This article will outline the best free web hosting providers out there as well as give you a few pointers on what to look for.
Having created hundreds of websites, I have used a fair share of free web hosting solutions over the years. And believe me, they aren't so bad if you set your expectations appropriately.
So, what can you expect from a web hosting service which doesn't cost a single dime?
Quite a lot, actually. Over the last few years, free web hosting providers managed to shave their server loading times down to a few milliseconds which was unheard of. Recent developments in Cloud hosting also allowed budget servers to maintain a respectable uptime.
So if they are able to keep your website fast and reliable, why aren't we all using free web hosting services? It's not like there isn't any demand:
That's how many users search for 'free web hosting' in Google every month.
Well, it's because web hosting companies are ran by businesses, and they tend to use free web hosting as a reliable customer acquisition channel.
This means that companies are only giving you free web hosting in hopes that you are going to buy their stuff in the future.
Basically, it could put users in a very awkward position where the company would use its power to give you no choice but to upgrade.
Luckily, there are a few free web hosting providers who don't abuse their power.
Top 5 best free website hosting options
After testing dozens of providers, I rounded up 5 of the best free web hosting options. Since neither of them cost any money, you are free (literally) to try each of them yourself. Here are the best free website hosting providers that deliver what they promise:
- 000webhost - free web hosting to learn web development.
- Wix - best free web hosting with site builder.
- WordPress.com - beginner-friendly free web hosting.
- FreeHosting.com - free hosting with a lot of server space.
- Freehostia - free cloud hosting for small sites.
Let's have a look at them in more detail:
1. 000webhost - Best free hosting platform for tech rookies
000webhost is perhaps the most popular provider offering its services to millions of users worldwide. And we are not surprised why:
The host is one of a few that offer free web hosting with no ads, include cPanel, and support PHP and MySQL databases. While these are great features if you want to play around with code and databases yourself, it's also a great choice for beginners.
For novices, 000webhost also has an easy to use website builder. And more importantly, it's the fastest provider on our list.
The free plan gives you 1GB of disk space and 10GB of bandwidth. You'll also be able to connect your own domain. Although if you need an email - that's not included.
So, the free package features:
- 1GB disk space and 10GB bandwidth
- cPanel hosting
- WordPress auto-installer
- Interactive website builder
- Option to use your own domain
- No ads
- Possibility to monetize
While disk space and bandwidth look really limited, an average WordPress website takes around 1GB of space. Unfortunately, bandwidth limitation can really slow the website down if traffic peaks. But that is common with all free web hosts.
The real drawback is - there's no customer support. But you're not left completely on your own. You can get help in 000webhost knowledgebase which is really extensive or visit the active community forum.
This makes the provider not exactly fit for a serious business website but upstanding for learning web development or hosting small personal projects.
So we stepped in and actually tested 000webhost services to see if it's actually any good.
000webhost server performance test
000webhost guarantees 99% uptime and blazing speed.
And the results show that the provider is right at least about the speed. 000webhost is the fastest free web hosting provider that we've tested.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about the uptime. The uptime guarantee of 99% allows the provider to be down for 14 minutes every day. And 000webhost uses this gap - it averages at 99.76% uptime. This can result in 3 minutes and 27 seconds of downtime daily.
Almost free 000webhost alternative
If you feel that 000webhost is a bit too limited for you, there's actually a great alternative for less than $1/month.
Imagine getting premium hosting for a price of.. well - a city bus ticket.
Starting at $0.99/mo, a premium web hosting provider Hostinger gives its users 10GB of disk space and 100GB of bandwidth, email account, custom control panel with hundreds of auto-installer scripts, and most importantly - exceptional 24/7 customer support.
Of course, this kills the point of free web hosting. But considering that you can get fully-featured premium hosting for such price - it's worth considering.
000webhost is our best free web hosting provider even with a couple of drawbacks. It's perfect for learning and small projects and offers fast servers with a bunch of options to customize. And it also has a good premium hosting alternative that you wouldn't even notice on your bank account.
- Ad-free hosting
- Fast server response times
- Possible to connect a domain
- Unstable uptime
- No customer support
2. Wix - The easiest way to build a website for free
Wix is a popular site builder offering free web hosting. Its service is purely designed to be hassle-free for anyone who needs a website and doesn’t want to get into the technicalities. Features like Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) and the industry's most customizable drag-and-drop editor ensures that.
We can confirm it too - Wix offers you the easiest and fastest way to create a free website.
In fact, it is possible to get your free website online within 3 minutes of you opening Wix’s main page. We tested it:
The best part about Wix is the largest library of beautiful and free website templates. Wix brand is entirely weaved around the fact of providing the most refined website templates.
On the other hand, Wix is a site builder and not a hosting provider. This means, that the set of features differs:
- 500GB disk space and bandwidth
- No custom domain
- Drag-and-drop site editor
- Customer support
- Wix ads
- No file manager
As you can see, Wix is pretty limited - it's not possible to monetize your site and you're limited to Wix platform only.
Having said that, Wix is not at all bad. It gives a possibility for web development newbies to create a website really fast and easy. And thanks to 1000s of design elements and responsive templates, the website is going to look good.
But that's not all that's important. You wouldn't want your site to be down or loading for ages. We also tested Wix performance.
Wix server performance test
Wix uses the Cloud platform to ensure fast hosting and gives its users a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
And from what we can see, Wix keeps its promises well. The server response time averages at 358ms. The uptime is even better than promised - 99.99%.
Wix result is really great - you can expect it to be up and running at all times. However, the platform tries really hard to make you a paying customer.
This is why Wix only provides you with 500MB of storage space that can only fit a small static website.
Wix is a great option for free hosting with site builder. It is fast, reliable, and simple to use. On the other hand, if you need a professional-looking website it's a bit different. Wix ads, subdomain, and data limitations may restrict this possibility.
- Customizable drag-and-drop editor
- Customer support
- Free SSL included
- Wix ads
- No custom domain
3. WordPress.com - Beginner-friendly free web hosting
WordPress.com is a hosted WordPress platform that happens to offer a free plan as well. The provider aims to make publishing online content available to everyone. It simplifies the WordPress platform to the basics so even a complete beginner can understand it.
Of course, WordPress main goal is to make you a paying customer. Therefore the free plan is fairly limited.
Being a WordPress hosting provider, it's only possible to use the CMS for your online project. You also get 3GB of storage space, Jetpack Essential features, and the platform is way more limited than the CMS you would install on any other hosting account.
But that does not mean you cannot use WordPress.com for a nice personal website. You can check what features the platform provides:
- 3GB disk space
- Managed WordPress CMS
- Several dozen free WordPress themes and plugins
- Huge community support
- Reliable performance
Sounds good for a small personal blog or a learning opportunity - you can start free and upgrade whenever you are ready.
Unfortunately, if you want a professional-looking custom domain name - it won't be possible. Also, WordPress.com restricts you from uploading your own themes and using certain plugins. It puts WordPress.com advertising and banners on your site as well.
So it looks like WordPress.com will be good for everything except monetization. We also tested its performance to see if it can compare to other hosts.
WordPress.com server performance test
WordPress.com has a 99.9% server uptime guarantee and is well optimized.
In fact, WordPress.com outperforms its claims - during our testing, we've got 100% uptime. The response time is also good, it averages at around 362ms.
Just keep in mind that Google recommends the response time to be less than 200ms. But when you think about more realistic difference - one eyeblink (200ms) or two, is not something a human eye can really notice.
WordPress.com is a reliable and fast hosting choice for a small personal website, like a blog. However, keep in mind that it isn't suitable for monetization and business ventures.
- A lot of disc space
- Good performance
- Community support
- WordPress.com ads
- No monetization possibilities
4. FreeHosting.com - The most generous free web hosting
Recently having undergone a proper design overhaul, FreeHosting.com offers powerful free cPanel hosting. In fact, the provider is the most generous one in this list when talking about server resources as well. It offers 10GB of disc space and unmetered bandwidth.
If that wasn't impressive enough, FreeHosting includes a number of ways to build a website - cPanel with 400+ auto-installer scripts for CMSs like WordPress or Joomla and a drag-and-drop site builder with almost 170 templates.
So as you can see, FreeHosting has many great features. But there's one catch.
In order to use FreeHosting services, you need to either have a registered domain or purchase one from the provider.
This is not exactly bad as you can host a professional-looking website for free. And some of the best domain registrars often have excellent discounts.
So let's take a look at what is included in FreeHosting package:
- 10GB disk space and unlimited bandwidth
- Hosting for 1 website
- 1 email account
- 1 MySQL database
- cPanel hosting
- Site builder with 170+ templates
- 400+ auto-installer scripts
Despite a couple of nice add-ons and big data allowances, FreeHosting is actually very limited. Especially if you want to expand - 1 MySQL database is going to limit you a lot.
And that's not the only problem.
FreeHosting has a lot of upsells. It seems that even the most simplistic web hosting features are hidden behind an unreasonable price tag.
- $14.95 for a subdomain? You can get a .com domain registered for two years for that much.
- Almost $30 for a “let’s encrypt” SSL certificate? You know, the SSL certificate which is free by default?
- DNS editor for $19.95? You can actually get a premium host’s subscription for at least 3-6 months for that much
Yet, the biggest downside of FreeHosting.com is that you can’t set up a website unless you already own a domain name. Of course, you can buy a domain from them, which frankly beats the point of creating a website for free.
All of the drawbacks can, of course, be outweighed by great performance. So we've put FreeHosting servers to the test.
FreeHosting server performance test
Sadly, FreeHosting does not offer any uptime guarantee. And it shows.
Throughout the testing, FreeHosting averaged 99.63% uptime. The response time was not excellent as well - 731.41ms.
This means that FreeHosting is not a highly-available hosting provider and the extra features don't make up for poor performance.
So unless you already have a domain and need hosting for a small website - there is a bunch of better free hosting providers with site builder and cPanel.
FreeHosting looks great from the surface - it has many great features and generous data allowances. Unfortunately, its performance is not keeping up.
- Big disk space and bandwidth allowance
- Easy to use website builder
- Auto-installer script
- Below-average performance
- Expensive upsells
5. Freehostia - The most advanced free web hosting
Ambitiously calling itself "the ads-free hosting Paradise on Earth", Freehostia sure makes a bold claim to fulfill. In addition to paid web hosting plans, fancily named Watercircle, Lovebeat, Wildhoney and Supernatural, the host also provides free cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting means that instead of being stored on one specific server, your data is encrypted and put in multiple data centers. You may find out more in our blog post about cloud hosting. Overall though, it's an exciting technology and it's great to see companies offering it free of charge.
But good things rarely come without some massive drawbacks. Especially when it comes to free website hosting.
This is no exception, with 250MB disk space and 6GB of bandwidth limitations, Freehostia successfully designed the perfect web hosting service for ants!
Jokes aside, 250MB disk space is inconceivably low for any website. Even a static one.
You can check what's included in Freehostia free plan exactly:
- 250MB disks space and 6GB of bandwidth
- 5 hosted domains
- 3 email accounts
- 1 MySQL database
- 1-click installations
- SSL certificate
- 24/7 customer support
So despite a couple of cool features like 1-click installations, free SSL, and customer support, Freehostia is still very limited. You'd be able to install the WordPress core, but that's about it. Average WordPress site takes somewhere around 1GB of storage space.
And the drawbacks are not over yet.
To host your site with Freehostia, you need to transfer a domain name or buy one from the provider. So the whole free hosting concept is basically thrown down the drain.
Of course, this makes your website look professional. Unlike with a host-brand subdomain. But considering the data limitations, you would barely be able to create a simple one-pager.
Nonetheless, we also tested Freehostia performance.
Freehostia server performance test
Although Freehostia does not provide an uptime guarantee, its results are pretty good.
Freehostia managed to stay up for 99.99% of the time during the testing. The response time was also okay - 517ms.
For a free hosting provider such a result is actually very good. So with Freehostia, you won't get loads of resources. But at the very least, the servers are optimized for speed and can compare to some of the more popular options.
Freehostia is best for those who already have a domain name and want to test out how hosting works. Unfortunately, data limitations won't let you create a fully functional website.
- Cloud hosting
- Good server performance
- 24/7 customer support
- Low disk space and bandwidth allowance
- Need to have your own domain
Why we don't recommend free web hosting
Although free web hosting looks like a good solution for small personal projects, we don't recommend and that involves a number of reasons:
That includes reliability, hidden fees, security flaws, data limitations, and even ownership of your content.
So let's take a closer look at all of these free web hosting risks.
#1 Free web hosting is rarely reliable
Reliability includes a number of aspects - server performance, uptime, and even a company itself. Many free web hosting providers look like scam websites. And no surprise - they are. So before you jump head straight for your free hosting, consider that:
- Your free hosting provider doesn't care about your site performance. Though at first the results can look good, don't be surprised when the response times drop down to seconds.
- Uptime is also not a guarantee. A web hosting provider can go down for days at a time and you won't be able to do anything - there's no contract that makes the host liable.
- The company itself can shut down any time taking your site with it - there's no guarantee that this won't happen.
While all this is the worst-case scenario - it can happen. Before you commit to something, it's good to know the risks.
#2 Hidden fees exist
I will guess that you've heard that nothing is free. And it's really close to the truth.
There are hosts like 000webhost, WordPress.com, and Wix that allow you to build and publish a site for free. But these are rare gems. Other providers on our list require you to buy a domain name before you can use their free web hosting services.
So that kills the whole "free web hosting" thing.
You can also expect to pay for such essentials like SSL certificate. Or extra disk space to be able to actually make a functioning website as a Freehostia example shows.
#3 Security flaws
Because of the expanding web security market every year, free web hosting providers cannot afford advanced services to keep their users secure.
And that opens you to a number of problems - hacked websites, leaked data, DDoS attacks, etc.
This comes from the lack of basic security measures - not encrypted personal data, lack of SSL certificates, website monitoring, and backups.
So if you still want to choose free web hosting, make sure you're able to perform backups, your data is encrypted, and SSL certificates are available. But if security is more important to you than a couple of dollars a month, you can look at the best cheap hosting options that can give you both secure and reliable services.
#4 Your server resources are going to be very limited
To be able to put as many customers on the precious server space, providers limit the storage and bandwidth to the maximum.
This means that you'll need to try especially hard to fit into the provided resources with some hosts. Let's take Freehostia as an example. It provides only 250MB of disk space (extra can be bought separately). This would barely fit a static website, considering that the average WordPress site takes more or less 1GB of disk space.
So if you decide to choose free hosting, consider that you will have to:
- Forget about highly visual web pages.
- Compress all images as much as possible.
- Forget about video backgrounds, scroll effects, etc.
- Get used to slow loading pages when traffic peaks.
And this is just a very small part of your limitations. Once again - if you only plan on using a free website for personal projects, it might be right. But if you're looking for a business opportunity - any premium option will do a much better job.
#5 You are not always the owner of your content
How many times have you read the fine print of Terms of Services? Probably not too many.
But when it comes to free services and your content aka intellectual property, it would be nice to know that you own it. And that's not always the case with free hosting providers.
Once you publish a site with your written article - it becomes the provider's content.
That's, again, the worst-case scenario. Some providers claim all the rights to your content while others keep the right to distribute your content for their or their partners' purposes.
Fortunately, none of the hosts we listed claim all the rights to user content. However, 000webhost and WordPress reserve a right to use your content for advertising purposes.
Free web hosting FAQ
We've looked at the most common questions about free web hosting and found the answers to all of them.
But before we begin - yes, free web hosting exists yet it's not for everyone.
Is free web hosting right for me?
We don't recommend free hosting but it might be right for you if:
- You want to learn web development.
- You are not planning to monetize.
- You need a website for personal use.
- You want to make a website for a school project.
So unless one of the reasons match your goals - we recommend you go and look for a $1 hosting provider that can do a way better job.
What's the difference between paid and free web hosting?
Essentially paid and free web hosting is the same service. Both of them can get your website online. However, free web hosting is much more limited than paid. It includes:
- Disk space and bandwidth limitations.
- Lack of customization options.
- Unreliable server performance.
- Hidden fees.
- Lack of customer support.
- Requirements to have or no possibility to have a custom domain name.
- Lack of basic security measures.
So all in all, both paid and free hosting will get you online. But to have a professional website you'll need to stick to paid options.
Is free web hosting safe?
Depending on a provider, free web hosting can be both safe and risky. Some of the free hosts are backed by large and reputable companies and are fairly reliable. Others are trying to establish a business (often unsuccessfully) or are a scam.
Nevertheless, free web hosting comes with risks and we generally don't recommend it.
How to get a free domain and hosting?
Generally, you'll need to choose one or another. You'll need to either buy a domain name and host it with one of the free providers that allow this or get hosting that provides free domain names.
There's also an almost free workaround for this. There are domain names for as low as $0.01/year. For this, you'll need to go through several domain registrars and find your offer.
How do free web hosting companies make money?
There are 2 main ways in which free web hosting companies can make money. The most common one is putting their ads and banners on your website. Also, providers often profit from you purchasing their premium hosting or buying extras like domain names and extra storage space.
Other than these, providers can make money by selling the company once the user base is big enough or becoming a paid service altogether.
Best free web hosting - the verdict
Though not without their flaws, these companies showed the best results of performance and features. They also proved to be secure and reliable enough for us to showcase them. Here's the summary of the best free web hosting providers on the market today:
- 000webhost - the only platform where you can choose to use their subdomain or connect your own. It's also great for learning website development as it supports PHP and MySQL.
- Wix - best free web hosting to make a website fast an easy with powerful site builder. With a huge library of pre-made templates, you can both host and create a beautiful website completely for free.
- WordPress.com - the best free hosting platform to head-start your personal website. This platform will suit non-monetized personal ventures, such as blogs.
- FreeHosting.com - lots of server space for those who already have a domain name. However, watch out for the upsells.
- Freehostia - the only company offering free cloud hosting. With data limitations, this will be a fast and good choice for small websites.
Pick the one that's best for your project. But also - keep in mind that choosing a good web hosting provider might save you a lot of money in the future in case something goes wrong with your free web hosting choice.