Need to convert HTML files into PDF format? Low on budget? This is the place for you! In this article, we will explore the few free HTML to PDF APIs, diving into their limits, features, and how they stand out amongst all the alternatives. All of these HTML to PDF API endpoints will take raw HTML code or a web page and turn it into a PDF file.
If your PDF document is complex, DocRaptor will save you tons of time and energy and make it easy to create high quality PDF documents. If you need simultaneous processing or a high volume of outputs, our enterprise-grade infrastructure eliminates the need to set up your own PDF generation system. And if you have strict privacy requirements, DocRaptor's SOC2 and HIPAA compliance will give you peace of mind. Lastly, DocRaptor provides many free PDF templates.
DocRaptor's free tier is limited to 5 document conversions per month with paid plans starting at $15/month. DocRaptor does not have input or output limits and does not charge extra for large documents or web pages. And as mentioned above, unlimited test, watermarked documents are included in every plan, including the free plan.
PDFShift is based on the Google Chromium library. Like other open-source based HTML to PDF options, it will struggle with more complex PDF files. However, PDFShift is a popular and inexpensive option for simple PDF documents. Its status page is publicly visible and indicates a strong performance, although they do not guarantee uptime.
PDFShift's pricing is based on the outputted PDF file size. Every 5 MB of PDF document size costs a credit. Their free plan allows for 50 credits per month and their paid plan starts a $9/month. Unlike DocRaptor, a few features (such as asynchronous generation and compression) are only available on their paid plans. Test documents are limited to 10 per month.
Like PDFShift, pdflayer uses headless Chromium as its PDF converter. But unlike PDFSift, they use a standard per-document pricing model, regardless of the outputted PDF document size.
pdflayer's free plan includes 100 HTML to PDF conversions per month, but doesn't include support or HTTPS encryption (🤦). Their paid plan starts at $10/month and includes twice as many documents as PDFShift's.
PHP is the only example included in pdflayer's HTML PDF API documentation.
One last Chrome-based service, html2pdf.app is very similar to PDFShift and pdflayer. Their pricing model is based on 5mb-per-credit, like PDFShift, but they allow more credits per plan, similar to pdflayer. html2pdf.app's free plan allows up to 100 credits per month.
Maintaining PDF generation infrastructure is more costly and time-consuming than many people realize. Using an online HTML to PDF API avoids that trap, but it's only an advantage if the outsourced infrastructure is reliable enough for your needs.
If you need less than five documents per month, need a complex document, or think you might scale up as you get more budget, DocRaptor is the clear winner with enterprise-grade infrastructure and a 99.99% uptime guarantee.
If your API usage is more than five documents a month and still need them to be free, we would pick PDFShift. Assuming your documents are fairly simple and smaller than 5 MB, you could get 50 free documents a month. PDFShift links to their public status page in a prominent position, which we think shows a strong commitment to communicating with customers. Their status page currently shows more downtime than DocRaptor allows, but some compromises have to be made to offer the generous free plan they have. We think the fact that they admit to downtime on the status page indicates honesty in that communication. We have no relationship with PDFShift, but we'd try them if we needed a free PDF solution other than DocRaptor.
Have more questions about how to decide? Talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
None of these three services include watermarks on their free plans. Many other APIs have test documents with watermarks (including DocRaptor), but we don't think those are "free documents."
Except for DocRaptor, all the above APIs generate PDFs based on open-source HTML to PDF libraries. If you want an open-source API that you could host yourself for free, we've got a separate GitHub HTML to PDF APIs guide.
While these APIs differ wildly in the complexity of documents they support, they all generate high quality PDF documents from raw HTML code. They'll support web page backgrounds, inline CSS, custom CSS, page numbers, and basic page size instructions within your HTML file.