When we're looking for a free domain name or a free hosting provider, you always need to read the fine print. It's easy to get lost in a sea of documents, agreements, and advertisements.
And then it's four months later, your site doesn't work and you have to pay for your free hosting. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, we searched the web for reliable and trustworthy providers.
Here are the 5 best free domain names and hosting providers, that I can recommend:
- 000webhost (High quality, reputable free hosting)
- DreamHost (Free domain name and hosting for non-profits)
- WordPress.com (Free hosting and subdomain)
- GoDaddy (Web hosting with a free domain)
- Wix (Free hosting for beautiful sites)
Reliable and free web hosting with free subdomain
000webhost is a great choice for a free domain name and web hosting because it offers an entirely free domain hosting package. Meaning that you can get your website up and running, without entering any credit card info.
Of course, we meet our first catch - it offers a free subdomain (e.g. MySite.000webhost.com) rather than a free unique domain. But unlike many less-reputable "free web hosts", you are able to register a domain with a separate service and add it to your package.
000webhost is using CloudLinux, that's why you can enjoy a super stable and secure website, it guarantees you a 99.9% uptime rate.
Packages like WordPress, and server management tools like PHP, are included with every plan, giving you the freedom to use your CMS of choice to manage your site. What's more, 000webhost's free plan comes with 1GB of storage and 10GB of bandwidth.
- Highly reputable free web host
- Reliable with 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Useful CMS packages included
- The ability to add a domain
- Limited storage and bandwidth
- Only subdomains are free
Free domain name and hosting for non-profit organizations
DreamHost is a very interesting and unique case. You can get both hosting and domain name for free as long as you run a non-profit organization that is registered in the United States.
DreamHost is helping non-profit organizations do more good. Even if you don't run an USA based non-profit, you can still get something from it. You can get a free domain name for a full year when you order a hosting plan.
A domain is free, but you pay for hosting. Shared hosting will cost you about $2.59 a month and $13.75 for VPS. What do you get for that price?
With the cheapest plan, you can get unlimited traffic and storage space, WordPress pre-install, and free SSL. It's a great deal, the only downside is that if you want ta have an email ending with your site URL, it's going to empty your wallet by at least $1.67 per month.
- Totally free hosting and domain, but only for non-profits
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth
- 24/7 live chat and ticket support
- No phone support
- Not everyone will qualify for a free domain name
- No free email address
Free hosting with subdomain
You probably have heard about WordPress.com, it's a free hosting provider that allows you to have a free website with a subdomain. Let's see what can we get without spending money.
The subdomain you get with the free plan is mysite.wordpress.com. If you want you can upgrade to .blog extension for just $3/mo and .com for about $5/mo.
While the bandwidth is unlimited with every WordPress.com plan, the storage space they give you is 3GB. That's not terrible, but if you want to have photos or videos on your website, it will fill up fast.
But remember those catches that keep appearing? Well, the reality is that WordPress.com is very restrictive. You can't have custom plugins, themes or even modify the structure of your page. Even custom CSS and more options will cost you money.
If you want all the functionality and control that the CMS has to offer, but don't want to pay tons of money to WordPress.com, you can buy a dedicated hosting. In our review of the best WordPress hosting providers, we found out that some of them even offer free domain names.
Even though it has a lot of restrictions and limitations, WordPress.com is still a great option to start your blog or a website. Without paying anything you can create your site and share it with other WordPress users, which in turn can lead to more people visiting your page.
It's important to note that ads, analytic and SEO are all built-in, meaning that you cant use third party plugins like Google Analytics. Oh, and how can we forget about the watermark at the bottom of the page that proudly states that your site was created with WordPress.
- Free subdomain and hosting
- Everything is optimized automatically
- Users can find your site through WordPress
- Easy to set up a blog
- Restricted storage space
- Can't monetize your site
- Can't add custom themes and plugins
- Watermarks at the bottom of your site
Affordable web hosting with free domain
While GoDaddy doesn't have free hosting but it has something special nonetheless. It offers a free domain name (up to $12.99/yr) when purchasing a new hosting plan. And this domain name will be free for the entire duration of your first hosting purchase, whether it be 12, 24 or 36 months.
And while $12.99/yr means that you won't be able to choose from all domain names in the world, the prices of hosting at GoDaddy makes it a good deal. If we choose the cheapest plan, we can get 3 years of hosting and free domain names for just $215.
As well as a free domain with a hosting plan, GoDaddy offers Office 365 email and unlimited bandwidth. While the cheapest plan gives you limited resources, the more expensive options give unlimited storage, websites and databases, it even throws in a free SSL and premium DNS.
And you really don't have to worry about risking anything here, GoDaddy has a 30 days money-back guarantee, so you can create a website without any fears. There are tools to help you out here, such as 1-click backup and restore, 24/7 security monitoring and 1-click CMS installations.
As one of the industry leaders, GoDaddy offers 24/7 customer support service by phone and by email. But where it stands out is the locations of call centers. You can get support by phone in 51 countries all around the world - Now that's what I would call support.
- Free domain name for up to 3 years
- Free Office 365 Email for 1 year
- 24/7 support all over the world by phone
- You need to buy hosting
- Free SSL and premium DNS available only with higher-tier plans
Beautiful free sites with a free subdomain
Wix is more of a website builder than a website host. Its famed template-based drag-and-drop website builder lets you create stunning websites quickly and easily.
That said, Wix offers a free plan which comes with a subdomain. Unfortunately, you can't add a custom domain to the free plan and Wix will place adverts on your site that you can't remove.
Now since it's completely free we get some tight limitations, Wix's free plan has a storage and bandwidth cap of 500MB. That's terrible if you want to run a website with lots of multimedia. But it's a great option for starting up a webpage for your ideas or for a simple blog.
Simple is not the right word here, because of Wix website builder your website content will stand out from the rest. If you can deal with the storage limitations and only use a subdomain, then Wix is a perfect and easy choice.
- Free plan available
- Wonderful and straightforward site builder
- Free subdomain included
- No 24/7 live support is available
- Bandwidth and storage both highly limited
- Can't add a custom domain
Best Free Domain and Hosting for You?
When choosing between a free domain name or a free hosting, you have to ask yourself a question: what exactly do you need and what you can live without? No provider is going to fulfill all your needs for free, but if you're clever, you can have a free website today.
After learning what each provider gives, we can look at them again and summarize:
- is best for reliable free hosting with a free subdomain and great additions to help create your site
- is a landmark in generosity, with free hosting and a domain for non-profit organizations
- WordPress.com gives you free blog and free hosting for it
- GoDaddy offers free domain name for up to 3 years when you buy hosting
- Wix provides amazing free sites that give your content a real chance to stand out
After all the research we can split these providers into 3 groups based on what they give for free:
Totally free website hosts that only offer free subdomains;
Paid hosts which include a free custom domain with their plans;
And hosts that offer certain organizations totally free domain registration and hosting.
Think I've missed an awesome free domain name provider, or maybe you found some hidden treasure while searching? Tell me all about them in the comments below!