Starting a website, forum or blog isn’t always cheap. You’ve got a domain to purchase, themes & plugins to consider and then there’s the monthly or annual cost of hosting. There are several cheap options available for hosting your site but what if you can’t spend any additional funds on a host? Several web hosting companies exist that offer a free solution but which free host is truly the best for you?
What you get – 10GB of bandwidth, 1GB of disk space, free domain name hosting, free website builder, WordPress auto installer and full PHP & MySQL database support
If you ask someone about free hosting, the majority will always mention 000webhost. And I’m sure you already know that the word free, doesn’t always mean free. Some web hosting services will place advertisements on your site in exchange for free hosting which isn’t always aesthetically pleasing especially to your end users. But 000webhost is different. No advertisements are placed and you also have the freedom to place your own ads on your site.
Furthermore, the Easy Website Builder that is included with free hosting is great for users who may not have experience with HTML and CSS. You can choose a template and drag & drop blocks to create your very own website.
What you won’t get – SSL support and regular automatic backups
This is one of the drawbacks that you should expect with a lot of free web hosts and that is the lack of SSL support. This makes running any sort of dynamic website or e-commerce on 000webhost risky, especially for your users who may not want to use your site. Additionally, automatic backups are completed every month and should only act as a safety net in case something were to go wrong. This means that you will need to manually create and save backups regularly.
What you get – Unmetered disk space & bandwidth, free domain name hosting, latest versions of PHP, MySQL and cPanel, website builder & one-click software installation.
Unlimited resources for free? That’s something that you won’t see often with a free web host but X10Hosting have done exactly that. And you can enjoy all of that unlimited bandwidth and disk space without the need for your site to be plastered with advertisements from X10.
Additionally, users can either choose a free subdomain from X10 for their website or direct their domain to the X10 nameservers. Users that may not have a large amount of technical knowledge can also take advantage of the Website Builder or One-Click Installation to install a large number of free software in just a few steps.
What you won’t get – Lack of SSL support, one-on-one support & freedom to forget
SSL is unfortunately not supported for free accounts which creates a problem for those that have websites that require registration or payments. Furthermore, don’t expect to get any one-on-one help from a support team as all free users only have access to the forum based support system where other users will help. Finally, users are required to log in at least once to the X10Hosting panel to show that the site is active. However, don’t worry if you have forgotten to do so. All users are given a grace period where you are able to unsuspend your site.
What you get – 3GB of storage and bandwidth, free WordPress.com subdomain, email, hundreds of themes & plugins to expand the site.
Does WordPress need an introduction? One of the most popular brands, WordPress helps power a large proportion of sites on the internet and you can get in on the action very easily with WordPress.com. The hassle of finding a web host and installing the open source software is removed, with WordPress.com offering free & paid hosting.
What you won’t get – Freedom of using self-hosted WordPress and the ability to use your own domain.
WordPress (the open source software) is well known for allowing users to create anything and everything due to a large number of plugins available for it. However, if you go with the free plan for WordPress.com, you will only get a select number of plugins that are built in to choose from. Furthermore, the free plan limits you to a WordPress.com subdomain and will not let you use your own domain unless you upgrade to a paid plan.
What you get – Unlimited disk space, 50GB of bandwidth, unlimited domains & SSL support
Another free web host which offers both unlimited disk space and free SSL support. You just can’t go wrong with that especially with the importance of an SSL certificate for your site. Moreover, for users that do not have a domain yet or do not have the funds to buy one, you can choose a free subdomain for your site (yoursite.bytehost2.com).
What you won’t get – 5-star support
Unfortunately, as with a lot of free web hosting customer service, it won’t be 5 stars. You may encounter issues with getting issues sorted out, especially with the SSL certificates.
What you get – 250MB of storage, 6GB of bandwidth, 5 hosted domains, one-click installation, website builder and support for Let’sEncrypt SSL!
The 250MB of storage may sound off-putting for a lot of users, however, it’s hard to put down a free web host that offers both an ad-free experience and support for Let’sEncrypt SSL. Additionally, the ability to use a one-click installation tool and a website builder allows users with little technical knowledge to quickly setup and share their own website.
What you won’t get – Quick support
Whilst Freehostia offers a support channel for all users, don’t expect quick responses as the service is well known for poor response times.
And a special mention to AccuWebHosting (free for Students)
AccuWebHosting offers free hosting for students although the registration process isn’t as straight forward as entering your email and choosing a password. Users are required to post a 2-minute video on what they feel will be the next big technology trend within 10 years.
What you get – 30GB of bandwidth, 2GB of SSD storage, 25 free email addresses and PHP, Perl & Python support.
Any current or incoming student to a known university can apply and the plan will be available until you graduate.
Whilst it may feel great to fully utilise free hosts for your online projects, it’s important to remember that they aren’t a solution if you are serious about what you are doing. Free hosts are ideal for small sites that have a few pages or as a temporary host while you set everything up. Hosting services are relatively cheap now and there are always several promotions running that ensure you don’t pay much for hosting. Make sure to have a look at our Domains & Hosting section for some exclusive discounts.
If you have any questions or issues, feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email.