7 Top-Rated Free Help Desk Software

By: Barkha Bali on July 9, 2024

When purchasing any product or service, customers mainly prioritize help desk and support services. The high demand for timely and accurate responses to customer queries can strain even the most well-staffed support teams. Does this concern your support team as well? Help desk software could be the solution.

Help desk software helps manage and prioritize support tickets and ensure queries are addressed on time. If you’re on a tight budget or want to try out a tool before investing, start with a free plan. To simplify your software search, this article alphabetically highlights seven top-rated free help desk software based on verified user reviews.

All featured products offer a free trial, a forever free version, or both. We’ve grouped the products into three categories: customer support software, IT management software, and CRM software. Regardless of the category, all products offer the core help desk features: ticketing and knowledge base management.

What is free software vs. free trial software?

Free software is software that users can access without incurring any costs. To meet this criterion, a software solution must grant users free lifetime access to either all or some of its features. On the other hand, a free trial allows users to try out the software with complete or partial feature access for a limited period. Unlike free software, which is free forever, a free trial requires payment after a specific timeframe.

We selected products for this article based on their average ratings between June 2022 and June 2024, which may differ from their current overall average ratings.

1. Atera

Free trial period

30 days

Free version

Not available

Atera is an IT management platform with help desk capabilities and a 30-day free trial period. Its unified dashboard provides real-time data on incoming, open, and resolved tickets and past customer interactions. You can configure the software to send automated email responses to customers when a new ticket is created or an existing one is closed, sharing updates without having your support team follow up manually. Upon ticket resolution, you can automatically send surveys to collect customer feedback about service quality. 

Free trial features*:

  • AI ticket tagging: Automatically tag incoming tickets with specific keywords to allocate customer requests to appropriate support agents. For example, tickets containing "password reset" or "login issue" keywords can be tagged accordingly and directed to agents specializing in account access issues.

  • Resource center: Create and maintain a centralized repository of knowledge articles, including how-to’s, FAQs, and troubleshooting tips and tricks. Agents can use the resource center to find answers to common questions, and customers can use it as a self-service support tool.

  • Automated reports: Generate detailed reports to get insights into your support team’s performance, ticket resolution time, customer satisfaction, and other metrics. These reports help make informed decisions to enhance service quality.

Cost to upgrade: $149 per technician, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Help center

Atera

Atera

4.58 out of 5 stars

373 reviews

2. EngageBay

Free trial period

Not available

Free version

Available

EngageBay is a CRM suite with a free help desk and live chat module called ServiceBay. Its unified dashboard lets you track and prioritize customer tickets, assign them to specific agents or teams, and monitor their resolution status. You can add private notes or comments to the tickets to record additional details or insights. EngageBay provides a 360-degree view of customer interactions across touchpoints, including emails, calls, and support tickets, facilitating personalized support. It also sends real-time notifications to update your support staff on new ticket assignments, customer replies, and upcoming deadlines.

Free features*:

  • Live chat: Use live chat to provide real-time customer support. You can use canned responses, which are prewritten text responses, to send quick replies to commonly asked questions.

  • Email tracking: Convert incoming emails into support tickets that you can track, prioritize, and assign to agents. This feature helps monitor customer interactions and follow up on unresolved issues.

  • Custom reports: Generate custom reports on key metrics such as ticket status, priority level, first response time, and closing time. You can customize the reports for a specific support request, issue type, or metric.

Cost to upgrade: $11.04 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Biennial

Customer support options: Call, email, and knowledge base

EngageBay CRM

EngageBay CRM

4.66 out of 5 stars

782 reviews

Pro tip

Make a list of the essential features your help desk or support team needs. For example, if your team members are spread across countries, a tool with multilingual capabilities and integration with various communication channels will serve you best. Free versions often include limited features, so it's essential to prioritize what's most important for your support operations.

3. HelpDesk

Free trial period

14 days

Free version

Not available

HelpDesk is a customer support platform with a 14-day free trial. It automatically captures and organizes incoming support requests from various channels, including emails, web forms, and chat. It then assigns unique identifiers to the requests and routes them to agents based on predefined rules or criteria. Agents can add private notes to the tickets to share additional context, instructions, or internal comments. These notes are visible only to other agents or internal teams. Agents can also send feedback forms or surveys to customers to collect their feedback on support experience.

Free trial features*:

  • HelpDesk AI: Leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to analyze tickets, identify issues or keywords, and summarize lengthy messages. This feature enhances support messages by adding relevant knowledge base links and contextual images, attachments, or screen recordings to resolve specific user inquiries.

  • Ticket macros: Create predefined actions or responses that agents can apply to tickets with repetitive or recurring queries. You can create macros to assign tickets to specific agents, change the ticket status, or add tags for agents attending to callers. 

  • Model automation: Design custom automation workflows by selecting predefined conditions, such as ticket status or priority, and their corresponding actions, such as sending an automated response or assigning tickets to specific agents.

Cost to upgrade: $29 per agent, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Live chat, knowledge base, and email

HelpDesk

HelpDesk

4.58 out of 5 stars

65 reviews

4. Issuetrak

Free trial period

14 days

Free version

Not available

Issuetrak is another customer support solution on our list with a 14-day free trial. It lets you create custom ticket resolution workflows, define criteria for automated status updates, generate event-based ticket notifications, and automatically distribute tickets to support agents. You can design and publish forms on websites and service portals for customers to submit requests or report issues. These forms capture specific data about customer queries, ensuring your support team receives clear, actionable information. Moreover, you can group and categorize all related queries together.

Free trial features*:

  • Surveys: Run surveys to collect user feedback for the support provided. This feature includes creating and distributing surveys and analyzing results to measure customer satisfaction rates and identify improvement areas.

  • Knowledge base management: Store and manage technical manuals, how-to guides, FAQs, company policies, and other documents in a centralized repository. This information helps support agents find answers to common queries, reducing resolution times.

  • Custom reports: Generate custom reports on demand or schedule them for regular delivery to stakeholders. These reports focus on specific metrics, such as the ticket resolution time or number of tickets resolved per agent.

Cost to upgrade: $26 per agent, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Call, email, and knowledge base

Issuetrak

Issuetrak

4.57 out of 5 stars

188 reviews

Pro tip

Check if the free version limits the number of users, tickets, or storage capacity. Ensure these limits are sufficient for your current team size and the expected volume of support requests in the near future. If your team or ticket volume is likely to grow, choose software that offers flexible user and ticket scalability options.

5. LiveAgent

Free trial period

30 days

Free version

Not available

LiveAgent is a customer service tool with a 30-day free trial. It offers a unified inbox to manage incoming customer requests from call centers, emails, contact forms, live chat, and social media. The inbox helps store customer tickets and chat transcripts and access past interactions and call recordings. Additionally, you can merge multiple tickets related to the same issue or split a ticket containing multiple requests and assign them to different agents. You can also compile and share business practices, informational articles, and how-to guides as a self-support resource for agents and customers.

Free trial features*:

  • Live chat: Use the built-in chat feature to interact with customers. Agents can use canned responses for quick replies to common queries and real-time typing views to see what customers are typing before they hit enter.

  • Customer portal: Provide customers with a centralized platform to interact with your support team, submit support tickets, track the status of their inquiries, view past interactions, and access knowledge base articles or FAQs for self-help solutions.

  • Agent collision detection: Prevent multiple agents from working on the same ticket. This feature displays the name of the support agent viewing and addressing a query, ensuring other agents do not open a ticket already being worked on.

Cost to upgrade: $9 per agent, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Live chat, call, email, and knowledge base

LiveAgent

LiveAgent

4.68 out of 5 stars

1599 reviews

6. Supportbench

Free trial period

14 days

Free version

Not available

Supportbench is a customer support solution with a 14-day free trial. It allows you to create and manage support articles, FAQs, and guides as a self-service option for customers and agents. It includes internal ticket notes, team messaging, and shared inboxes to simplify collaboration among support team members. Additionally, it uses ML algorithms to draft responses or suggest content to address customer queries. It also leverages AI to create ticket summaries, query emails, and case closure overviews.

Free trial features*:

  • Round-robin (sequential) routing: Distribute incoming tickets among available agents sequentially. This approach ensures even workload distribution among team members, preventing over- or under-allocation.

  • Agent scorecards: Use scorecards to evaluate your agents’ performance based on metrics such as the response time, ticket resolution rate, customer satisfaction score, and number of tickets handled.

  • Sentiment analysis: Leverage natural language processing (NLP) and ML to analyze the tone and emotion behind customer messages. This analysis helps determine whether a customer’s message is positive, neutral, or negative, enabling agents to provide more empathetic and appropriate responses.

Cost to upgrade: $32 per agent, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Email and help center

Supportbench

Supportbench

4.88 out of 5 stars

110 reviews

Pro tip

Prioritize software that supports multiple support channels, such as email, chat, social media, and phone. This capability allows your customers to reach out through their preferred medium and ensures all interactions are consolidated into a single ticketing system for better management.

7. Wavity Help and Service Desk

Free trial period

Available upon request from the vendor

Free version

Not available

As the name suggests, Wavity is a dedicated customer support platform that offers a free trial. It uses AI to analyze customer interactions and identify high-risk tickets. Based on the AI analysis, you can prioritize tickets and recommend personalized solutions, such as routing tickets to the most appropriate support agent. Wavity is a no-code tool with a drag-and-drop interface that lets you build customized support workflows. You can also create new templates or customize existing ones for various content needs, such as welcome emails, troubleshooting guides, or frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Free trial features*:

  • Email ticketing: Automatically convert customer emails into trackable support tickets. The system categorizes, prioritizes, and assigns these tickets to appropriate support staff based on their expertise, availability, and workload. 

  • Mobile nativity: Access help and service desk functionality via smartphones and tablets. This functionality ensures your support staff can respond to tickets, update statuses, and communicate with customers through mobile devices.

  • Analytics: Use built-in reporting tools to track ticket resolution times, customer satisfaction rates, and staff performance, among other metrics. These insights help identify improvement opportunities for your customer support team.

Cost to upgrade: $12 per agent, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Live chat, call, email, and knowledge base

Wavity Help & Service Desk

Wavity Help & Service Desk

4.77 out of 5 stars

30 reviews

What is the cost to upgrade from free help desk software to paid software?

Help desk software upgrades can be as low as $8 per month or up to $229+ per month, depending on various factors—deployment model, features, number of users, training requirements, integrations, etc. Most help desk software solutions typically include the following subscription plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to either all or limited features of the software. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for customer service management teams that wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer perpetual access to limited software features. These free plans are ideal for small businesses or individuals on a budget.

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $8 per month and offer access to standard features. These are suitable for small businesses or support teams with basic feature requirements, such as summary dashboards, task management, notifications, contact management, filtered views, and basic reporting.

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $12 to $99 per month and offer advanced features such as omnichannel shared inboxes, customizable chat widgets, and transcript summaries. These are ideal for businesses that have outgrown basic help desk solutions but don’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level tools.

  • High-end plans: Cost more than $229 per month and offer a range of advanced features, including unlimited access to entry-level and mid-tier features, priority customer support, advanced message routing, and load balancing. These are ideal for larger businesses with support teams spread across multiple locations.

Hidden costs associated with help desk software

Besides the software license, additional costs may include:

  • Training costs: Training staff to effectively use the system can be a significant hidden cost. This involves both training for new users and ongoing updates.

  • Data migration charges: Transitioning from an existing system to a new help desk tool may require additional resources, which come at an extra cost.

  • Hidden support costs: While basic support might be included in the initial purchase, advanced or priority support comes at an additional cost.

Frequently asked questions when selecting free help desk software

Consider asking these questions to software providers to find the best help desk software for your support team:

  • Is there a self-service customer portal in the free plan? 

Most help desk software tools include limited support options in their free plans. Confirm that your shortlisted tool’s free plan has a self-service portal for customers. This portal allows customers to find answers to questions and troubleshoot issues independently, reducing the volume of support tickets and freeing up your staff to focus on more complex tasks. It also improves customer satisfaction and enhances user experience by providing instant solutions to user queries.

  • Does the free plan support automation features?

Automated workflows ensure issues are addressed promptly and improve the efficiency of your help desk operations. While advanced automation might be limited in free plans, some free tools offer basic automation functionality, such as ticket routing, status updates, and follow-up reminders. Free plans might also limit the number of automation rules you can create. Therefore, evaluate all the key features included in the free plan to understand any such limitations.

  • What integration capabilities are available in the free plan?

Integration capabilities simplify workflows across departments and systems. For example, integrating your web help desk software with CRM, email, chat, and project management tools can provide a unified view of customer interactions and improve communication across your organization. When evaluating free software, check the provider’s documentation or FAQs to see if they offer relevant integrations with the existing tools in your tech stack.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Software Advice within the past two years, with an average rating of 4.0 or higher (as of June 24, 2024). We selected the seven products with the highest ratings to feature in this article.

  • Offer either a free stand-alone version of the software or a free trial that needs to be purchased after the trial period. 

  • Meet our definition of help desk software: “Help desk software helps organizations manage internal and/or external ticketing by tracking and resolving support requests and incidents."

*Our research team identified these free features from vendor websites (as of June 24, 2024) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from help desk software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional free features, refer to the vendor's website.

Editorial independence: We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Note: Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advices’s help desk software directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them. Only products with publicly available pricing information, as of June 24, 2024, were considered for pricing calculation.

Product research for this article was contributed by Rakshat Chhokar.