Top 17 Free Help Desk Software & Ticketing Systems in 2023

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Clint Fontanella
Clint Fontanella



When I worked in customer support, I used a help desk everyday. It kept my ticket queue organized and helped me sort through tasks that I either needed to complete or needed to follow up with customers on.

free help desk software: help desk employee smiling as she talks to many different customers at once

If you're running a state-of-the-art support team, it's impossible to scale your service department without utilizing one of these tools. 

Not convinced? Let's start with what a help desk is and why you should be using one. 

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Table of Contents

What is a help desk?

A help desk distributes incoming service requests to support team members and helps them manage follow-up communication on long-term cases. 

Help desks come with several useful features, like:

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Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is a self-serve library of information that helps customers find answers so they can troubleshoot problems without having to contact a customer service rep. We have a really good one here at HubSpot, and several of my colleagues contributed to it. 

We also had what's called an "internal knowledge base" which was private to HubSpot support reps and answered common employee questions.

Whether internal or external, most knowledge bases include the following:

  • Directions and tips for using your products and services
  • Answers to FAQs
  • Content you've created that can provide in-depth solutions
  • Video demonstrations
  • Company information
  • Info on different business departments

Ticket Management

Ticket management streamlines customer support requests. This feature lets you receive and assign tickets, track their progress, and escalate issues when necessary. Plus, you can organize tickets based on priority, status, and severity, shortening your response time for time-sensitive issues.

At HubSpot, our ticket management system prioritized tickets that had been in the queue the longest. These tickets were assigned to reps first unless there was a critical situation where we needed to act on other cases immediately. 

Ticket Automation

With ticket automation, you can set up triggers and rules that automatically assign tickets, send notifications, and perform other actions based on specific conditions. Not only does it allow you to streamline your workflow and focus on higher-value tasks, but it can also provide customers with a better frontline experience.

Ticket Escalation

Ticket escalation is the process of moving a customer support ticket from an initial representative who isn't able to resolve the issue to a higher-level rep or manager. Help desk software can help with this process by ensuring high-priority issues get the attention they deserve.

For instance, you can set up automations that prioritize high-severity tickets and route technical issues to more senior representatives. At HubSpot, we would route questions related to payment services to our billing department since they were more equipped to handle these issues.

Ticket Distribution

In my opinion, ticket distribution is the foundation of any help desk. This feature automatically routes tickets to the appropriate rep based on their skill set, availability, or workload. Managers can also use ticketing software to monitor ticket distribution, reallocate tickets when necessary, and maintain a balanced workload across their teams.

Multiple Contact Options

Help desk software gives customers options when getting in touch with your business. These options can range from traditional phone and email support to live chat and conversational bots.

Reps don't have to specialize in one channel, either. When I worked in support, I would receive tickets from social media, live chat, and email, all in one inbox -- the outgoing messages, however, appeared like they were coming from the same channel that the customer reached out on.

Having multiple communication channels available to your customers will help you effectively meet their needs as well as increase their overall satisfaction.

Customer Support Analytics

Customer support analytics provide valuable insights into your customer service efforts -- they also let you know as a rep whether or not you're having a good day.

These features track various performance metrics, such as knowledge base usage, ticket volumes, response times, customer feedback, and more. This information can be used to improve support processes and identify areas where additional service resources are needed.

If these features aren't enough for you, let's talk about some valuable returns from adopting this software.

Benefits of Free IT Ticketing Systems

1. They efficiently manage support requests.

With ticketing systems, your team can manage support requests much more efficiently than you would if you were doing everything manually. It allows you to receive, track, and assign tickets to individual contributors or groups in one centralized place, ensuring that each request is addressed in a timely manner.

Help desk software automates tedious processes like ticket routing, escalation, task creation, and customer marketing emails. This cuts down on time spent handling routine tasks and gives you more time to focus on deeper, more complex problems.

2. They increase the bandwidth of your support team.

Since these systems simplify the organization and management of support requests, your team will have more bandwidth to serve a higher volume of customers in less time.

Additionally, because they allow you to automate so many routine tasks, there's more room to work on new strategies and projects.

A good example? Yours truly. I used my free time to write about customer service. Not only did I parlay that into a career, I generated free marketing content for HubSpot while working in customer support. 

3. They improve customer satisfaction.

A free IT ticketing system can help improve customer satisfaction by streamlining your company's support process and ensuring that customer issues are handled in a timely manner. Because they offer multiple contact options, such as chatbots and live chats, customers have more tools to communicate with support staff about their needs.

Plus, self-service options, like knowledge bases, help customers find solutions to problems on their own, reducing the need to contact support staff.

4. They save your company money.

Though premium and enterprise-level help desks have additional features that can improve your overall customer experience, these systems can be quite pricey. For businesses working within a tight budget, a paid version may not be possible or advantageous.

While free IT ticketing systems may not have all the bells and whistles of a premium version, they will definitely get the job done in a pinch and save you money while you figure out which system is best for your company.

Ready to start shopping? Let's take a look at some of the top help desk software and ticketing systems your team can start using for free. I listed two that I have used in customer support, then sat down and gave a few others a try to see how they stacked up.

1. HubSpot Help Desk

free help desk software: hubspot help desk

Start using HubSpot's Free Help Desk and Ticketing software.

HubSpot's Free Help Desk and Ticketing Software is a unified help desk dashboard where all customer requests are stored so your entire team can easily track, prioritize, and manage them.

Staying organized gets harder as you scale your business, making it more difficult to give each customer issue the attention it deserves. With this software, you can keep an eye on each issue and resolve them with ease.

Why We Like This Software

In my last few months of customer support, we started using HubSpot's help desk tools. It was such an upgrade from our previous software because all of our customers' information was readily available at all times. I knew who the customer had spoken to recently, which sales reps they worked with, and who their customer success rep was if I needed to escalate an issue. 

With this system, you can also identify and track KPIs to help your team improve the support you provide customers as well as coach reps and better manage ticket volume.

Ticket routing and automation ensure your team doesn't have to manually enter data or assign tickets. You can also assign owners and stages to certain tickets so HubSpot can automatically create personalized pipelines for your reps to increase productivity.

Pro tip: Use HubSpot's Help Desk software to track all customer requests, manage tickets, and prioritize and distribute work among reps.

2. Jira Service Desk

Jira help desk and ticketing system product screenshot

Whether you're managing incidents, proactively announcing changes in your interface or offerings, or looking for the source of a bug, Jira has service desk features to make all of those processes simple.

We use Jira at HubSpot for our internal knowledge bases. It's perfect for raising issues to IT and reporting significant issues with a product or customer-facing piece of content.

Jira's free version is perfect for small businesses, allowing access to up to three agents and 100 emails per day. If you plan on expanding your support team or constantly have a high volume of requests, you may want to consider upgrading to a paid plan, which starts at $21 per agent per month.

Why We Like This Software

Jira comes with built-in automation, queuing, knowledge base, and asset management features. It matches your operational workflow and offers a number of integrations to complement your other service software.

3. Zoho Desk

Zoho help desk and ticketing system preview

Zoho Desk is a multi-channel help desk that includes an advanced ticket management system. It handles incoming service cases via phone, web, email, chat, and social media. This coverage across multiple channels makes it easier for brands to provide an omnichannel experience.

Up to three agents can use Zoho Desk's free version at one time. If you need more seats, you'll need to upgrade to one of its paid plans. Zoho Desk also offers a 15-day free trial if you want to try out its premium features before committing to a paid plan. We gave it a try, and here's what we liked. 

Why We Like This Software

Zoho Desk offers a widget tool that you can embed on your website. When loaded in a browser, the widget turns into a support form that customers can fill out to request assistance. They can describe their problem in detail as well as request a preferred channel through which to communicate.

This makes it simple for customers to access your support team. It also allows reps to easily analyze and find solutions for incoming requests. This significantly improves first-call resolution rates as well as customer satisfaction.

I also really liked their time tracking feature. It recorded how much time you spent doing different things on each ticket, giving you more insight into the types of hurdles a rep has to overcome to solve a specific issue.

Zoho time entry tool for help desk users

4. ProProfs Help Desk

ProProfs help desk and ticketing software

ProProfs Help Desk comes across as a simple help desk system but brings powerful features to the table. Whether you wish to assign tickets to agents or share notifications with customers, you can use ProProfs to automate these repetitive tasks and speed up your support process.

From a shared dashboard, agents can view, assign, prioritize, and resolve support tickets in simple steps. You can easily manage your customer-facing inboxes, such as support@ or info@, with the shared inbox feature.

Although the tool does not offer a forever-free plan, you can use its 15-day free trial to access all premium features and test it out before you fully commit.

Why We Like This Software

My favorite part about ProProfs Help Desk is its omnichannel capabilities. I was able to interact with customers on multiple channels, including email, live chat, chatbots, web forms, knowledge base, etc., and offer 24x7, uninterrupted support. Additionally, there was an option to connect my ProProfs with my CRM tools which delivers an all-in-one exceptional customer experience.

5. Groove

Groove help desk and ticketing software example

Of all the options I tested, Groove is one of the simplest and most cost-effective cloud-based help desk software solutions for small to medium-sized businesses. It helps companies communicate with their customers via email, live chat, social media, and phone calls. 

Over 10,000 users trust Groove as a simple yet powerful Zendesk and Freshdesk alternative. According to them, Groove’s help desk is easier to use, quicker to set up, and provides a way better experience for your customers. 

Why We Like This Software

Groove felt like a more cost-effective and feature-rich alternative to companies like Zendesk and Freshdesk. During my 7-day free trial, I really liked using the "instant replies" feature which produced canned responses to recurring problems. Even more impressive, you could trigger follow-up actions within the help desk after the canned response was sent. 

Groove instant reply feature for its help desk and ticketing software

Groove’s help desk software allows companies to accept, track, and respond to support requests in an organized fashion with ticketing, live chat, knowledge base, self-service portals, SLO management, multiple mailboxes, task management, and reporting. 

6. Jotform

help desk ticketing (1)Image Source

Jotform is a powerful and comprehensive online form builder that also acts as a cutting-edge ticketing and customer feedback system. With its seamless integration, organizations can effortlessly collect service requests and efficiently distribute them among team members, enhancing overall productivity and customer satisfaction.

Jotform’s suite of products is designed to cater to organizations of all sizes, empowering them to streamline processes and construct optimized workflows. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, Jotform Enterprise has the tools you need to elevate your operations for large businesses.

Why We Like This Software

At first, I was a little thrown off by the drag-and-drop interface. Jotform asked me to start by creating a form, which was different than other software that I had tested. Once I got rolling with one of the 10,000 free templates, I created a customized service request form and embedded it into my website fairly easily.

Plus, with over 100 integrations available, it wasn't hard to connect essential products like Jotform Tables, Sign, Apps, and more — streamlining my workflow by harnessing the power of multiple productivity tools in one centralized platform.

Additionally, with a Jotform Enterprise plan, you can access tools like Single Sign-On (SSO), a dedicated support team, white labeling, user management tools, and more to elevate their service management capabilities and experience a user-friendly, no-code ticketing solution — at an affordable price.

7. Spiceworks

spiceworks help desk and ticketing software product example

Spiceworks is a ticketing system that helps businesses manage both internal and customer-facing tasks. The software is all online in a cloud, so there's no hassle in getting it set up and maintaining it. In fact, once I signed up I was immediately redirected to my inbox where I could start answering mock tickets.

Best of all, Spiceworks is completely free with no limits on tickets, devices, or agent access. So, it's not a bad option if you want to just explore the basic features available in a help desk.

Why We Like This Software

Because Spiceworks is a cloud-based help desk, I could log in from any web browser and get to work. It also offers a help desk mobile app that keeps you updated on all your tickets. Not that anyone wants to be working outside of office hours, but it does give you the option to respond to customers in a pinch if needed. 

Spiceworks also offers an inventory management integration that can help your team oversee product orders that are in progress. It uses an IP scanner to locate orders and then it notifies you of the order's progress. As a rep, I can then proactively relay that information to the customer so they're aware of any delays that will occur with their delivery.


CDESK is a highly customizable help desk platform that offers a wide variety of free customer service tools. It includes everything from ticket management to customer feedback collection. This platform is ideal for smaller businesses that may be adopting their first help desk software.

CDESK does offer a free trial, but I will say it takes a few steps to get set up. First, you need to fill out a form and then complete an introductory meeting where a CDESK rep helps you create a free testing environment. From there, you have a 30-day trial to test the product and decide if you want to move forward with a paid subscription.

Why We Like This Software

CDESK offers tools that can help promote customer success. For example, the gallery tool allows you to upload and post videos and pictures to different albums on your website. Use this feature to create customer testimonials that will give more credibility to your customer service team.

9. osTicket

osticket help desk example

osTicket is a ticketing system that distributes and manages incoming cases.

Its free version is pretty fun to set up. On the download page, you select your preferred file as well as the features you would like to add like language translation, plugins, and more.

osticket help desk setup interface

The tricky part comes with installing the software. You'll need to access things like PHP and your MySQL database to get started. Something you may want from IT if you don't have any prior experience.

osTicket also provides a paid cloud-hosted version for $12 per agent per month, plus a free 30-day trial. In addition to all the features included in the free version, the paid version provides secure application maintenance and support through SupportSystem.

Why We Like This Software

osTicket's most notable feature is ticket filters which allow you to automate the creation and routing of tickets. You can even automatically assign tasks to the ticket based on the rule criteria that you determine.

Another interesting feature is its "agent collision avoidance" mechanism that prevents reps from working on the same ticket at the same time. The software locks the ticket so that other team members won't overwhelm the customer with responses.

10. Help Scout

Help scout help desk and ticketing software

Help Scout is a helpdesk software that's designed for startups and small businesses or any company that's looking to get started with their first customer service team.

Although Help Scout does not offer a plan that is 100% free, it does offer a 15-day trial that you can use to test out the software. No credit card is required, you can just click and get started. 

Why We Like This Software

It was remarkably easy to create a chatbot on Help Scout. In fact, it's one of the first things you do in the setup guide. This gives you a reliable communication channel that customers can immediately start using as soon as you're up and running.

Help Scout also comes with cloud-based features that small companies love, such as a shared inbox and knowledge center capabilities. In addition, every pricing level comes with the ability to embed help widgets on your website that you can set to fire on specific pages. In the world of many alternatives, Helpscout stands out for its simplicity and ease of use.

11. Hesk

Hesk is a lightweight help desk software that's great for small customer service teams. It's simple and user-friendly, making it easy to learn for beginners.

It's also really simple to test out. Its site features a demo version that we played around with for a while. The system was intuitive and there were plenty of mock contacts that you could create tickets for.

If your team doesn't have the resources to troubleshoot and keep up with Hesk's maintenance, Hesk also offers a cloud-based help desk system, starting at $29.99 per month.

Why We Like This Software

Hesk offers a reliable, cloud-based ticketing system that takes minutes to download and set up. You can create custom ticket fields and modify the display to align with your team's workflow. It even offers a ticket submission form where customers can open web-based tickets that are managed within the app.

12. ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus

managengine help desk software and ticketing system

ManageEngine ServiceDeskPlus provides a powerful, yet easy-to-use software that's perfect for small businesses.

For a free accont, ManageEngine will create your inbox for you and host it on a unique URL. From there, you can start creating tickets or "requests" with customized fields and built-in reporting.

The free standard edition offers a wide range of tools that can be used by up to five reps. If your team is growing and needs more than five seats, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan. For pricing, contact ManageEngine for a quote.

Why We Like This Software

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus comes with a variety of support features ranging from a knowledge base to self-service portals to SLAs to user surveys.

In addition to those foundational services, I really enjoyed the automation features that streamlined support operations. For example, reps have the option to set their availability, and tickets are then dispatched automatically based on who is available.

13. HelpDeskZ

helpdeskz help desk demo

HelpDeskZ is a PHP-based solution for your web-based ticketing system. The software is entirely free, so you don't need to worry about paying for upgrades as you scale.

One thing I really liked about this product is the two options that you can demo. You can try this help desk out as a support rep or reverse the roles and see what customers are seeing when they interact with your business.  

Why We Like This Software

With features like bulk actions, group routing, and email piping, this help desk and ticketing system should increase productivity within your support team.

The software also comes with templated responses and a knowledge base to help reps handle common inquiries.

14. Web Help Desk by SolarWinds

free help desk software: solarwinds

Image Source

If you want to manage end-to-end service request lifecycles from a single portal, Web Help Desk is an ideal solution.

Though Web Help Desk's free edition has all the features you need to manage tickets and solve for your customers, you'll need to purchase a paid plan if you want more automation and IT asset management capabilities. Luckily, there is a 14-day free trial, so you can try before you buy.

Why We Like This Software

Web Help Desk has a built-in knowledge base as well as SLA and ticket management features. You can track tickets and rep performance all with the goal of resolving tickets faster using data-driven insights.

15. Freshdesk by Freshworks

freshdesk helpdesk software

Freshdesk's forever-free plan provides a simple customer service solution for small businesses, startups, and teams of 10 reps or less. Freshworks also offers premium customer service management software through Freshservice. These plans start at $19 per agent per month.

Why We Like This Software

The first thing I noticed with this help desk was how clean the user interface was. It was easy to find tickets that were assigned to me as well as different contacts and companies associated with my account. 

Freshdesk includes all the basic features you need to meet customers' needs, including shared inbox, social media support, automated ticket assignment, public knowledge base, and more. 

It allows you to collaborate with your team on high-severity issues in real-time and has reporting tools that provide valuable insights that can help your team improve performance.

16. LiveAgent

Live Agent help desk and ticketing software

LiveAgent's free help desk software is a great starting point for new businesses that are looking for a powerful system, but don't have the budget for an enterprise-level plan. 

It has all the features your team needs to satisfy customer requests, however, there are some limitations, like not being able to view tickets that are older than seven days.

If your company has a high volume of support requests, you may want to consider upgrading to one of LiveAgent's paid plans, which start at $9 per agent per month.

Why We Like This Software

While other free help desk software plans have limited capabilities, LiveAgent offers unlimited agents, emails, live chats, calls, and contact forms. With its ticketing system, you receive all support requests from all channels in one single inbox so they can easily be filed into a ticket.

LiveAgent also allows you to set up a free knowledge base so customers can solve their problems without having to contact your support team.

17. Zendesk

Zendesk help desk and ticketing software

Zendesk's customizable help desk software provides service solutions that enable you to build and maintain strong relationships with your customers.

When I first signed up, I was really impressed by the CRM features built directly into the software. You could quickly review contact records and organizations associated with your business all from one, central interface.

Although ZenDesk does not have a forever free plan, like Help Scout, it does offer new startup businesses a six-month free trial. After the trial ends, plans start at $49 per month.

Why We Like This Software

Zendesk has all the capabilities your team needs to serve your customers, like multiple messaging options, help center, ticket management, intelligent ticket routing, automation, and more. Because its tools are completely customizable, you can adjust your features and implement new strategies as your business scales.

My favorite feature of this help desk was the ability to work on multiple tickets at once. You could open tickets like tabs in a browser and jump between them with a click. I would have loved this feature when I worked on long, complex issues that I would chip away at over time as I solved other cases.

Find the Right Help Desk Software for Your Team

As your company continues to grow and take on new clients, your customer service team will also be working to keep up with increased demand for customer support requests. Help desk software will give reps the ability to effectively and efficiently organize those requests, manage ticket volume, and provide support.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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