The Best Free Intranet Software - February 2021

The best free intranet software vendors, top considerations, categories, pitfalls, pricing, and more.

Author Phil Strazzulla, HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd
Phil Strazzulla,HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd - Oct 18, 2021

Are you looking for an intranet solution, digital workplace, or internal communications platform, but aren’t willing to pay for one just yet? Well, fortunately having a decent intranet these days can cost you nothing but the time and effort it will take to sign up and get your colleagues to use it. 

Long gone are the days when the word “free”, as it pertained to intranet software meant open source. That route, as we know, is never truly free since you have to set it up on your own servers, which definitely costs a pretty penny to implement and maintain. 

Yet, you don’t have to keep all your conversations and important documents on a Facebook group or Slack either. The vendors that we’ve shortlisted here offer fully-fledged intranets with all the features you’d expect, such as internal communication, social media-like functions, document management, platform-wide search, and much more.

Apart from being free, these also happen to be good bets when it comes to ease of use, customer satisfaction, and customer support. Read on to find the tool that might be what your employee experience has been lacking, for free! 

Pro Tip: We write up a ton of content about each of these landscapes and have linked to each so that you can get a sense of pricing, pitfalls, etc for each category. Good luck!

We spend hundreds of hours researching the best HR and recruiting software so you don’t have to.  We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on practitioners and experts to help us recommend the right software.  However we may earn a fee if you click on vendor links on this page.

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A Quick Breakdown:

Free for 25 users, Zoho Connect brings the ease of use and visual cleanliness that characterizes Zoho products to a robust team collaboration software.
It’s a basic and straightforward collaboration-oriented intranet with a wide range of potential workflows. They also offer a free plan for small groups.
In their free plan, Jostle provides the basic features of a simple yet powerful intranet for teams with less than 15 users.
With a massive array of features, Bitrix is a solid intranet and CRM that’s traditionally free for up to 12 users, but is unlimited during the pandemic.
It’s a service that lets you create your own social network-like sphere, where you can create discussion spaces with multimedia messaging.
It’s a feature-rich internal communication platform that happens to be free, and also starts at a great price if you decide you need more.

We put in the effort to make this guide awesome

Hours Researched
Experts Consulted
Vendors Reviewed

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Jostle

Review

The thought process behind Jostle is that you probably want to focus on creating a space where your company culture can thrive, without having to spend too much time on it. Because of that, they have aimed towards making an easy-to-use product, with simple architecture, little time to set up, and that wouldn’t require much in the way of IT knowledge. In our opinion, they’ve certainly succeeded at that.

Jostle

Stats

  • 5x more employee participation (>80%) across Jostle customers than the industry norm (<20%).

Jostle

Pricing

With Jostle’s free version, which is for up to 15 users, you get all the internal communication features. These are Activity, News, Discussions, and an employee directory (People). The paid version varies depending on the features and integrations you need, as well as user count. They also have an enterprise plan.

Best For

The free version is great for small teams searching for a simple and intuitive solution that’s easy to implement. For non-profits and educational institutions, Jostle is also offered at a discounted rate.

Worth Checking Out:

The free plan with Jostle also includes unlimited storage, mobile & iPad apps, engagement analytics, and is available in several languages.

Talkspirit

Review

While the free version of Talkspirit does come with its limitations (see the Pricing section of this review), it is still surprising for such a well-designed and easy-to-use product to be free. Talkspirit is both an intranet portal and a team collaboration tool. You can streamline work and communication with others, making everyday remote interactions much more cohesive and less time-consuming.

Talkspirit

Stats

  • Used by over 10,000 organizations
  • Founded in 2008 in Paris, France
  • 11-50 employees

Talkspirit

Pricing

Talkspirit’s “Essentials” version is completely free and for unlimited users. However, it does have the following limitations: 

  • Videoconference for up to 4 participants
  • 30-day history for chats and posts
  • Max. 10 public groups
  • 3 integrations to choose from

Best For

The free plan will work well for teams of varying sizes who don’t have a huge need for a digital workplace, or could operate within the limitations. That being said, the full offering from Talkspirit can accommodate many types of businesses.

Worth Checking Out:

Talkspirit is offered in eight languages, and each member could choose to have their platform in their language of choice without impacting the others.

Bitrix

Review

Bitrix24 is ready to support business needs from all fronts. As an intranet, they have all the bells and whistles you’d expect, but even a bit more. They have communication tools, task and project management, chats, calls, video conferences, workgroups, a newsfeed, and more than 35 work tools. These even include a basic CRM, a website builder, a contact center, and an e-commerce section.

In that sense, we should say that more than an intranet, Bitrix24 is a massive business suite that happens to include a fairly-comprehensive internal communication platform, as well as other HR tools. Surprisingly, it’s all available for free.

Bitrix

Stats

  • Used by over 8 million organizations worldwide
  • 12,000+-wide global partner network
  • 400+ employees

Bitrix

Pricing

The Bitrix24 Intranet & Digital Workplace is included in the cloud-based free plan which is free for unlimited users, at least during the pandemic.

Best For

Bitrix24 is a great bet for small to medium-sized organizations looking for a quick and scalable solution that gives them many features and use cases in one hub.

Worth Checking Out:

While the Bitrix24 free plan stays that way forever, you can try the premium features for 30-days any time you want. They also offer their software as an on-premise solution.

Samepage

Review

Even in the free version, the Samepage platform is meant to be much more than an intranet. It can facilitate internal communication, of course, but also project management, running meetings, and online collaboration. Samepage fulfills these purposes by combining tools like a team chat, video conferencing, screen sharing, task management, file sharing, and real-time document collaboration.

One thing to note is that Samepage was acquired by Paylocity, an HCM and payroll software provider, in November 2020. Since the acquisition, Samepage are now focusing solely on US-based businesses.

Samepage

Stats

  • Over 250,000 users supported in more than 180 countries

Samepage

Pricing

If the basic free plan isn’t enough, Samepage’s Standard plan is $7.50 per license (that’s one per user) per month. Their Pro plan, with the full administrative features, is $9 per license per month. They also offer special pricing ($6 per user/Mo) for educational institutions and NPOs. Their enterprise pricing is customized.

Best For

Samepage works great for organizations that want to be able to work and handle various sorts of tasks within their intranet and prefer the autonomy of setting up most things themselves.

Worth Checking Out:

All of Samepage’s paid plans start with a free 30-day plan. You could start off by checking out the Pro features and downgrade to the free version if you feel you can truly do without them.

Zoho

Review

As a company that makes all sorts of business software tools, from a CRM to an expense tracker, you’d kind of expect them to have a good intranet. Zoho Connect will not disappoint those that seek the consistency and reliability of their other products. Their free social intranet lets people interact with each other in a myriad of ways, build a company knowledge base, manage work plans, and even build custom apps. 

Zoho connect can be used as an intranet for your company and as an extranet for your clients. Information can be published and sent to either channel from the same platform. Also, a user can be a part of multiple external networks and an internal one.

Zoho

Stats

Zoho

Pricing

The free version of Zoho Connect gets you 25 users, 3 groups, 3 private applications, 3 dashboards, 3 handbooks, 10 integrations, as well as channels, events, and forums. If you do decide to pay and get the full features, Zoho Connect starts at $25 per month if you’ve got less than 25 users. If your team is between 26-100 users, it’s just $1 per user per month.

Best For

All sorts of organizations that want a well-known social intranet that can grow with them and adapt to their needs as they go.

Worth Checking Out:

Whaller

Review

Whaller works through spheres, discussion spaces that can be completely separate from one another. This is great if you want an intranet just as a place for discussion around specific projects or topics within the company. Each sphere can have all types of messages with controlled visibility, you can have private chats with all members, and it also has a couple of other features like a company directory, individual profiles, a home page, and video conferencing.

Whaller

Stats

  • Started in Paris, France in 2013
  • Under 50 employees

Whaller

Pricing

The standard version of Whaller is free for up to 100 users and lets you create 5 spheres. After that, the pro version starts at 3€ per user per month.

Best For

The free/standard version of Whaller is great for small businesses with light communication and document management needs. There are some particular use cases of Whaller for universities, non-profits, and sports organizations as well.

Worth Checking Out:

For educational institutions, Whaller is offered at a discounted rate.

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Last advice on picking a free Intranet

The vendors we’ve presented here are the best offerings in terms of a free corporate intranet. Sure, many of them have other use cases, but we strived to find the best solutions for small and medium businesses in need of a cost-effective tool. As you probably noticed, these are not only free but also quite on par (or below) with the average pricing.

Once you review them all, the next step would be to select 3 to 5 vendors and start their free trials, simply sign up, or book demos with them. However, if you’re not convinced yet, be sure to check out our roundup of the best intranet software. While certainly not free, many of the vendors there (two of which have been mentioned here) offer very competitive prices for what we believe are excellent products.

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