Between dozens of learning platforms, hundreds of blogs, and YouTube, there’s an endless amount of web design courses and learning materials available online.

But it’s not all of the same quality. If you start in the wrong place, you’ll end up wasting your time and money.

We’ve scoured the web for the very best, and most up-to-date web design courses, both free and paid, and compiled a shortlist of the best options.

So if commuting to the office every morning and suffering through the afternoon rush on the way home every day isn’t your thing, keep reading.

We’ll cover all the courses you need to kickstart your new career as a web designer.

What Qualifications Are Needed to Be a Web Designer?

In web design, traditional hard qualifications like university degrees don’t carry as much weight as in other industries.

It’s a rapidly changing industry, so a 10-year old degree doesn’t mean you’re a great web designer today.

Instead, web designers are typically judged by their catalog of recent work showcased through their portfolio site.

And it’s not just the previous projects in your portfolio that help highlight your skills.

You can convince potential clients you have the necessary design and development skills with the site itself.

To get inspired by real portfolio sites using cutting-edge elements of frontend design and development, you can examine previous award-winning projects on Awwwards.

awwwards portfolio sites

Awwwards portfolio sites

Look at how each designer uses typography, white space, animations, icons, and other design elements to put their best foot forward.

You can also find inspiration in other creative communities like Dribble or Behance.

Master Necessary Tools and Soft Skills for Success

There are also a number of tools that you need to master, and soft skills that will make or break your career as a web designer.

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the tools you might use.

There are also a number of popular frameworks and CSS that can help you stand out.

You will also need a number of soft skills if you want to succeed.

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20 Best Online Web Design Courses (Free vs Paid)

Below, we’re going to highlight some of the very best online web design courses, available both as free and paid resources.

To help you find what you’re looking for faster, we’ve separated them into the following categories.

Free Online Web Design Video Courses

If you prefer to learn through the video format, with someone guiding you through each new piece of code or technique, there are many free options available online.

1. WebFlow University: Ultimate Web Design Course

ultimate web design course

WebFlow University web design course

Ultimate Web Design Course is a free course offered by WebFlow university, an online learning platform hosted and developed by the CMS and design tool WebFlow.

It includes over 5 hours of video lessons and is a great introduction to all things web design.

Topics:

Length: 5 hours (of video)

Certificate: Not available

Pros:

Cons:

2. BYOL: Beginner Web Design Using HTML5, CSS3 & Visual Studio Code

beginner web design html 5 css

Beginner web design course

Web designer and YouTuber Bring Your Own Laptop has created a free 4-hour course called Beginner Web Design using HTML5, CSS3 & Visual Studio Code.

The format is a single 4-hour video on YouTube, complete with a bundle of exercise files freely downloadable.

Throughout the course, you will learn how to create three different websites with increasing levels of complexity and difficulty, and finally, how to make your site responsive.

Topics:

Length: 4 Hours (of video)

Certificate: Not available

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3. freeCodeCamp: Introduction To Responsive Web Design – HTML & CSS Tutorial

introduction to responsive web design html css

freeCodeCamp YouTube course

In 2019, freeCodeCamp released a 4-hour introductory course to responsive design on their YouTube channel.

The course will teach you how to create a single, 3-page responsive website, as well as the basics of responsive design, CSS, and HTML5.

Topics:

Length: 4 Hours (of video)

Certificate: Not available

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4. OpenClassrooms Course: Build Your First Web Pages With HTML and CSS

openclassrooms build your first web pages course

OpenClassrooms introductory course

OpenClassrooms offer a free introductory course called Build Your First Web Pages with HTML and CSS.

It starts from the very beginning and will give you a great fundamental understanding of both HTML5 and CSS3. If you have no experience whatsoever with web development or design, this is a good place to start.

Topics:

Length: 10 hours

Certificate: Available (with a $20/month membership)

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Paid Online Web Design Video Courses

If you have the money to invest, there are also a number of high-quality paid courses on web design available online worth looking at. If you’re planning to make it a career, investing in your education should be a no-brainer.

5. Udemy Course: Web Design for Beginners: Real World Coding in HTML & CSS

web design for beginners

Udemy Web Design Course

Udemy is one of the most popular premium learning platforms online. There are courses available on everything from website design to freelancing and productivity.

But the best place to start is the Web Design for Beginners: Real World Coding in HTML & CSS online course.

Topics:

Length: 11 hours (of video)

Price: $16.99 (The $100+ price is a sales tactic)

Certificate: Available

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6. TreeHouse: Web Design Track

treehouse web design track

TreeHouse web design track

TreeHouse is a subscription-based online learning platform suitable for both designers and programmers. The web design track offers 43 hours of video and interactive lessons on HTML, CSS, layouts, and other web design basics.

It also includes basic skills for a budding graphic designer, like an SVG tutorial.

Topics:

Length: 43 hours (of video)

Price:  $25/month for courses and $49/month for courses plus.

Certificate: Not available for tracks (only available for the $199/month Techdegree programs).

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7. Frontend Masters: CSS Grids/Flexbox Course

front end masters css grids flexbox responsive design

FM – CSS Grid & Flexbox course

Frontend Masters is a great learning platform for beginners and intermediate web designers alike. This course will teach you exactly how to use modern CSS techniques to create a responsive layout for your website.

It will help you bridge the gap between a basic HTML wireframe designer and someone who can create functional prototypes and templates.

Topics:

Length: 5+ hours (of video)

Price: $39/month

Certificate: Available

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8. Skillcrush: Frontend Development Course

skillcrush front end development

Skillcrush – Frontend development course

Skillcrush offers an in-depth introductory course to frontend development, perfect for beginners. Its price and timeline mean it has more in common with some of the more standard MOOCs, but the structure is free format, and you can learn as fast as you want.

Topics:

Length: 3 months (average time to completion )

Price: $549 one-time payment or $199/month for three months

Certificate: Available

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9. Envato Tuts+: Responsive Web Design for Beginners

tutsplus responsive web design

Tuts+ – Responsive web design course

The Tuts+ responsive web design course for beginners is a quick introduction to the basics of responsive design, HTML, CSS, media queries, and more.

Alone it might not seem like the best paid choice, as it taps out at just over 3 hours. But Tuts+ premium includes 20+ courses on web design, from using specific software like Sketch or Adobe XD, to an in-depth course on web typography.

Topics:

Length: 3 hours (video )

Price: $16.50/month

Certificate: N/a

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10. Paul Boag – Encouraging Clicks Masterclass

encouraging clicks course

Encouraging Clicks Masterclass

Paul Boag is a leading educator and author in the space of conversion optimization and UX design. He’s written multiple books on web and UX design for Smashing Magazine and is a recurring columnist for many leading web design publications.

His “Encouraging Clicks Masterclass” is an assisted video course where you get direct access to ask Paul himself throughout the course. You will learn the basics of designing websites that drive actions and conversions, without resorting to shady tricks or dark patterns.

Topics:

Length: 4 hours and 30 minutes of video

Price: $267 one-time fee

Certificate: N/a

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Online University Web Design Programs & Degrees (MOOC)

Through massive online open courses (MOOC) platforms like Coursera, some universities offer their full web design curriculum online for free.

Not all courses are equal, however, so we’re only highlighting the cream of the crop.

11. Coursera: Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding Specialization

web design for everybody

Coursera U-M web design course

Web Design for Everybody by the University of Michigan is one of the most popular development courses on Coursera.

It covers the basics of HTML, CSS, and JS, as well as responsive web design and web accessibility.

If you don’t need or want the certification or credits, you can audit the course for free.

Topics:

Length: 70 hours of learning (including reviews and experiments).

Price: Free to audit course.

Certificate: $49/month membership required to get the certificate.

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12. EdX: W3CX Frontend Developer Program

w3cx course front end development

W3CX Frontend Web Developer program

The W3CX Frontend Developer Program from edX is perfect for absolute beginners who want to build solid fundamentals in all the core languages of frontend development.

Topics:

Length: 140 hours of learning (including reviews and experiments).

Price:  Free to audit individual courses independently.

Certificate: $895.50 one-time fee required to get the certificate.

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13. Udacity: Frontend Development Nanodegree

udacity frontend developer nanodegree

Frontend dev nanodegree

The Udacity frontend web development nanodegree will teach you the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and responsive web design, plus much more.

While not technically a university offering, the structure, format, educational depth, and price of a Udacity nanodegree are in line with standard MOOC programs.

Topics:

Length: 100+ hours of learning (including reviews and experiments).

Price:  $1356 one-time fee for 4-month access, or $399/month

Certificate: Available with the nanodegree price.

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14. Future Learn: User Experience (UX) Design and Research

Future Learn - UX Design course

Future Learn – UX Design course

The User Design and Research program from Future Learn and the University of Michigan is perfect for aspiring web designers who want to learn more about UX design.

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Topics:

Length: 88 hours of learning (including reviews and experiments).

Price:  Free to audit the individual courses

Certificate: $345 one-time fee required to get the certificate and lifetime access to each course.

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15. OpenHPI: Human-Centered Design Course

open hpi human centered design

Human-centered design course

If you want to improve your design fundamentals, this course on human-centered design is a great place to start.

It can help you improve your ideation and research skills, giving you a stronger toolbox to work with as a web designer.

Topics:

Length: 10-11 hours of learning (including reviews and experiments).

Price:  Free

Certificate: Basic certificate of completion available.

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Interactive Web Design Courses

If you’re trying to learn more frontend development and hands-on coding than the graphic design elements, there are a number of interactive web design courses online.

16. Free: freeCodeCamp

freecodecamp responsive web design

freeCodeCamp web design certification

freeCodeCamp offers a mammoth course on responsive website design, with over 300 hours of learning available for free.

The interface, while a little drab, is intuitive and gamifies the experience of learning code.

To continue through the course, you must put every piece of new information into practice, which is great for retention.

Topics:

Length: 300+ hours of interactive lessons.

Price:  Free

Certificate: Available (free)

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17. Free: W3Schools

w3 schools html interactive course

W3Schools homepage

W3Schools is one of the largest resources available for learning web development online.

It has hundreds of hours of tutorials and courses on the core languages and frameworks used to build the web.

The interface can be a bit clunky, but the incredible volume of high-quality free lessons make up for that. You don’t even need to sign up with your email to get started.

Topics:

Length: Hundreds of hours of interactive lessons.

Price:  Free

Certificate: Available (from $95 per language).

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18. Free: Codecademy

web design courses — Codecademy

Codecademy

Codecademy is an interactive learning platform for coders and web designers. It offers a few courses for free that will help you get started.

It has an awesome gamified interface that makes learning new code a breeze.

Unfortunately, the content in the free plan is quite limited, focusing only on the basic languages and creating a simple website.

Topics:

Length: 10-20 hours of interactive lessons.

Price:  basic courses free (paid version below)

Certificate: Not available

Pros:

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19. Paid version: Codecademy Pro

With Codecademy Pro, you get the platform and community included in the free plan, plus full access to all courses and the web development path.

You can also take shorter skill paths like learning how to build websites.

code academy skill path

CA – Build websites path

With the pro version, you get access to hundreds of hours of interactive lessons and a certificate at the end of courses.

Price:  $39.99/month ($19.99/month billed yearly).

20. Free: Dash by General Assembly

web design course — Dash by General Assembly

Dash by General Assembly

General Assembly is primarily a campus or in-person bootcamp-based educational company for designers and programmers.

But their free interactive online course Dash is a great way to learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript basics, all while you are actively designing and creating your own website from scratch.

Topics:

Length: 10+ hours of interactive lessons

Price:  Free

Certificate: N/a

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Web Design Business Courses vs Web Design with WordPress

WordPress’ current market share is +38% of all websites on the internet. As a result, there is almost as large a marketplace for WordPress sites and the related development skills, as general frontend developers.

Specializing in WordPress can help you get established and build your portfolio quickly. But you can’t just jump into it with basic web design skills.

Necessary Skills as a WordPress Designer/Developer

First off, you need the ability to edit/create WordPress themes. That means you need a clear understanding of how WordPress works, and WordPress development basics:

You also need:

To help you develop these skills, check out our dedicated guide on 13 places to learn WordPress online.

Dozens of learning platforms. Hundreds of blogs. Thousands of YouTube videos. How do you find the best web design courses in a crowded field? 🤯 Click to see the best options and get ready for a new career ✨Click to Tweet

Summary

From YouTube to paid and free learning platforms for coders, to online university courses, there’s something for everyone. Though not universal across the board, the information in free web design courses can be more dated than paid alternatives.

This is simply because the money from the members or students offers the budget for educators to update their curriculum and videos.

Paid web design courses also often give you the opportunity to interact with instructors, and not just other students.

There’s no need to waste time with a course or instructor you don’t vibe with. Pick the web design course that sounds right for your current level and your goals, and stick to it.

The perfect tools for training and developing your skills as a web designer are out there.

Now it’s your turn: did you take any course to improve your web design skills? How was your experience? Share it in the comments!


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