The internet is one of the greatest inventions of all time.
It allows people to stay in contact with their relatives while living thousands of miles apart.
It lets freelancers (like humble language blog writers) work remotely, in their pajamas.
And it has made online learning possible.
Online language learning is growing at the speed of light. About 10 years ago I had one single student on Skype. Today, I have 27.
This has not only improved my life and let me have more free time (I don’t have to commute every day), but it’s also allowed many people who can’t afford a language school or a university course to learn a new language.
Every language learner can take advantage of online learning, but it’s especially useful for beginners.
There are millions of online resources that allow you to learn a new language without leaving home.
You may not be sure which one to choose (that’s my job), but they’re still there, and every single person can find a resource perfect for them.
With beginner Spanish learners in mind, I have created a list of the best free Spanish learning online resources where they can start their journey.
Why Beginners Should Learn Spanish Online
Online language learning is the best tool you can possibly wish to have nowadays.
About 20 years ago, when I started learning French, I hadn’t even heard of “the internet.” I had a paper book and a tutor I shared with 30 other people once a week. It took me four years to get to an intermediate level! Not because I didn’t want to, but because I had no other resources available.
But you’re lucky enough to live in the era of online learning.
You have already taken the most difficult step on your way to fluency: You’ve decided you want to start learning Spanish! The rest will just be the fun part.
By studying Spanish online, you can choose to learn whatever you want, whenever you want.
In fact, there are even many unconventional ways to study Spanish online, as shown by the following video from FluentU’s YouTube channel.
Whether you want to take a virtual tour of an art gallery in Spanish, navigate a Spanish city or read parallel texts of Spanish literature, there will never be a dull moment! You mark the path, you choose the contents and you decide when, where and how to do it.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the FluentU YouTube channel for more language learning videos!
Variety isn’t the only advantage of learning online! You can also decide how much you’re willing to spend on your learning.
As you’ll see in this post, free doesn’t mean lower quality.
There are indeed services that you won’t be able to get for free (like private tutoring), but the materials available that don’t cost a single penny are more than enough for a beginner to successfully study the language without breaking a sweat.
By the end of this post, you should have all the information you need in order to start learning Spanish online as a beginner.
I recommend trying a few options until you feel comfortable enough with your choice (or choices!). Remember: the more fun you have while learning, the further you will go!
Learn Spanish Online: 20 Free Beginners Resources to Get You Started
Duolingo is one of the best language learning resources available online at the moment. Out of the many courses created especially for English speakers, this Spanish course is possibly the most comprehensive.
Duolingo’s method is based on repetition and association. By listening to the same words over and over again and associating them with different images, your brain has time to absorb the new information and keep it longer.
The different types of exercises (like choosing the correct option out of many possible choices or rearranging words to form coherent thoughts) make the learning process very enjoyable for the learner.
Besides this, the hundreds of categories you can unlock by completing previous levels cover practically every imaginable topic.
The level-up function encourages you to compete with yourself and others and makes you want to learn more and more.
If you’re a visual learner, you’ll love this one.
That means you can learn Spanish the natural way: through hearing it used by native speakers.
FluentU is about so much more than videos: You also get access to interactive flashcards, vocab lists and personalized quizzes that evolve as you learn.
There are also very useful interactive subtitles. You can click on any word as the video is playing to see its definition, example sentences, an associated image and even see it used in other videos for even more context.
Videos are conveniently organized by difficulty level into lessons so you can easily work toward a particular objective, topic or skill. FluentU also offers progress-tracking tools and video suggestions based on what you have already watched.
Choose FluentU if your goal is to cover everything and stimulate every skill, fast.
Sounds ambitious, but the immersive approach really gets the job done at every skill level.
FluentU has a free trial that you can check out. Make good use of it! You’ll find yourself hooked.
Practical Spanish Online offers a complete grammar course in three levels.
Starting from the beginning, each level is divided into many different categories that are, in turn, divided into individual topics. Each topic contains grammar explanations, vocabulary with translations, audio and even video!
The “Practice Readings” at the end of each level are great to assess how much you’ve learned and which areas you need to improve.
You can listen to a native speaker reading the texts while having them on your screen for you to follow, then practice reading comprehension by doing some question and answer exercises.
The Spanish Experiment is one of the best websites I’ve discovered recently. It looks pleasant to the eyes, which makes studying online much nicer, and it’s a great place for people who want to start learning Spanish.
The course is divided into different topics that are explained in English but include hundreds of examples in Spanish read by a native speaker.
In every lesson, you have access to all the other lessons on the left part of the screen, so navigating between the different topics is really easy.
The content, the explanations and the examples with audio are all excellent.
But there’s more! If you feel like listening to some more Spanish, click on the tab “Spanish Stories.” There, you’ll find different Spanish stories you can listen to and read at the same time! All the stories are translated and contain super funny drawings.
Loecsen’s Spanish course is the type of beginner’s course someone would try to see if the language is right for them. Even though it covers about 20 topics, I feel that there isn’t enough material to call it a complete course for beginners.
However, if you want to have your first contact with the language, this is the site for you. Every topic contains vocabulary read by a native speaker and funny drawings for almost every word. Just choose a topic, press play and start learning!
You can take quizzes to see how much you’ve learned and see your progress if you scroll down the page (which is useful but not very user-friendly).
Although I feel it isn’t comprehensive, this is a fun way to dip your toes into Spanish and see if you want to continue learning it.
Online Free Spanish was created especially for kids, but anyone who wants to have fun while learning Spanish is more than welcome to try it.
It’s divided into 20 lessons which include different topics (from the alphabet to vocabulary words about toys, fruits and numbers), and it guarantees hours of fun and learning.
Each lesson contains many different games to practice the topic and printable coloring pages with the vocabulary covered.
Spanish Listening is a great place to practice your listening skills from the very beginning. It contains over 450 audio lessons on so many different topics that it would be impossible to include them all in here.
As you’ll notice when you access the site, the first thing you have is a lesson search option. You can view lessons by level, topic, country, lesson number and more.
I recommend choosing by level if you’re just starting, but feel free to explore the site as you wish!
If you choose by level, you’ll be given the option to pick a level. Choose “Beginner” and a list of topics becomes available. I opted for “All Topics” in order to see how much was available (which is a lot!). Choose your topic to have access to the lesson.
Each lesson contains a video with a script, some audio questions for you to answer, a vocabulary section with examples and a quiz for the lesson video.
Study Spanish is one of the most complete Spanish courses out there.
It’s divided into four sections.
The Pronunciation section has 50 topics covering every single difficult aspect of Spanish accent and pronunciation. Grammar is divided into nine units that contain 107 topics, while Vocabulary has six units and 55 topics.
The Verb Drills section is where you can practice every Spanish tense and generate quizzes to test your knowledge.
There isn’t much to say about this site aside from the fact that it’s an absolutely excellent place for beginners to start their Spanish learning. It will build a solid foundation for future learning!
Don’t be fooled by the simplistic design of this website. The University of Texas’ Spanish course is every Spanish learner’s dream!
It’s divided into different levels, each one containing several tasks. Each task includes videos on the topic, grammar explanations, vocabulary, phrases with translations and a podcast!
If you enjoy a compact, fast-paced way of learning, this is where you should start. The beginner section could be a little more comprehensive, but the material that is available is simply awesome.
This resource is no longer available, but if you’re looking for something similar, take a look at Spanish Tutoring as an alternative below.
Headstart 2 is what I would call a different kind of Spanish course.
Please note that you need to allow Flash to run before you can use the site. If you’re not seeing the content, click on the “i” to the left of your address bar and make sure Flash is set to “Allow”—and voila! The page should load once you do this.
Accessing the course requires email registration, but once you do, you can see that it is divided into two big categories: “Sound and Script” and “Military.”
The first category contains 10 modules where you can learn about different topics in Spanish (like numbers, animals, commands, etc.) through the use of games, songs, audio exercises and more.
The second category is also composed of 10 modules, which introduce the student to vocabulary and topics related to military operations.
Yes! This is a Spanish course for soldiers!
Even if you aren’t a soldier, you will find the first category useful as a beginner. The “Military” category might not be as engaging if it does not apply to you, though.
Do you think you have what it takes to give it a try? Then get down and give me 20! Conjugations, that is.
Spanish Tutoring is an excellent resource for beginning learners. Spanish lessons are free—and divided by topic so if there are particular areas of interest it’s a snap to locate those and focus on that material.
Use this site as a resource for compiling personalized topic-specific vocabulary lists. Also, the lessons provide contextual meanings so learners know exactly when to use a specific word.
The audio is clear and concise, and is perfect for modeling pronunciation. Learners should take advantage of this feature to sharpen their conversational skills.
123teachme is yet another great website full of learning materials for beginners.
Divided into groups (or lessons), it starts with the basics of the Spanish language and ends with lessons covering the imperfect tense.
On the way to the last lesson, you’ll learn about numbers, tenses, quantifiers, prepositions… In short, you’ll learn everything you need to know to reach the intermediate level without even noticing.
Each lesson contains grammar explanations, vocabulary and sentence exercises and review quizzes, and all the Spanish examples are read by native speakers!
I must confess I’ve added this resource more for me than for the modern online student.
If you haven’t heard about the FSI, it’s a United States training course for government employees working in foreign affairs.
Most of the materials for these language courses were created about 50 years ago, but the’re overwhelmingly huge and comprehensive. For instance, the Spanish beginner’s course contains around 2,500 pages divided into 55 lessons!
I’m sure many of you prefer modern, interactive courses with colors, songs and whatnot, but if you are a romantic like me and are in love with old books and old audio files, you won’t find a single place on the internet where you could learn more Spanish than here.
A fair warning, though: 50-year-old audio files can be a little difficult to listen to sometimes.
Absolute beginning learners will benefit from this course. It’s easy to navigate, lessons build on previously learned material and it touches on the grammar and vocabulary basics that most beginning learners are interested in picking up at the outset of their learning adventure.
The majority of the grammar offers English explanations so there’s no guesswork about any of it. The lessons are separated into topics that include sports, fashion, music and food.
There’s also a general lesson that focuses on conversational dialogue, very basic vocabulary and some essential grammar. Pronouns, numbers, verbs and more are covered in the general lesson.
Interactive exercises, instant translations and engaging material make this basic course a super introduction to the Spanish language. This is an ideal course for anyone planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country—especially if you’re looking for a place to learn Spanish online!
The Open University makes learning Spanish for free an interesting endeavor. Their beginner’s course emphasizes communication skills so beginning learners are prepared to navigate Spanish-speaking locations and situations.
These online Spanish lessons teach learners to engage in conversations about transportation, places, buildings and directions.
The lessons include conversations, quizzes that learners can instantly check for results, vocabulary, grammar and photographs.
A bonus of taking this course is all the cultural material that’s included. Learning about places, historical facts, art, music and more is a wonderfully engaging way to learn without feeling like you’re working!
Learning Spanish for beginners is a snap with this site. There are lessons for every level from beginner to advanced, so when you have the basics down, it’s easy to level up.
Free Spanish lessons cover grammar and vocabulary. This is an excellent resource to use to build a foundational vocabulary—and I suggest using these vocabulary lists to make personalized lists or even flashcards.
Daily situations and conversational exchanges are taught using various exercises. Especially interesting are the “mixed up sentence” exercises.
Learners are challenged to order the snippets of conversation correctly so the dialogue makes sense. It’s a fun way to practice Spanish skills—and if you’re stuck there’s a “hint” option. This is a useful resource for powering up reading skills while having fun!
Also, the solution is available instantly so it’s a great way to instantly check for accuracy!
Learning Spanish for beginners is lots of fun with Spanish Uno. There’s a ton of resources that provide so many options it’s almost impossible to become bored using this site!
There are grammar and vocabulary lessons available that offer foundational skills. Games make practicing the basics fun—and there are so many game options that it’s a challenge to choose which one to play.
I recommend the vocabulary matching games for beginners. “Ailments and Hospitals” is a great starting point—it’s the first one I checked out and, honestly, pulled me right into these games. Check answers instantly and then go on to the next game on the category list!
Using this free course is a wise way to begin a Spanish language program. All of the essentials are covered, including basic vocabulary and grammar, introductions, counting, pronunciation and much more.
Both English and Spanish are used throughout the modules so even absolute beginners will be able to access and use the resources with ease. There’s even a section teaching how to type in Spanish, which eliminates any questions regarding Spanish punctuation!
Anyone who wants to learn Spanish free should consider using the course as an introduction to Spanish. The site offers additional Spanish courses—so as your skills increase you’ll have material waiting—and free and accessible!—to help you level up!
This free Spanish video course is designed for absolute beginners but is being supplemented to cover intermediate and advanced levels, as well.
There are three weekly lessons that teach vocabulary and grammar. Topics are introduced and explained. Exercises follow the lessons and are instantly checked to assess skills. It’s possible to go back and rewatch lessons—and then retake the exercises if desired.
Use these video lessons as an additional resource for your Spanish language program. The extra vocabulary and grammar practice is useful—and since the course is taught by professional Spanish instructors, pronunciation and content is on point!
edX’s learning platform offers thousands of online courses from some of the best institutions across the globe. It offers coursework free of charge. If a certificate of completion is needed for employment or educational purposes, there’s a small fee to obtain one.
Basic Spanish 1: Getting Started is offered from the University of Valencia as a free online course designed to teach conversational Spanish skills. The course runs for seven weeks, is totally self-paced and covers all conversational basics.
Coursework includes the alphabet and numbers, basic conjugation, conversation vocabulary and more. It includes cultural information that’ll be beneficial to any learner, but especially anyone who’s considering traveling to a Spanish-speaking location.
There are tests that gauge progress. Learners should take them, and use the assessments to determine what, if any, topics need to be revisited.
Notes in Spanish offers the opportunity to learn Spanish through podcasts. It’s a welcome change from the usual coursework—these podcasts are interesting and engaging, and listening to them hardly feels like studying!
The site provides material for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners. The levels are sectioned so choosing level-appropriate material is a snap.
The podcasts are free but there’s a fee to buy the worksheets that go with the podcasts. They’re a nice addition but they aren’t necessary.
A variety of topics are offered, including household items, holidays, places, customs and much more. The podcasts are short—most are under 30 minutes long—so they are bite-sized learning.
A great way to use these is to download a few. Then you’ll have accessible material wherever you are!
And that’s all, my friends! If you’re just starting to learn Spanish and don’t know where to start, these are the sites you should have a look at first. Try some of them for a couple of days and only then decide which one suits you best.
I’m glad you have decided to learn this amazing language. I wish you the best on this journey.
Never give up. Happy learning!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.