You can start a website for free but if you plan to use it for business it is advisable to shift to paid services later on. The main disadvantage of using a free website hosting provider is that it is clearly evident from the URL that you will use that it is available for free. A number of these sites will also add their own ads on your free website, you have less options, and some may have poor quality.
You may want to start with a blogging website if you want to begin with a free website and then plan to shift to a professional platform later on. Two of the most popular programs for blogging are Blogger and Wordpress.
Blogger is available at http://www.blogger.com/home and it is easy to use and wholly free. Wordpress at WordPress.com » Get a Free Blog Here offers a free blogging tool but you can transfer to a paid service later when you are ready.
You may also sign up with a free web hosting provider that also offers site building tools. One of these is Weebly at Weebly - Create a free website and a free blog. You can make adjustments to your choice of one of the more than 70 templates. If you have the capability to use HTML and CSS, you can also build you own site from scratch using the Weebly editor. What is unique about Weebly is that it does not put its own ads on your website.
Freewebs, which has changed its name to Webs, can be found at Webs - Make a free website, get free hosting. There are more than 300 templates to choose from. Its Page Editor also permits you to add widgets, images, videos, and text easily.
Google also provides a free website creation tool called Google Sites at http://sites.google.com/. You need not have any HTML experience because its editor is user-friendly. The website can be used mostly for personal purposes although it can also be used for sharing information via a company intranet.