Whether virtual or in person, small businesses, nonprofits, and clubs all find themselves, at some point, in need of a place to host an event signup or ticket sales.
Luckily, there are a lot of excellent free software options out there that can set your event up for success.
Here are five of the top options for free, freemium (some features are offered for free while others are unlocked with a premium subscription), and open source (the source code is open and available for outside developers to alter and edit based on their needs) event registration software.
Software options are listed in alphabetical order, except for the one open source option which is listed last. For the full methodology of how these products were chosen for this list, click here.
Free plan: Free version includes 50 booking spaces per month and only covers free events.
Paid plans: Upgraded plans start at $15 dollars per month and include 300 spaces booked per month.
Whether it’s for a children’s theater class or a local political rally, this software suits businesses that need to build an event registration page for a small, free event (or recurring event).
Bookwhen prides itself on “slashing your admin time.” It strives for that by providing a clean, easy-to-navigate interface that can have you logged in and setting up an event page in minutes.
Bookwhen offers an impressive features list that includes a waiting list, “basket” system for booking, custom booking form, online payment, attachments, discount options, and in-app support. Once your event is live, clients can view your scheduled event from a customizable landing page within the Bookwhen app, or it can be integrated into your own website.
Key features: Ticketing, multi-location and group scheduling, automated scheduling, attendee tracking.
Live, customer-facing event page from Bookwhen (Source)
Free plan: Free version covers small gatherings, meetups, and other simple, free events.
Paid plans: Basic plan costs $1.50 per event registration and includes unlimited events and a standardized registration form.
Eventzilla offers a mobile-friendly, easy-to-navigate event registration and marketing software platform. The company prides itself on a smooth user experience for event attendees, presenters/speakers, and the business hosting the event.
Functionality is designed for both in-person and virtual events. Eventzilla comes equipped with everything you need to set up a custom event website, publish event schedules, process payments, and manage attendees and check-in easily.
Many of the features and capabilities offered by Eventzilla are not available for free version users. So be aware that access to things such as the built-in promotion tools and registrant tracking tools will require an investment in the paid version of this software.
Key features: Ticketing, gamification, conference/convention management, social media promotion.
Event management dashboard for Eventzilla (Source)
Free plan: Eventbrite is free to use for free events.
Paid plans: Using Eventbrite’s most modest package, paid events cost 2% plus $0.79 per attendee.
The most-reviewed event registration software on our list by a landslide, Eventbrite works for events of all sizes, from workshops to concerts to conferences. Eventbrite’s platform, which can be accessed online or via a mobile app, scales from basic registration and ticketing to a fully-featured event management platform.
Users also have the ability to publicize events through Eventbrite’s integration with popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify. Organizers with only free events have access to all the features included in the Essentials package and everything in the Professional package except for phone, chat, or email support.
Key features: Exhibit/vendor management, social media promotion, surveys/feedback, ticketing.
Event dashboard from Eventbrite (Source)
Free plan: Ticket Tailor is free to use for free events.
Paid plans: Ticket Tailor is $.65 cents per paid ticket ($.26 cents if you buy credits in advance). This fee can be wrapped up into the ticket price.
While Ticket Tailor calls itself simply a ticketing app, it is by all accounts event registration software. Equipped with features such as ticketing options, attendee management, and social media promotion, Ticket Tailor offers a clean interface that helps event organizers get their registration site up quickly and smoothly.
Did you notice that incredible rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars? Ticket Tailor boasts the highest user rating of all the free and open source event registration software options included in our list.
Ticket Tailor also integrates with both Stripe and PayPal, as well as other customer tracking and marketing tools.
Key features: Ticketing, social media promotion, conference/convention features, surveys/feedback.
Ticket Tailor ticket creation app (Source)
Open source event registration software
For those of you counting along at home, that was only four event registration software solutions. Our fifth and last software option doesn’t strictly meet our methodology guidelines as it currently doesn’t have any user reviews on Capterra’s directory.
Open Conference Systems (OCS) is part of the Public Knowledge Project, a multi-university initiative that develops free open source software and conducts research to improve the quality and reach of scholarly publishing.
While this open source tool was created for managing scholarly conferences, it can be used by technologically fluent business owners and marketers to create a conference/event website, register participants, and post event details.
Users can also integrate a post-event online discussion forum to gather information and feedback regarding their event.
For download instructions, demos, and more information, check out the OCS page on the Public Knowledge Project site.
Event setup page for OCS (Source)
How to choose the right free event software for your business
Read our event management software buyers guide to understand the benefits and common features of these tools.
Beyond the common features (e.g. attendee management, ticketing, event scheduling), there are a few more considerations to make sure the software you choose meets all of your event management needs:
- Consider software integrations: Software integrations with accounting, membership management, and other software make it easy to share data across different systems. This can speed up workflows and prevent data-entry mistakes.
- Reporting and analytics: If attendance and behavior metrics are important to your business strategy, look for a software solution that includes analytics capabilities. This will allow your team to track metrics for a variety of purposes, including event expenses and revenue for accounting, and online user engagement for social media analytics.
- Tech trend to watch: wearable technology: According to our research, 40% of small and midsize businesses say they are using or considering use of wearable computing technology within the next one to two years. Big-league events have already moved to ticketing systems built on radio frequency identification (RFID). Event goers just swipe their bracelets, name tags, watches, or other wearables over an attendee scanner.
Products considered for this article had to:
- Offer either a free version of the software or offer the ability to wrap all software costs/fees into ticket pricing for event attendees.
- Software needs to be listed on Capterra’s category page for either registration software and/or event management software with a minimum of 75 reviews.
- Considered software must include the following event management core features: attendee management, event scheduling, and registration management.