Free help desk software to keep your SMB running smoothly

These four tools can help small or medium size businesses manage their help desks and track bugs.

You can track help desk requests in a spreadsheet, but why go that route when there are plenty of help desk tools that meet the limited budget requirements of your small or medium size company? With these tools, you can keep better track of your system issues and retain a documented trail of what has been done. These are my picks for the best of the free help desk solutions.

1: Spiceworks

Spiceworks is a pure powerhouse for a free application. Yes, it's ad-based, but the fact that this help desk and bug tracking tool offers more than you probably need should make up for it. IT staff will like that the ticketing system allows them to assign tickets to specific users, assign priorities, add attachments, give due dates, and more.

These are some of the features that come with Spiceworks:

  • Asset management
  • Cloud services discovery
  • Android and iPad apps
  • Complete network scans (via nmap)
  • Uuser portal for ticket entry
  • Rackspace account management
  • Warranty tracking
  • Reporting tools
  • An easy to use dashboard (Figure A)

If you wind up with a problem on your network or with the application, search for the issue on the Spiceworks forums, and you might find a resolution.

Figure A


2: MantisBT

MantisBT is open source software that does a great job of tracking and managing bugs. Written in PHP, Mantis uses a MySQL database and serves up a very easy to use web-based interface where end users can submit bugs and administrators can track and manage them.

These are some of the features that come with MantisBT:

  • Easy to install on Windows, Linux, Mac, Solaris, etc.
  • Customizable issues page
  • Multiple projects per instance
  • Project/sub-project/category support
  • User access control
  • Changelog support
  • Search and filter
  • Reporting (Figure B)

MantisBT also offers an Android and an iOS app that allows users to report bugs on the go.

Figure B


3: Zoho Support

Zoho Support is the help desk component of the Zoho business-class groupware suite. The tool has three levels, but the free version will suffice for many smaller companies. You should, however, look at the feature comparison to see if either the Professional ($12.00 USD per agent/per month) or the Enterprise ($25.00 per agent/per month) edition is better suited for your business.

The free solution offers plenty of features, which include:

  • Unlimited agents
  • Product-based tracking
  • Task assignment
  • Contacts and accounts management
  • Customer portal
  • Forums add-on
  • Solution folders
  • Knowledge base
  • Solution to article conversion
  • Unlimited portal users
  • Custom themes/widgets
  • Domain mapping

Zoho Support (Figure C) is one of the best help desk solutions if you don't want to install anything on your local network or machines. It will take a while to get the system up and running to your exact needs, but the time and effort is well worth it, especially if you already use the other Zoho tools.

Figure C


4: SysAid Free Edition

SysAid Free Edition is another web-based help desk solution that is available for Windows and Linux. Although the free version has a number of limitations -- two admins, 100 asset limit, 100 end user limit, and limited system integration/customization options -- it still offers the features you need in a help desk tool, which include the following and more:

  • Asset management
  • End user portal
  • Live chat
  • Knowledge base
  • SMS integration
  • Escalation rules
  • Reports
  • IT benchmark

You also get one remote control channel where you can offer remote support to end users. If you find the SysAid Free Edition (Figure D) solid but too limiting, the Basic Edition is $270.00 USD (starting price) per year.

Figure D


Tell us in the discussion which help desk tool you'd recommend to a small or medium size business.

Also read: 10 ways to maximize your help desk investment


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website


HI,, I don't think you have checked it Thoroughly.. All that features you are talking about like self service portal for customers, Knowledge base access.. are all covered in Customer Care module of C-Desk which you got to download separately. Additionally it also has notice board where you can publish your announcements to all customers or customer specific announcement . C-Desk as a base application is all about internal service request management.. + Customer Care module added brings in customer complaints and tickets to the right department. Also you can link the Customer complaint internally with any department , thus enabling multiple departments to help the customer and get his issue resolved faster. You can refer for complete list of features...  + Additionally other bundled features like E-Logs, Task Management, Photo gallery, and many more ..

John Pischer
John Pischer

I've tried out C-desk but ultimately settled on .  Cayzu has a really nice GUI and gives out a lot at no charge.  My customers especially love my end-user portal as it allows them to not only search my knowledge base items but also allows them to view their own ticket history.  Been using these guys for quite a while and really considering upgrading to their paid account as some of the stuff that has been added would really help me save some time.

Hope everyone finds what they are looking for!


Yes We have been Using C-Desk from Last one and a half year.. It has now become our daily requirement. It has Bundles of Features that large organization needs..  Service request management / Helpdesk. Knowledge base search, Asset Management, Log Book, Task management, Events and photo gallery , birthday Calender, Notice Board, Customer Care, Surverys and polls,  and many many more.. The best part is more you use more they customise it for your specific needs.. Like we created our Process monitoring on C-Desk.  And Its Completely Free, no users limits no agents limit.. I mean Completely unlimitedly free..

All you Need to do is register your organization on their Portal and download the app.. you also get your free license key along with that.. and they also help you in installation and implementation on mail and on remote without any charges..


Try OTRS with KIX4OTRS. It's free and open source. It covers the main ITIL requirements. It also has own CMDB which is flexible and can be used also for ot typical IT equipment / items. KIX4OTRS extends the basic system of OTRS with more ergonomic user interfaces, various possibilities for integration of data (monitoring data from Nagios/Icinga/etc., ERP data for commission and delivery data, inventory data from client management systems like baramundi or opsi), CTI and a better support for workflows within the OTRS-based systems. 

More information at: 


TRY C-DESK.. Good service desk application with lots of other features for whole organisation.

1. service request management  (Not only for IT but for all departments) so service category can be assigned to anyone and he starts receiving requests raised by others for that category..

2. Asset management (Manual) So covers life cycle of all assets not only IT and networked assets..

3. Knowledge base.

4. Photo gallery

5. notice board

6. Log book

7. Active directory integration.. so users can login with same username and password.

8. Monitored Tasks and project management.

9. Surveys and Polls.

10. Customer care module so that customer service requests are routed to internal users

and many other features .. It basically works like a tailor made intranet solution

You just need to register your organization and you get a free license key with


We used jitbit's ticketing system at the hospital I work at, it offers both hosted and "on-premise" versions Great tool even though we miss the Twitter integration.


Cayzu Help Desk has all the bells and whistles and gives you the first 3 agents free forever.

Its worth checking them out at: 


To be honest - Gmail has a plethora of amazing features built in that can be more than enough for your needs. Then again, if you want a "truly free" help desk software that can compete with paid versions, let me know :) I'm looking for one too!

It sounds like I'm trying to sell you something, but I'm not - it's free! Check out and let me know what you think.

  • Unlimited agents, unlimited users, unlimited company spaces
  • Task assignment, internal notes
  • SLA, automations, ticket triggers
  • Customer portal
  • Users can ask a question, report a problem, give praise, suggest idea
  • Feedback Widget
  • Knowledge base
  • Solution to article conversion
  • Domain mapping
  • Branding

We used to use an on-premise based help desk solution but found it to be way to hard to manage.  We now use Cayzu's free help desk, .  Everything is hosted by them which makes things easy.


we personally use ( Vision Helpdesk)  it handles multiple companies helpdesk ticket quit easy and one the best helpdesk software at really cheap price, we have used Kayako previously but I should agree Vision helpdesk has done a great job.


I would mention GLPI as well. It's biggest added-value is the integrated asset management, but it can be used as a helpdesk solution only, and includes interesting business rules (a problem in such location or such category will be routed to such team).


I have created a held desk support ticketing website myself, found here at  It's 100% free (with reasonable AD support), hosted, and takes minutes to set up with no software to install.  I am a newcomer to developing websites and this is my personal project.  Please feel free to check it out and leave me any feedback (link found on the website).  Thanks!


OSticket and RequestTracker are other widely used open-source solutions. If you like easy and web 2.0, try Freshdesk - free for 3 support agents, includes an integrated kbase.


OTRS is certainly an option.  We went with and the 3 agent free option.  They won because the free option includes REAL tech support!  w00T!!!  New product, old vendor (Vivantio)...worth a look IMHO.

Web Help Desk doesn't seem to have a free version since SolarWinds consumed it.  Zendesk....not help desk software.  It's customer support software.  It can't handle internal IT support.  Not robust enough.


Zendesk is great, just $20 per year for the starter edition. All web based and hosted at Zendesk,  smart phone apps, connect via social networks, email, phone. 

One of the best features is the ability to forward email messages to the support desk and then Zendesk will strip your email address and just add the actors email address as the initiator of the open ticket.


How about OTRS (Open Ticket Reqest System)? We're using it to support an enterprise system for the USAF. With over 4000 configuration options and the ability to get or build add-on modules for additional functionality, there isn't much it can't do. They have a subscription version as well as an open source version. Development is very active.


You left out another great one...Web Help Desk by SolarWinds. Definitely worth a look.

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