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Top 10 Places to Find and Hire Best Freelance Developers for Your Software Development Projects in 2023

As your tech startup or business is growing and constantly releasing new features, sooner or later, you’ll feel the need to expand your team of software developers.

If you’re based in the US or Western Europe and wish to hire a developer, be aware that you may experience a shortage of tech talent locally. Not to mention that posting a job description means you’ll have to go through hundreds of irrelevant CVs, while the real talent won’t be searching for new opportunities.

Research by the Korn Ferry Institute predicts that by 2030, the technology, media, and telecommunications industry will be one of the three major industries facing the biggest talent shortage in the US. Besides, it may be too expensive for you to hire a developer in-house for short-time projects.

One of the solutions to the shortage of tech talent in your area is to find and hire freelance developers.

In this article, we will list the platforms and portals that are, in our opinion, the best places where you can hire developers online. Additionally, we’ll provide you with some useful tips on hiring freelance software developers.

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Alternatives to traditional recruitment

The traditional way to find and hire developers is to work with a dedicated recruiter. However, it’s possible to hire directly by using some alternative sources.

1. Asking for referrals

One way to find and hire a developer is to ask for a referral. You can tap into your network of professional contacts and ask them to refer a software developer with certain technical skills who is looking for a job. Your chances are quite high because professionals in the IT industry tend to change jobs once in 3 or 4 years in search of new exciting projects and challenges.

2. Networking at online tech events

Another alternative to traditional recruitment has always been to sign up for and attend tech events focused on specific technologies–depending on what you’re looking for. WordPress developers, for example, hang out at WordCamp. Python developers can be found at PyCon, whereas Java specialists network at JCon. For Full Stack developers—there is the Full Stack Europe conference. Android developers could be found during the Android Dev Summit or at Google’s official events for Android developers. Offline events have become even more popular in the post-covid time, as many missed face-to-face communications and regular meetings. Although, you can still find online events and meetups using Facebook, Meetup, Eventbrite, and Linkedin communities.

 3. Browsing online hiring platforms and remote job boards

These remote job platforms are a perfect place to find developers at reasonable prices because there, you can find great freelancers from all over the world. Later in this article, we are also going to give an overview of the top 10 best hiring platforms. But meanwhile, you may post your job with technical skills requirements on the best remote job boards such as:

  1. Indeed
  2. Angel.co
  3. RemoteOK
  4. We Work Remotely
  5. Remote.co
  6. Nodesk
  7. Remotive
  8. Jobspresso
  9. SkipTheDrive
  10. RemoteHub
  11. Working Nomads

Don’t forget about the good old LinkedIn. If developers are subscribed to a certain job search query that matches yours, they will get a notification about your job posting. For example, coders subscribed to “remote app developer” or “remote back-end developer” queries will get an email or a notification about a new remote coding job for app developers or back-end developers.

Of course, if you want to get the biggest talent, the guru of programming, so to say, you might need to work with an external recruiter with a great network or try out the hiring platforms (more on that later).

4. Browsing coding platforms and communities

GitHub is a community of engineers where they share how they build great software. You can see code samples of real software developers on GitHub and even offer the job to someone who has coded something similar to the product you are planning to build

Another great idea is to connect with the best developers on StackOverflow. It’s a place where developers ask for coding advice and share tips and tricks. StackOverflow community may help you find the best engineer for your project.

There are also plenty of other developer communities you might find on the web or the websites like Meetup.com.

5. Social media

There are plenty of Facebook groups where people share job postings. You can also ask your connections to recommend the right coders for your software development job on Facebook and other social media websites. Just specify the required technical skills, and the CVs of trusted software experts will fly into your inbox. To attract more applicants, you may create an animation about your company and the benefits you provide to your workers to post on social platforms.

Top 10 platforms to hire freelance developers

Here are the freelance platforms for developers that we consider the best. They are the destinations for many startups where they find developers available for hire. We will overview each of them and highlight their strengths and weaknesses.


upwork hire freelance developer

This is probably the most “mainstream” website where you can find and hire freelance developers.

Here’s how it works for employers:

  1. You post a job/project description outlining the skills required from the candidates.
  2. Upwork matches the description against the profiles of freelancers who have similar skills.
  3. You get a shortlist of the most suitable candidates.
  4. Having interviewed and selected the candidate, you start working. There are two ways that the freelancers can bill you: flat fee or hourly rate. Flat fees are typically used for short-time tasks, whereas freelancers engaged in long-time projects often choose hourly rates. Hours are billed through the native app of Upwork.

You can also browse the freelancers’ profiles and invite them to apply for your job.

Pros of UpworkCons of Upwork
Ease of useHigh fees (20%)
Quick access to a wide talent pool with reasonable pricesTakes a long time to find the best match
Built-in time trackerMostly suitable for short-term projects
Mobile app
Safe payments
Quick customer support


toptal hire freelance developer

The second most known website that can help you hire a developer is TopTal. Initially, TopTal was intended for freelance software developers only, but in 2015, the platform expanded from software development and now includes designers. Now you can also hire project/product managers and finance experts on TopTal.

The most remarkable feature of the platform is the rigorous screening of all candidates, at the end of which only 3% remain. Here’s how the screening takes place:

  1. A comprehensive language, personality, and communication interview.
  2. A technical interview where the skills, intellect, and problem-solving abilities are checked.
  3. Each candidate undergoes live tests to evaluate their specific skills within the primary expertise sphere.
  4. Each candidate is assigned a test project, which is a real-world case, and must complete it within 3 weeks maximum.
  5. 3% of candidates pass the screening. On top of that, they are required to maintain a perfect track record when working with clients. Thus, if you wish to hire freelance developers without spending time testing their hard skills, TopTal might be the solution for you.  
Pros of TopTalCons of TopTal
Strict vetting of candidates so only the best freelance developer for hire is availableHigh prices
Ease of useBest suitable for long-term projects
Quick recruitment
The free trial period for freelancers
Protection of intellectual property


youteam hire software developer

YouTeam is a tech talent marketplace that connects businesses and startups to software developers and designers from offshore countries. Like on Upwork and TopTal, clients can browse profiles of software developers and personally interview them. And like on TopTal, the developers undergo a strict vetting process.

However, the difference is that on YouTeam, you would find developers who are actually not freelancers. They are a part of dedicated teams working on a full-time basis at local software agencies. But the clients collaborate directly with the developers without a PM acting as an intermediary (though the PM model is also possible).

As a result, you work with the development team remotely, just like with freelancers, but your collaboration is as reliable as it would be with an in-house team.

Pros of YouTeamCons of YouTeam
Strict vetting of candidates that are available on the platformGood option if project is on core stage development
Talent pool includes 50,000+ developersBest suitable for long-term projects
All developers work in development companies, and they won’t switch to other projects until the scope is finished with you
Ease of use
Basically, recruitment is done for you: after you leave the project requirements, the YouTeam specialist scans its own unique database of available talent and sends you CVs in less than 48 hours
The team of developers is dedicated only to your project
All legal and financial aspects are taken care of in a single, convenient interface

Browse 500+ Dev Teams Available for Hire


moonlightwork hire freelance developer

MoonLightWork is a community of software developers and product designers that also acts as a marketplace where you can hire freelance developers.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You post the job description.
  2. Moonlight notifies the community and finds perfect matches.
  3. You work together with the applicants on a paid trial project.
  4. In case of a successfully completed trial, you can hire the developers as ongoing contractors or full-time employees.
  5. You can either pay the developers on an hourly basis via Moonlight or hire them directly.
Pros of MoonLightWorkCons of MoonLightWork
Ease of useThe community is quite small
Safe paymentsThe vetting process is not strict enough–the platform allows the candidates with relatively small experience to feature their profiles
The free trial period for freelancersThe talent is based mostly in the US, so the prices may be quite high
Mostly automated and thus fast
Narrow specialization of developers


gun io hire freelance developer

Gun.io is a developer-only freelance marketplace with a strict vetting process, which works as follows:

  1. The coders are tested for the ability to work remotely.
  2. The developer passes an automated coding exam, a live coding exercise, and a technical interview with a member of the engineering team.
  3. The freelancer is interviewed by the CEO of Gun.io.
  4. Gun.io representatives perform reference checks with the candidate’s previous clients.
Pros of Gun.ioCons of Gun.io
Fast hiring–within 48 hoursNo client feedback available
Access to the highest quality talent due to strict screeningLengthy sign-up process
The developers are dedicated only to your projectDistant customer service
User-friendly software


Codementor – a freelance platform

Codementor is an online marketplace that helps its clients find a professional developer (mentor) for live programming help. It is also a place where you can hire freelance coder picked from the pool of mentors. The hiring process is similar to that at other platforms, specifically:

  1. You specify your requirements.
  2. The Codementor consultant reaches out to you and helps you find a perfect fit.
  3. Based on your requirements, you get a shortlist of 1-2 developers.
  4. You review the profiles of the shortlisted candidates and interview them.
  5. Start a trial project with the developer that you have chosen.
Pros of CodementorXCons of CodementorX
The high quality of work providedNot suitable for long-term projects
Relatively fast recruitment (within 72 hours)Technical difficulties
AI-powered vetting and matching processHigh prices
Risk-free trial periodWeak customer support


pilot hire freelance developerThe pilot is a hiring platform that connects clients from all over the world with vetted developers and designers handling the hiring logistics.

The vetting process is as follows:

  1. Analysis of the written communication skills.
  2. Simulation of collaboration projects challenges sees how the freelancer resolves them.
  3. Skill-based evaluation. E.g., if the programmer is said to know HTML and CSS, the Pilot vets this skill.
  4. Coding assignments are then reviewed by senior members of the platform.
  5. Application review.
  6. An interview to test language and communication skills.
  7. 1% of candidates pass the screening.
Pros of PilotCons of Pilot
Strict vetting processSlow payment process
Continuous assessment of platform members
Availability for long-term full-time collaboration opportunities
Easy to use
Cost-effective service


fiver hire freelance developer

Fiverr.com is a marketplace of on-demand digital freelance services, from music and audio to programming and tech. It is perfect for those looking to hire a developer for short-term projects. Here’s how it works:

  1. Your search for the required services, e.g., WordPress website design.
  2. Use the smart filters to narrow down your search. You can specify the service type, e.g., full website creation and plugins, price range, and delivery time.
  3. Fiverr will show you a list of available portfolios that you can browse. You can choose between different pricing packages, e.g., a startup business website, a PRO business website, or an e-Commerce business website.
  4. Select the services and click “Order Now.”
Pros of FiverrCons of Fiverr
Easy, intuitive searchOnly short-time projects (gigs) are available
Ability to browse portfolios without registrationNo vetting processes
A wide range of countries and ratesHigh fees (20%)
Suitable for all types of businesses


Lemon.io hire freelancersLemon.io is a network of vetted developers that you can hire as freelancers. The developers are located mostly in Eastern Europe and thus offer quite reasonable hourly rates for the US, specifically, between $25 and $45. You need to buy hours before you start hiring and working with the developers on your project.

Lemon.io specialize primarily in web development and works with technologies such as PHP, WordPress, Magento, Drupal, HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript, and Node.js. The platform screens the developers by three key parameters: overall adequacy, English level, and qualifications. If you’re looking for, say, an iOS developer, this might be your choice.

Pros of Lemon.ioCons of Lemon.io
Reasonable pricingDo not have embedded & firmware developers
Strict vetting of developersOffer only those developers that know, so it may happen that the platform doesn’t have anyone available
Helpful customer supportQuality may vary depending on the freelancer
Easy-to-use payment plans

Scalable Path

scalablepath hire freelance developerScalable Path is a technical staffing agency with thousands of freelance software developers and designers from over 138 countries. Scalable Path offers each client personal support throughout the entire hiring process, handpicking the candidates according to the project requirements.

Prior to that, all clients undergo the rigorous screening of both tech and soft skills. Another advantage of Scalable Path is that the agency allows you to hire good developers quickly, normally, the whole process takes up to 3 weeks. 

Pros of Scalable PathCons of Scalable Path
Quick hiring–up to 3 weeksCustomer service
No recruiting fees
Strict vetting of candidates
Low overhead costs

Tips on hiring a freelance developer

No matter which platform you choose, we recommend that you follow these tips when looking for freelance software engineers:

1. Define your project requirements

Find out which programming languages are required for your project, what tools the freelancer should know, and be able to use, which skill sets are most preferable.

2. Define the project length

Knowing the length of your project will help to define what engineers you need and where to find them. If the project is short-term, you can hire freelance developers from platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr willing to take on small tasks. Although, be aware that you need to evaluate the candidate’s skills properly to get the best one. If the project is long-term, you can also use those platforms to get engineers. However, to ensure the quality of candidates in this case, you should dig deeper into their portfolios and evaluate their experience based on the projects they worked on, as ratings do not always show the whole picture. If you take some time to fully evaluate the developer, you can get an engineer with exceptional expertise and by the price which you find relevant.

3. Check the experience of candidates

For example, Upwork offers three levels of skills: beginner, intermediate, and expert, with the corresponding pricing. If you need something quick, you can check the beginners’ profiles.

It often happens that the freelancers new to Upwork take up quick projects to gain experience within the platform, but it does not mean they do not have experience outside the platform. Review their portfolio, ask for a code sample, and check some past references, feedback, and ratings. Ask if they have experience with any of the popular project management tools. E.g., a new front-end developer might look like a fresh freelance developer on Upwork, but their CV may be much more than that—check their LinkedIn profile, ask the coder for references from other places of work if they don’t have any ratings on the website.

4. Establish a reliable relationship and build trust

By creating open, shared, and honest communication, you have a higher chance of building trust with your developers. When the client and freelancer share the same vision of the project and its goals, they can reach the most productive cooperation, which can evolve into a long-term partnership.

How to hire the best freelance developers—FAQ

We’ll put things mentioned above briefly here, plus add a few new useful sources.

How to hire the best freelance developers?

There are a few options: use your network, social media, development communities, and events, or go to freelancer platforms such as Upwork, TopTal, YouTeam, etc.

How much does it cost to hire a freelance software developer?

It depends on the region. The most popular hiring regions are offshore destinations such as Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia. You may find our research on the rates of freelance developers in each offshore country in this article.

What are the advantages of working with freelance developers?

Even if you were not sure about hiring remote coders, the mid-COVID-19 world might have changed your opinion. Now even in-house developers turned into remote employees, and for most companies, it wasn’t as painful as expected. However, working with freelance developers is a completely different story since they might not be dedicated to your project fully. If you want to be sure the remote dev team is fully dedicated to your project, and if you want them long-term, use platforms like YouTeam, where this is guaranteed.

The bottom line

The shortage of tech talent in the US urges the owners of both startups and established businesses to tap into alternative ways of hiring. These include referrals, networking at tech events, and the freelance software development market.

There is a wide range of platforms where you can find and hire freelance developers, such as:

  • Upwork
  • TopTal
  • YouTeam
  • MoonLightWork
  • Gun.io
  • CodementorX
  • Pilot
  • Fiverr.com
  • Coding Ninjas
  • Scalable Path

Each of these platforms has its own pros and cons, so you should carefully study them and choose the one that fits your needs to the greatest extent. For example, if you’re looking for quick, short-term gigs, then you can consider Fiverr or Upwork.

If you wish to hire a developer with a narrow technology stack, e.g., web development, then you can choose Coding Ninjas.

But if you need a dedicated team of remote developers in an offshore country, then you can consider YouTeam.

No matter which platform you’d prefer, remember to check the following when hiring freelance developers:

We wish you good luck in finding the best candidate for your project.

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Written by
Mary Atamaniuk

Mary Atamaniuk is a digital content strategist, her areas of interest include digital marketing, tech entrepreneurship, and influencer blogging.

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