Free stuff is always great. Money is a precious thing and it's important to save! Therefore, if you can avoid paying money for something, you always have to take a chance. Saving money on web products is a good first step trying to make money online! So you'll to be happy to hear that free website hosting definitely exists - but there are some things that are worth looking into before you make that final decision.
If you’re not careful, you may get tricked into paying a lot of money or getting low-quality services. Who wants that? No one, I bet! After doing my fair bit of research, I have made this article which will help you find the best free web hosting services. A list of brilliant companies and a lot of great tips will help you avoid getting fooled.
There's no shame in trying to save!
Never make yourself feel bad for looking at free website hosting services. It's perfectly fine if you want to save money and nothing's cheaper than free! Sadly, these seemingly generous offers can often become a simple bait for users who are looking for a good deal. Something like free WordPress hosting may suddenly turn into an issue!
If you get hooked by a fraudulent provider, your free website hosting services might be underpowered, full of advertisements, very limited or just downright awful. Very often the old saying “you get what you pay for” may prove to be correct.
So what should you look for in your free web hosting provider? The main points to judge a provider by are very simple:
Best free website hosting is the one that works well, suits your needs and is reliable.
Luckily, there is a range of such options to choose from. Here, I will look through several web hosting providers and their products in order to decide what is the best free website hosting platform. With a plethora of options, I hope it will become easier for you to make an informed decision. When looking for free website hosting online, you will find two types of services available. Here's what they are.
What are your free options?
Free website builder. They do not offer free server hosting but simply give you a space to create a website on. Examples of such services are Wix, Weebly, and uCraft. There are plenty more - but these are arguably 3 of my favorite ones.
Free website hosting. A more advanced and "serious" solution. While using such services, you won't be limited as much as by using website builders. You are able to select a content management system of your choice (i.e. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.) and use the allowed resources to build your website. Examples of such services are 000webhost, Awardspace - and a few of others listed below.
Let’s review both of these services and see what exactly you get when choosing the most popular free website hosting options. More importantly, let’s see whether they are worth your money... wait, that’s not right... whether they are worth your attention!
Website builders could be your best friend
Website builders, like Wix (pictured above), are simple solutions for amateur users. In fact, I used one to make a website when I was 8 (I used freewebs.com, now simply known as webs.com)
Making these kinds of websites doesn’t require any coding knowledge. Yet there's a downside - website builders don’t provide much freedom or customization options either.
You are made to choose from a selection of templates and later get to edit them to your liking. But not everyone enjoys this! Some people prefer to have more customization and perhaps use a different content management systems like WordPress. For these people, a website builder is not a preferable choice, as they won’t develop the skills needed to make a professional page.
Big companies pretty much never use website builders, but a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs choose this option. However, good website builders tend to cost a premium. And in our case, we want to get something that's free. So for people looking to get free website hosting, one question beckons.
Can you get a free website builder?
In a way - yes. Website builder companies tend to offer free plans of their products - they're just often very limited and include various gimmicks which you may not like. Free page builders exist but there's a sacrifice.
Wix, Weebly, and many other website building providers offer a custom platform which can be used to create your own website. However, it doesn’t have much free space available and you don't get any freedom. For example, Wix and Weebly offer 500MB storage each. In terms of traffic, Weebly offers unlimited bandwidth and Wix - 1GB. It's up to you to decide which of these three options is the best free web hosting service. Nevertheless, you can clearly see that all of them are strictly limited. Forget about storing unedited pictures from your camera or video files. And forget about having a website with multiple images or products you want to share.
Other companies, such as uCraft, pick a different route and limit the number of pages you can make within a website. While uCraft paid plan allows you to build a website in whatever way you want, the free plan only allows for 1 landing page. Decent if you just want to make a "business card" website and showcase your social media or contact details
Looking at this free website builder offer, you can actually see a fair few other things that are very important to know. A little bit of fine print reading will save you a world of disappointment later.
Sometimes free or even some paid plans could include provider’s own advertisements on your website. In the picture, you can see uCraft stating that pretty clearly. Yet it's not the only company which does that.
One of the other examples is “Wix Brand Ads”. Not only do they advertise on their free web hosting plans but also on their paid “Connect Domain” plan, which costs $5 a month. You'll have to upgrade further to remove those. This means that for a full, personal website experience, you would have to pay $10 a month!
In terms of popularity, Wix dominates the field of free website builders, and only Weebly can compare to its magnitude.
These numbers come as no surprise - Wix is most definitely one of the premier choices of website builders.
Free web builder plans will force you to make sacrifices
A free plan is not going to have a lot of features most website developers will most definitely desire. After looking at all the best website builders and the free plans they offer, it's very easy to see what gimmicks and tricks are being used.
For starters, don’t expect to get a free domain name. Your website URL will have the provider's name in it, as you can in the image below:
This way, you really never have "your own" domain. The name of your free website builder provider is going to be permanently put in the website's URL. Surely, some personalization is still possible - as you get to choose the name of the project but that's really where it ends. This little issue actually makes perfect sense. After all, it would cost additional money for your provider to register a full custom domain name just for you. So if you want your page to spell "yourwebsite.com", a free builder won't suffice.
There is one significant aspect you should note. There are no free website builder plans which would allow you to connect your own external domain. Not even if you bought it elsewhere just for your website. In order to achieve this, you would have to pay for a premium plan which may cost from around $50 a year.
Website builders may restrain your freedom of movement, too.
The limitations do not stop with you being unable to connect a custom domain. Bad news if you decide to change the provider and switch a platform. How come?
Some website providers don't allow to transfer a website to a different hosting provider or a builder. So if one day you decide to go elsewhere, you may have to start your website from scratch as there won't be an easy way to transfer the data.
To sum it up, there are plenty of free website builders but they have very limited capabilities and features. In order to get more, you would have to pay the full price.
Website builders often tend to use free web hosting services as a form of bait for people who want to make websites on a budget. To a certain extent, they are free, so there's not much to complain about. At the end of the day, a lot of this boils down to personal preference.
If a small website with minimal information if enough for you, a website builder could be enough. There's no coding and no grueling work in order to get a page up and running. In that case, it sounds like a great free website hosting solution.
Yet if you are looking for a good quality web hosting service for a solid website or something to learn and grow with, you'd be much better off choosing a proper paid web hosting service. Best web hosting providers are perfect tools for actual professionals. However, free web hosting still has a lot of great uses. One of them is helping people to learn.
Free web hosting is a great learning tool
There are a few proper free web hosting options to choose from. Unlike limited builders, these free web hosting services allow you to:
Install WordPress, Joomla, and other CMS;
Use a custom website builder;
Upload your own website.
Web hosting is a powerful option - and a free service may work as a great learning tool for a lot of aspiring professionals. For example, if you want to use WordPress or learn WordPress basics, free website hosting can help you do it without spending anything.
In reality, all of this comes down to the main point of this article and the hypothesis I've created in the beginning - Is it all a huge trap?
We’ve already decoded the secrets of website builders which try to hook you in with the easy-to-use features - and then hold your content hostage as you won't be able to use it elsewhere. So how about the real free web hosting providers?
Apparently, many of these companies see it as an opportunity to teach inexperienced users, expect them to develop an early brand loyalty and hope they that they will upgrade as the demands increase.
And for many $0.80 a month for premium hosting is still a very, very lucrative deal - very close to actual free web hosting.
Free web hosting wants you to become a pro!
There are plenty of plans that behave like a real paid web hosting service. Those free options simply have strict limitations. Of course, you will still have to pay for certain features - there's just no avoiding that.
Just like with the website builders, you will be given a https://yourwebsite.TheProvider.comsubdomain and will have to pay additionally in order to get a personal domain name. Luckily, if you have a domain name purchased already, you can point it towards a provider and use it for your website without any additional costs.
Furthermore, a provider like 000webhost gives you an option to control your directory files whichever way you wish. This basically means that you will be able to modify, delete and even migrate your files with absolutely no restrictions.
After all, 000webhost is very much like a paid web hosting provider when it comes to its specs and freedom. It’s actually free. Considering the company's business model of giving free users a chance to grow and become their loyal paid clients, I'd say real free web hosting is your top bet of getting the best website creating experience.
And it's an experience people all around the world are interested in pursuing. Just by looking at the sheer number of people looking for free website hosting all around the world, you can see that it's a very popular service to seek.
In the United States alone, these two keywords gather around 100,000 searches a month! That's 1.2 million a year - and which free hosting brands do these people choose? We made sure to do our research and boiled the wide selection down to the top 5 in the world.
Top 5 Best Free Website Hosting Options
After a few weeks of tests, we were able to round up 5 of the most viable free web hosting options. Since neither of them cost any money, you are free (literally) to try each of them yourself:
Probably the most popular free website hosting provider in the world, 000webhost believes itself to be a perfect learning experience for beginner web enthusiasts. This host provides many helpful tutorials. From the first steps to the most advanced issues, the 000webhost team hopes to guide its clients to success. It's a great #1 pick for free web hosting.
Many of the host's tutorials are genuinely very good - for example, a 000webhost WordPress tutorial is one of the world's most helpful and thorough articles on this topic, full stop. Downloading this CMS on the platform is also incredibly simple. This makes 000webhost a terrific free WordPress hosting experience.
In terms of resources, you are given a free Let's Encrypt SSL certificate, 1GB of SSD storage and 10GB of bandwidth. With the free plan, you can host 2 websites at once and either host your own domain or pick a subdomain from 000webhost without any additional charges.
The company does not hide - its main goal is to see the free web host clients to ultimately purchase the services. And if the server response times are anything to go by, the upgrade would be well worth the money.
5GBfree is a free website hosting provider which appears to put a lot of emphasis on simplicity and effectiveness. A common and very popular cPanel interface paired together with over 140 auto-installing applications reminds me a lot of a full-fledged paid host. That can only be a good thing - on top of the free WordPress hosting you will also be allowed to do plenty of other great things.
You can probably already guess how much disk space are you given by this provider (it's 5GB). Pair that with 20GB of bandwidth and you get a very serious package, suited for 1 website.
For those looking to get something more, 5GBfree offers a premium plan which costs $2.95 a month.
This option will allow for email accounts, addon and parked domains, as well as the disk space will get bumped up to 100 GB and bandwidth will become unlimited.
Yet even for free, here you can host a decent website - and get good speeds as well.
Recently having undergone a proper design overhaul, FreeHosting.com offers powerful free cPanel hosting. It's not the only thing this company may offer you though - there are plenty of other features as well, such as cloud backups, FTP, DNS hosting and paid domains. This sounds like a great starting package for many aspiring professionals.
The registration process is super simple too. You can easily sign up by simply connecting your Facebook account to the platform - once you do, you'll find that the company's web hosting plan offers 10GB of disk space and 250GB of bandwidth.
Sounds brilliant! Although there is a little shortcoming - the company itself says that the bandwidth is unlimited but it's quite easy to check and see that it's simply not true. That being said, all signs do point to this being a brilliant free hosting provider. You're still getting a very good deal.
Before jumping onboard, be wary that you won't be given any kind of a domain name, so you'll have to get one yourself. And speeds, while reputable, are far away from ideal. If you value resources over domain name and speed, FreeHosting.com still rises up as a very decent free website hosting option. Some things can be forgiven.
Awardspace, also known as Webfreehosting or Atspace, takes another spot on our list. It's okay to lift an eyebrow. "What do you mean, known as?" you may ask.
The answer is simple - despite having many different names, all of these companies belong to the same German AttractSoft group. That may not necessarily mean something evil - it could be that each service is just meant to cater to a different market and/or audience. For example, Awardspace is more popular in the US and India, while Netfirms is a well-known name in Canada.
Despite the differences between the brands, most of the AttractSoft free server hosting companies offer a very similar experience.
1GB of storage, 5GB of bandwidth, 1 website and 3 subdomains is a solid package for a free hosting plan. If you're looking to upgrade, you may purchase additional services or even get separate paid plans with more features. There is always room to upgrade - you may even get a virtual private server.
In addition to that, AttractSoft puts a lot of emphasis on software. Company's own Zacky auto-installer has plenty of scripts for blogs, education, e-commerce and much more. It very easily compares with the selection of some premium web hosts and that's a great perk.
Overall - it's a solid free web hosting option. A plan suited for a small personal website can be upgraded, there's a lot of good software and on top of all that, the worldwide speeds are pretty okay too.
Boastfully calling itself "the 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.
In FreeHostia free cloud hosting though, there are some bottlenecks in resources - 6GB of bandwidth and 250MB disk space may not seem like a lot, as well as the 500kb size limits on the uploaded files. You also don't get a free domain name - instead, you need to acquire it from somewhere else.
These problems get balanced out by the fact you can host up to 5 domains - and when you do, those cloud hosting speeds are absolutely terrific.
Free Website Hosting Overview
000webhost wins because of its sleek interface, free domain, terrific tutorial system, and amazing speeds. Others lag behind in terms of performance but can still offer plenty to like them. Many of those are great options for both free WordPress hosting and other interesting projects.
Reliable, easy to use and naturally, free, all of these hosts are perfect options for beginners looking to start their online journey without spending any money.
However, the users themselves have made their decisions heard. According to Google, 000webhost is head and shoulders above the competition in terms of popularity.
While not ultimate, this chart is a good example showing how the popularity of each company is different. Seems like users all around the world think that 000webhost is the best free web hosting - and our performance tests indicate the same. And what do you think?
Alternatives to free hosting
When all is said and done, there is still one question I want to answer.
What if your needs are way greater than the ones of a beginner user?
Free hosting simply isn't capable of things greater than practice. If you to learn how to do the basics or even set up a simple website, free website hosting is going to be just fine. For big dreams and big projects, however, you'll need something that's more powerful, more capable and more reliable. I, however, don't think you need to spend big bucks. There are plenty of amazing cheap web hosts to choose from.
As I said previously, hosting is just another business - so it shouldn't surprise you that for a few dollars a month you may get hosting with a terrific performance, customer support, and reliability that blows free web hosting out of the water. Here are the 3 best-rated web hosting providers on our site:
It's hard not love the way how SiteGround deals with customer service. Phone, tickets, live chat are all available to reach within minutes and customer satisfaction looks nothing short of great. It's a premium option - but it may be worth the increased price! Read full review.
Hostinger is a speed demon - free hosting can only dream of the speeds this provider clocks. Masterful server management puts this company way ahead of the competition. Also, the price of this hosting is so good. It's brilliant value for your money. Read full review.
Looking to build a WordPress website? There are not many providers that can compare to Bluehost. In fact, it does WordPress so well, the platform itself recommends this provider as its #1 option. For small to medium businesses, Bluehost is a great pick. Read full review.
Well, at the end of the day, there are many great options out there when it comes to free website hosting. They offer varying features, resources and are different in ease of use. Overall, in our tests, 000webhost was the service that came out victorious.
After all, is said and done though, It's still important to know that you won't get premium features for free. Companies are made to make money and it's impossible to compare to the best premium web hosting, completely free of charge.
Sometimes the old saying 'you get what you pay for' is true, and I believe when it comes to website hosting, it's pretty accurate. The free web hosting is either a bootstrap solution or a learning platform.
All in all though, hope that this guide was helpful and now you know all of the best free website hosting providers and have a bunch of knowledge about how this business works.
Paul joined the Hosting.Review team right from the start as a content writer and marketer. He was the person responsible for establishing a trademark for in-depth web hosting evaluation and superb review articles. Before joining Hosting.Review, Paul was working on various projects as a freelancer. Paul spends his free time reading fantasy books and graphic novels.
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