’s important to understand the fees freelancers face, as they usually account for this in their hourly rates. A freelancer pays 10% with a minimum of $5 for any fixed cost project, and 10% on any hourly work payments.
Guru is a freelance service based in Pittsburgh, PA, that helps businesses find the right freelancers for the right job. They have a global network of more than 1.5 million “gurus” who are able to help with your technical, creative, and business projects.
In order to find freelancers with Guru, just post a project for free. You can browse freelancer profiles and view past work so you can hire your freelancer with confidence. Once you’ve chosen a freelancer, manage your project online at the Guru Workroom, where you can create agreements, define milestones, assign tasks, communicate, share documents and more. Guru also takes care of payments; you pay Guru and they will release the funds to your freelancer only when you approve the work.Get a freelance guru to handle your business needs with @Guru_com Click To Tweet
Guru’s service categories include Web, Software & IT, Design, Art & Multimedia, Writing & Translation, Admin Support, Management & Finance, Sales & Marketing, Engineering & Architecture, and Legal.
It’s free to post a job, hire, and browse the site for clients. You only pay 2.5% handling fee when paying an invoice.
For freelancers, the site has a fee of 4.95% to 8.95%, depending on the membership level.
PeoplePerHour can help you find freelancers with the right skills for whatever your project needs. Its freelancers are skilled with design, development, content and promotion. In order to get started, just describe your project and goals, then PeoplePerHour will send it to curated experts to get the job done.
You work with freelancers remotely to save on overhead costs, and PeoplePerHour won’t release your payments until you are satisfied with the work delivered.
In addition to posting a project and receiving proposals, there are two other ways to find freelancers with PeoplePerHour. You can browse “hourlies” for fixed price offers ready to begin immediately, or you can search freelancer profiles and contact them directly. Just make a down payment and begin work.Find freelancers by posting a project, searching profiles or browsing fixed-price offers @PeoplePerHour Click To Tweet
With PeoplePerHour, you can manage, communicate and pay freelancers in your WorkStream. Your WorkStream is an easy way to track all your job history, review and accept proposals, manage invoices and communicate with freelancers all in one convenient online location.
For clients, Peopleperhour charges a service fee for making payments. It’s set at £0.60 + 10% of the payment. The site also offers the option to sign an NDA with your freelancer for $34.
It’s free to post a job. If you want more exposure, you can feature the job for $60. There’s also an option to mark a job as “urgent” for $15.
For freelancers, Peopleperhour charges 20% for the first $700 billed to a specific client, 7.5% for $700-$7,000, and 3.5% for any billings above $7,000.
Workhoppers connects businesses with local professionals seeking freelance, part-time, and short-term work. All you have to do is post your job, get immediate matches, connect with the freelancer of your choice and negotiate directly.
When posting a job, you can define the skills needed, location, and duration. You can pay hourly or by project, and Workhoppers will match you with qualified professionals. Visit your My Matches page to see profiles, skills, availability and contact candidates directly.Get freelancer recommendations based on what skills and services you need with @workhoppers Click To Tweet
Workhoppers charges a fee to businesses posting more than one job listing. A paid plan is required in order to view full freelancer profiles and contact unlimited candidates. Their plans range from $0 to $175.
Aside from your monthly or annual fee, Workhoppers doesn’t take any commission or other payments.
Best remote job boards
With more companies becoming remote, there are now many remote job boards available to post your jobs or to look for one. Remote job boards are perfect for long-term contractors or employees and with tools such as Hubstaff time tracking, you can manage your remote freelancers and contractors without a hassle.
Accurate timesheets, screen capture, and productivity
1. Hubstaff Talent
As mentioned above, Hubstaff Talent is a freelance talent platform and remote job directory created with the aim of connecting the best freelancers and agencies in the world with the most interesting businesses looking for help. In order to do that, the service is 100% free.
No matter whether you’re looking to fill an opening or find work, there are no fees.
2. Remote OK
Remote OK is a great option if you’re looking for remote jobs. The site acts as a search engine for a wide range of remote jobs.
You can look through the web development, mobile development, design, information sector, and non-technical categories — or you can enter a search term like “node js” or “sales” and see what comes up.
We’d also suggest browsing through the list of highest-paying jobs, which could come in handy when negotiating salary or rates.
Remotive.io has a curated list of opportunities from its partner companies. All of the companies are remote startups, and most of them are also in tech, which means the majority of the jobs on Remotive are in engineering. However, there’s also plenty in marketing, product, and design.
It costs $299 to post a regular job listing and you can choose to pay more for extras such as job highlights and tweets of your job posting.
Overall, the site is a perfect place for both job seekers and companies looking to recruit.
4. We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely is another remote jobs aggregator. There are plenty of programming and devops positions, but the site is a little light on other roles.
It costs $299 to post a month-long job listing directly on the site, with extras of ad highlights and tweets starting at $49.
Bitwage aggregates remote job opportunities posted by companies and users on places like Twitter and Reddit. About half a dozen new opportunities are posted every hour, so this is one you’ll want to check frequently if you’re looking for a job.
If you’re recruiting, you can post directly on Bitwage. The site is worth checking out as its core product is targeted at international and remote teams.
6. Arctic Startup
Arctic Startup is a niche jobs board for European startups, with a focus on Nordic and Baltic companies. It lists full-time, part-time, remote, and traditional roles, so as a job seeker, you can filter the results for the most relevant remote jobs.
Jobspresso is another remote jobs board. The quality of work is usually a little higher because each position is carefully reviewed before being added to the site.
And if you want companies coming to you, rather than the other way around, Jobspresso also offers the option to upload your resume. Recruiters and employers search this database for relevant keywords, job titles, skills, experiences, and so forth.
The basic price of posting a job is very competitively set at $199, with an extra for just $50 more. Not bad for reaching 100,000+ remote workers.
8. Skip the Drive
Skip the Drive has thousands of telecommuting job opportunities. As a job seeker, you will find this site easy to navigate due to it’s filtering options such as keywords, recency, commitment level, and company information.
The site claims that Neil Patel from KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg uses them as his go-to remote worker sourcing solution. The price of posting a job is set at $79 for 30 days. What makes SkipTheDrive interesting is that you can’t specify a location or job type, but only set keywords that you will add to your listing.
AngelList has a collection of the jobs on its site that employers have tagged “remote OK.” There are opportunities for professionals in marketing, data science, product management, operations, sales, design, and engineering.
You can further choose between roles that are “full-time,” “part-time,” “contract,” or “internship.” And if you want to know when new jobs are added to the collection, you can subscribe to a weekly email.
As a company doing the recruiting, you can use the platform to post a job for free and browse candidate profiles, as well as make use of other tools on the platform. For a fee starting at $200 a month, your company can get access to more advanced candidate browsing tools.
10. The Muse
Most of the jobs on The Muse require you to live in a specific city, but the site also has a fairly robust “flexible/remote” section.
Unlike other job boards, The Muse provides a full profile for each company. This is great if you’re looking for a job, as the insights you’ll glean from the pictures, videos, and text are helpful when it comes to figuring out if the company’s culture will fit you well.
You might be craving a vacation, but can’t afford (or don’t want) to stop working. You need a Jobbatical. On this site, you’ll find 11- and 12-month jobs in exotic locales, including Hong Kong, Greece, Malaysia, and Spain. From community management and sales to design and marketing, every type of professional can find something.
Since the site positions itself as a relocation service, Jobbatical is great for companies looking for international talent without fully committing to the remote culture.
For businesses, the platform takes care of everything in the recruitment process.
12. Escape the City
When you’re tired of working in a corporate environment, turn to Escape the City. The creators’ goal is to help people find opportunities with progressive companies they could really believe in. To that end, you can search job listings by “Escape Factors.” Do you want to work for a company that’s entrepreneurial, exciting, exotic, socially impactful, or some combination of those?
There isn’t a huge number of remote jobs (we only found eight last time we checked), but that’s probably because there isn’t a huge number of organizations that meet Escape the City’s criteria.
Idealist connects job-seekers with non-profit organizations. There are usually a couple hundred remote work listings, and they run the gamut from advocacy and fundraising to activism and writing.
Best freelance writing websites
These are the perfect places to find writers for content marketing and other related jobs.
ConstantContent is a popular content platform that presents two main options for content creation: tailor-made content and unique, ready-made articles.
If you request content, you can select one of the platform’s 100,000 writers on the basis of expertise and experience, and quickly file your order. In case you want to select a ready-made article, you can browse through more than 100,000 pieces by keywords and categories.
All content is unindexed and Copyscape-verified. You can also choose among 70 million images available in Shutterstock’s database. This is part of ConstantContent’s offer.
Scripted specializes in finding the best writers for your content marketing needs. Everything from blog posts to copywriters for the best email campaigns.
The site offers a free trial to clients, and then it’s either $124 or $249 per month when paid annually. Your membership comes with an SEO audit, blog ideas, and 1-2 rounds of revisions.
You have to also pay for the content itself. Blog posts start at $45 per article. The site claims a 100% satisfaction guarantee, claiming that you can return the content that you don’t like.
Scripted is a good option for businesses that are looking to invest heavily in their content marketing, as clients can outsource a wide range of writing tasks on the site and the monthly fee is the only commission the site takes.
As for writers, it’s good if you can get in. You can expect quite a bit of work coming your way. Of the 92,400 writers that have applied on to the site, only about 6,450 have been accepted.
3. Pro blogger jobs board
Problogger is a platform dedicated to all writing needs, for both writers and people seeking content marketers. The site has a well-known jobs section, often checked by writers.
It costs $70 to post a job for 30 days and there are options to pay more to gain more exposure. After posting on this site, you can expect an influx of applicants in your inbox, ready to take on your writing job — anything from simple blog posts, newsletters, and social media executives, to SEO consultants and blog admins.
For writers, this is a great platform to look for jobs as there’s no criteria for getting in to apply and you can often find long term work.
4. Blogging Pro Jobs board
The name is very similar to the one above, but Blogging Pro is a different platform, also dedicated to teaching their visitors the ins and outs of blogging and content marketing. The site has a jobs board section, free for job seekers and paid for businesses seeking writers.
The price is very competitive at just $30 to post a job for 30 days, but it can take a bit of time to get started. The site manually reviews each job listing, and that can take up to 48 hours.
The site offers a tailored service to discuss your business content needs. All you have to do is request contact by filling out a form.
5. Writer Access
An amazing platform for businesses of all sizes, Writer Access covers all content marketing needs: access to 15,000+ writers, stock images and videos, keyword density reports, ability to leave a voice message to the writers and other communication tools, unlimited revisions, ability to publish directly to WordPress by one-click, SERP’s results tracking tool and much more.
Memberships start at $39 per month and go all the way up to $349 per month, depending on what functions you require from the site.
The site also has built-in AI tools for content style analyses and an advanced algorithm to match you with a good writer.
The site is also great for freelance writers, as a lot of the tools are useful to them and accessible if accepted as a freelancer on the platform.
6. Text Broker
TextBroker is a great option for people and content teams who know what they’re doing and need to fulfill specific bulk orders quickly.
The site lets clients input all of their article details, either manually or via an API or import using Excel, pay a set fee for the work and TextBroker fulfills the order on their side, directly dealing with the writers.
This is a great option for people that are looking to do bulk orders, usually for SEO and private blog networks. The reach of writers the site claims to have also makes it a good option for high-quality content.
Developer remote job boards and freelance websites
Below are great niche websites for developers to find freelance contract work or full-time employment in remote teams.
All of the listed sites will come in very handy for any company looking for tech talent.
1. Power to Fly
Are you a woman in tech? Power to Fly connects female developers with remote jobs. It’s a fairly lengthy process as you need to complete an application, go through a screening process, and complete a 2-4 week trial period with each company before you can officially start.
GitHub has become the unofficial resume for developers, so it’s not surprising that the site has started listing jobs. Most of the companies are tech startups. If that’s not your niche, we’d advise browsing a different platform.
For businesses looking for top talent, the price of $450 to post a job might seem a lot compared to other sites. However, high-quality candidates make it an extremely good value for money.
3. We Work Meteor
4. Stack Overflow
Stack Overflow isn’t explicitly for remote jobs, but nonetheless a good place to look for a remote developer job. To only see the applicable jobs, you can utilize the “Allows remote” filter. Last time we checked, there were 310 matching positions, and many of them had been posted mere hours ago.
For recruiters, the site does not display the cost of posting a job. Instead, you have to request contact from a representative through a contact form.
5. Side Projectors
Side Projectors gives you the chance to turn your passion project into money. It’s a marketplace for side projects: You submit your finished website, mobile application, desktop program, or hardware product, set a minimum price, and wait for interested buyers to contact you.
Designer remote job boards and freelance websites
Below are sites and job boards great for finding design work and top designers for your remote team.
Thousands of designers and developers apply to be Toptal freelancers each month, but only 3% are accepted. If you can make it past the highly selective application process, you’ll (literally) be in business. Toptal matches you with challenging, top-tier projects at well-known companies like Airbnb, Zendesk, J.P. Morgan, and IDEO.
You probably already use Dribbble to showcase your work, so why not use it to find a job? Just make sure that you check the “Remote/anywhere” box under Location. This doesn’t leave a huge number of jobs, but you should still be able to find some good options.
Most of the jobs on Behance are location-specific. There are a couple jobs that indicate you can work from anywhere, but unfortunately, the site doesn’t offer a quick and easy way to find them.
Marketing remote job boards and freelance websites
1. Virtual Vocations
Virtual Vocations always has several pages of marketing positions that can be done remotely. You can even browse through jobs based on their “travel requirements,” which is pretty helpful, as many remote sales and marketing jobs require some travel.
For employers, Virtual Vocations lets you post jobs for free. Or, you can pay for dedicated account manager support as well as other features to increase your job post’s reach.
Inbound.org is an online community for 140,000 marketers (and counting). It’s also a great resource for remote marketing jobs.
Pro tip: If you decide to apply for a job, you’ll be directed to the organization’s “Careers” portal. Make sure you mention that you applied through inbound.org, as this will give you instant credibility.
3. Growth Hackers
If you’re passionate about marketing, you’re probably familiar with Growth Hackers. In addition to case studies and articles, this site also posts open marketing positions. Most of them are on-site, but you’ll find a couple of remote jobs.
CloudPeeps is a fantastic freelance platform for PR reps, growth hackers, and marketers looking for freelance projects. While the application process is fairly competitive, this has helped attract well-known companies to become customers.
It’s free to post a job on CloudPeeps with two different promotional extras available at $150 each. The site also takes a cut on each transaction done on the site on the freelancer side.
Reach your goals faster with time tracking and work management.
The market is changing rapidly
As you can see on this list of the best freelance and remote work websites, the market is full of different options for both workers and employers. Some sites specialize in a niche, others in the functions or their fee structure.
As a freelancer, the best thing you can do is try as many of these sites out and decide on one to stick with and build up your portfolio and reputation.
As an employer, there are a lot of options out there and it comes down to what works for you and your business. Be sure to check out all the sites listed that sound the most relevant for you, and don’t be afraid to take your business elsewhere if you have to.
This post was originally published May 19, 2014, and updated May 6, 2019.