Succeed without Paying a Dime.
By Paul Mahony
Free stuff is always great. If you can avoid paying money for something, why not take a chance? Free website hosting definitely exists but there are often 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.
There’s no shame in looking for free website hosting services. Sadly, these seemingly generous offers can often become a simple bait for users who are looking to save extra money. In the end, 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.
Best free website hosting is the one that works well, suits your needs and is reliable. Luckily, there is a range of options to choose from. In this post, we will look through several web hosting providers and their products in order to decide what is the best free website hosting platform. At least, show you how different these products are so you can make a decision of your own. When looking for free website hosting online, you will find two types of services available.
What are your free options?
- A 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 Bravenet. There are plenty more, of course.
- Free website hosting. While using such services, 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 and Awardspace.
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. Let’s see whether they are worth your attention!
Website builders could be your best friend
Website builders, like Wix (a picture 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 but they also don’t provide much freedom or customization options. You are made to choose from a selection of templates and you 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.
Are they really free?
In a way, – yes.
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.
There are other things to consider too. Sometimes free or even some paid plans could include provider’s own advertisements on your website. One of the 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 $4.50 a month. This means that even if you were to pay them real money, you would still see Wix ads on your website!
What can you get? Well, for starters, don’t expect to get a free domain name. Your website URL will have the provider’s name in it, for example:
This makes sense. It would cost additional money for your provider to register a full custom domain name just for you. When looking into website builders, 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.
The limitations do not stop there. Bad news if you decide to change the provider. Some website providers don’t allow 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.
To sum it up, there are plenty of free website builders but they have very limited capabilities and features. Basically, in order to get more, you would have to pay the full price. Free web hosting services act as a simple bait for people who look into creating websites and avoid wasting extra funds. Of course, it is free and you shouldn’t really complain about something which is given to you ‘pro bono’. But if you are looking for a good quality web hosting service to start up your internet business, you’d be much better off choosing a proper paid web hosting service.
Website builders can still be great – especially if you’re not bothered with the whole ‘code it yourself’ thing. If you are however, consider this:
Free web hosting is a great learning tool
In addition to website builders, there are a few proper free web hosting options to chose 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.
This is a great option for users who want to use WordPress or learn WordPress basics.
In reality, all of this boils 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 genuine 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.
Is it really free?
Yes. There are plans to choose from that behave like a real paid web hosting service. They simply have strict limitations. Of course, you still have to pay for certain services. Just like with the website builders, you will be given a https://yourwebsite.TheProvider.com subdomain and will have to pay additionally in order to get a personal domain name. Luckily, if you have a domain name purchased already, you could point it towards 000webhost and use it for your website without any additional costs. Furthermore, 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 their business model of giving free users a chance to grow and become their loyal paid clients, I’d say genuine free web hosting is your top bet of getting the best free web hosting experience. So let’s get to actually finding out, which free website hosting companies are the best for your projects. Here are the 5 best free web hosting providers!
- 000webhost (quick and has great tutorials)
- 5GBFree (great combo of resources and ease of use)
- FreeHosting.com (a huge amount of resources!)
- AwardSpace (includes a great auto-installer)
- FreeHostia (can host up to 5 domains)
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. Many of those tutorials are genuinely very good – for example, a 000webhost WordPress tutorial is one the world’s most helpful and thorough articles on this topic. Downloading this CMS 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 and either host your own domain or pick one up 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 that 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. Yet even for free, here you can host a decent website – and get good speeds as well.
Don’t let the outdated design scare you – behind this page, there is a powerful free cPanel hosting. Easy to register with via Facebook, this host has 10GB of disk space and 250GB of bandwidth. Although in a panel itself it says that everything is unlimited. Sounds like a perfect option? Almost – there are still some things you need to be wary off before jumping onboard. You are not given any kind of a domain name, so you’ll have to get one yourself. And speeds, while reputable, are far away from ideal. Still though, when free website hosting gives you this much, some things can be forgiven.
4. Awardspace/Webfreehosting/Atspace and many more
It’s okay to lift an eyebrow. “Why do you put all of those providers in one spot?” you may ask. The answer is simple – despite having many different names, all of these companies belong to the same German AttractSoftgroup. 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.
Despite their differences, most of the AttractSoft free server hosting companies offer a very similar experience. 1GB of storage, 5GB of bandwidth (unmetered in AtSpace), 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. AttractSoft’s own Zacky auto-installer has plenty of software for blogs, education, e-commerce and much more. Overall – a solid option and quite decent speeds all around the world.
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. 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.
How do they compare?
There you are – these are the top free server hosting providers in the world today. 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.
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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.
Well, at the end of the day as we have seen, there are many great options out there when it comes to free website hosting.
However, 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.
If you want to check out our number #1 ranked hosting provider and find out why; click below.
This article has been reposted. Originally published by Hosting Review
Paul Mahony is a content writer and marketer at Hosting.review. He is responsible for establishing a trademark for in-depth web hosting evaluation. Before joining Hosting.review Paul was working on various projects as a freelancer.