Professional Services5 Best Freelance Sites for Hiring Web Developers in 2021

5 Best Freelance Sites for Hiring Web Developers in 2021

Suppose you or your company have a web development project and you need someone to work on it. You will want to hire web developers whom you can rely on.

Unskilled or untrustworthy web developers can seriously ruin your project. For example, they could code your website so poorly that it is too slow to be functional, or it may crash frequently and create a bad image of your brand.

Even worse, these developers can even inject malware on your website and use your resources for malicious purposes!

Thus, it is vital to find a professional and talented web developer to work on your project, so you can rest assured that your website or web application is in good hands.

Unfortunately, hiring one is not an easy task. A decent full-time web developer could be costly for your business. Furthermore, you have to be certain that that person has adequate skill and experience for your project.

In my opinion, it may be much better to explore some freelance sites that specialize in hiring web developers for all kinds of projects.

Reasons to Hire Freelance Web Developers

First, you don’t have to get into a long-term employment contract. You will pay when you need them for your project, which will be more cost-effective for businesses in the long run.

Secondly, the hiring process will be much faster than that of typical recruitment. You can get an excellent web developer to start working for you within days, not weeks or months.

Thirdly, the recruitment fee will be much cheaper. Most sites allow you to hire at a very low or even no cost.

Finally, these freelancing sites have verified each web developer’s skills, experience, and trustworthiness, so you can be confident that you will not hire the wrong person.

However, this does not mean all freelance web developers are flawless. Many sites may have a much lower bar of quality control. Some of them may not work well on the job, so that you could waste your time and money to no avail.

Thus, choosing the right, trustworthy freelance site is also highly crucial.

This post will introduce you to five reliable freelancing websites that make finding professional web developers extremely easy and fast. They can start working with you within days or, in some cases, hours!

Affiliate Disclosure: This post from Victory Tale contains affiliate links. If you choose to hire freelance web developers through them, we will receive a small commission from those platforms.

However, we always value integrity and prioritize our audience’s interests. You can rest assured that we present all these sites truthfully.

1. Toptal

If you’re looking for the best freelance web developers to work with, I recommend hiring one from Toptal.

Unlike other platforms, Toptal is an exclusive, high-skilled freelance marketplace that assists many businesses in hiring the world-class talent you can find none elsewhere.

Toptal, one of the best freelance sites for web developers
Toptal, one of the best options for hiring top-tier web developers

Hiring Process

Hiring freelance web developers from Toptal is essentially effortless. Furthermore, you can be certain that you will get the right person for the job since Toptal’s industry experts will help you find freelance developers that suit your project requirements.

First, you can start viewing the list of freelance web developers or web designers by selecting the design skills or programming languages you need.

You can then view their profile, which will include their portfolio, experience, skills, and a complete CV, which is very comfortable for your initial screening.

Toptal Developer's Profile
Toptal Developer’s Profile

However, if you don’t know the skills you require for the project, you can even skip this step altogether.

Next, as a potential client, you still need to fill out a questionnaire to inform Toptal of your business needs so that the Toptal team can provide further advice.

Toptal Questionnaire
Toptal Questionnaire

The questionnaire will be about as follows:

  • Type of Project (New/Existing project/Consultation)
  • Product Specification availability
  • Job Length
  • Types of freelancers you need (a single web developer or an entire team)
  • Level of Commitment (Hourly or Full-time)
  • Required Programming skills (JavaScript, React, Python, PHP, etc.)
  • When to start (Immediately or sometime later)
  • Remote developer

Once you send the results, Toptal will contact you via email within 24 hours and introduce you to the most suitable freelance web developer it can find.

Subsequently, you will need to deposit a one-time $500 to Toptal (used as credit for later invoices) after the matching is completed. Then, you can start working with your team members immediately.

Toptal considers these two weeks to be a trial period. If you are not satisfied with the assigned freelancer, you can ask Toptal to send a new expert and start another trial.

Potential clients can start up to 3 trials per position. Thus, you can freely test freelancers’ technical skills and suitability to ensure that they are the best fit for your current team before making a decision.

If you are not satisfied with Toptal’s service and choose not to progress, Toptal will refund your initial deposit. Thus, the entire recruiting process is risk-free.

From an overall perspective, I think the hiring process is straightforward and flexible, which helps you mitigate hiring risks significantly.

Screening Process

As a freelance platform, Toptal has a much more rigorous screening process than most others. The screening process involves various skill tests and background checks including the following:

  • Portfolio Reviews
  • Coding Challenges
  • English language + Personality Tests
  • Interviews
  • Problem-solving sessions
  • Live test project
  • and many more

Due to this rigorous screening method, very few elite candidates manage to pass it. Toptal only accepts 3% of candidates every year. Hence, you can be certain that you will be working with the best.

Pricing

Price per hour for Toptal freelance web developer or web designer normally ranges from $60 to $210 per hour.

There are several factors that affect this rate, including but not limited to specialty, location, and level of commitment. All clients will pay Toptal twice a month.

Compared to other platforms, Toptal’s rates are certainly higher. However, if you demand professionalism and reliability, I think very few freelance sites could offer better than Toptal.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Hire elite freelancers (Top 3%) with tons of work experience (no entry-level web developer), thus best for the most significant projects in your business.
  • Specialized in providing technology-related services. Therefore, there are more than 200 specific skills in web development, web design and software development to choose from
  • Smooth and straightforward hiring process
  • Hiring an entire development team (a web developer, a web designer, and a project manager) is possible.
  • A rigorous screening process ensures that you will work with professionals.
  • No-Risk trial for clients to test as many as three candidates per position.
  • Unarguably the best freelance marketplace for hiring freelance web designers and web developers
  • No need to worry about scammers

Cons

  • Toptal’s freelancers work remotely, although you can request an on-site relocation for a specified period of time.
  • The price per hour is much higher than other freelance platforms.
  • Toptal aims towards large, complicated projects, so it is not the best option for small ones. Decent web developers from other freelance websites can help you complete the project at the same quality but a far lower price.
  • Mediocre Customer Support
  • Toptal receives mixed reviews across different review platforms. However, most negative reviews are from freelancers who failed to pass the screening process.

2. Upstack

Upstack is another site devoted to helping businesses find excellent developers and expand their remote team successfully.

Its business model is similar to that of Toptal. However, Upstack focuses only on developer recruitment and nothing else.

Upstack – one of the best freelance sites for web developers

Hiring Process

The hiring process is straightforward. However, like Toptal, there are several steps to complete.

First, you will need to fill out a questionnaire about your projects and other needs, including required technical skills (such as JavaScript, Node.js, React.js, Python), timeframe, numbers of developers you need, time to start, etc.

Upstack Questionnaire
Upstack Questionnaire

Shortly, the account manager will get in touch with you via phone or email. You will discuss your goals and requirements with the account manager, who will then use artificial intelligence to find the right team member according to the information provided.

Within a few days, your account manager will come back with a list of candidates and their profiles. You can take your time to consider each carefully before selecting the one whom you want for the online meeting.

Upstack Hiring Process
Upstack Hiring Process

I think this opportunity is beneficial, as you can assess whether each developer’s personality fits your company’s culture and test whether their skills are excellent as advertised.

Suppose you decide to proceed with the suggested developer. You will need to pay the $399 deposit, which will be refunded later if you are unimpressed with the trial.

Next, there will be a kickoff meeting to help your new developer get onboard with your current team. After the meeting, the 14-day trial will start. This is the time to evaluate whether you are satisfied with your new freelance web developer.

If the answer is no, you will get a full refund of your deposit.

Some entrepreneurs want their new developers to work alongside their current team. If you are one of them, you can send a request to the Upstack team who will facilitate this for you.

Screening Process

Upstack Screening Process
Upstack Screening Process

Similar to Toptal, Upstack has an extremely rigorous vetting process, which comprises five steps as follows.

  • Application Review – Upstack’s talent team will review all applications. All members of the team will vote on which one should proceed. Only the application that receives a unanimous vote can move to the next step.
  • Screening Interview – This interview is designed to test every candidate’s language skills. Hence, you can be certain that every Upstack web developer can communicate effectively in English.
  • Coding Challenges – All candidates have to complete extremely challenging coding tests designed to separate the wheat from the chaff. Upstack informs us that only experienced developers can do well.
  • Skill Scoring – Upstack experienced professionals will double-check each candidate’s technical skills on their profile. This will help Upstack find out whether the candidate possesses such skill and provide better matching to clients.
  • Final Interview

Upstack claims that it accepts only 1% of applicants. Thus, you can be certain that your hired web developer is one of the best the world could offer.

Pricing

Hiring Upstack’s freelance web developer costs approximately $50-$80 per hour, which is much cheaper than Toptal ($60-$210), saving your company thousands of dollars per month.

You will start receiving an invoice 2 weeks after a successful trial. Subsequently, you will receive it biweekly.

It is important to note that you must hire an Upstack developer on a full-time basis. This means they have to work at least 40 hours a week. However, you can still choose the hiring period (3-6 months or more.

This means you should expect to pay Upstack at least $2,000 per month.

If you want to save costs even more, you can click the referral link below to sign up to Upstack and receive an extra $2,000 credit to your account!

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Straightforward and fast hiring process
  • Utilize artificial intelligence in matching developers with clients
  • Excellent and Timely Customer Support (Email and Live chat are available.) The team contacted me within minutes after sending the request.
  • Extremely rigorous vetting process. Upstack clients do not need to worry about scammers. They can also be confident that the best developers are working for them.
  • Low price per hour compared to other peers that provide similar quality services
  • 14-day risk-free trial

Cons

  • Upstack’s developers only work full-time (at least 40 hours a week.) Thus, they are definitely not the best option for small projects.

3. Upwork

Upwork is one of the largest freelance websites in the world and where businesses find independent professionals to assist their team in many tasks.

Unlike Toptal and Upstack, Upwork’s network is considerably much larger. You can easily form a whole new team by hiring freelancers from the platform.

Upwork, one of the largest freelance websites on the planet
Upwork, one of the largest freelance websites on the planet

Hiring Process

There are three ways you can start the hiring process.

The first method is to utilize Upwork’s Talent Marketplace. The process is straightforward. All you need to do is post freelance jobs on the platform. All freelancers will view your posts, and those who are interested will send you proposals.

Posting a Job on Upwork
Posting a Job on Upwork

You can then select the right professional, negotiate the pricing, and talk about availability and level of commitment.

Alternatively, you can start a freelancer search and contact freelancers proactively.

All you need to do is view their profile, technical skills, and other details (most importantly, their English level.) If you believe the freelancer’s skills are relevant, you can discuss your project with him or her.

Search for Freelancers on Upwork
Search for Freelancers on Upwork

Though using Talent Marketplace is effortless, you may not be able to find freelancers who match your needs swiftly enough.

The reason is that there might be very few or even no freelancers who are interested in the project.

Furthermore, there are 8,000 new job posts daily on Upwork’s job boards. The competition for freelance talent is quite stiff, so it can be difficult to receive excellent proposals on time.

In contrast, if you choose to contact them directly, you still need to spend time researching to find the best ones, which could take hours. Also, those freelancers might not be available to work for you as well.

Therefore, this option can be too slow for businesses that are in a hurry to find some professionals to work on their projects.

The second method is easier and faster. You can view the project catalog posted by freelancers. This will include a description of the project, pricing (mostly one-time not per hour), and other relevant details.

Buying projects/services from freelancers

The best thing here is that you can read other users’ reviews to get a grasp of how freelancers perform.

With this method, you can quickly access the services of freelance web developers or web designers without the need to wait for proposals.

However, it works only for small, general tasks such as building a small business website. Businesses looking to recruit a freelance web developer to join the team or work on large, specific tasks need to look elsewhere.

The last method, Talent Scout, is quite similar to Toptal’s hiring process. First, send your requests directly to Upwork recruiters. They will then start screening to find the most suitable freelance candidates out of the hundreds of thousands of those on the platform.

Upwork's Talent Scout
Upwork’s Talent Scout

You will receive a list of candidates shortly. Mostly, they are top 1% of all Upwork freelancers, vetted by experts in their fields, so you can rest assured that you will work with the cream of the crop.

The next step for you is to interview all candidates. You will then select the freelancer that fits your business the most and start working together on your projects.

The average time to hire is 3-4 days, which is much faster than regular full-time employee recruitment.

Screening Process

In terms of the screening and vetting process, Upwork is much less rigorous than Toptal or Upstack.

Although all freelancers on the platform have gone through preliminary screening, only a small part of them are vetted by experts.

Upwork’s talent managers conduct a rigorous vetting process, which involves technical skill tests, soft skill assessments, and a personal interview. Those who have gone through the process will receive a distinct “expert-vetted” talent badge.

Hence, it is very likely that those who send you proposals are not expert-vetted. This does not mean that they are not high-quality freelancers, since Upwork only invites a small group of them to enter the process.

Still, if you only want to work with expert-vetted website developers, you need to utilize Upwork’s Talent Scout service.

Pricing

The hiring process on Upwork is completely free. However, if you need an account manager to assist you in finding talent and additional features to help your posts stand out and receive more proposals from freelancers, you can subscribe to Upwork Plus at $49.99 per month.

Upwork Plus
Upwork Plus

The price per hour paid to freelancers on Upwork varies among freelancers. You can hire a web developer as low as $10 per hour.

Nonetheless, top freelance programmers or full stack developers who are expert-vetted and possess strong skill sets could charge as high as $100-$200 per hour or higher. This pricing range will be applicable mostly to businesses that use Talent Scout.

On the other hand, if you utilize Upwork’s Project Catalog, you will only pay a one-time fee. The cost will vary depending on the specialty and the complexity of the project. You may pay as low as $30 for a simple project or as high as $900 for a complicated one.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent freelance website to find web developers and software developers of different skill levels
  • Various methods to hire freelancers
  • Easy and straightforward hiring process
  • The project catalog makes Upwork one of the best marketplaces for recruiting freelance designers and developers to work on small projects.
  • Talent Scout is a fast and easy way to recruit top experts in web development.
  • Built-in collaboration features
  • Provide a wide range of services besides web development, including website design, marketing, project management, finance, graphic design, and others

Cons

  • Only a small percentage of freelancers have gone through the proper vetting process. You have to spend time sifting through them on your own or utilizing Talent Scout.
  • Distinguishing high-quality professionals from mediocre freelancers is quite difficult.
  • Stiff competition on Upwork’s job board. Waiting for proposals can be never-ending.
  • Many reviewers note that some freelance metrics, particularly “job success scores,” can be misleading.

4. Fiverr

Fiverr is one of the largest freelance websites and a solid competitor to Upwork. The platform is a haven for hundreds of thousands of freelance workers who seek freedom in life.

Similar to Upwork, Fiverr’s freelancers provide a wide range of services, including but not limited to web development, web design, marketing, translation, and many more.

Fiverr
Fiverr

Hiring Process

Fiverr’s hiring system is more or less similar to that of Upwork. However, there is a slight difference between the two.

At Fiverr, the simplest way to hire tech talent is to use the Fiverr Marketplace. Each freelancer will provide an outline of each project, pricing, availability, and other relevant details.

Fiverr Marketplace
Fiverr Marketplace

Thus, you can view each outline and its customer reviews. Then, select the one that fits your needs. This method is excellent for businesses that want to find solutions to small tasks (i.e., create a business website) that take only days to complete.

Most freelancers in the Fiverr marketplace are not expert-vetted. However, if you want to work with verified professionals, you can hire them utilizing Fiverr Pro.

Fiverr Pro
Fiverr Pro

Fiverr Pro is similar in structure to Fiverr Marketplace. However, experts who have gone through the vetting process that tested their technical skill level and other related skills will do all projects listed in the job postings. Hence, you can be certain that they know what they are doing.

Compared to normal freelancers in the marketplace, Fiverr Pro web developers tend to work on larger projects (such as building an e-commerce website or mobile app) but still take less than a month to complete.

However, if you want to hire freelance web developers to work on large, specific projects for a longer period of time (i.e., months.), you need to use Fiverr Business.

Fiverr Business
Fiverr Business

Hiring with Fiverr Business is also effortless. After you sign up, your business manager will ask for your needs, and they will search for top talent accordingly.

Within a short period of time, you will receive a list of qualified candidates who are all expert-vetted and among the best Fiverr could offer.

Screening Process

Anyone interested in a freelance career can create an account on Fiverr. There is not much screening for newcomers.

Nevertheless, Fiverr encourages every freelance worker to take a free course designed to make them more professional and take some skill tests to showcase their skills. However, this is completely optional.

In contrast, Fiverr Pro are those who have gone through a meticulous vetting process. Fiverr talent managers have verified their professional experience, technical skill sets, and personality. This will set them apart from those in the Fiverr Marketplace.

Pricing

The pricing for both Fiverr Marketplace and Fiverr Pro depends entirely on the project. You will pay your freelancers a one-time fee.

In general, hiring Fiver Pro freelancers costs considerably more. This is because Fiverr Pros tend to work on more sophisticated projects, and they are more reliable in general.

Using Fiverr Business is free for the first year. The next year will cost $149 ($12.41 per month on average), which is considerably cheaper than Upwork. However, you still need to pay for freelancing fees.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Clear separation between regular freelancing and expert services.
  • Easy-to-understand and fast hiring process
  • Provide a wide range of freelancing services
  • Fair and Transparent Pricing
  • Excellent and transparent marketplace for small projects
  • Fiverr Business with beneficial collaborative features provides good value for money.

Cons

  • Most freelancers on the Marketplace have not gone through the screening process. Therefore, it is extremely vital to scrutinize their profiles. Otherwise, using Fiverr Pro and Fiverr Business would be a much better alternative.
  • The review metrics are not very reliable. Fake reviews are common.

5. PeoplePerHour

PeoplePerHour is another freelance website that connects businesses to various types of talent. The platform provides various types of services, but most are in tech, design, and marketing.

Hence, if you plan to hire a freelance web developer, PeoplePerHour is definitely worth your consideration.

PeoplePerHour
PeoplePerHour

Hiring Process

PeoplePerHour’s hiring process is straightforward. It is very similar to Upwork’s.

You can start the process by posting a project on the job board. Artificial Intelligence will then help find the most suitable candidates from the entire network and contact them for you immediately.

Posting a Project
Posting a Project

If any of those freelancers are interested in your project, they will contact you and send their proposals. You can view each one and select the freelancer that you believe is the most suitable.

Once both sides are in agreement, you will need to pay a deposit for the freelancer to work on the project. You will pay the rest of the fees after your project is completed.

You can choose to search for freelancers directly and proactively contact them. You can filter candidates according to your requirements and view their portfolio, experience, profile, and other details individually.

Search for freelancers
Search for freelancers

The process is essentially similar to Upwork, but Upwork has a much better user interface. Fonts used on their website are incredibly small.

The last method is buying freelancer offers directly. This feature is the same as other platforms’ marketplaces. You will pay a one-time fee to the freelancers.

Buying Offers
Buying Offers

Screening Process

PeoplePerHour has a preliminary screening process before approving freelancers. Each applicant has to send a complete profile with a genuine profile picture to be evaluated manually by the team.

Unlike Upwork and Fiverr, PeoplePerHour does not have an exclusive expert-vetted process.

Pricing

If you post a project or search directly for freelancers, you will pay freelancers hourly for their service. Based on my observations, the average rates are slightly lower than those of Upwork. You can hire a decent web developer at $25-$30 per hour.

In terms of offers, you will pay a one-time fee. The amount of money you will pay also depends on how many add-ons you need. If you need more add-ons for your project, such as integrating PayPal to your WordPress site, the total cost will increase accordingly.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • AI-assisted job posting, thus possibly receiving faster and better freelance proposals.
  • AI will contact freelancers on your behalf.
  • Rank every freelance worker using the CERT algorithm based on the quality of work
  • Straightforward hiring process
  • Free job posting at no extra cost
  • Support on-site hiring
  • Competitive pricing

Cons

  • No expert-vetted process to verify the professionalism and technical skill sets of freelancers
  • No expert assistance on talent search
  • Clunky user interface
  • Subpar Customer Support
  • Many reviewers noted that scammers are prevalent on the platform.

Which Is the Best Site for Hiring a Web Developer?

Toptal and Upstack are definitely the two best sites for hiring web developers if costs are not a concern. Their developers are experienced, versatile, and expert-vetted, so you can be confident letting them manage the most significant projects of your business.

However, if your projects are small and need a web developer to work on them as soon as possible, Upwork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour are promising alternatives.

Other Sites for Hiring Freelance Web Developers

These are not essentially freelance sites. However, you can post a job to recruit freelance or part-time web developers on their job boards.

However, the entire recruitment process will not be very swift, as there is no talent manager to assist you as it is on freelance sites. Your team has to go through the recruitment process on their own.

LinkedIn – This social media platform for professionals is certainly one of the best places to hire part-time or full-time web developers. As of 2021, LinkedIn also has a new service that will help you connect with trustworthy candidates in no time.

Stack Overflow Jobs– Stack Overflow is one of the largest developer communities in the world. Millions of developers share their opinions, tips, and tricks on programming on the site. Unarguably, this fact makes Stack Overflow an excellent site to find top web developer candidates.

Workable has created an excellent guide to help businesses post jobs on Stack Overflow.

Finally, regular job sites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, SimplyHired, or Hired.com can also help recruit freelance web developers.

Pun Anansakunwat
Founder of Victory Tale, a multipotentialite who has a particular interest in technology. He loves to spend time testing new products and learning interesting topics to broaden his insights. After graduating from Columbia University in 2014, he makes a living by being a stock market investor, a private tutor, a writer of three published books, and finally a website owner.

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