Is Free Web Hosting Any Good?
The best web hosting is never free; therefore, free web hosting is not a good idea for most people. If you own a website for business purposes – it’s an immediate no. Still, there are some exceptions in which you might give this solution a go – if you are a first-time user, you might get free web hosting to test the service for your personal blog or website.
The best and most obvious advantage of free website hosting is that it is entirely free of charge. But as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. With free website hosting, you might encounter security issues and privacy concerns. You’ll be left alone if anything goes wrong, meaning you cannot expect customer support or technical assistance. Furthermore, these plans might negatively affect your SEO and customer satisfaction.
As for now, we strongly suggest you consider the option of cheap web hosting. It will help you save some money while you reap the benefits of a quality website hosting service. It’s the best of both worlds – reliability, speed, and support on a budget.
3 Cheap Web Hosting Alternatives
When it comes to web hosting, cheap is better than free. Our experts have chosen the top three cheap website hosting providers to help you create a professional-looking website. And while you might have to spend a dollar or two, you’ll receive strong performance in return.
FastComet: the best value for money
We recommend FastComet as the top 1 cheap web hosting provider thanks to its comprehensive plans with valuable extras, quick setup, and proactive support. You’ll get cPanel & Softaculous, daily backups, Cloudflare CDN, SSL, 1-click WordPress install, and more. Remarkably, its monthly prices start at $3.48 per month.
HostArmada: an all-in-one web hosting package
HostArmada’s popular cheap web hosting delivers high-performing servers, SSD storage, seven daily backups, free domain, SSL, and unlimited email accounts. Its plans are also optimized for the most used open-source scripts, including WordPress, Magento, Joomla, WooCommerce, Drupal, PrestaShop, and OpenCart!
Verpex: the cheapest web hosting available
Verpex offers highly flexible web hosting on the cloud. You’ll get a superior yet cheap cloud web hosting solution with SSD, free domain registration/transfer, LiteSpeed web servers, cPanel, daily backups, free migrations as part of the package starting at $0.50 per month. The company offers 90% off your first month and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
If you are on a tight budget or no budget at all, you might turn to free web hosting to help you cut costs. Like any other web hosting service, a free web host will get your site online so that anyone can assess your content. But be careful, as these providers rarely offer the complete hosting package you’ll need for your site.
Fortunately, our experts can take a load of work off your shoulders. They have performed an independent study and weighting, testing dozens of leading hosting providers. Better yet, you won’t have to rely on our company only. Thousands of user reviews from around the globe, performance tests, and surveys have contributed to the following article. Please keep reading to find the best options available for REALLY FREE web hosting, its respective pros and cons, and more to make the best decision for your site.
We get it if you are in a hurry – let’s save you both time and money! Here is a list of our top picks for the best web hosting you can get without spending a dime.
Here Are Our Top 5 Free Web Hosting Providers
How We Ranked and How You Should Choose the Best Provider for You?
- Performance, Uptime, and Server Response Times12%
- Resource Limits and Compatibility15%
- Ads or Banners5%
- Privacy and Security7%
- Terms of Service20%
- Easy To Use Interface3%
- Support Services3%
- Upgrade Options5%
- User Reviews30%
Our ranking is based on weighted scores and thousands of user reviews from customers worldwide. At HostAdvice, we perform performance tests of each web host. Our experts purchase the plan, or in this case, get it for free, to be able to undergo the same process you would go through as a customer. Then, they test the provider against pre-established criteria for the specific category.
We have excluded pricing from the free web hosting category since it’s equal for all providers. However, we have considered hidden costs and upgrade potential instead. In addition, our HA professionals have focused on general web hosting performance indicators, such as speed, uptime, and security.
Once we finish the testing, we combine the results in a single weighted score according to the allocated percentage to each factor. This number represents the importance of the factor for an ideal free web hosting plan compared to other factors within the same category. The rule of thumb is; the higher the percentage, the more this factor contributes to the quality of a free web host.
Our AI technology has ranked the best free hosting providers using the same factors our experts used during the testing phase:
- Performance, Uptime, and Server Response Times (12%): Our experts have chosen the top alternatives with minimum downtime and maximum speed. Of course, free plans cannot compete with paid ones, so you cannot expect your server to be up and running at all times or reach near 100% uptime. Still, it would help if you strived towards a provider with fewer outages and decent load times.
- Resource Limits and Compatibility (15%): You can expect minimal resources even with the best free hosting. However, with some options, the resource limits will prevent you from installing a theme or WordPress, not to mention visitors. At this point, you must check what you are getting – 1GB storage might be sufficient for your small website, but anything below this number will force you to say goodbye to photos, videos, etc. Also, you should consider the number of visitors allowed on your site monthly, bandwidth, CPU, number of web pages, email accounts, databases, domains, subdomains, compatibility with other apps and operating systems, SEO tools, and backups.
- Ads or Banners (5%): It’s not surprising to encounter a never-ending stream of upselling with free web hosting. And most usually, these ads and promotions target you, the buyer of the service, but they can also be directed towards your visitors. Either way, it’s bad for business. So, you should select a free web host that won’t do this or at least reduce the intensity of ads, annoying pop-ups, branding, logos, or footer tags on your site.
- Privacy and Security (7%): The reliability of your service should be your biggest concern with a free web host. As expected, the free web hosting service will not provide advanced technologies. Still, you should receive security monitoring, SSL certificates, Cloudflare CDN, or other protective measures for you and your visitors.
- Easy To Use Interface (3%): Are you looking for the best free hosting with cPanel? Indeed, it would be best if you considered the beginner friendliness of the web host. Will you get a 1-click or auto-installer for WordPress, Joomla, and other apps? What about Softaculous, availability of templates, and other issues that make the interface easy to navigate? As a first-time user, you must be able to find and do things quickly. After all, you’ll most likely be left on your own since you are not paying for support.
- Support Services (3%): Usually, free web hosting companies don’t hire humans to assist you with your doings because you’re not paying for them. However, in some rare instances, you can find the best of the best, offering 24/7 assistance free of charge. If that’s not the case, you should at least get access to a Knowledge Base, a Community Forum, or FAQ section to find the answers yourself.
- Upgrade Options (5%): What happens when you realize the free web hosting service is no longer sufficient for your website? Can you upgrade to a paid plan, and if yes, is it a good one? What if you want to move to another company? You should be able to do so quickly and without downtime.
- User Reviews (30%): Our ranking values customers’ experiences worldwide. People with different skills and experience get a say in the quality of free web hosts. After all, they have bought the plan and can contribute with a first-hand, unbiased review of the company.
Free Web Hosting: The Best Options For 2022
Are you looking for the best free MySQL hosting, best free PHP hosting, or best free hosting with cPanel? Check, check, check! I found in my complete review that 000webhost is a three-in-one web hosting solution worthy of your time.
- Overall Score: 4.6
- Performance: 4.6
- Features: 4.8
- Specifications: 3.7
- Upgrade Option: 4.8
- Customer Experience: 4.8
000webhost offers both beginners and long-time pros an opportunity to publish their websites and share them with the world entirely free of charge. And what if you exceed the limits of the free plan? You can always upgrade to a paid option!
Why do we recommend 000webhost? Here’s a summary!
Performance: 000webhost provides safe, reliable, and quick web hosting worldwide with Cloudflare protected nameservers. Its team ensures that everything runs at full throttle so that you’ll benefit from a stunning 99% uptime and blazing fast servers speeds.
Features: You’ll get the latest technologies (the newest PHP and MySQL versions), free cPanel web hosting admin panel, one-click WordPress installer, Zyro Website Builder, free domain parking, no ads, and instant account activation without fees.
Specifications: Free web hosting with one website, 300MB disk space, 3GB bandwidth, 1 FTP account, 1 Cronjob, and 1 MySQL database.
Upgrade Option: If you outgrow the limits of free web hosting and need something more powerful, 000webhost offers you a special upgrade to premium web hosting that includes a seamless transfer, 24/7 live support, more resources, extra features, and a lot more. The web host offers three paid options through Hostinger, including up to an unlimited number of websites, 200GB disk space, unlimited bandwidth, 100 email accounts, 24/7/365 support, free domain, weekly backups, free SSL certificate, LiteSpeed cache, WordPress
acceleration, 99.9% uptime guarantee, 2x allocated resources, unlimited FTP accounts, unlimited Cronjobs, unlimited MySQL databases, DNS management, access manager, 100 subdomains, SSH access, and Github integration.
Customer Experience: 000webhost has a modern control panel that allows for a smooth experience and navigation. It includes all necessary features, and there are no issues or weird errors.
What’s the catch with the 000webhost plan?
000webhost might sound too good to be true. After all, it’s the best free hosting overall! Still, it comes with its own limitations. First, the plan comes with minimal resources, which are insufficient for running a site. In turn, 000webhost might be great for testing purposes and learning, but not for an online site with visitors.
The free plan is a great tactic to attract customers to sign up for free and quickly upgrade to a paid option with more functionality and added features, such as support, SSL, domain, backups, and much larger data and bandwidth caps.
Pros & Cons
- An intuitive and easy to use modern custom interface
- Ad-free and free domain hosting (you can connect your own domain)
- Beginner-friendly free Website Builder and WordPress Auto Installer
- Very scarce resources (300MB disk space, no free SSL)
- No 24/7 customer support (you can upgrade to get it)
Are you sick of ads showing up on your website? I would be too! InfinityFree is a free web hosting that can help you build your brand. Apart from no ads, you’ll get PHP, MySQL, unlimited bandwidth, free SSL, and more!
- Overall Score: 2.6
- Performance: 2.8
- Features: 2.7
- Specifications: 3.2
- Upgrade Option: 2.3
- Customer Experience: 2.0
InfinityFree offers unlimited hosting – you can host as many sites as you want with no time limit, enjoy 99.9% uptime and fast performance, along over 25 domain extensions entirely free. You won’t even have to enter your credit card or incur any hidden fees.
Why do we recommend InfinityFree? Here’s a summary!
Performance: InfinityFree claims to be one of the fastest free web hosting providers available. You’ll be able to enjoy a 99.9% uptime entirely free of charge.
Features: You’ll get Softaculous Installer to set up over 400 scripts, apps, and CMSs with just a few clicks, PHP 7.4, MySQL 5.7, full .htaccess support, free subdomain names, free SSL on all your domains, and a free DNS service.
Specifications: Unlimited websites, 5GB disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and 400 MySQL Databases.
Upgrade Option: InfinityFree offers two premium iFastNet hosting plans including up to unlimited disk space, bandwidth, hosted domains, email accounts, FTP accounts, most server power, and unlimited daily hits, along with cPanel, SSL, Cloudflare Railgun, Webmail, IMAP, POP, SMTP access, full PHP mail() support, full DNS management, and development features.
Customer Experience: While InfinityFree will get your site running, it is pretty slow and unreliable for a good customer experience or a professional website. Also, it comes with awful terms of service.
What’s the catch with the InfinityFree plan?
In reality, InfinityFree grants you extensive resources but doesn’t have the power to support them. So, you’ll most likely encounter awfully slow and unreliable performance. Its cPanel is also frequently unavailable, and it will keep logging you out no matter how many times you try to reach it. In addition, there’s no backup if the server experiences a crash.
Still, the biggest red flag about InfinityFree is its Terms of Service (ToS). According to its policies, the provider gets a royalty-free license to your content, meaning it might give your data to “trusted third parties.”
Pros & Cons
- Free web hosting with no advertisement on your site
- You can host any domain (bring your own or choose from 25 free domain extensions)
- An extensive set of resources (unlimited websites and bandwidth, 5GB disk space)
- Very sketchy terms of service
- Abysmal customer support (no phone and email)
- “Unlimited” comes with serious restrictions (you won’t be allowed to upload specific types of content and files)
If I were you, I would turn to the CMS itself for the best free web hosting for WordPress. It hosts the biggest collection of WP sites on the Internet, and you’ll never have to worry about data loss, low bandwidth, updates, or upgrades.
- Overall Score: 2.4
- Performance: 2.6
- Features: 2.2
- Specifications: 2.4
- Upgrade Option: 2.6
- Customer Experience: 2.3
WordPress.com allows you to enjoy a simple experience powered by world-class infrastructure. The free plan can solve most of your WordPress needs, and if you wish, they offer various premium upgrades.
Why do we recommend WordPress.com? Here’s a summary!
Performance: WordPress.com utilizes a high-powered infrastructure, meaning you’ll enjoy reliable performance and fast loading speeds.
Features: Custom WordPress.com dashboard, hundreds of free WordPress themes, free SSL certificates, automatic updates and backups, SEO, analytics, social-sharing tools, and support from a highly engaged community.
Specifications: The best free web hosting for WordPress with up to 3GB storage and unlimited bandwidth.
Upgrade Option: WordPress.com is free to start with four options to grow. You can choose from Personal, Premium, Business, or eCommerce plan, pay monthly or annually. If you decide to upgrade, you’ll enjoy more speed, security, and bandwidth, 200GB storage, powerful SEO tools, premium themes and plugins, a free domain, Content Delivery Network, live chat, email support, and training.
Customer Experience: WordPress.com simplifies the process of creating a site, even for non-technical users. However, it’s pretty inflexible (you cannot install your extensions and access your server) and displays ads.
What’s the catch with the WordPress.com plan?
WordPress.com is a stripped-down version of the original software. While it might be sufficient for publishing content (say for freelancers publishing their writing portfolios), you won’t be able to install your own theme or plugin. In addition, there’s no direct server access on the free web hosting plan, meaning you won’t be able to connect via FTP or manage your database. The worst part is you cannot use your own domain name. Instead, you’ll get a WordPress.com subdomain.
And if you violate their ToS, WordPress.com reserves the right to delete your website.
Pros & Cons
- Easy setup process (all you need to do is register for an account – WordPress is already installed)
- Reliable and fast service on a robust infrastructure
- Lots of “self-help” available (excellent forums, guides, and tutorials)
- No access to the full WordPress software (you cannot install your plugins or themes on a free plan)
- Ads on all free websites (if you don’t want your users to see them, you have to upgrade to a paid plan)
- You cannot use your domain (you’ll have to pay extra or get a WordPress.com branded subdomain in the form of “yourwebsite.wordpress.com”)
I suggest getting Byethost as the best free PHP hosting on the market. The company offers an ad-free load balanced, free hosting service including PHP, MySQL, FTP, VistaPanel as its custom control panel, and more!
- Overall Score: 2.6
- Performance: 2.6
- Features: 3.0
- Specifications: 2.3
- Upgrade Option: 2.0
- Customer Experience: 2.8
Byethost is the most generous free web hosting; you’ll get PHP 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 7.0, unlimited sites, storage, bandwidth, domain registration, five email accounts, and self-signed SSL. The best part is that this comes with 24/7 customer support, a knowledge base, and no ads!
Why do we recommend Byethost? Here’s a summary!
Performance: Byet owns, manages, and maintains its ‘load balanced’ clustered hosting network, spreading website traffic across multiple servers simultaneously. It gives your web pages superior speed and reliability and ensures your websites stay online and run quickly.
Features: MySQL databases, PHP support, FTP account and File Manager, VistaPanel control panel, Softaculous Script Installer inside the free hosting control panel, free Website Builder with templates, free technical support, addon domains, parked domains, subdomains, free Community Forums, and no ads.
Specifications: You’ll get 1GB disk space and 50GB monthly transfer within the free plan.
Upgrade Option: Byet offers four premium hosting plans with more disk space, no daily hit limits, 256 Softaculous script installers, and many more features not included in free hosting. You can upgrade up to unlimited disk space, bandwidth, addon domains, subdomains, email addresses, MySQL databases, cPanel, etc.
Customer Experience: Byethost provides instant activation and free setup. It also offers solid support via a ticketing system, which is pretty rare for free web hosting plans, along with a self-service knowledge base and video tutorials.
What’s the catch with the Byethost plan?
Byethost utilizes the popular freemium model, encouraging you to sign up for a paid plan as soon as you get the free version. However, Byethost’s upgrade options are pretty expensive compared to other hosts. If you choose to upgrade to a paid option, you might as well switch to another premium web hosting provider.
In addition, it’s one of the least professional-looking hosts on the market. If you take a better look, you’ll realize that the website is poorly written so it might leave the wrong impression. Considering this vagueness, the question is, can you trust this provider with its “unlimited” promises? How unlimited are its unlimited offerings?
Pros & Cons
- You can choose a subdomain (“yoursite.byethost.com” or seven other great names available)
- Absolutely no advertising
- 24/7 tech support through a ticketing system, a community, and a knowledge base
- Some login links aren’t properly secured
- Expensive upgrade options
- Bad market reputation (website copy riddled with tiny errors and typos – are the claims valid?)
People love Googiehost due to its generous server resources and built-in cPanel control panel. If you ask me, I rank it as the best free image and video hosting! Why? Because it’s free hosting based on the industry-leading NVMe SSDs!
- Overall Score: 4.4
- Performance: 4.3
- Features: 4.4
- Specifications: 4.5
- Upgrade Option: 4.5
- Customer Experience: 4.4
Googiehost is the only free host that grants you both cPanel and Cloudflare. It grants you the most useful free hosting features that can help you build your free website with just a single click!
Why do we recommend Googiehost? Here’s a summary!
Performance: 100% cloud-based free web hosting with pure SSD, LiteSpeed, and Cloudflare.
Features: The best free hosting with cPanel, NVMe SSD, business emails, LiteSpeed servers, malware protection, SSL certificates, simple Website Builder, and no forced ads.
Specifications: With Googiehost’s free plan, you’ll get 1GB disk space, 1 domain, 2 subdomains, unlimited bandwidth, 2 email accounts, and 2 FTP accounts.
Upgrade Option: If you click on Googiehost’s pro hosting plans, you’ll be transferred to InterServer, a well-established brand in web hosting. You can choose from affordable shared hosting, VPS, storage, dedicated servers, and more!
Customer Experience: Googiehost allows you to easily set up your account with the cPanel, Softaculous, and a free Website Builder. The host also doesn’t monetize your site by posting ads or spamming your visitors.
What’s the catch with the Googiehost plan?
Googiehost has a poor website design that certainly doesn’t inspire trust. For instance, you can find odd grammar mistakes. Its support is also limited, but after all, this can be expected with a free web host. You might notice ads on the provider’s website and on the control panels. Fortunately, you’ll encounter none on your site.
The catch is, Googiehost might not accept your website for free hosting. You’ll need to convince them to do so; provide a reason why you need it, a special version of Recaptcha to weed out spammers.
Pros & Cons
- The largest file size limit (best for image and video hosting)
- User-friendly cPanel with Softaculous one-click installer and Site.pro builder
- Customer support via email, Knowledge base, and blog tutorials
- Very strict rules about multiple websites
- The cPanel might be identified as “not secure” property (“your connection is not private” might pop up on your screen)
What Are the Limitations and Risks of Free Web Hosting?
Any free good/service sounds tempting, whether it comes to web hosting or anything else in everyday life. Who wouldn’t like to create and host a website without spending a dime? But be careful; free web hosting comes with inherent limitations and risks.
The question is, are free deals worth the downsides they come with?
[tip] If your website matters to you, it would be best to go for a full-featured and reliable web hosting provider. [tip]
First, free web hosting providers tend to be pretty unstable, meaning you can expect frequent outages and more downtime than paid providers. While the cheapest web hosting plans offer 99.95% uptime and above, you cannot expect the same with a free plan. Downtime and slow website speeds mean losing website visitors, customer satisfaction, and SEO. And unfortunately, you cannot expect any compensation for downtime with a free web hosting service.
Speaking of SEO, your website’s URL will most likely contain the name of the free web host in the form of ‘yourname.thewebhostname.com.’ And since you are not the only website on the server, both visitors and Google will link you to the neighboring sites, meaning if one of these websites is linked to fraudulent behavior or privacy breaches, you will lose visitors and SEO rankings at the same time.
Furthermore, some web hosts will use your site to promote their brand and display ads. In some cases, the provider might include their logo on your website. Shared branding and ads make it almost impossible for you to communicate a clear message or promote your brand. It will be challenging for your visitors to remember your website URL and associate it with a unique identity.
Next, free web hosting plans usually place significant resource restrictions on storage, bandwidth, the number of web pages you can create under the plan, etc. It means that your site will face limited growth and slow performance. If there are no sufficient hardware and software components available for your site, the best option is to upgrade your plan. That’s why our experts also considered this factor – how easy is it to upgrade your plan? Does the same provider offer paid plans, or do you have to migrate to another one, etc.?
You cannot expect any customer support with a free web hosting plan. Obviously, staff needs to be paid. Since the company isn’t making much money from you, they won’t be willing to dedicate too much time to you. So, even if the free web hosting service promises 24/7 assistance, you should be realistic with your expectations.
Finally, there’s a significant risk of getting your data leaked. As a business, data represents one of the most significant assets for you. Of course, this might happen with a paid hosting plan as well. However, the chances are much lower. Free web hosting plans don’t enforce the standard and fundamental security practices to protect their users. In turn, it’s much more likely to get your data stolen or leaked. There have been several examples in the past where hackers stole sensitive user data from free web hosts, including usernames, emails, and passwords.
Free Hosting for eCommerce Sites
Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to get your store online. You can choose from many free eCommerce platforms and tools to create a free eCommerce store. But while some of these tools will let you create the store and sell for free, others will charge you when you start selling.
If you are serious about your website, business, and customers, you should avoid free hosting for your eCommerce shop. Sure, you might use a free Website Builder to customize it, but that should be the end of it.
Free web hosts might get your data stolen or leaked if they don’t stick to the fundamental security practices needed to protect you and your customers. And if you are the owner of an eCommerce store, data is one of your most important assets. Upon payment, your customers provide you with their sensitive information, including name, surname, email, credit card details, address, etc. And you are the one responsible for handling and protecting this data. So, you cannot risk it. Your reputation determines your future growth and potential, so putting your customers on the line shouldn’t be an option.
Furthermore, downtime translates to a loss of customers and profits. If potential buyers cannot access your site, what’s the point of having one? Even with the best web hosting providers, you will likely get an unreliable service with many outages. And as an eCommerce store owner, uptime should be your topmost priority. The same applies to speed. People today don’t like waiting, so if your content doesn’t load quickly, they will be fast to leave your site.
Finally, free web hosts come with significant limitations on your resource usage. You’ll get insufficient storage, bandwidth, number of web pages, etc. In turn, your eCommerce store won’t ever be able to reach its full potential.
Free Web Hosting for Nonprofits and Educators
Free web hosting is a popular solution for nonprofits since they don’t generate profits and need affordable solutions. However, as a nonprofit, you should also pay special attention to reliable uptime and security, especially if you are accepting donations. Similar to an eCommerce store, the payment process includes sensitive data, and free web hosts can easily endanger your donors.
Your website should also be functional, meaning uptime of 99.95% and above, which is unusual for free web hosting services. So, what’s the better option for your business? Well, it’s much better to choose from the best cheap hosting options. They will help you stick to your budget while delivering optimal performance for your site.
As for educators, free web hosting services might suffice. Well, at least when they come from a reputable company. If you provide free lessons or teaching of any kind, you can commit to a free host. This way, you’ll get your site and materials online while incurring no unnecessary expenses. It’s a win-win situation!
Best Free Hosting Services: Conclusion
Free web hosting is an excellent solution for learning the ins and outs of web hosting. You might get a free plan to test how everything works if you are a first-time user. Apart from testing, these plans might also be sufficient for individual bloggers, educators, or small hobby websites. What better way to have your first website than without paying a dime?
But even if you find yourself part of this group, you still shouldn’t rush in and get a service, even though it’s free. Instead, it would be best to consider the disk space, bandwidth uptime, speed, quality of support, email accounts, SSL, automatic backups, the Website builder and control panel, tools, and plugin support of a given free web hosting provider, among other things.
And remember, free hosting is a big no when it comes to doing business. If you are on a tight budget but wish to create a serious or professional-looking website, it’s better to turn to the best cheap web hosting companies!
Pros and Cons of Free Web Hosting
As you can notice, the cons significantly outweigh the pros of free web hosting services. The main and probably only advantage is the price itself – you get to host your website completely free of charge. However, it’s downhill from that point and on.
With free web hosting, you are likely to experience performance issues, security and privacy concerns, limited resources such as storage or bandwidth, lack of email hosting, SSL certificates, and other necessary features, outdated PHP or MySQL versions, unexistent or very limited customer support, and forced ads among other things.
So, while free web hosts might cater to a niche, it’s indeed a very narrow one. If you don’t feel the risks are worth the rewards (and they are not), it’s better to turn to paid and reputable web hosting companies.