Category personal development

The best free timesheet software in 2024

When I started out as a freelancer, time monitoring felt a little like Ayn Randian surveillance from a dystopian overlord. (I was also 23 and fresh off an English degree.) But for the ones doing the employing, it’s an indispensable tool for equitable resource allocation, transparent client billing, budgeting, and maybe a tasteful pinch of dystopian oversight.

Whether it’s for internal teams or external partners, to track time effectively, you need user-friendly timesheet software that integrates into your workflows. So for those overlords who need to record, monitor, and report on work time on a budget, I’ve rounded up the best free timesheet software options on the market that can do all of the above.

The best free timesheet software

What makes great free timesheet software?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who’ve spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it’s intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We’re never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

Timesheet software is somewhat different from pure time tracking apps, which are usually productivity apps meant for personal timekeeping. Timesheet software, on the other hand, offers time tracking for multiple team members and has additional reporting features for use cases like client billing and resource scoping. Of course, some tools do both.

To be considered for this list, each timesheet app had to offer, at minimum:

  • A generous free plan: It’s not just that the free plan exists, but that it has robust utility that makes it genuinely useful without upgrades. I excluded tools with free trials but no actual free plans.

  • Time tracking: Each tool has real-time time tracking capabilities, which may include additional features like keylogging, screenshots, and the ability to link directly to external apps.

  • Project management: Beyond simple time tracking, these tools can also handle basic project management tasks like role assignment, workflow visualization, project module creation, scheduling, and task organization.

  • Reporting: All the timesheet software on this list has reporting capabilities to monitor time allocation, export reports, invoice clients, review billing, and track budgets.

  • Integrations: Each app can integrate directly with popular CRMs, task management apps, and SEO tools.

  • Reviews. Since there are so many free timesheet apps out there, testing every single option would have taken weeks (which I could have logged with yet another timesheet app). Instead, I also narrowed my testing list down by looking at user reviews on aggregator sites like G2 and third-party reviewers.

The best free timesheet software at a glance

Best for

Standout feature

Free plan

Toggl Track

Overall utility

Sharp, dynamic interface

Free for 5 users


Unlimited users

On-site and virtual time monitoring

Free for unlimited users


Small teams

Full features up to 10 users for free

Free for 10 users


Field teams

Equipment monitoring

Free for unlimited users



Integrates with many popular workflow tools

Free for unlimited users



Unlimited users, check-ins, check-outs, and reports

Free for unlimited users


Client billing

Reporting focused on billing and expenses

Free for 5 users


Activity monitoring

Automated screenshots and screen recording

Free for 3 users


Task management

Billable rates

Free for 3 users


Interactive timesheets

Reports can be exported in three formats

Free for 5 users

Best overall free timesheet software

Toggl Track (Web)

Toggl Track pros:

Toggl Track cons:

It’s probably no surprise to see a Toggl product here, and no surprise to Toggl Track users that this product gets the nod for best overall free timesheet software. In fact, it’s also on Zapier’s list of best time tracking apps and even serves as a great personal productivity tool.

Toggl Track has the best user experience (UX) of any tool on this list. The design is sharp, the dashboards are customizable, the modules are dynamic, the layout is well structured, and the dark purple/pink color scheme is fire. Once you add team members, tags, projects, and clients, you can easily churn workdays into timesheets in the reporting module. Users can track their time on the go from a browser, desktop, mobile app, or within over 100 third-party applications via browser extensions—or just by typing it into the timesheet or timer module manually, the way our ancestors did.

For the free plan, you get quite a few premium perks that other free plans tend to exclude, like a Pomodoro timer, idle time detection, automated time tracking triggers, team access level management, and exportable reports. Toggl doesn’t give it all away, though. You’ll have to pay if you want to change billable rates, save reports, use pre-populated project templates, and—notably—divide projects into tasks.

Toggl Track is a premium tool with one of the more generous free plans, offering premium features and unlimited tracking, projects, and tags for up to five users. For bigger teams with the budget, it’s definitely worth ponying up to paid plans. ​​

You can do even more with Toggl Track by connecting it to Zapier, so you can do things like automatically start your timer when calendar events start. Here are a couple of pre-made workflows to get you started.

Toggl Track pricing: Free ($0, 5 users), Starter ($10/month/user), Premium ($20/month/user), Enterprise (pricing by request)

Best free timesheet software for unlimited users

Jibble (Web)

Screenshot of Jibble's dashboard showing upcoming holidays and tracked hours

Jibble pros:

Jibble cons:

  • Free tier caps at one admin

  • Have to upgrade for other key limitations like overtime reporting, leave approval, and client tracking

In a world of premium tools with limited free plans, there aren’t many full-utility free options out there. Jibble is basically an inversion of that model—instead of cutting lots of features from its core offering to create a free plan, Jibble starts out as a robust free tool that has premium add-ons.

Most users with small teams should be pretty satisfied with Jibble, which has a sleek interface. Despite its billing as a free tool, it has a premium feel that’s very easy to learn. Logging time is intuitive, and timesheets integrate data instantly, allowing you to toggle between time entry and payroll views to track user time and dive into shifts to see how that time was spent. I also like how you can log time from any module from the top nav, which allows you to clock in, add time, and even include breaks on the fly.

Jibble has an impressive menu of features compared to the usual free plan fare. On the time tracking side, you get unlimited use across browsers, mobile apps, and an on-site kiosk. For those on-site use cases, you also get facial recognition, selfie capturing, PIN verification, and geofencing to limit where employees can clock in and out. You even get automated timesheets, leave administration, report scheduling, and the ability to set billable rates by user profile.

Granted, there is a bit of a catch to all this free utility. The base tier excludes functionality for: 

Those limitations could be deal-breakers for some organizations, but for those who need more, even the two premium tiers are very affordable. If you’re looking for a free timesheet tool at an organizational level, every option has limitations—Jibble just has way fewer than the competition.

And by integrating Jibble with Zapier, you can do things like log new clock-ins in Google Sheets rows. Here are a couple more workflows to get you started.

Jibble pricing: Free (€0, unlimited users), Premium (€3.99/user/month), Ultimate (€7.99/user/month)

Best free timesheet software for small teams

Connecteam (Web)

Screenshot of the job scheduler on Connecteam's dashboard, showing a calendar-view schedule

Connecteam pros:

Connecteam cons:

Connecteam is unique free employee time clock software. Its wide range of operations, HR, and communication tools make it almost more of a lite enterprise resource planning platform or employee management software than a basic time manager. 

Aside from time-oriented modules for timesheets, scheduling, time clocking, time off requests, job reporting, and task creation, you also get unique features like chats, directories, knowledge base creation, surveys, document management, and internal course creation. You can even digitize forms and individual form elements, so you can do wildly cool (if you think corporate workflow stuff is cool) things like save and tag signatures and logos to drop into new forms, tasks, and workflows.

Connecteam’s interface is one of the best I’ve tested. It’s deceptively simple for how many features it has, and can be customized to keep the modules you need handy. I love (no surprise) the drag-and-drop interfaces and how easily you can color code, label, tag, edit, and duplicate just about any type of entry—then turn them into templates.

Honestly, I’m shocked at how good this free offering is. Reviewing all these timesheet products, I noticed a general theme for free plans: they either offer all features for very few users or limited features for unlimited users. Connecteam is somewhere in between, with full-feature access for up to 10 users—well above the one to three users you get for most full-feature free plans. But I like Connecteam because it’s not just one of the more generous free plans out there—it’s also one of the most feature-rich ones. 

Granted, there’s a reason there are four paid tiers above the free plan—premium access comes with other perks like more templates, app shortcuts, additional automated reports, and advanced settings. But if you’ve got 10 users or less, grab this free plan before they start charging for it.

Connecteam pricing: The Small Business Plan ($0, 10 users), Basic ($35/month, 30 users), Advanced ($49/month, 30 users), Expert ($119/month, 30 users), Enterprise (pricing by request)

Best free timesheet software for field teams

busybusy (Web)

Screenshot of the time cards feature in the busybusy dashboard, showing start and stop times, breaks, activities, and more for each day

busybusy pros:

busybusy cons:

  • Kiosk and photo verification are premium features

  • No scheduling at the free tier

  • Paid plans are fairly expensive

Most timesheet products focus free features on managing time for remote teams, but busybusy puts their eggs in the on-site basket. Designed for the construction vertical, busybusy is easily the best option on this list for meeting IRL check-in/check-out needs.

At the free tier, busybusy has solid features for general time clocking for unlimited users. Employees can punch in or input their time manually, populating the time card interfaces with bird’s-eye-view stats for regular time, overtime, PTO, and sick leave. Unlike some other free options, busybusy can customize overtime, lets users customize break and sick leave documentation, and includes job costing functionality.

For those in construction, manufacturing, and verticals with physical equipment, busybusy also has some pretty unique features, like:

  • Equipment listing, tracking, and monitoring

  • Machine hour logging

  • Fuel level reporting

  • Mobile reporting

  • Employee break and activity reporting

If you want features like kiosk check-ins, photo verification, progress tracking, safety reports, and scheduling, you’ll need to bump up to premium plans. But if you’re looking for pretty basic equipment and time logging, busybusy’s free plan is the best option you’ll find.

And to make it even more useful, you can integrate Zapier with busybusy to do things like automatically send emails in Gmail when projects are updated. Here are a couple more workflows for inspiration, but you can connect busybusy with thousands of apps using Zapier

busybusy pricing: Free ($0, unlimited users), Pro ($11.99/user/month), Premium ($17.99/user/month)

Best free timesheet software for integrations

Clockify (Web)

Screenshot of the reports feature in the Clockify dashboard showing billable hours for three days with a lime green bar chart

Clockify pros:

  • Free plan includes projects, tasks, and clients

  • Integrates readily with many popular project management tools

  • API and webhooks available at free level

Clockify cons:

Clockify may be the most popular tool on this list, setting it up to be the most integratable (not a word, but you get the idea) free timesheet tool. Its integrations list is a hefty 80+, featuring the likes of Asana, Jira, Trello, and HubSpot, and that’s in addition to Zapier, which opens it up to thousands of other apps, like these.

It also offers API and webhooks access even at the free level, which is rare, as well as an open source extension you can add your own tool to.

What I like about Clockify is that it’s a relatively simple tool—your employees log their time, which then loads into time and budget reports. You can easily set up projects with individual tasks and then assign them to clients, which is a level of organization not every free tool allows (looking at you, Jibble). I also like the calendar view, which has the handy drag-and-drop functionality I’ve got a well-documented love for.

What I don’t love about Clockify is that its interface can be a tiny bit clunky at times. I also found the time logging mechanism to be a little more cumbersome and hidden away than competitors, which is kind of like running a bakery with hidden flour. You’ll also have to pony up to paid plans for things like attendance tracking, time off, email reports, project templates, and scheduling. But for pure timesheeting (a word you probably shouldn’t say out loud), Clockify is a great tool.

Clockify pricing: Free ($0, unlimited users), Basic ($4.99/user/month), Standard ($6.99/user/month), Pro ($9.99/user/month), Enterprise ($14.99/user/month)

Best free timesheet software for check-in/check-out

OfficeTimer (Web)

Screenshot of the OfficeTimer dashboard

OfficeTimer pros:

  • Unlimited users, check-ins, check-outs, and reports

  • Geotagging available at free level

  • Free live support

OfficeTimer cons:

Sometimes, you want a thing that does a lot of things, and sometimes, you want a thing that just does one thing. OfficeTimer is the thing that does one thing: time the stuff that happens in offices.

Separated into four modules (Attendance, Time off / Leave, Timesheet & Project Management, and Expense Management), OfficeTimer specializes in time logging and reporting. Its features are actually fairly rich within those limitations, though, offering unlimited users, calendars, reports, and projects at the free level, along with free support, all of which most tools on this list don’t offer. 

OfficeTimer’s user experience isn’t the cleanest. Every action requires a full page load, for example, so it can be a little slow maneuvering around the interface. It’s also not the most appealing or responsive interface, but for exactly zero dollars, it could be worse. And considering it doesn’t place any limitations on roles, permissions, users, and reports, OfficeTimer makes up for most of its limitations in comparison to free plans on comparable timesheet tools.

OfficeTimer is easily the most limited tool on this list in terms of feature scope, but, like a club sandwich at a diner, it’s an unfussy product that doesn’t try to be more than what it is. If you want heirloom tomatoes and imported Gruyère on sourdough, go to the brunch spot up the road. If you want clock-ins, clock-outs, timesheets, and not much else, OfficeTimer is for you.

You can do even more with OfficeTimer by connecting it to Zapier. That will open it up to automation across thousands of apps in your tech stack. Here are a couple of ideas for inspiration.

OfficeTimer pricing: Free ($0, unlimited users), Premium ($1.99/user/month), Enterprise ($2.99/user/month)

Best free timesheet software for client billing

TMetric (Web)

Screenshot of the projects summary report in the Metric dashboard showing the total billable hours in a blue circle graph

TMetric pros:

TMetric cons:

  • No invoicing, billable rate tracking, or task management in free plan

  • Free data storage is limited to seven days

  • No screenshot storage below highest paid tier

While a lot of these timesheet tools are focused on internal activity and time monitoring, TMetric’s specialty is converting time to dollars for client billing and expense reporting. 

Using project budgets, client contracts, and employee pay rates, TMetric automatically churns billable hours into dollars-based reporting. This isn’t necessarily a unique feature to TMetric, but it’s the one tool on this list for which that’s its (pardon my French) raison d’être. For the budget scoping overlords out there, it’s also got more granular oversight than many other products, with a useful timeline view of user activity that drills down to 10-minute increments.

On the employee side, the interface is one of the friendlier ones for logging time on the fly and manual entry. You can easily add descriptions to individual logs to make notes on progress, add breaks, and request time off. There’s also a nice user dashboard to track calendars, tasks, time, and an overview of tracked time by day, week, and month. TMetric doesn’t have the sleekest interface out there, but it’s simple, responsive, and organized (all the important stuff).

TMetric may not be the flashiest timesheet tool in the toolbox, but like your dad’s unbranded wood-handled rusty hammer from the ’80s, it gets the job done. Its free version gives you perks like unlimited projects and clients, in-app timers for over 50 third-party applications, and strong reporting functionality. 

Unfortunately (and this may be a pretty significant drawback), you’ll have to pay the reasonable price for premium plans if you want key features like invoicing, task management, billable rate tracking, and integrating a Google or Outlook calendar. But for basic time and expense tracking on a client basis, TMetric’s free plan is still useful.

Not to mention, you can use TMetric’s Zapier integration to do things like automatically add tasks to TMetric from your other apps. Here are just a couple more of TMetric’s many automated Zapier workflows.

TMetric pricing: Free ($0, up to 5 users), Professional ($5/user/month), Business ($7/user/month)

Best free timesheet software for activity monitoring

Traqq (Web)

Screenshot of the Traqq dashboard

Traqq pros:

Traqq cons:

Traqq is another one of the more popular free timesheet software products, probably because it doesn’t gatekeep features—not even for the free plan. The only catch is that the free plan is limited to three users max; the only thing you can pay for in Traqq is adding more users. It’s an incredibly simple pricing structure.

Traqq is pretty straightforward software with features focused on time and activity management—it’s basically custom-made for budget corporate overlords with two employees. There are five main modules: Activities, Reports, Time Requests, People, and Groups. That’s it. People can clock in and out, log activities, get consolidated into groups for reporting, monitor time, and request time off. Simple stuff, but exactly what many managers are looking for, wrapped into an attractively designed interface.

Reports are pretty clearly geared toward employee activity monitoring, with presets for report templates that show them their most idle team members, how much time is manually adjusted, who the most and least active users are, and whose efforts are earning the most revenue. You can even schedule reports, which is rare for a free tool. 

For those who need (or want) to be really granular on accountability, Traqq uniquely offers intervaled screenshots and even screen video recording, blurred to preserve privacy. While this isn’t an ideal way to build employee trust or morale on a day-to-day basis, when it’s necessary to record activity, screenshots and recordings go straight to users’ timelines for easy review. 

Traqq definitely doesn’t have the most dynamic range of use cases and features of any timesheet tool on the market. But with full features, great user experience, and distinctive accountability tools, it’s a no-brainer for anyone who needs (or micromanagers who want) a free timesheet product with activity monitoring capabilities.

Traqq pricing: Premium Starter ($0, 3 users), Premium Teams ($7/user/month), Enterprise (pricing by request)

Best free timesheet software for task management

TrackingTime (Web)

Screenshot of the TrackingTime dashboard in a calendar view with insights on the right-hand side

TrackingTime pros:

  • Unlimited projects, clients, tasks, and subtasks

  • Billable rates

  • Free branded reporting

TrackingTime cons:

  • User roles and permissions not available at the free level

  • No scheduling features at the free level

  • Maxes at three users at the free level

What makes TrackingTime a great tool isn’t that it’s great at tracking time (though that would be a Shyamalan-level twist). I mean, it does do that, but what I really like about it is that it’s also one of the more useful task managers among the free timesheet tools.

This is one of the few free plans that opens the gates to unlimited tasks and subtasks, making it a perfect tool for users who want some added functionality for organizing the time they’re tracking. You can log time easily at the click of a button and check your progress on daily, weekly, and monthly board or timeline views, and even create custom fields for your hours. It’s also easy to turn time spent on those tasks (or billed on them) into branded reports and timesheets or view them in the Pace module to see how much you need to panic about your client deadlines.

TrackingTime has a pretty robust free plan for up to three users, coming in with some rare offerings most other free versions lack, like:

That last one is, apparently, the holy grail of free timesheet tools. Not even my pick for best client billing tool (TMetric) lets you customize billable rates at the free level. Sure, there are premium features you can unlock if you’re willing to dish out for your software, like automations, databases, and user roles and permissions. But overall, this is a pretty impressive free timesheet software offering for employees at all levels. 

That’s especially true when you use Zapier for automated tasks like creating new TrackingTime tasks for incomplete tasks. That’s not all by a long shot—here are just a couple more possibilities.

TrackingTime pricing: Free ($0, 3 users), Pro ($7/user/month), Business ($12/user/month)

Best free timesheet software for interactive timesheets

Everhour (Web)

Screenshot of the timesheet dashboard in Everhour

Everhour pros:

  • Unlimited reports, projects, and time tracking

  • Reports can be exported in three formats

  • Customizable, dynamic timesheets

Everhour cons:

Everhour is one of the more popular premium timesheet applications, with lots of software integrations and a roster of clients including Canon, Zoom, and McKinsey. It’s also got a useful free plan with some of the more dynamic, user-friendly timekeeping tools on the market.

My favorite Everhour feature is its editable timesheet. Where most timesheets populate with pre-recorded data from other modules (which this also does), Everhour lets you edit and fill those sheets, annotate them, and build in tasks. You can even add new tasks with comments and logged time and add time off requests, then download finished timesheets as PDFs, CSVs, or XLSXes.

The big knock on Everhour’s free version is that it’s probably the stingiest one on this list. Its five-user limit is decent, but it bars quite a few features behind the premium plan paywall that you’d get for free with some of the other tools on this list. Want to add clients? Too bad. Billable rates? Gotta pay. Reminders, scheduled reports, time approval, clock-in/clock-out, timelines, and screenshots? Sorry, bud.

Everhour may not be as benevolent with its free plan as others, but depending on what you need, it still might be a good choice. If you really just want to do simple timekeeping and (can’t believe I’m using this word again) timesheeting in a convenient interface, this tool is (pardon my French again) the sheet.

Everhour pricing: Free ($0, 5 users), Lite ($6/user/month, 2-10 users), Team ($10/user/month, 5+ users)

Free timesheet software I liked but didn’t crack the list

I sifted through quite a few software options and liked a bunch of them. Since this wouldn’t be a “best” list if I included them all, I’m rounding up a few more of my favorites here. This is far from all the options out there, but these were also solid choices if none of my picks work for you:

  • My Hours: Unlimited members and projects

  • Robust employee monitoring

  • ActivTrak: Unlimited features for up to five users

  • TopTracker: Great freelancer tool with full features for one user

  • Sling: Good for employee scheduling

  • WakaTime: Time tracking designed for coders

Automating your free timesheet software

Ultimately, your team’s use case will determine the best free timesheet software for employees, managers, freelancers, and dystopian corporate despots, as each of the options above can be a great choice for the right situation. Want to create simple, straightforward timesheets for just a few team members? Try Everhour. Want free employee check-in/check-out software? Go for OfficeTimer. Need to keep accountable for idle employee hands? Go for Traqq.

And if you want to do any or all of the above alongside your other favorite software tools, Zapier can integrate many of the options in this post with thousands of apps, so you can automate team workflows. Learn more about how to automate your time tracking software.

Related reading:

Stable Diffusion vs. DALL·E 3: Which is better? [2024]

Stable Diffusion and DALL·E 3 are two of the best AI image generation models available right now—and they work in much the same way. Both models were trained on millions or billions of text-image pairs. This allows them to comprehend concepts like dogs, deerstalker hats, and dark moody lighting, and it’s how they can understand what a prompt like “an impressionist oil painting of a Canadian man riding a moose through a forest of maple trees” is actually asking them.

In addition to being AI models, Stable Diffusion and DALL·E 3 both have apps that are capable of taking a text prompt and generating a series of matching images.

So which of these apps should you use? Let’s dive in.

How do Stable Diffusion and DALL·E 3 work?

For image generation, Stable Diffusion and DALL·E 3 both rely on a process called diffusion. The image generator starts with a random field of noise, and then edits it in a series of steps to match its interpretation of the prompt. By starting with a different set of random noise each time, they can create different results from the same prompt. It’s kind of like looking up at a cloudy sky, finding a cloud that looks kind of like a dog, and then being able to snap your fingers to keep making it more and more dog-like.

A dog-shaped cloud floating in a clear blue sky—from top-left, going clockwise, at 10 steps, 20 steps, 40 steps, and 120 steps.

Even though both models have similar technical underpinnings, there are plenty of differences between them. 

Stability AI (the makers of Stable Diffusion) and OpenAI (the makers of DALL·E 3) have different philosophical approaches to how these kinds of AI tools should work. They were also trained on different data sets, with different design and implementation decisions made along the way. So although you can use both to do the same thing, they can give you totally different results.

Here’s the prompt I mentioned above from Stable Diffusion:

Four images generated by DreamStudio based on the prompt above

And here it is from DALL·E 3:

Four images generated by DALL-E 3 based on the prompt above

Something else to keep in mind:

  • DALL·E 3 is only available through ChatGPT, the Bing Image Creator, Microsoft Paint, and other services using its API.

  • Stable Diffusion is actually a number of open source models. You can access it through Stability AI’s DreamStudio app (or, in a more basic form, through Clipdrop), but you can also download the latest version of Stable Diffusion, install it on your own computer, and even train it on your own data. (This is how many services like Lensa’s AI avatars work.)

I’ll dig into what this all means a little later, but for ease of comparison, I’ll mostly be comparing the models as they’re accessed through their official web apps: ChatGPT for DALL·E 3 and DreamStudio for Stable Diffusion.

Stable Diffusion vs. DALL·E 3 at a glance

Stable Diffusion and DALL·E 3 are built using similar technologies, but they differ in a few important ways. Here’s a short summary of things, but read on for the details. 

Stable Diffusion


Official web app




⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Exceptional AI-generated images

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Exceptional AI-generated images

Ease of use 

⭐⭐⭐ Lots of options, but can get complicated

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Collaborate with a chatbot

Power and control

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ You still have to write a prompt, but you get a lot of control over the generative process

⭐ Very limited options beyond asking the chatbot to make changes

Both make great AI-generated images

Let’s get the big thing out of the way: both Stable Diffusion and DALL·E 3 are capable of producing incredible AI-generated images. I’ve had heaps of fun playing around with both models, and I’ve been shocked by how they’ve nailed certain prompts. I’ve also laughed quite hard at both their mess-ups. Really, neither model is objectively—or even subjectively—better than the other. At least not consistently. 

If I was forced to highlight where the models can differ, I’d say that:

  • By default, Stable Diffusion tends toward more photorealistic images, though it can subtly mess up things like faces, while DALL·E 3 makes things that look more abstract or computer-generated.

  • DALL·E 3 feels better “aligned,” so you may see less stereotypical results.

  • DALL·E 3 can sometimes produce better results from shorter prompts than Stable Diffusion does.

Though, again, the results you get really depend on what you ask for—and how much prompt engineering you’re prepared to do.

Stable Diffusion rendering of "A painting by Vermeer of an Irish wolfhound enjoying a pint in a traditional pub"
Stable Diffusion
DALL-E 2 rendering of "A painting by Vermeer of an Irish wolfhound enjoying a pint in a traditional pub"

DALL·E 3 is easier to use

DALL·E 3 is incredibly simple to use. Open up ChatGPT, and so long as you’re a ChatGPT Plus subscriber, you can chat away and make requests.

Typing a prompt in DALL-E 3

If you aren’t a ChatGPT Plus subscriber, you can still check out DALL·E 2, which has more editing options, or try DALL·E 3 through Bing Chat or Microsoft Image Creator. But I’m focusing on using it through ChatGPT here—it’s the most consistent way with the most control.

Out of the box, Stable Diffusion is a little less user-friendly. Although you can type a prompt and hit Dream, there are more options here that you can’t help but wonder about.

The DreamStudio interface

For example: you can select a style (Enhance, Anime, Photographic, Digital Art, Comic Book, Fantasy Art, Analog Film, Neon Punk, Isometric, Low Poly, Origami, Line Art, Craft Clay, Cinematic, 3D Model, or Pixel Art). There are also two prompt boxes: one for regular prompts and another for negative prompts, the things you don’t want to see in your images. You can even use an image as part of the prompt. And that’s all before you consider the advanced options that allow you to set the prompt strength, the number of generation steps the model takes, what model is used, and even the seed it uses.

Of course, installing and training your own Stable Diffusion instance is an entirely different story—and will require a bit more technical knowledge.

Stable Diffusion is more powerful

For all its ease of use, DALL·E 3 doesn’t give you a lot of options. You can generate images from a prompt, and…that’s kind of it. If you don’t like the results, you can ask ChatGPT to try again, but all it does is tweak your  prompt and try again. Even the Bing tools that use DALL·E 3 don’t give you many more options. The only ones of note are that Image Creator allows you to import your image directly into Microsoft Designer, and Paint allows you to generate images in the app, so you can edit them (or at least paint over the top).

Editing using a prompt in DALL-E 3
While these images look great, DALL·E 3 has re-run the prompt and completely changed the images.

It’s worth noting that, at least for now, DALL·E 3 has fewer features than DALL·E 2 did. With DALL·E 2, you could inpaint (where you use AI to edit parts of an image) and outpaint (where you use AI to add to the boundaries of an image), while DALL·E 3 doesn’t yet support any kind of AI image editing—it just re-runs a new prompt if you ask for adjustments.

Stable Diffusion (in every iteration except Clipdrop) gives you more options and control. As I mentioned above, you can set the number of steps, the initial seed, and the prompt strength, and you can make a negative prompt—all within the DreamStudio web app.

Finally, if you want to build a generative AI that’s custom-trained on specific data—such as your own face, logos, or anything else—you can do that far more readily with Stable Diffusion. This allows you to create an image generator that consistently produces a particular kind or style of image. The specifics of how you do this are far beyond the scope of this comparison, but the point is that this is something that Stable Diffusion is designed to do that isn’t really possible with DALL·E 3—at least not without diving deep into configuring your own custom GPT, and even then, your options are far more limited .

Pricing isn’t apples to apples

DALL·E 3’s pricing is super simple: it costs $20/month as part of ChatGPT Plus, or it’s available for free as part of different Microsoft tools, though some of them will watermark your images. As of now, there are no limits published on how many images you can generate each day or month with DALL·E 3, but presumably they exist to prevent people from creating images non-stop. 

Stable Diffusion is free with watermarks on Clipdrop, but on DreamStudio, its pricing is a lot more complicated than DALL·E 3. (And that’s before we even get into downloading Stable Diffusion and running it on your computer or accessing it through some other service that uses a custom-trained model.) 

In that case, Stable Diffusion uses a credits system, but it’s nowhere near as neat as one credit, one prompt. Because you have so many options, the price changes with the size, number of steps, and number of images you want to generate. Say you want to generate four 1024×1024 pixel images with the latest model using 50 steps. That would cost 1.01 credits. If you wanted to use just 30 steps, it would only cost 0.8 credits. (You can always see the cost before you press Dream.)

You get 25 free credits when you sign up for DreamStudio, which is enough for ~100 images (or ~25 text prompts) with the default settings. After that, it costs $10 for 1,000 credits. That’s enough for more than 5,000 images or ~1,250 text prompts at the default settings.

So, depending on how many images you want to generate, whether you already pay for ChatGPT Plus, and how much you care about watermarks, the best service for you totally changes. DreamStudio offers a lot of bang for your buck and it has a free trial, but there are ways to check out both models for free.

Commercial use is complicated for both

If you’re planning to use Stable Diffusion or DALL·E 3 for commercial use, things get a bit complicated.

Commercial use is currently allowed by both models (although not if you use DALL·E 3 through Microsoft), but the implications haven’t been fully explored. In a ruling in February 2023, the U.S. Copyright Office decided that images created by Midjourney, another generative AI, can’t be copyrighted. This means that anyone may be able to freely take any image you create and use it to do whatever they want—though this hasn’t really been tested.

Purely from a license standpoint, Stable Diffusion has a slight edge. Its model has fewer guardrails—and even less if you train one yourself—so you can create more kinds of content. DALL·E 3 won’t allow you to create a huge amount of content, including images of public figures.

Harry asks for an image of Joe Biden on a unicycle outside the White House while Jimmy Buffet plays with his band, and it instead suggests an "imaginative scene"

DALL·E 3 vs. Stable Diffusion: Which should you use?

While DALL·E 3 is the biggest name in AI image generation, there’s a case to be made for giving Stable Diffusion a go first: DreamStudio has a fully-featured free trial, it’s generally cheaper overall, it’s more powerful, and it has more permissive usage rights. If you go totally off the deep end, you can also use it to develop your own custom generative AI.

But DALL·E 3 is readily available through ChatGPT and Bing, and the $20 you pay for ChatGPT Plus also includes all the other features of ChatGPT Plus—a tool I use at least a few times a week.

Either way, the decision doesn’t really come down to the quality of the generated output but rather the overall user experience and your actual needs. Both models can create awesome, hilarious, and downright bizarre images from the right prompt, so try both, and go with the one you like best.

Related reading:

This article was originally published in May 2023. The most recent update was in December 2023.

12 free invoice templates [+ how to make your own]

When I hear the word “invoice,” my gut reaction is anxiety. The bold, usually all-caps document title means I’m about to have to pay someone for something that already happened. It feels kind of like getting hustled by a time traveler.

But for those who are on the fruitful end of the billing table, an invoice is how you get paid for your products or work. To the uninitiated, it can sound like a complicated, legally-binding contract, but in reality, it’s an easily customizable, simple document that clearly outlines what your client or customer needs to pay you, what they’re paying for, and when you need to be paid.

To cover all your bases, we’ve designed a dozen simple invoice templates you can download and edit to fit your exact billing needs.

12 free invoice templates

Not every industry handles payments the same, so my team and I made a dozen template options you can access on Google Docs to help you set just the right foundation for requesting payment.

The first template below should work great for just about any industry and product or service type, and you’ll notice many of these templates have only slight variations on it. Remember, each of these is completely customizable, so if your use case isn’t represented below, you can pick the template that comes closest and then tailor it to your needs.

1. Standard business invoice template

This is a standard invoice for small businesses and freelancers, meaning you use it when you want to get paid for your goods and services. It works well for general invoicing, but not so much for a specialized invoice like a credit or debit invoice.

2. Proforma invoice template

A proforma invoice is an invoice for goods or services that the client needs to pay before you deliver. This is very similar to the standard invoice, but it’s important for proforma invoices to be marked as such and to include the estimated delivery date—both of which have been added here. It’s also a good idea to include estimates about timelines.

Illustrated image of Zapier's proforma invoice template on an orange background

3. Hourly rate invoice template

This variation on the standard invoice is structured for charging hourly rates rather than product quantities. Hourly rate invoices can be used the same way standard invoices are, except you’ll enter hours and price per hour instead of quantity and price per unit.

Illustrated image of Zapier's hourly rate invoice template on an orange background

4. Credit invoice template

Usually, you use an invoice to request funds from a client. But if you owe your client money for any reason, you may find yourself using an invoice to pay your customer. A credit invoice (or credit note) is a way to communicate returns to a client due to things like previous payment overages, rebates, accidental charges, or refunds. 

Illustrated image of Zapier's credit invoice template on an orange background

5. Debit invoice template

You’ll need to use a debit invoice (or debit note) if you have to bump up the amount your client owes you for an existing (but otherwise unchanged) order. This allows you to maintain a paper trail of charges if the scope of the project grows, your rates increase, there was an error in your original invoice, or your estimate proves to be too low. 

Illustrated image of Zapier's debit invoice template on an orange background

6. Mixed invoice template

Sometimes, updating invoiced fees isn’t as easy as adding or subtracting. When you’ve got to amend your original invoice with both positive and negative adjustments, you need a mixed invoice. Think of it like a combination of credit and debit invoices.

Illustrated image of Zapier's mixed invoice template on an orange background

7. Shipping invoice template

If you deal in physical goods that need to be shipped to your customers, it’s a good idea to have a separate “ship to” section for your customers in case this address is different from their billing address.

Illustrated image of Zapier's shipping invoice template on an orange background

8. Past due invoice template

Unfortunately, even perfectly executed invoices don’t always lead to on-time payments. This past due invoice is a variation on the standard invoice but includes a bold “past due” notice. To mark a specific invoice type as past due, you can combine this with any of our other templates by copying the notice text and pasting it into another template doc.

Illustrated image of Zapier's past due invoice template on an orange background

9. Timesheet invoice template

Similar to an hourly rate invoice, a timesheet invoice is used to request payment based on time rather than quantity. The difference is, timesheet invoices also document time delegation with clock-in/clock-out fields. This invoice type gives the client a greater amount of transparency to see how the work they’re paying for breaks down.

Illustrated image of Zapier's timesheet invoice template on an orange background

10. Freelancer/contractor invoice template

Though many of these templates will be useful for freelancers and contractors, this dedicated invoice template is ideal for those who need to request payment on multiple one-off projects within a single invoice. Rather than breaking line items into specific hourly rates or quantities, this simple invoice allows you to list individual tasks or projects as their own billable items.

Illustrated image of Zapier's freelancer/contractor invoice template on an orange background

11. Project-based invoice template

For some projects, it can be useful to itemize specific tasks that fall under a single project umbrella. This can be useful for adding a layer of transparency around billing for complex projects that contain multiple tasks and deadlines.

Illustrated image of Zapier's project-based invoice template on an orange background

12. Commercial invoice template

In the realm of invoices, commercial invoices are completely different animals. These are used for international shipping, so they call for a lot more information than any other invoice in this article because they deal with the intricacies of customs, import taxes, and foreign currency exchange. Our template was adapted from the International Trade Administration.

Illustrated image of Zapier's commercial invoice template on an orange background

How to create an invoice using an invoice template

To create an invoice, start by making a copy of one of these editable templates. (You’ll be prompted to do this when you click their download links.) We made each template a Google Doc, so you can easily edit them and then download them in your preferred format, including PDF.

Ready to start filling yours out? Here are some tips on what to enter into each invoice field.

Invoice title and logo

When creating an invoice, it should include a clear “Invoice” title in case you need to use it for legal documentation. It’ll help you keep your invoices separate from other documents, too.

You can also include a logo if you want, but it’s not necessary. Place your logo under the “Invoice” title or create a borderless table to put it on the right of the header.

Your business name and contact information

Make sure your invoice includes your full business name—or your name if you’re a contractor. Add your contact information, including your address, email address, and phone number. Include these details for your and your client’s accounting and legal documentation.

Buyer’s name and contact information

Enter your client’s name and contact information here. Include as much contact information as you have, and don’t be afraid to ask your client if you need more details. If you’re billing a specific person at a company, you can list the business name, then the person’s name.

Invoice number

Each of your invoices should have a unique identifying number for easier tracking. It doesn’t have to be anything profound if you have a simple billing system.

For example, you might use the date of the invoice bill and the order of the invoices you send that day. The first invoice sent on 9/6/2024 would have the number “09062401,” and the second would have “09062402.” Find a numbering system that works for you.

Invoice date

Add the date that you send the invoice. (Keep this in mind especially when you create invoices in advance.)

If you’re billing a client in another country, use a date format that makes sense for both of you. The template has the American MM/DD/YYYY format, but feel free to write out the month in the date for clarity. In other words, you could enter the date as “September 6, 2024” instead of “9/6/2023.”

Payment due date

Here’s where you list when your client’s payment is due. Payment terms vary among industries, but here are some common ones:

  • Net 30/60/90: “Net” followed by a number means that the buyer should pay within that number of days, regardless of business days or holidays. A net 30 invoice sent on February 28 would have payment due on March 30.

  • End of month (EOM): Some businesses combine net payment terms with “EOM,” meaning payment is due that many days after the last day of the month. A net 30 EOM invoice sent on March 15 would have payment due on April 30.

  • On receipt: The buyer should pay the invoice as soon as they receive it.

If you aren’t sure what payment terms to use for your invoice, ask a fellow freelancer or business owner in your industry. Still building connections? Join an online community for your profession and ask around.

Line items

In this section, you describe and quantify the products and services you’re billing for. If you deal in services, there’s some leeway in how you create line items. You could make one for each project, project component, or add-on service.

Each line item on the template includes these sections:

  • Item: A quick description of the product or service you’re billing for

  • Quantity: The number of that item you provided

  • Price per unit: The price per individual item

  • Amount: The total amount per item, calculated by multiplying price per unit by quantity


This is the total amount of your line item charges before taxes, discounts, or additional fees.


Depending on the nature of your work, you may have to include taxes in your transaction. List the percentage tax you’re adding and how much that percentage adds up to. Feel free to delete this table row if you never charge taxes.

Fees and discounts

Put any fees and discounts into these fields, such as a late fee or early payment discount.


Here’s where you add up your subtotal, taxes, fees, and discounts to calculate the total your client owes you.

Terms and conditions

Note any additional terms and conditions here. Some examples include:

  • Payment terms, including net 30/60/90, EOM, payment on receipt, and payment in advance

  • Terms of sale, such as who covers taxes and duties

  • Warranty terms

  • Return policy

  • Late payment fees

  • Discounts for early payment

  • Accepted payment methods

When do you need to send an invoice?

You should send an invoice after you complete a billable project (which comes after completing a sales order). Depending on your and your client’s preferences, you might send one right after completion, every two weeks, or every month.

With invoice timing varying based on client and project, don’t let yourself forget to send one. Use Zapier to automatically fill out an invoice when you mark a task done in your favorite project management app.

Tips for how to write an invoice that works

Once you finish filling out your template, there’s more you can do to ensure a smooth invoicing process. Here’s how to do an invoice in a way that raises your chance of getting paid on time:

  • Get on the same page: Outline your preferred payment terms with your client at the beginning of your working relationship. Include them in your contract or statement of work.

  • Stay organized: Designate a digital or real-life folder for invoices with sub-folders for each client. Within each folder, organize your invoices by invoice number or date.

  • Decide how you’ll take payment: Talk to your client about payment methods that will work best for both of you. Payment services like PayPal and card payments often have extra fees for the seller. Meanwhile, electronic bank payments don’t charge the seller, but they take extra work on the client’s end.

  • Use in the right format: PDF is usually the agreed-upon format for online invoicing. In Google Docs, go to File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf) to download your invoice as a PDF.

  • Follow up: Don’t be afraid to follow up with a client if they don’t pay within your agreed-upon payment period. You aren’t being pushy for asking for the money you’re owed.

How to automate invoicing

Want to make receiving client payments even easier? Just automate your invoicing process. If you find yourself creating a lot of invoices from a Google Docs invoice template (like the 12 in this article), you can use Zapier to supercharge them. Try autopopulating a Google Doc template, or use a single template to automatically create new documents.

And when it’s time to use a purpose-built invoicing app (there are free options, too), you can do even more to automate your invoicing workflows, so you spend less time on invoices and more time doing the work that gets you paid. With Zapier, you can connect your invoicing apps to all the other apps you use, so you can do things like automatically create and log invoices, add contacts to your invoicing tool, and get payday notifications. 

Learn more about how to automate your invoicing, or try one of these pre-made workflows:

Invoice creation FAQ

How do I create my own invoice?

To create your own invoice, start with a template (like the 12 in this post) or a blank Google Doc. Enter your name or business name and contact information on the top-left, then add your company logo if you have one on the top-right. Below your information, add your buyer’s name and contact information. To the right of this, add invoice number, invoice data, and payment due date. Below this, add a table with enough rows for each line item you’re billing for, and columns labeled Item, Quantity, Price per unit, and Amount. Below the table justified to the right, add fields for subtotal, tax, fees, discounts, and total. Finally, add applicable terms and conditions below that.

How can I get a free invoice template?

You can get a free invoice template by downloading any of the 12 options on this very page. You’re welcome. You should also be able to access a variety of template options built into Microsoft and Google Workspace.

Does Excel have invoice templates?

Microsoft has several generic invoice templates you can load into Excel and Word.

How do you write a simple invoice?

To write a simple invoice, create a document that includes your and your buyer’s name and contact information, an invoice number and date, payment due date, descriptions of the items/services you’re providing along with costs and quantities, a subtotal of those fees, applicable taxes and fees/discounts, and a total amount due.

Further reading:

This article was originally published in April 2022 by Melissa King. The most recent update was in December 2023.

The best Windows productivity apps in 2024

As a full-time freelancer, I’m in charge of how I spend my time and which apps I use to get the job done. That means I try out a lot of new tools, and I know that the right productivity apps can make an actual difference in how you work.

If you’re working in Windows, you’ll want productivity apps that were purpose-built for the operating system. So based on dozens of hours of testing from the Zapier team, and my own insights from using these tools, these are the best Windows productivity apps.

The best Windows productivity apps at a glance


Standout feature

Microsoft To Do

Task management

“My Day” view

eM Client


Incredible customization



Scrapbook style note-taking

Windows Calendar


Simple interface with enough customization


Distraction blocker

Cross-platform distraction blocking

Windows 11 Speech Recognition


Works in any application


Screen recording

Free and easy to use

PowerToys Tun

Application launcher

Mimics Spotlight on Mac


Predictive writing assistant

Learns your typing style

Windows Auto Dark Mode

Theme switching

Automatically switches between light and dark themes


File preview

Preview file contents with the spacebar


Password manager

Securely store login details and generate passwords

What makes a great productivity app for Windows?

As a Windows user, you’re used to certain ways of doing things, and the best apps should reflect this and slot neatly into your workflow. These apps should feel like they were built from the ground up for Windows, even if they weren’t. 

You want familiar keyboard shortcuts, a user interface that feels like it belongs on Microsoft’s desktop, and support for native features like notifications or a useful system tray icon. Some of these apps will be cross-platform, while others don’t exist anywhere but on Windows, but all of them have Windows apps that feel right.

You might find that some of these apps don’t fit you like a glove. That’s ok. Because Windows is everywhere, there are a lot of apps to choose from. So if you don’t like one of the top picks, click through my other suggestions to check out the broader category.

With that, here are the best productivity apps for Windows.

The best Windows productivity app for task management

Microsoft To Do

How do you remember what you have to do if you don’t write it down? A to-do list app is vital for tracking everything from short-term tasks to long-term projects (and everything in between). And it’s not enough to simply record your to-dos; you need to effectively organize and access them, too.

The free app Microsoft To Do is a great choice for most Windows users. You can use it to organize tasks on different lists and then add items from your lists to the “My Day” view. If you schedule a task in advance, Microsoft To Do will even add it to the relevant day for you.

In addition to feeling right at home on the Windows desktop, Microsoft To Do is available almost everywhere else, including Apple devices. And you can connect it to Zapier to automate all your task management tasks. Learn more about how to automate Microsoft To Do, or get started with one of these pre-made workflows.

Other Windows to-do list apps:

Read more: Automate your to-do list

The best Windows productivity app for email

eM Client

eM Client, our pick for the best Windows productivity app for email

A good email client empowers you to more efficiently manage your inbox. The less time you spend on email, the more time you can spend doing other things. Being able to tailor the email experience to your preferences helps you take actionable steps to do actually useful things with the messages you receive.

eM Client is one of the best Windows email clients out there. It leads the pack in terms of customization, allowing you to change everything from themes and animations to UI elements and email behaviors. It also includes modern mainstays like the ability to snooze incoming threads and use text expansion features in your replies to streamline your writing.

You can use eM Client in a limited capacity for free with two accounts, or pay $59.95 for the Pro upgrade to unlock the full set of features.

Other Windows email clients:

Read more: Automate your email

The best Windows productivity app for note-taking


OneNote, our pick for the best Windows productivity app for note-taking

Digital note-taking is a superpower. You have infinite space to store thoughts, work, and plans, plus you can find everything easily with structured organization and search features. 

For the vast majority of users, Microsoft OneNote is a solid choice. It’s not just one of the best Windows note-taking apps; it’s also one of the most feature-packed apps of its kind on the market. You can store everything from simple text notes to carefully constructed “scrapbook” style pages, drawings, files, and documents. 

You can automate OneNote by connecting it to Zapier. Learn more about how to automate OneNote, or try one of these pre-made workflows.

Other Windows note-taking apps:

Read more: Automate your note-taking app

The best Windows productivity app for managing your schedule

Windows Calendar

Windows Calendar, our pick for the best Windows productivity app for managing your calendar

Microsoft’s combined Mail and Calendar Windows app checks all the boxes of a great calendar app. 

The interface is simple and unobtrusive, with a sidebar for switching accounts and keyboard shortcuts for all the most important actions. You can customize Calendar with colors and images of your choosing, and the app works with most major accounts, including Office 365, Google, Yahoo, and iCloud.

It’s worth noting that Windows Calendar’s days are numbered, with Microsoft set to replace Mail and Calendar with Outlook for Windows. This will combine everything into a single interface, with an ad-supported free version available to all. 

Other Windows calendar apps:

The best Windows productivity app for blocking distractions


Freedom, our pick for the best Windows productivity app for distraction blocking

Sometimes willpower isn’t enough. That’s where apps designed to help you focus come in. Nip the problem in the bud by removing the distractions, at least when you’re supposed to be working.

Freedom is an app that aims to block distractions, regardless of which device and operating system you’re using. That means no more picking up your smartphone to circumvent the blocks you enabled on your Windows PC. You can hide whole categories, like social media and shopping websites, and nominate your own domains. It’s an investment in your own time that’ll cost you $8.99/month or $3.33/month if you sign up for a whole year. 

Other Windows distraction blockers:

The best Windows productivity app for dictation

Windows 11 Speech Recognition

Windows 11 Speech Recognition, our pick for the best Windows productivity app for dictation

Speaking aloud might not replace typing altogether, but it can vastly speed up processes like taking written notes, composing emails, and instant messaging. Some people even dictate articles (like this one) with minimal editing—a skill the rest of us can only dream of.

Windows 11 comes with built-in dictation software called Windows 11 Speech Recognition. Also known as Voice Control, it’s among the best dictation software since it works in any application that’s installed (and can even be used to control your Windows PC). The feature can be enabled under Settings > Time and Language > Speech and triggered using the Windows + H keyboard shortcut.

Other Windows dictation apps:

  • If you’re a heavy dictation user, you might want to invest in something a little more powerful, like Dragon by Nuance. The app is far more customizable and allows you to add and train specific words and industry vocabulary, and even transcribe from audio recordings.

  • Here’s a list of all of Zapier’s favorite dictation apps.

The best Windows productivity app for screen recording


Loom, our pick for the best Windows productivity app for screen recording

Rather than writing down a list of instructions or talking someone through a process on a call, screen recording apps let you show rather than tell. 

Loom shines as one of the best screen recording apps across all platforms, including Windows. It has a generous free option that allows you to record short videos of five minutes or less, complete with webcam capture and AI transcriptions and summaries. You can remove these limitations with a $12.50 monthly subscription to the team plan.

Other Windows screen recording apps:

Other Windows productivity apps

These apps will help you get things done, remember the important stuff, and hopefully save you some time. If you want to get even more done, here are a few extra apps to consider—they’ve been vetted by tech experts (and some are apps I use myself every day).

Related reading:

This article was originally published in July 2018 by Melanie Pinola. The most recent update was in December 2023.

The best productivity apps for iPhone in 2024

I’m always looking for iPhone apps that make it easier to get things done on the go. And with no shortage of options on the App Store, I can afford to be choosy. So can you.

I’ve been an iPhone user since the early days, and over the past decade or so, I’ve downloaded (and deleted) hundreds of iPhone productivity apps.

Based on my experiences with iPhone productivity, plus the support of dozens of hours of testing from the Zapier team, here are my picks for the best productivity apps for iPhone.

The best productivity iPhone apps at a glance


Standout feature


Task tracking

Inbox approach to tasks



Focused inbox



Apple ecosystem focus


Distraction blocking

Cross-platform distraction blocking


Habit tracking

Interactive home screen widget


Photo editing

Advanced photo editing features for free

Day One


Template gallery



Article discovery




Adobe Acrobat

PDF editing

Feature-rich editing on PDFs


Password management

Face ID/Touch ID support

What to look for in the best iPhone productivity apps

Apple adheres to a very specific design language on the iPhone, and the best apps reflect that. A productivity app on your iPhone should feel like it belongs on iOS and iOS alone, even when cross-platform versions exist. Here’s what that means:

  • It should be intuitive, just like the iPhone and all things Apple.

  • It should incorporate the swipes and taps you’ve already committed to muscle memory.

  • It should make good use of space. The interface should be clean and attractive, and additional functionality should be cleverly tucked behind context-based actions like long presses and floating menus.

  • It should be stable, with consistent updates and a reliable developer. You don’t want your favorite productivity app constantly glitching or suddenly disappearing.

Really, you might not even need to open the best app to interact with it. Through the use of home screen widgets, Siri, and share sheet extensions, the best iPhone productivity apps slot right into your workflow.

What about the iPhone’s built-in productivity apps?

The iPhone comes with a whole suite of built-in productivity apps and tools. Some include Mac counterparts, and some are even accessible on Windows or Android using web apps. Others are relegated to the Settings menu but perform ridiculously useful functions.

If you exclusively use Apple platforms, Apple’s dedicated apps are great options. Some are just as good if not better than their premium non-Apple counterparts—in particular, Notes and Reminders. There’s a reason these apps frequently come out on top in lists of the best iPhone apps—and Apple continually improves them with each yearly iOS revision.

So before you look at the other iPhone productivity apps I’m recommending, it’s absolutely worth checking out these native Apple apps:

  • Notes is a powerful note-taking app with collaborative features, the ability to link between notes, and a built-in document scanner.

  • Reminders is a to-do list system with sharing capabilities that lets you assign tasks, trigger reminders based on time or location, and add extra details like sub-tasks, URLs, and images to your list.

  • Calendar is Apple’s simple built-in calendar. It syncs with most major calendar services and includes inbox functionality for accepting invites and reviewing new appointments.

  • Mail, like its counterpart Mac app, has a clean interface and powerful features for snoozing, scheduling, unsending, and filtering messages.

  • Freeform is one of Apple’s lesser-known productivity apps. It’s an interactive canvas on which you can brainstorm, diagram, and share ideas.

  • Reading List is a read-it-later service built into Safari. Simply hit the Share button, choose Reading List, and then recall items later using the Bookmarks menu.

  • Dictation lets you talk instead of typing—in any application. Just tap the microphone icon in the bottom-right corner of the keyboard and start talking (or swap between talking and typing without disabling dictation).

  • Shortcuts allows you to download or build your own powerful workflows using built-in apps and services, and automate things like enabling Do Not Disturb mode.

  • Voice Memos is the iPhone’s voice recording app, and it has a built-in iCloud integration that pushes notes to your other devices.

  • Focus is a Settings feature that lets you automatically silence notifications, calls, and messages from all but your allowed list of contacts.

  • Spotlight is the iPhone’s built-in search function. Pull down on your home screen and type anything, from app names to Settings panels, to get there faster. It can even do currency conversion and simple math.

  • Screen recording is easy on the iPhone. Just add it to your Control Center, and tap the record button when you’re ready. All your recordings are saved in your Photos app.

  • iCloud Keychain lets you keep all of your login credentials safe and synced between devices and quickly fills in authenticator codes for you.

  • Background Sounds are also built in—no white noise app required.

If Apple’s built-in productivity apps and tools aren’t doing it for you, though, here are my picks for not-built-by-Apple iPhone productivity apps that are worth the download.

The best iPhone productivity app for tracking tasks


Having your to-do list on your phone isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Things is a $9.99 download that excels by taking an “Inbox” approach to tasks.

Add items quickly, and then decide whether to do them today, add them to projects, or schedule them for later. Set up repeating tasks, add deadlines, organize by tag, and divide your lists into sections. Use the share sheet extension to add items from anywhere, or forward tasks via email to see them appear in your list.

Things is available for iPhone, iPad, and macOS, so it’s no surprise that it feels right at home on Apple platforms. If you’re looking for something similar with more cross-platform appeal, Todoist is feature-rich and available everywhere. And Microsoft To Do is another solid choice if you want something free to rival Apple Reminders. Or take a look at Zapier’s picks for the best iPhone to-do list apps.

Things also integrates with Zapier, so you can do things like create tasks from emails, calendar events, or team chat apps. Learn more about how to automate Things with Zapier, or get started with one of these pre-made workflows.

Things 3 price: $9.99

Read more: Automate your to-do list

The best iPhone productivity app for email

Microsoft Outlook

Outlook, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for email

The best iPhone email apps incorporate powerful features while still being approachable. In what might be a surprising turn of events, Microsoft Outlook is the best alternative to Apple Mail. It incorporates the whole package, including support for Exchange, Office 365,, Gmail, Yahoo, and iCloud accounts.

At the heart of Outlook is the Focused inbox, where Microsoft decides which messages deserve the most attention. Train this feature by using the Move to Focused Inbox option within a message context menu. While scrolling your inbox, you can use customizable swipes to quickly archive, delete, mark as unread, or snooze your messages.

Since this is Outlook, there’s a solid built-in calendar and a ton of customization options, from colors to default actions when tapping links. You can also use Siri Shortcuts or connect to other services like cloud storage providers with Add-Ins. 

Looking for a faster, “inbox zero” approach to mail on your iPhone? Give Triage a try. Or take a look at all of Zapier’s picks for the best iPhone email clients.

Outlook also connects with Zapier, so you can automate your inbox. Learn more about how to use Zapier to connect Outlook to thousands of other apps, or try one of these pre-made workflows.

Outlook price: Free

Read more: Automate your email

The best iPhone productivity app for managing your calendar


Fantastical, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for managing your calendar

Available exclusively for iPhone, iPad, and Mac (with Apple Watch integration for those who need it), Fantastical is built entirely around Apple’s ecosystem. If you use Apple’s Calendar and Reminders app, Fantastical can also pull in information from both and display them in a single interface.

The app uses natural language input so that you can type (or dictate) events like “lunch with Chris tomorrow at noon,” and the app will make sense of it. Fantastical will even work out time zones for you, so you don’t miss events. Upgrade to premium for $4.75/month (billed annually) to get unlimited calendars, collaboration, and meeting detection, among other features.

Fantastical may be one of the best iPhone calendar apps, but it’s not the only app to combine your to-do list and schedule. is another solid choice for managing your life from a single interface. If you’re looking for something a bit different that focuses on minimalism, take a look at Dawn. Or check out Zapier’s list of all the best iPhone calendar apps for more options.

Fantastical price: Free; upgrade to Premium for $4.75/month (billed annually) for additional productivity, scheduling, and collaboration features

The best iPhone productivity app for blocking distractions


Freedom, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for blocking distractions

Your phone is built to distract you, and sometimes it’s easier to block the apps and websites that you struggle with rather than relying on willpower alone. On an iPhone, that can be difficult since so much of iOS is tightly controlled, but Freedom can help.

Freedom is a cross-platform distraction blocker that works as well on iPhone as it does on Windows, macOS, or Android. By granting the app a few permissions and installing the Freedom VPN profile, you can control sessions from a single device. That means you can trigger Freedom on your Mac and block distractions on your iPhone at the same time.

Freedom is free to try but costs $8.99/month or $39.99/year. With your subscription, you’ll get the ability to schedule blocks and access to focus sounds to help boost productivity. If you don’t need such a nuclear option, Session is a Pomodoro Technique app that includes basic distraction blocking options too. Or you can check out Zapier’s picks for the best distraction blocking apps for more options.

Freedom price: $8.99/month or $39.99/year

The best iPhone productivity app for habit tracking


Streaks, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for habit tracking

A dedicated habit-tracking app like Streaks can help you break bad habits, form good ones, and maintain pace over time. This Apple Design Award winner is an App Store mainstay that makes it easy to track up to 24 daily tasks. 

Create your own custom tasks, assign them a unique icon, and check them off in-app or using an interactive Home Screen widget. Alternatively, use Apple Health data to automatically meet targets like a daily step count or energy burned.

Streaks is great for tracking everything from brushing your teeth to checking your email. The $4.99 purchase includes iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and even a Mac app, with device syncing via iCloud. If you love Streaks and want to apply the format to fitness, try Streaks Workout to build a short workout plan. Or, if Streaks isn’t quite what you’re looking for, take a look at Zapier’s picks for the best habit tracking apps.

Streaks price: $4.99

The best iPhone productivity app for photo editing


Snapseed, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for photo editing

Apple’s Photos app is a surprisingly powerful photo editor for making basic edits and applying simple filters, but it has its limits. A good third-party photo editor is essential for more in-depth editing or simply to access a different set of features. Google’s Snapseed is a great choice—and it’s completely free to use.

Snapseed’s simple interface makes editing a breeze. You can apply pre-existing filters for an instant look, or go into more depth using a full suite of editing tools. You can make all of the usual photo editing adjustments to brightness, contrast, shadows, and so on, along with a range of extras for adjusting perspective, tweaking curves, adding grain, applying selective blur, and inserting text and frames.

The app doubles as a RAW editor, with the ability to export as JPEG for quick sharing. If you want even more powerful tools and you’re willing to pay, Adobe Lightroom has some very smart AI-powered tools, premium filters, and the ability to batch edit your images. Or you can take a look at Zapier’s picks for the best mobile photo editing apps for more options.

Snapseed price: Free

The best iPhone productivity app for journaling

Day One

Day One, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for journaling

You could keep a journal in your note-taking app of choice, but using a purpose-built app will help you stick to the routine: it reminds you to write, prompts you for your thoughts, and arranges your entries in a digestible format. For iPhone users, the best journaling app is Day One.

Record your thoughts, save photos and videos, take audio notes, and even draw or attach documents to each entry. Day One features a template gallery from which you can save outlines for later use. Set up a custom reminder notification at a time of your choosing, or rely on Day One’s daily prompt notification to inspire an entry.

You can use Day One for free to save unlimited text-based entries, but if you want unlimited media uploads, video entries, and more, you’ll need to subscribe for $9.99/month. Day One is limited to iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Android, so if you’re Team Apple on your phone but Team Windows on your desktop, try Diarium instead. Or take a look at this list of the best journaling apps.

Day One price: Free for text entries; $9.99/month for more features

The best iPhone productivity app for reading things later


Pocket, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for reading things later

It’s hard to be productive when life (read: your phone) throws so many interesting things your way all the time. But you can have your cake and eat it (later) with a solid read-it-later app like Pocket. 

Save articles to your Pocket account using your iPhone’s share sheet, then access them anywhere (like on the web via your browser, or using the native Mac app). The iPhone app has a few extra tricks up its sleeve, including article discovery if you run out of things to read, and the ability to listen to your articles as if they were podcasts.

Pocket is free to use, but power users can upgrade for $4.99/month to permanently save items (even if they go offline) and access advanced search features. Instapaper is another compelling choice, with a speed-reading feature for getting through articles in record time. Or you can try another of Zapier’s picks for the best read-it-later apps.

By connecting Pocket to Zapier, you open up a whole world of possibilities to automate your read-it-later workflows. Here are some ideas for how to get more out of Pocket, or you can get started with one of these pre-made workflows.

Pocket price: Free; from $4.99/month for advanced features

The best iPhone productivity app for scheduling your day


Sorted^3, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for scheduling your day

Creating a list of things that need to be done isn’t always enough—sometimes you need structure to kickstart your day. Your iPhone is the perfect device, since it’s always with you, whatever you’re doing. You can use it as a work tool, or as an aid for maintaining a healthy work-life balance by scheduling downtime too.

Sorted^3 is one of the best time-blocking apps, and it’s made exclusively for Apple devices. The app specializes in hyper-scheduling, where every task is given a precise time slot, and you’re notified when it’s time to move on to the next. Perhaps the most useful feature is the ability to auto-schedule everything in just two taps.

You can assign durations to your items, flesh out each task entry with details about what needs to be done (and even add headers, checkboxes, highlights, and tags). There’s also a nifty “time ruler” that you can use to schedule tasks quickly by tapping and dragging. Sorted^3 is free, but some of the more useful features, like auto-scheduling and iCloud Sync, require a $14.99 one-off upgrade.

If you want something a little more powerful that also has web and Android versions, Sunsama is a solid choice. Or check out these picks for the best time-blocking apps.

Sorted^3 price: Free; $14.99 for more useful features

The best iPhone productivity app for editing PDFs

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for editing PDFs

Apple’s built-in PDF editing tools leave much to be desired, especially if you want to perform more advanced actions like reorganizing pages. The best PDF editors are usually premium apps, and that’s also the case on mobile platforms like the iPhone. Adobe Acrobat is the original PDF editor, and the iPhone version has a full suite of reading and editing features.

The free version is limited to tools for reading and annotating. This includes collaboration and sharing, marking up documents with drawings and highlights, and the ability to fill out forms and sign your name. Integration with Google Drive, the Adobe Scan app, and Adobe’s “Liquid Mode” reading experience make this a formidable freebie.

To edit PDFs, you’ll need a $9.99 premium membership, which unlocks full PDF editing. Change text, switch out images, merge documents, use custom fonts, and use optical character recognition (OCR) to convert scans to selectable text. You can also compress PDFs to save space or convert to different file types including Microsoft Word and images like JPEG and PNG.

If you’re looking for a more affordable app with a slightly less impressive feature set, try PDF Expert instead. Or take a look at these picks for the best PDF editing apps.

Adobe Acrobat price: Free; $9.99 for full editing capabilities

The best iPhone productivity app for managing your passwords


1Password, our pick for the best iPhone productivity app for managing your passwords

Your iPhone can store and sync login credentials over iCloud with your other devices (including Windows if you install iCloud for Windows). For Apple users, this functionality works really well, but if you prefer other platforms, things aren’t so rosy. 1Password is a password manager that behaves seamlessly on all platforms—and feels like a native tool on iOS. 

Apps and websites can pull from your 1Password database, so there’s no copy-pasting or app switching to worry about. You can even use Face ID or Touch ID to quickly unlock your password vault. 1Password lets you store more than just usernames and passwords: you can add payment details, addresses, document scans, and notes across multiple vaults. 

If you’re looking for solid password manager with a generous free plan, you should also consider Bitwarden. Or take a look at Zapier’s other picks for the best password managers.

1Password price: From $2.99 for individual accounts

More iPhone productivity ideas

There are endless ways to be more productive with your iPhone. For example, you might not be making the most of your iPhone home screen. Picking the right wallpaper, using the right widgets, and organizing your apps properly can help you work more efficiently. You should also ditch the unnecessary iPhone notifications. And iPhone power users who are looking to make better use of the powerful Shortcuts apps should also consider integrating Zapier into their workflows. It’s as simple as telling Siri to “start a Zap.”

Related reading:

This article was originally published in September 2018 by Jill Duffy. The most recent update was in December 2023.

MailerLite vs. ConvertKit: Which should you choose?

Email marketing tools usually come in one of two flavors: small business or enterprise. 

MailerLite falls in the small business bucket. But ConvertKit, which is specifically built for online creators, is an exception. Its narrow focus allows ConvertKit to populate its platform with creator-focused features you can’t find anywhere else. Even so, there’s enough overlap between MailerLite and ConvertKit that it can be hard to decide between them.

I’ve used MailerLite for years and have tested ConvertKit extensively. I spent more time in each app to compare them head to head, and here, I’ll break down the pros and cons of each platform to help you decide which is best for you.

MailerLite vs. ConvertKit at a glance

Here’s a quick rundown of the difference between these two tools:

  • MailerLite is best for small businesses on a budget, and it comes with an excellent free plan for anyone just getting started. It’s easy to use but still powerful, and offers compelling design, automation, and analytics features.

  • ConvertKit is designed for solo creators like authors, bloggers, coaches, course creators, musicians, newsletter creators, podcasters, and YouTubers. If you’re aiming to grow and monetize your audience, you’ll find an impressive set of tools to help.



Ease of use

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Easy-to-use design features, templates, and automation workflows make email marketing simple.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ No drag-and-drop design, but otherwise intuitive; reusable blocks make it faster to design emails.


⭐⭐⭐ Multiple subscriber lists make organization easy, but it doesn’t offer ConvertKit’s flexibility or power.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Intuitive tagging and segmentation features allow hyper-targeted campaigns.


⭐⭐⭐ Automations are included for users of the free plan. Visual automation builder is capable, but it can be overkill for simpler automation needs.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Automations in ConvertKit are quick to set up—with user-friendly features like “if this, then that” rules—and the visual automation builder creates powerful workflows.

Audience growth and monetization

⭐⭐ No built-in newsletter growth tools and weak monetization capabilities.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Built-in recommendation engine for growth; easy to sell digital products and get sponsorships.


⭐⭐⭐⭐ Only the essentials, but an excellent user interface embeds analytics where you most need them.

⭐⭐⭐ Decent enough for most users, though not particularly in-depth; optional deliverability reporting add-on.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A full-featured “forever free” plan; affordable paid plans are accessible for small businesses.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Excellent free plan; ConvertKit’s paid plans, while good value, are around 2x pricer than MailerLite.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 140+ native integrations; also integrates with Zapier.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 120+ native integrations; also integrates with Zapier.

MailerLite is incredibly easy to use

Core to the MailerLite team’s philosophy is an approach that “removes complexity while still offering advanced features.” This minimalist approach works wonders from a user experience perspective: navigating MailerLite is easy, all features are where you expect they’ll be, and the product’s learning curve is short. Whether you’re crafting automations or reviewing your analytics, MailerLite’s user interface is always intuitive.

Start to design an email, for example, and you’re presented with a drag-and-drop interface that will be familiar to anyone who’s used popular tools like Squarespace or WordPress.

MailerLite makes it simple to design emails from scratch, but most users will opt for one of its 70 email templates. A few basic AI features, like a text generator and subject generator, can also speed up the email writing process by helping you break through writer’s block.

ConvertKit is nearly as straightforward as MailerLite, especially if you’re part of its target audience: its email templates and pre-built automations are fine-tuned for creator-specific needs. And innovative features like Snippets—reusable blocks of content and inline text—help you save time by reusing frequently-used portions of emails. (Snippets are perfect for standardizing the calls-to-action you use across your emails, for example.)

ConvertKit snippets

ConvertKit’s main source of confusion is its email editor, which doesn’t follow the industry standard of drag-and-drop widgets. If you’re coming from nearly any other email editor, you might have moments of confusion like I did. Want to add an image? There’s no image widget on the sidebar; instead, you create a new block and choose image from the dropdown list. 

Meanwhile, email design options are relatively sparse. The basics are there—buttons, various layouts, images—but MailerLite boasts a more impressive set of features, like interactive menus and integrated surveys.

The end result? ConvertKit’s email design process feels a bit more limiting than MailerLite’s, and definitely less customizable. Part of this is intentional: ConvertKit has a strong focus on deliverability and claims a 99.73% deliverability rate. Minimalistic emails help avoid spam filters: a pure text email will have higher deliverability than an email stacked with media and code.

While ConvertKit doesn’t have many templates—15 at current count—they’re all excellent. And ConvertKit’s Marketplace features more designs, many of them free.

ConvertKit template library

ConvertKit’s segmentation features make it easier to organize your audience

ConvertKit replaces the traditional email contact list with tags. Organizing your subscribers using tags is more flexible, and makes it easier and quicker to spin up new, custom segments based on the needs of each email campaign. You can also set up rules to automatically assign tags, such as when a subscriber opens a particular email. This opens the door to hyper-targeted campaigns sent to people who’ve interacted with your content in a specific way.

To send an email to anyone from the U.S. who downloaded my newsletter’s lead magnet, for example, it’s easy to create a segment quickly using the relevant tags.

Editing a segment in ConvertKit

MailerLite has a similar tagging feature—called “interest groups”—and theoretically, it lets you do a lot of the same things. But in practice, it’s more complicated. Assigning tags to subscribers automatically, for example, is as simple as adding an “if this, then that” rule in ConvertKit. That same process feels overengineered in MailerLite, where you have to use the visual editor to create a dedicated automation just for that purpose.

Using MailerLite, it’s simple enough to tag subscribers based on their signup source, and create segments that automatically populate with subscribers who meet those conditions. But in general, navigating those features is less flexible and takes more work than in ConvertKit.

Editing a segment in MailerLite

ConvertKit’s automation features are more versatile, but you get automation for free with MailerLite

Both products have powerful email automation features, but ConvertKit comes out ahead—although MailerLite is your only choice if you want automations on the free plan.

MailerLite’s visual automation designer makes it easy to build each step in your workflow, and it includes a few features ConvertKit lacks—namely, multi-trigger workflows and the ability to A/B test the individual emails in your automation.

MailerLite's automation features

Compare it head-to-head with ConvertKit, though, and MailerLite feels sluggish. It’s hampered by the fact that it requires every type of automation to run through the same visual automation builder. The result is that for some tasks—like automatically adding a custom tag, or sending a single welcome email—creating an automation in MailerLite takes longer than it should.

ConvertKit takes a different approach, breaking the task of “automation” into three features:

  • Rules: Simple “if this, then that” rules for actions like tagging subscribers when certain events happen.

  • Sequences: Multiple emails that are sent in order, spaced out with flexible intervals of time. If you’re building a simple email drip campaign, this is all you need.

  • Visual automations: For creating powerful funnels that string together rules, email sequences, triggers, and integrations.

You can create simple ConvertKit automation using Rules in a matter of seconds.

ConvertKit's if this, then that automation features

Creating Sequences in ConvertKit is also refreshingly simple: the tool offers single-window editing, allowing you to create your entire email series without jumping between screens. For more complex workflows, there are 28 thoughtfully-designed automation templates that you’ll love if you’re a creator. Each is focused on real-world scenarios, like “Welcome subscribers to your podcast” and “Pitch your book with a free chapter,” making it easy to get up and running fast.

ConvertKit's automation templates

ConvertKit is designed to help you grow your audience and monetize

ConvertKit’s niched-down audience of creators has enabled the company to focus on innovative features its target audience really cares about. For most users, that means two things: growing faster and making money.

Take audience growth, for example. Newsletter discoverability is a massive challenge: most businesses rely on funneling users from social media or their website to email. But ConvertKit came up with a different solution: the Creator Network, which helps you grow faster by getting referrals from newsletters with similar audiences.

ConvertKit's Creator Network
Image from ConvertKit

Improving your email signup conversion rate is another key way to boost subscribers. Lead magnets can help with this, but rolling out different lead magnets across your site can be a headache. I’ve hacked a solution together on MailerLite, but it’s messy: you have to host lead magnets on your website, move subscribers into groups based on their signup form, and then create a unique automation that delivers the lead magnet. ConvertKit makes this way easier by including an “incentive email” as a feature within its forms, and by hosting and delivering the lead magnet for you.

Monetization is another area where ConvertKit shows serious strength. While MailerLite lets you sell products and run a paid newsletter via a Stripe integration, the execution feels clunky by comparison. If your goal is to make money with your email list, ConvertKit wins by a landslide.

It’s easy to set up digital products and get paid with ConvertKit Commerce, ConvertKit’s all-in-one commerce solution. Plus, an “automatic content upgrades” feature helps nudge users to upgrade from free to paid products.

ConvertKit offers plenty of other ways you can make money, too:

  • Upselling subscribers to a paid newsletter

  • Recommending other newsletters in the ConvertKit Creator Network

  • Adding sponsored ads to your emails, which ConvertKit facilitates with its Sponsor Network

  • Tip jars to give your audience another way to support you

ConvertKit also has a handy potential revenue calculator showing how much you might make with various money-earning features enabled, depending on the size and growth of your email list. (According to the calculator, a list of 10,000 people monetized via premium subscribers, newsletter recommendations, and sponsorships might earn up to $6,000 per month.)

ConvertKit's potential revenue calculator

MailerLite offers more advanced analytics

Neither MailerLite nor ConvertKit are analytics powerhouses, but MailerLite definitely has the edge here. ConvertKit offers a level of analytics that’s decent enough for most users: you can see stats for individual emails, as well as for each email within an automation. And if you upgrade to ConvertKit’s Pro plan, you can get deliverability reporting that shows how many emails are actually reaching their destination.

But generally, it’s pretty basic: you can see your open rate, click rate, which links were clicked, and which subscribers opened your email.

ConvertKit's analytics

ConvertKit could offer much more in terms of data visualization, as MailerLite does with its chart showing at which hour of the day subscribers opened each campaign, or its interactive map showing their location. Little touches like this make MailerLite’s analytics fun to explore, and easier to get useful insights from.

MailerLite's analytics map

MailerLite generates an email heatmap to see where users click, and its analytics also appear contextually where they’re needed to help you make decisions—for example, next to each email in an automation.

MailerLite has a better free plan, and its paid plans offer excellent value

For budget-conscious email senders, MailerLite is a no-brainer. Its “forever free” plan, which covers you until you hit 1,000 subscribers, includes features like email automations and advanced reporting. Meanwhile, its entry level paid plan is $15/month for 1,000 subscribers, while ConvertKit costs $29/month for 1,000 subscribers. For 5,000 subscribers, you’ll pay $39/month for MailerLite and $79/month for ConvertKit.

While ConvertKit isn’t the cheapest option, it offers a ton of value for creators and anyone else who can benefit from its unique monetization and audience growth features. It also has an impressive free plan if your list is under 1,000 subscribers—though you’ll need to upgrade if you want to automate your emails.

Both integrate well with other software

With MailerLite’s 140+ integrations and ConvertKit’s 120+ integrations, it’s easy to connect both of these platforms with other apps. MailerLite has strong integrations with CRMs, eCommerce platforms, and form software, while ConvertKit’s native integrations are tailored more toward creator-centered platforms like Kajabi and Teachable.

Both MailerLite and ConvertKit integrate with Zapier, which means you can also connect them to thousands of other apps. Learn more about how to automate ConvertKit or MailerLite, or get started with one of these pre-made workflows.

Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works.

MailerLite vs. ConvertKit: Which should you choose?

MailerLite and ConvertKit each have their advantages. If you’re not sure which to go with, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.

Go with ConvertKit if you sell digital products or if you’re a solo creator, like a blogger, author, or course creator. You’ll get newsletter growth and monetization features you can’t find anywhere else, and the platform’s segmentation, automation, and templates are designed to make your life easier.

Choose MailerLite if you run a small business that isn’t focused on digital products. It’s also the best choice for most free users, who get a more full-featured plan up to 1,000 subscribers.

Related reading:

How to build your own calendar assistant GPT

Ever wished for a personal assistant to help you manage your schedule? I know I have. With the constant overlap of meetings, events that happen outside of my working hours, and a deluge of communication in Slack, it can become overwhelming to keep everything organized and on track.

Fortunately, I’ve been testing out a brand new way to do the heavy lifting for me: by creating my own version of ChatGPT with OpenAI’s GPTs and Zapier’s AI actions

The combination of the two allows you to build a custom GPT directly in ChatGPT that pulls in the power of Zapier’s 6,000+ apps. That means you can take action in apps like Slack or Google Calendar—all from within ChatGPT’s interface. 

Picture this: I built my very own Google Calendar GPT that lets me ask about upcoming events on my calendar, send messages to team members about my schedule in Slack, and even search the web for information about meeting attendees. 

Here’s how you can build your own from scratch. 

Before you get started

You’ll need a Zapier account to get started. It’s free to sign up

You’ll also need a ChatGPT Plus or Enterprise account. Already have the required account type? Click Log in to start chatting. 

Screenshot of OpenAI login page

If you’re having trouble logging in, your best bet is to reload your page. For specific login issues, check out OpenAI’s troubleshooting tips.

Set up your Zapier AI actions

First, we’ll need to create and enable the AI actions you want your GPT to perform directly within Zapier. This refers to setting up the apps and the relevant actions you want your GPT to have access to. For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll be adding two actions: Find a Google Calendar event and send a direct message in Slack

Head over to to get started. 

Once you’ve opened this page, click Add a new action. You’ll see this window:

Screenshot of AI actions page

Type Google Calendar into the search bar, and select Google Calendar: Find Event

Screenshot of Calendar action in AI actions

Now it’s time to customize your Google Calendar action. The first three fields (Action, Zapier Account, and Google Calendar Account) will be auto-populated. You shouldn’t need to edit them, but you can connect a different Google Calendar account if you need to. 

Screenshot of Zapier AI actions

Under Calendar, you can decide to either have AI guess a value or set a specific value for this field. I recommend this second option so you can select your exact calendar base.   

Screenshot of calendar field

Once you’ve finished customizing these fields, click Show all options

Screenshot of Zapier fields AI actions

Scroll down the list until you see the Action Name field. 

Screenshot of action name in Zapier AI actions

Type in an action name and use something specific, like Google Calendar: Find Event. You’ll need to use this exact action name later on in your GPT setup, so keep it handy.

Screenshot of action name

Next, before you enable the action, you’ll need to copy the string of digits inside the URL. This is the action ID you’ll need to give your GPT later on, so remember to save it somewhere.

Screenshot of code in URL

Once you’ve done that, click Enable action. You’ll be brought back to the page listing all of your AI actions. 

Next, let’s carry out the same steps for our Slack action. Click Add a new action and type Slack into the search bar. Select Slack: Send Direct Message

Screenshot of Slack action

Remember to connect your specific Slack account. Then you can have the AI guess the values for the usernames and the message text. When you’re interacting with your GPT, you can tell it what to write and who to send the message to, so having AI guess the field is a more flexible option. 

Screenshot of Slack action set up

Like before, click Show all options. 

Scroll down until you find the Send as a bot? option. I recommend setting a specific value for this field and selecting No from the dropdown menu. If you leave it set to the default setting, any message your GPT sends will be shown as a bot (and you won’t be able to see the sent message). If you choose No, this message will come from you—which is what we want in this case. 

Screenshot of bot field

Next, remember to add a name under Action Name. Mine will be Slack: Send Direct Message

Screenshot of Action name Slack

Once again, copy the action ID from the URL and save it somewhere, then click Enable action

Create your custom GPT

Once you’ve created your AI actions, log into ChatGPT and head over to the sidebar and click Explore. Next, click Create a GPT.

Screenshot of create GPT in builder

The GPT builder will display a split screen: the Create panel is where you enter your prompts to build your chatbot; the Preview panel allows you to interact with your chatbot as you build, making it easier to determine how to refine it.

Screenshot of create panel

To get started, you can enter your instructions in the message box of the Create page. If you need inspiration or want to ask it what it can do, you can type it out here. 

Because I want to create a calendar assistant that can connect to both my Slack and Google Calendar accounts, I’ll type out the instructions in the message box. This will serve to give it context. 

Screenshot of GPT builder prompt

Once you’ve typed out your instructions, press Enter

The GPT builder will then suggest a few things based on your instructions: a chatbot name, profile picture, and default conversation starters.

Screenshot of GPT interactions

The GPT builder will prompt you to enter more specific instructions to fine-tune your chatbot’s behavior. The more context you give it, the more prompts and conversation starters the GPT will generate in the Preview panel, like so:

You can test your chatbot—interact with it how you normally would—and use its responses to inform your modifications.  

Note: These preliminary instructions serve to give your GPT context, but it won’t connect your apps for you. We’ll cover how to do this below. 

Configure your GPT

Now it’s time to configure your GPT with more advanced instructions. Click Configure on  your GPT builder screen. 

Screenshot of calendar assistant configure panel

If you don’t like the name and description the GPT builder generated, you can change your chatbot’s name and description in the relevant fields.

Screenshot of GPT name

You can also change the profile picture by clicking on the image and uploading either the relevant file from your computer or by using DALL·E.

Screenshot of calendar icon

Configure your instructions

Once you’ve finished customizing these fields, scroll down to the Instructions field. You can update the instructions generated by the GPT builder or enter additional instructions and guidelines on how your chatbot should or shouldn’t behave. 

In our case, I’m going to add specific instructions for how the GPT should format its output, which kinds of events it should pull from my calendar, and what information it should pull from the internet. Here’s an example: 

Screenshot of GPT instructions

Next, you’ll need to tell your GPT builder how to interact with your Zapier actions—the ones you set up earlier. These instructions should detail each step your GPT will take as it searches for a Google Calendar event, for example, or searches for a Slack user to message. 

Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to write. I recommend copying and pasting our Zapier example below directly into your Instructions field, but you can also check out our AI actions help documentation for more information and examples of instructions. Remember, these rules are just a starting point, so feel free to experiment!

### Rules:

- Before running any Actions tell the user that they need to reply after the Action completes to continue. 

### Instructions for Zapier Custom Action: 

Step 1. Tell the user you are checking they have the Zapier AI Actions needed to complete their request. Then proceed to step 2. 

Step 2. Call /list exposed actions/ to make a list: EXPOSED ACTIONS and proceed to Step 3

Step 3. Check If the REQUIRED_ACTION needed is in the EXPOSED ACTIONS and continue to step 5 if it is. If not, continue to step 3.

Step 3. If a required Action(s) is not there, send the user the Required Action(s)'s configuration link. Tell them to let you know when they've enabled the Zapier AI Action.

Step 5. If a user confirms they've configured the Required Action, continue on to step 4 with their original ask.

Step 4. Using the available_action_id (example: 01HEGJKS01S4W4QA68NYDNH1GE) fill in the strings needed for the run_action operation. Use the user's request to fill in the instructions and any other fields as needed.

Remember to copy and paste this text directly below your other instructions, like so:

Screenshot of advanced instructions

Next, you need to add in information from your required actions—this refers to the apps (Slack and Google Calendar) you enabled in a previous step. 

The information you need is the name you gave each of your Slack and Google Calendar actions and the string of numbers you copied from the URLs. This is how you should format it: 


- Action: Google Calendar: Find Event

- {available_action_id}:  01HGXB62CKJNVS5VH9Q5NBWJBC

- Action: Slack: Send Direct Message 

- {available_action_id}: 01HGXDNKK5J9JDYNXDFJR1Q69R

 Copy and paste this information into your GPT instructions, below your rules. 

Screenshot of advanced instructions in builder

Once you’re done, exit the instructions field and head back into your GPT builder. (Your instructions will save automatically.)

Add conversation starters, upload files, and add capabilities

Head back to your Configure panel. Under Conversation starters, you can click X beside any prompt to remove it or enter a new prompt in an empty field. Remember, these are the example prompts you or your users will see when you open the finished GPT. 

Screenshot of conversation starters

You can also add any company files you have to your GPT in the Knowledge field. For example, you might want to upload your company’s style guide or any customer service PDFs you have to give it additional context. In my case, I’ll leave it blank. 

Next, check to make sure that your GPT can browse the web as we want our calendar assistant to access information from LinkedIn and other sites. To do this, enable Web Browsing

Screenshot of web browser

Add the necessary actions to your GPT

Now it’s time to officially connect your GPT to your Zapier AI actions, which will bring all your apps together. Click Create new action

Screenshot of action CTA

This will bring you to the actions page, which looks like this:

Screenshot of calendar assistant actions page

First up, copy this special URL to your clipboard:

You can copy this URL from this blog post or from the Zapier instructions, located here. (You’ll only need to use this URL once in your GPT set-up.)

Inside your GPT builder, click Import from URL

Screenshot of import from URL button

Paste in your special URL in the empty HTTPS field and click Import

This will generate text inside the Schema box, which defines the components and paths available in the API. 

Screenshot of action schema

Important: You should now click Save in the top-right corner of your GPT builder.

Screenshot of save button

You’ll be able to select who you want to share your custom chatbot with: Only me, Only people with a link, or Public. If you’re on an Enterprise plan, you’ll also have Anyone at [your company] as an option. 

Once you’ve enabled your choice, click Confirm to publish your GPT. 

Screenshot of save settings

Test your GPT

Now that we’ve finished configuring our GPT, it’s time to test it out and make sure everything’s working correctly. After you’ve saved your GPT, you’ll be able to click View GPT.

Screenshot of view GPT button

This will open the public front-end page of your GPT. 

Screenshot of published GPT

To test your GPT, ask it a question about your schedule. This will kick your AI actions into gear. Just remember that you’ll have to click Sign in with to grant your GPT access to your Zapier account. 

Screenshot of sign in button

This will take you to another window where you can enable OpenAI to access your Zapier account. Click Allow.

Screenshot of OpenAI/Zapier access window

You’ll be taken back to your GPT. Now, thanks to the rules you set up in your GPT, it will first check to make sure that specific Google Calendar action is available:

Screenshot of Google calendar action working

Click Allow

Your GPT will now scan your calendar and send your full agenda to you, according to how you set up your formatting earlier:

Screenshot of meeting agenda

Now because I have an overlap in my schedule, I’m going to test out my Slack action and let someone know I won’t be attending the Content monthly meeting.

Screenshot of assistant in action

Once your GPT confirms the Slack message, make sure to double-check that it got sent in Slack.

Screenshot of Slack message

Finally, I’d like to test the GPT’s web browser function, using myself as an example:

Screenshot of assistant web browser working

You might use this function, for example, when a new guest outside of your company gets added to a meeting and you’d like to know more about them. You might want to research a customer, a guest attendee, or even pull up recent news about a company itself.

If you’re happy with the way everything is working, you’re now ready to use your assistant. If something looks off or you want to modify the GPT’s instructions, go back and edit your GPT. 

To do this, just click into the dropdown menu of your Google Calendar Assistant and click Edit GPT

Screenshot of edit GPT button

This will bring you to the backend of your GPT where you can continue refining. If you want to share your GPT with other people, just click Copy link and you can share that URL with the rest of your team.

Screenshot of copy link button

Build GPTs that pull in the power of thousands of apps

With Zapier AI Actions and OpenAI’s GPT-builder, you can build custom assistants that can help streamline the way you work across thousands of apps—boosting your productivity. 

This is just the start of what you can do. Start experimenting now and see what you can build!

Meet Hobi, Zapier’s context engine to protect customer data

In the security world, we’re tasked with assessing many alerts daily: We have to decide which alerts need a response, then gather additional data and filter out false positives, often with little upfront context. We wanted to address this problem by building a specialized tool: an in-house, Zapier-specific context engine named Hobi. After a year and a half of work leading the design and engineering of our new context engine, it is complete. I would love to share what it’s about.

The problem with security alerts: They often lack context.

The role of Security Detection and Response is to understand and follow up when something deviates from expected business operations. This helps keep our business running smoothly and our customers’ data safe. We have many specific alerts designed to watch out for anything that looks like unusual activity.

Sometimes, it’s easy to determine whether an event is a legitimate concern or not by how much information our SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) has been able to gather from a log source. But often, we have the manual task of looking at other data sources to gather additional context around an alert. 

When an alert triggers, we generally need supplementary contextual data to understand the big picture fully. This includes locations, IPs, activity and event information from other platforms, and the usual activity done by the actor or service in the alert. The investigator gathers this information from many different tools and takes up a large percentage of alert triage time.

Hobi collects data automatically to create context

Hobi, our context engine, is designed to perform most of the data gathering needed for effective alert triage. It’s a modular tool with libraries for gathering data from log aggregators, identity providers, cloud environments, and more. It can check IP WHOIS information, do geolocation lookups, pull historical user IP addresses, and much more. It’s a fancy way of saying that we now automatically gather information from various log sources around the company to build a better picture of what the activity in question actually means before any human has ever laid eyes on it. Hobi collects this information in real-time as alerts are generated and can also be invoked as part of the investigation process if more information is needed.

Our context engine allows us to use this newly available data within the alert logic, helping to decide whether an activity is expected, if the alert is a false positive, or whether the severity should be modified. Hobi also has a built-in Slack module that allows us to gather information about resources or employee feedback that might be part of the alert’s context. This new pre- and post-alert contextualization automates away what was previously done manually.

How does Hobi differ from a SOAR?

For context, SOAR stands for Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response. It’s a group of security technologies that allows organizations to respond to incidents automatically.

Hobi focuses on aggregating and consolidating information from various services and tooling to provide additional context for an alert. It is part of the entire alert pipeline from logic to follow-up. A SOAR focuses on automating the handling and responding to security events operations once an alert or condition has been triggered.

The critical difference is that Hobi can programmatically query data sources for point-in-time context (cloud resource tags, Okta metadata, etc.) that can be used in alert processing and response. It helps eliminate the need for things like lookup tables (and all of their problems) by reaching out to an authoritative data source and allowing for employee feedback on alerts related to them.

Hobi doesn’t replace a SOAR but rather complements it by providing additional actionable data.

How Hobi creates context

Hobi is split into two primary services:

  1. An API that returns the context about a given alert.

  2. A SlackBot for interactive use or gathering user feedback regarding an alert.

How the Hobi API endpoints are used

Hobi can be reached via API endpoints, accessible as a regular web request. This means it can be called manually, as a part of a script, or embedded within any code. Adding and accessing a new data source or type is fairly straightforward:

  1. We write a small Python module to interface with a service’s native API. The module specifies the types of supported indicators (IP, email, URL, domain, etc.) and contains the processing logic for returning helpful context.

  2. We add a new Hobi API endpoint to call that specific module, enabling targeted context collection (for example, /okta/user) from a single tool.

  3. More API endpoints that reference particular modules that return specific data for desired use cases (for example, IP-searching endpoints, user-searching endpoints, tool-specific endpoints, etc.) can be created.

  4. Users and services can get an access key and begin querying data about indicators and resources.

This exact workflow is how we leverage Hobi in our SIEM detections.

How the Hobi SlackBot works

The general flow goes as follows:

  1. Our SlackBot reads the basic details of a new alert that pops into Slack from our SIEM

  2. It then spiders out to all the log sources we have connected and finds relevant information on the alert and any matching previous activity.

  3. Hobi reports any new contextual information and uses historical data to decide whether the alert is likely a false positive or not.

  4. Hobi then pings either the user/team or our team Detection and Response in Slack with the decision and action.

The flow completes the feedback loop and reduces manual work, as Hobi can self-resolve alerts or reach out to parties when needed.

We’re always improving Hobi

Hobi collates all the alert determinations and provides a report to our SIEM. This report will help us identify which alerts need improvements based on the true/false positive ratio.

We will continue developing new modules for Hobi and expand the sources and types of data it can gather. Hobi is still young, and we’re excited to see where it will be a year from now!

And as for the name? The team named our new context engine Hobi as a nod to one of my interests, K-Pop. Hobi is the nickname for an artist I admire. I lived in Korea for a while, so naturally, this fell into place.

The 5 best video hosting sites for businesses in 2024

Videos are an integral part of the modern internet, whether they’re short viral clips on TikTok, stories on Instagram, or in-depth video essays on YouTube. While social video platforms like these are great for content creators and influencers, businesses looking to share a sales demo or how-to tutorial can have different needs. Still, the benefits of video are much the same: it can humanize you and your product, engage your customers, and build brand loyalty.

Of course, once you’ve shot and edited your videos, you’ll need some way to display them. If you’ve got a team of developers, the coding chops, or use a popular website builder, you can look at hosting them directly on your own website. Otherwise, a dedicated video hosting service can make things a lot easier by handling all the optimizing and resizing necessary to get videos playing properly on smartphones, tablets, and computers. You can then embed the videos directly on your site, or share them to social media and other online platforms.

Modern video hosting platforms have evolved from their beginnings as a simple piece of internet real estate for your videos. Now, they help you customize the look and feel of your video player, ensure your videos play smoothly across all devices and browsers, and provide marketing options from within your videos.

I tested dozens of video hosting sites, and these are the five I recommend.

The best video hosting platforms for business

What makes the best video hosting service?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who’ve spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it’s intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We’re never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

I’ve been producing, editing, and sharing videos for more than a decade as part of my career as a tech writer. For me, the most important part of any video workflow—including hosting—is that it’s user-friendly and consistent. Overly complex tools aren’t necessary for most situations.

In addition to that aspect, the best online video hosting services offer a few make-or-break features that are essential for businesses:

  • Basic analytics tools to measure how many people see your videos, and whether or not they’re your target customers

  • SEO tools to make your videos search-engine friendly

  • The ability to embed your videos on external websites—especially your own

  • A focus on business needs, not just the needs of independent content creators

While those are the dealbreakers, I also considered other features, such as the option to customize your video player or add closed captioning, a big plus. They weren’t necessary for inclusion, but at the end of the day, I was looking for a business video platform that offered the kind of complete package a business needs. Modern platforms that stay up-to-date with the latest developments are always going to be preferable to older platforms that don’t adapt. 

Obviously, AI has been one of the biggest trends over the past 18 months, and it has started to creep into some video hosting platforms. Sometimes, existing features like optimization are rebranded as AI, but you can also find platforms that use AI to automatically generate closed captions, video descriptions, and more. Where these features added to the overall experience of using an app, I’ve noted them, but they didn’t really have a massive impact on the list. A well-thought-out app that enables you to host your business videos was what I was looking for—AI features or not.

Because video is so popular online, I had to draw a couple of hard lines. I haven’t included video platforms that primarily support live streaming or social media apps, such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, in this list. Yes, these apps allow you to upload and host videos, but that’s an add-on feature and not the core function of the app. That’s not to say you shouldn’t upload your marketing videos to these sites—just that they don’t have the same flexibility as other options.  

I also excluded software like Brightcove that offers more robust, advanced video capabilities (like video communications, digital content management, and virtual events) because those apps can be overwhelming if you’re just looking to host and share a video. Similarly, apps like Dailymotion—that are primarily for content publishers—also didn’t make the cut.

Finally, I haven’t included any bad apps. As ridiculous as that sounds, some of the apps I tested were just unpleasant to use, so even if they technically had all the features I was looking for, I didn’t include them. 

I tested each app by uploading and customizing a video to get a feel for the general user experience, as well as checking out any headline features. After spending time with each app, I also researched it to make sure it had a good track record hosting videos—this isn’t the kind of service you want to suddenly stop working.

The best video hosting sites at a glance

Best for

Standout features



Existing viewership

Large existing audience and free hosting

Free for uploading and hosting videos


Collaboration on videos

Effortless collaboration and AI features

Free for Vimeo Basic; from $20/user/month


Video marketing

Turnstile email collector, nice marketing features

Free for 10 videos and basic features; from $24/month


Quizzing your audience

Interactive quizzes and in-depth analytics

From $9/month


Video monetization

Create a subscription service

From $199/month plus $1.99/subscriber/month

Best video platform for free video hosting and an existing viewership

YouTube (Web, Android, iOS)

YouTube pros:

YouTube cons:

YouTube allows you to upload videos for free, and creators can even earn money for their content through ads, channel memberships, merch shelf, Super Chat, Super Thanks, Super Stickers, and YouTube Premium views. Thanks to its popularity and built-in audience—it has well over 120 million active users per day—YouTube is often the default choice for business owners to host their videos. And it helps that its videos are often given prime spots in Google search results.

YouTube Studio is where you’ll manage all your channel and video details. Log in with your Google account and launch a channel under your personal name or business name. Once you’ve customized your channel, you can start uploading videos. You can automatically add subtitles, an end screen to promote related content, or cards to highlight content during your video. 

If you’re more concerned with getting your videos in front of the right people than just embedding them on your website, YouTube is a great option. You have a built-in audience of millions of people already interested in video content. So if you optimize your videos for search or encourage fans to get notifications when you add a new video to your channel, you may be able to build a native audience. Of course, you still have the option to add the videos to your website with a simple embed code—but every YouTube video embedded on an external website looks like a YouTube video.

Also, if you intend to monetize your YouTube videos using ads, you won’t have control over exactly what companies get associated with your brand. Unless you take particular steps to block them, for example, a competitor could advertise on your video. You’re also at the mercy of Google’s content moderation policies and will have no access to customer support. For these reasons, while YouTube can be a great place to host certain videos you want an audience to discover—and even be a reasonable default—it may not be the right choice for all your video needs. Or, at least, not the exclusive choice. Many major brands share their videos on their social media, YouTube, and their own websites using different tools, depending on what audience they’re trying to reach and what purpose the videos serve. So, even if you also use one of the other services on this list, don’t write off YouTube as an additional option. 

YouTube also integrates with Zapier, helping you automate marketing and promotional activities for your videos across thousands of apps. Discover some popular ways to automate YouTube, or get started with one of these pre-made workflows.

YouTube pricing: Free for uploading and hosting videos.

If you’re looking for a YouTube alternative, check out Streamable. It’s similarly easy to use and offers mostly hassle-free video embedding.

Best video hosting service for collaboration

Vimeo (Web, Android, iOS)

 The interface for Vimeo, our pick for the best video hosting site for collaboration

Vimeo pros:

Vimeo cons:

Vimeo began as a video-sharing platform, similar to YouTube. And while the platform still allows users to post videos and follow their favorite creators, it also has business-focused features like team collaboration, analytics and marketing features, a (lightly) customizable embedded video player, and even an OTT platform that you can optionally use to monetize your content with subscriptions or sales.

If you work with other people, Vimeo’s most impressive feature is the effortless collaboration it facilitates: it allows creators to invite clients, team members, freelancers, and other collaborators to preview their private projects. And it offers different permission levels for each reviewer or collaborator, which you can change depending on the project. They’re able to leave time-stamped comments, so you can make any adjustments as necessary. It’s almost like Google Docs for video.

Vimeo is also leaning hard into AI. You can use it to create a script that you can then read from a built-in teleprompter while recording a video. And then you can use another AI tool to automatically cut out any uhs and ums and generate a transcript. Of course, these features are more useful if you intend to use Vimeo to help create and edit your videos in addition to hosting them.

Is Vimeo the right video hosting for your business? Maybe. Its collaboration and AI features certainly make it useful for creating and editing videos, and its customizable player means you can embed its videos on your website without a Vimeo logo, or even rely on the OTT options to monetize your videos. The lack of ads for videos uploaded by paid subscribers and a few other features certainly make it more business-friendly by default than YouTube—though without the built-in audience. If you want a flexible, easy option that’s a bit more professional than Google’s platform, it’s definitely worth a look.

You can automate your processes with Vimeo as well, using Zapier’s Vimeo integration to automatically take actions in other apps whenever you upload a video to Vimeo. Here are some examples.

Vimeo pricing: Free for Vimeo Basic; $20/user/month for the Starter plan that includes version history, review and approval features, and private team projects. AI features available on Standard plan from $33/user/month. Vimeo OTT costs from $1/subscriber/month.

Best video hosting service for video marketing

Wistia (Web)

Wistia, our pick for best digital marketing tool for video creation and hosting for marketing-rich features.

Wistia pros:

Wistia cons:

Wistia is packed with marketing features that help businesses track a video’s progress, collect leads, and get the best ROI on their content.

One of its flagship features is Wistia’s Turnstile email collector, which helps you generate leads by getting people to enter their email address before they can play your video. You can add the form at any point in your video—so you can get them engaged before hitting them with the marketing pitch—and customize the text to suit your needs. Once a viewer enters their information, they’re added to your email list using Wistia’s email marketing integrations, including platforms such as Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp, and Constant Contact.

If you don’t want to add a Turnstile to your videos, Wistia still offers powerful marketing features. You can use annotation links to guide viewers to a website of your choice. These links appear on the upper-right corner of your video, for as long as you like, without disrupting a viewer’s experience. You can also add a call-to-action or link to another video or web page at the end of a video. And tying it all together is the Analytics page that lets you gauge the performance of each of your videos at a glance: how long your viewers stick around for, and if they fill in your form or click your link, is tracked here.

Wistia also automatically generates a transcript for your videos, and from that, you can create closed captions for more accessible videos. You can also upload your own audio descriptions, but Wistia can’t automate them.

It’s important to note that Wistia’s marketing features are only available when you embed them in a webpage, marketing email, or the like. If you export your videos to social media, you’ll lose any customizations, Turnstiles, or other marketing features.

Wistia’s Zapier integration allows you to trigger actions in thousands of other apps whenever new videos are uploaded or users take certain actions on your videos. Or you can automatically create an embed code and send it to the app of your choice whenever you upload a new video. Here are a few examples for inspiration.

Wistia pricing: Free for 10 videos and standard features, such as a fully customizable player and basic video analytics; from $24/month for the Plus plan that includes lead generation tools, 20 videos, and no Wistia branding.

Best video hosting platform for quizzing your audience

Spotlightr (Web)

The interface for Spotlightr, our pick for the best video hosting site for quizzing your audience

Spotlightr pros:

Spotlightr cons:

If you’re looking for a deep dive into your videos’ performance, including who views them, where, and for how long, Spotlightr (formerly vooPlayer) gives you all the data you need. The platform offers numerous reports based on viewer location, engagement, play rate, conversion, and completion.

One of the most impressive features is Spotlightr’s quizzes, which let you overlay and stop videos with interactive questions that can collect marketing information, as well as assess how well anyone learning from your videos is doing. You can also create custom overlays that link to other videos, offer coupons, or otherwise engage your audience. Similarly, at the end of a video, you can automatically send viewers to a landing page or another video, or show an end card with anything you want.

If you want to do a bit more with your videos than just demonstrate your products, it’s a great option, though obviously, convincing someone to give you their email address or use a coupon can be a larger challenge than getting them to play a video on YouTube. But if they do, Spotlightr integrates with Zapier, so you can also do things like send captured leads to a spreadsheet, CRM, or email marketing tool.

Spotlightr price: From $9/month for the Spark plan that includes 25 videos, a brandable player, and hybrid hosting. Quizzes are available on the Polaris plan at $49/month.

Best video hosting site for subscription videos

Uscreen (Web)

Uscreen, our pick for the best video hosting site for video monetization

UScreen pros:

UScreen cons:

Uscreen is a little different from the other apps on this list. Instead of allowing you to host videos somewhere, so you can embed them on your website or share them on social media, it enables you to monetize your video content by selling it or even creating a Netflix-like premium subscription service. While not the best option for general video hosting, it’s perfect if you have a small business—like a yoga studio or gym, or some kind of craft shop—and want to monetize instructional videos. It’s kind of like Shopify, but specifically designed for video content.

This means getting set up with Uscreen takes a bit of time. Not only do you have to upload your videos, but you need to create a website (from one of the included themes), configure your subscription or payment plan, link it to a payment processor like Stripe, and do lots more before launch. It’s a lot, but the interface is easy to use, there are great tutorials, and you get a one-to-one onboarding call as part of any plan. 

Perhaps the most interesting feature is that you can create your own iOS, Android, and TV apps using Uscreen—though only on the $599/month Pro plan. It’s not a feature that most businesses are likely to need, but if your cooking courses or whatever subscription you’re selling takes off, the option is there. 

Uscreen also integrates with Zapier, so you can automatically add new UScreen customers to your marketing automation software or add new eCommerce customers to Uscreen, among endless other options.

Uscreen pricing: From $199/month plus $1.99/subscriber/month for the Growth plan, which includes a customizable website and 100 hours of video storage.

Muvi is another solid OTT app that offers video hosting. The price can add up, but it’s a solid alternative to Uscreen.

Other ways to host your business videos

While the best business video hosting services definitely have their place, there are alternative options out there if you don’t need the extra features they bring. Here are some other options to consider:

  • If you use a site builder like Squarespace or Wix, or even a blogging platform like WordPress or Ghost, you can just upload videos directly to it. 

  • While I wouldn’t recommend you exclusively share videos to TikTok, Facebook, or even X, it’s still worth reposting most of your content there—if only to reach a wider audience. 

  • If you have a team of developers (or can code yourself), the big cloud hosting platforms like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud all offer video hosting. 

  • There are also a handful of other apps, like, Streamable, and Dacast, that almost made this list but fell short for a number of smaller reasons that might still suit your business needs.

  • And if you really want to go rogue or just need to share things internally, you can host videos in Google Drive, Dropbox, or even on something like Notion.

What are the best video hosting platforms for business?

If you’re looking to earn money from your videos, opt for a video hosting service that supports ads or lets you set up a subscription plan. If promoting your business is your main goal, you might look for a service with robust marketing and analytics tools. The most important thing is that you’re getting your videos in front of the people you want to see them.

This article was originally published in March 2019 by Farheen Gani and has also had contributions from Emily Esposito. The most recent update was in December 2023.

How to set up a Shopify Stripe integration in 4 steps

So you’ve set up your Shopify storefront, taken professional photos of all your products, listed your inventory, written copy, and created a promotional blog. All that’s left is for people to actually pay for your wares. Now what?

If you’re selling tins of candied nuts to my 73-year-old dad, you can take credit card information over the phone. But since this isn’t 1987, you’ll need a payment gateway to get people’s digital cash into your digital hand.

Shopify has a built-in payment gateway, but if you want to use Stripe instead, here’s how to set up a Shopify Stripe integration—and what to do if the Stripe integration isn’t available in your location.

Shopify Stripe integration at a glance:

  • Shopify has a native payment processor called Shopify Payments, which is powered by Stripe.

  • Shopify Payments isn’t available in every country, but you can still integrate third-party payment processors like Stripe into your Shopify store.

  • Shopify doesn’t enable Stripe integration for all locations, but you can always use Zapier to connect them.

Why integrate Shopify and Stripe?

Technically, many Shopify users get Stripe payment processing through Shopify’s native payment gateway, Shopify Payments, which is powered by Stripe. This gives users the ability to accept credit card payments through their Shopify store without having to pay extra third-party transaction fees, and customers don’t have to jump over to a second website to complete their payment since the processing happens right on the Shopify site.

With all that fee-free convenience, most users will want to stick with Shopify Payments—but here’s why that may not be the case for you:

  • Shopify Payments isn’t available in your country.

  • You already accept payments via Stripe and want to maintain continuity.

  • You’re having trouble setting up Shopify Payments or accepting payments through that gateway.

  • You automate Stripe and want to continue using your automated workflow.

For pricing, Stripe charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per online card transaction (depending on location), which is the same as Shopify’s Basic plan. But keep in mind that Shopify charges an additional 2% processing fee (Basic plan) for all transactions made using third-party payment processors, including Stripe, so you’re paying extra to go with Stripe.

How to add Stripe to Shopify: 4 steps

Here’s how to add Stripe to Shopify in just a few quick steps.

Step 1: Access your Shopify account settings

I’ll assume you’re reading this because you already have Shopify and Stripe accounts. (If not, we’ll call that Step 0—go ahead and create those first.)

Once you’re sure Stripe is available to integrate with Shopify in your country, kick things off by logging in to your Shopify account, and head to the Settings menu.

Note that to get through the rest of the steps, you’ll need admin privileges and an active account with a paid plan.

Step 2: Access the Payments module

Screenshot of the Settings menu bar with an orange box around "Payments"

Once you’re in the settings, click the Payments tab on the left menu bar.

If this option is grayed out, it’s likely because you don’t have administrative access, you’re using a free trial, or your account isn’t current on payments for a premium tier. Check with the account holder to remedy these issues. When in doubt, you can contact Shopify customer support to troubleshoot.

Step 3: Change your payment provider

Screenshot of Shopify's Payments module, with an orange box around "Add payment method" in the additional payment methods box

You should now be in the Payments module. In the Additional payment methods box, you should see a button to Add payment method. You guessed it—click that. (Again, if this button doesn’t appear, contact an account administrator or Shopify customer support.)

This should bring up a field where you can search for your preferred provider by name—in this case, Stripe. 

If Stripe is available where you live, you should be able to pick it. But if Shopify Payments is available, Stripe may not show up or may appear as “Unavailable in your country” since Shopify seemingly prefers users deploy their native payment processor.

Step 4: Connect to Stripe

Screenshot of the "Add payment method" window showing a search bar with "Stripe" typed in and a pop-up line that says "No results found"

Selecting Stripe should trigger a login prompt. Enter your login credentials, hit Activate, and badda bing: Shopify Stripe integration. If Stripe gives you a “No results found” notice like the one above, it likely means you either live where Shopify Payments is available or somewhere Stripe is not.

You should be all set at this point to start taking Stripe payments on your Shopify site, but if any step in this process hasn’t worked, try logging in to the Shopify help center to get to the bottom of it.

If the integration does go through successfully, you should run a test purchase just to make sure everything’s shipshape.

How to DIY a Shopify Stripe integration if Stripe is unavailable

So that’s how to integrate Stripe with Shopify. It’s so easy you probably got all these steps from a Google featured snippet, but if you’ve reached this point in the article, here’s a bonus tip.

Integrating Shopify and Stripe natively is an easy way to make Stripe your Shopify payment gateway. But if you want to integrate them in a more customizable way—or connect both apps to thousands of other apps—you can use Zapier’s Shopify Stripe integration

With Zapier, you can create Shopify customers for new Stripe subscriptions, update existing Shopify customers from new Stripe payments, and create Shopify orders from new Stripe payments. And that’s just the tip of the automationberg. Here are a few more examples to get your wheels turning.

Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works.

Shopify Stripe integration FAQ

Does Shopify use Stripe?

Shopify uses Stripe to power its Shopify Payments offering, which is its native payment processor. Those who want to use Stripe to accept payments instead can add a third-party Stripe integration (a process outlined in this very article), but this will come with additional per-transaction Shopify fees. 

Does Stripe integrate with Shopify?

Stripe connects to Shopify as a third-party integration in some locations. You can set this up by logging into your Shopify Admin panel, going to the settings, and changing your payment provider to Stripe. This may not be available, depending on your location.

How much does Stripe cost vs. Shopify?

Stripe and Shopify charge the same amount per transaction: 2.9%, plus $0.30. Shopify requires you to pay monthly subscription fees, but it does reduce per-transaction fees for plans above the Basic tier. And again, if you use Stripe with Shopify, you’ll have an extra 2% added on. 

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