How to Place a Classified Ad on Craigslist

By Megan Maier

Sell your items locally on Craigslist.
i Szepy/iStock/Getty Images

Craigslist gets more than 50 billion page views per month, so you’ve chosen the right place to post your classified ad. You can post a free classified ad on Craigslist without having an account or logging in, but creating an account allows you to edit and repost more easily.

Choose Category

If you don’t have a Craigslist account or don’t want to sign up for one, you can still post an ad. First go to and make sure the location the site chose for you is correct. If the location is wrong, choose another from the list of available locations. Click post to classifieds. Select a category for your ad from the list of posting types. Depending on the type of ad you’re posting, you may be asked to choose additional categories. For example, in “for sale” you can select a more specific category for your ad, such as "for sale by owner" or "for sale by dealer" and a more precise location.

Publish Ad

Choose a title for your ad and write a description. Craigslist requires that you enter your email address twice, but the service will not share it with your potential buyers. When you are finished, click continue. Depending on the category of your ad, Craigslist may offer the option to add images. After you add images, click done with images. Confirm everything is accurate and click publish. If you need to make changes, click edit text or edit images. Craigslist then sends you an email to confirm your ad. Open the email from Craigslist and click the confirmation link. Your post should appear on Craigslist in about 15 minutes.

Use Account

Using your Craigslist account allows you to edit your post from your account homepage. Otherwise, you'll have to use the link provided in the original email from Craigslist about your posting. To use your Craigslist account to create a posting, go to your account homepage. Select a city from the drop-down list next to “new posting in” and click go. The remaining steps are the same as if you were not using your account to publish an ad.

Consider Limitations

Posting ads on Craigslist is free, unless you post a job in certain cities, broker apartment rentals in New York City or post an ad for therapeutic services anywhere in the United States. Additionally, automotive and tickets postings by dealer cost $5 each. Craigslist does not allow you to post the same ad to different locations, so limit your posting to a single area and category, once every 48 hours. If you select a specific county for your ad, it will still appear on the main city site for your location. Craigslist prohibits certain items such as weapons, recalled items, pet sales, food stamps and lottery tickets. Post a set price, and do not solicit bidding.

Avoid Scams

To avoid being scammed on Craigslist, deal locally and meet face-to-face. Avoid offers that involve shipping and do not purchase anything without seeing it first. Do not wire funds or accept cashier checks, certified checks or money orders. You should suspect a scam if you receive an email from someone outside of your area, receive a vague initial inquiry or the buyer says he cannot meet face-to-face. Use common sense and have someone home with you for the meeting or meet in a public place.