Creating and hosting an amazing website can be the turning point of your career. Many people make a great living out of their awesome websites! However, to create a website, you first need to choose a hosting platform.
There are tens (if not hundreds!) of various service providers and companies offering their services of free hosting, claiming that they provide the “best free web hosting out there!”. However, when every other site claims to provide the “best free website hosting in the world”, how should anyone know which of these companies to trust?
Well, I know the struggle! Truth be told, this tutorial was born out of complete frustrations - I’ve spent weeks trying to find decent, free (or at least cheap) website hosting. It almost seems funny that in a world where you’re just a couple of clicks away from being able to start your freelancing career, it seems almost impossible to find a single best free website hosting platform! With that said, however, in my search I’ve found a few promising free web hosting sites - and that’s exactly what I’d like to share with you today.
How it All Started…
To begin with, let me tell you a short story of how I came up with this particular list of the best free website hosting sites.
Just like the many people who search for free web hosting online, I consider myself to be an entrepreneur. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I had this awesome idea related to IT development and thought that it would make for a great educational website.
Surely enough, not even a day later I was glued to my computer, with a huge Google Docs sheet with all of the great things that I would add to my website. I had planned out the user interface, all of the sections that I would add… It was pure bliss! However, once I started thinking about the backside of website creation, I realized that I haven’t got a single clue as to how I should choose a decent free website hosting and domain.
Fast-forward a couple of days - I’m glued to my computer screen, having browsed through seemingly hundreds of different free web hosting companies. Although at that point I still hadn’t chosen the free website hosting and domain-providing company that would please me completely, I realized that I now have extensive knowledge of some of the most popular and reputable free web hosting sites in the market. And then an idea popped into my head.
Surely, more people like me struggle to find the best free web hosting website out there! And so I thought to myself - why don’t I write a short review on a few of the more notable free website hosting providers that I’ve come across in my search for the best? And, low and behold - this tutorial was born.
Evaluation Criteria for the Best Free Website Hosting Platforms
When you think about free website hosting, what are the first things that you look for? Is it the uptime, or perhaps the domain name?
Different people look for different things when it comes to free or cheap website hosting. However, there are a few key factors that a free hosting platform should possess for it to be functional and useful to the people that are going to use it. I’ve taken the courtesy to pick and choose these essential free web hosting features, and I’ll briefly go over them for your convenience.
- Price. Naturally, the price is the very first thing that people think about when choosing a hosting site. If you’re just starting with website creation, you are likely not going to want to invest a lot of money into your first projects. That’s why the bigger portion of people turn towards the free hosting sites. Even the cheap website hosting can sometimes seem unreasonable, especially if you’re still not sure what exactly you’re supposed to do.
- Site speed. It doesn’t matter if you have the best free web hosting deal in the world if the site that you manage takes minutes to load different pages, now does it? There are tons of research data showing that people have very little patience for slow-loading websites - it either works, or it doesn’t.
- Uptime. If you’re creating a website (whether it be with paid or free website hosting) and putting content into it, you probably want users to see that content as much as possible. This isn’t possible if your website is down “for maintenance” four or five hours per day. That’s why uptime is very important when choosing the best free website hosting you can find.
- Other special perks and features. If the free hosting sites offer additional special features that are unique to them - all the better! This can make your site unique and original - it will stand out of the competitors and catch a potential user’s eye!
These are some of the main, essential criteria that you should be looking for in free hosting sites. If anyone of these points fails - the site probably isn’t worth your attention, especially when there’s a wide variety of different free web hosting sites to choose from.
Additionally, it is important to mention that you shouldn’t neglect the secondary features of free website hosting, either. Smaller things like disc space and customer support are very important and can add up in the bigger picture!
With all of that said, let’s move on to the actual reviews of some of the best free web hosting sites available. I’ll tell you mine (and some of my colleagues’) experiences with the free hosting sites in this tutorial, and then evaluate each one of them according to the criteria provided above. In the end, I’ll let you make up your mind if these free hosting platforms are worth your time or not. After all, it all boils down to what exactly you are looking for in web hosting (free).
One last thing - this list isn’t made in any particular order! All of the free hosting sites are placed in a completely random manner unless stated otherwise.
Oh, 000webhost. What’s a free website hosting platform review without 000webhost? I have to admit, this site was one of the very first ones that I checked when I was searching for the best free web hosting deal. And to be completely honest, I would have probably just stuck with it, if not for one minor issue that I had with the site. But first things first - let’s check 000webhost’s web hosting free options.
You can create your domain (with the 000webhost extension) and use the WordPress editing tool that you’ve installed into your system. And that’s the thing that had initially hooked me.
To be completely honest, I have used 000webhost before. I think this was like four or five years ago - I wanted to start my blog, and everyone kept telling me to try 000webhost. So I did, but my motivation didn’t last all that long. When compared to, for example, Wix, 000webhost has a difficult to use editing tool - WordPress. With Wix, you could just drag and drop items that you wanted to appear on your website - and that’s it! In 000webhost, however, everything is click-based - it might be quite difficult to manage if you’ve never used a website building tool before. There is an option to use the Website Builder, but, compared to the features of WordPress, you are then better off using Wix.
And another thing - 000webhost isn't necessarily free. While it has a free version, you would be much better off upgrading at least to their Single plan.
And to be completely honest, it’s quite worth upgrading, since cheap website hosting with the addition of WordPress can be found, and 000webhost is a good contender.
000webhost offers limitless disk space, a "one-click" website installer, and a completely free website builder. The reason why I keep on mentioning this website builder is that you'd still want to use WordPress since it offers much more control and is simply much more useful in the long run.
In retrospect, if I had put my mind to it and studied WP from the very beginning, I would probably not trade 000webhost for anything else at this point. It’s just a shame that the more difficult website construction interface (again - the website builder wasn't an option for me since I wanted to have more control over my. website) was what made me move on from it in search for other, closer-to-heart free web hosting sites.
- Offers WordPress and a Website Builder;
- Free web hosting. Even if you choose to upgrade, you will still get your money's worth;
- Great uptime, easy to navigate around once you get the hang of it.
- Can be quite confusing if you’re just starting;
- It isn’t all that fast when compared to other website creating services (i.e. Wix);
- WordPress has a steep learning curve.
Now, it will probably come as no surprise to you seeing Wix on this list. It also was one of the first “best free website hosting” platforms that I checked out when searching for free website hosting companies. And how could I have not! If you’ve spent at least a day on YouTube, you’ve probably seen more than ten of their ads that promote Wix as an amazing site for free website hosting and domain. With them being so aggressive in their marketing and advertising campaigns, I thought to myself: “OK, Wix. I see how it is. Let’s see if you can back up your claims.”
First of all, Wix offers its users two different options: free web hosting and premium plans. I can tell you that the free option is quite decent when compared to a lot of the other free hosting sites out there, but it does have its shortcomings. First of all, if you choose their web hosting free plan, you’re going to be bombarded with constant Wix ads once you load up your page. Not to say that this is something out of the ordinary (a lot of the platforms offering free website hosting tend to do this) - it’s just something to keep in mind when you’re looking for the best free web hosting.
Furthermore, the free hosting version of Wix does not allow you to import your domain name. This means that you are going to be stuck with one of those long URLs - here’s an example:
When it comes to their premium plans, however, there’s a huge variety to choose from.
You have 5 different plans that you can pick from, with the one called “Unlimited: Entrepreneurs and Freelancers” highlighted as the most optimal. Funny, huh? Just what we were looking for!
The price of the plan is $14 a month, and with unlimited bandwidth and all of the other additional features presented I thought that this does look like a great cheap website hosting alternative.
When it comes to the Wix’s visual and user-friendliness sides - it’s amazing. Honestly, even if you pick the free web hosting option of the site - you’re not going to be disappointed! The platform offers different templates for you to choose from when designing your website. All of the design and arrangement tasks are done with a built-in editor. I’ve heard that it’s great, but only once I tried it out myself I realized just how cool it truly is. The editor is super easy to use and navigate, non-intrusive and allows you to fully customize your site with all of the features available for the “free website hosting and domain” plan. You can check this thorough Wix review if you want to learn more about the builder itself and its features.
After being pleasantly surprised by the visual side of the platform, I was somewhat skeptical when trying to test the Wix’s performance. But soon my doubts were swept away.
Wix has an almost perfect uptime and my site ran smoothly for the biggest portion of the time I had been testing it (with some minor hiccups). I was surprised by how the company managed to achieve and provide this even to its free web hosting service! All that was left to do at that point was to check out their customer service - it’s a notorious topic when it comes to even the best free website hosting platforms out there. And, yet again, I was pleased. There’s a huge database of information that you can check yourself, but if you fail to find what you’re looking for, there’s a ticket system in place - a super-fast ticket system, at that!
- Amazing website editor;
- Very visually appealing;
- Near-to-perfect uptime.
- No custom domain name if you choose the “web hosting free” option;
- Annoying ads in the free version.
Conclusion: Wix has honestly surprised me. It truly does seem like one of the best free website hosting platforms currently in the market. Amazing visual design, irreplaceable editor, great storage space and uptime - a great deal when it comes to free hosting!
AwardSpace was suggested to me by a friend. He had been using their services for quite some time now, and said that he was “so pleased with their web hosting free services, that he decided to buy a premium plan after a few weeks”. Needless to say, this caught my interest.
The very first thing that you’ll see once you visit their website is a promo for one of their premium plans.
There’s no mention of a free website hosting and domain anywhere to be seen. Only once you scroll down, there are cryptic hints about the “best free web hosting”. Keeping in mind the fact that I came to this page from a “web hosting free” Google search and that the meta title of the page was aiming at *free website hosting* - it’s a bit confusing.
After some digging, though, I found their actual free website hosting services. Since AwardSpace is one of the longest-existing players when it comes to the game of “free web hosting sites”, I was expecting a lot. And the very first thing that I noticed is that they offer an ad-free experience, even for their web hosting free users! Honestly, that one-uped Wix (at least in the platform intrusion department), so I was immediately interested in learning more.
AwardSpace turns out to be one of the more reliable, non-intrusive free hosting sites out there. It takes care of all of the maintenance and service issues, and all that’s left for you to do is to decide on what type of website you want to run, and then drive the traffic towards it. The platform provides free web hosting and domain (with AwardSpace specific extensions, of course). The site is very popular amongst merchants and resellers who want to create their websites. This is since it allows you to decide on your prices, and offers a few additional subdomains (even for the free website hosting users!).
- AwardSpace offers an ad-free experience, even for website hosting free users;
- A wide variety of available features to pick and choose from (paid users);
- A mostly stable uptime.
- Ticket support system - customer support much slower than with Wix;
- Web hosting free plans are quite limited in their features.
When I told my colleagues that I’ve stumbled upon Weebly randomly, they were quite shocked. Weebly is one of the most famous free hosting sites in the world. I did not know that! And, to be honest, that’s actually for the better - I had looked into this free website hosting and domain provider without any predefined bias.
My first impressions on the site were quite positive. Weebly seems to play with open hands - there’s no hidden fees or small print anywhere to be seen. Since this is another website creation tool, you can create a website and attach your domain to it completely free of charge. However, if that doesn’t suit you and you want to build a hosted site, there are a few payment plans to choose from.
For just $8, you can create a fully-fledged “personal use” type of a site. It offers you $100 in Google ad credit and lets you store up to ten products at a time. Weebly removes all associated ads from the site, charges you a 3% fee for the merchandise that you sell and handles all of the payment processes. If you’re looking for a free website hosting and domain to start up an e-commerce project, this might just be the thing that you need.
However, Weebly’s strongest points show when we talk about the visual customization of your website.
Weebly is widely acclaimed to be one of the best website creation tools when it comes to the visual appeal of your site. It offers a wide variety of amazing templates and a huge assortment of possible customizations for you to play around with. One thing’s for sure - you won’t be disappointed with how your website comes out to look like in the very end.
When I went over the various templates, functions, and features that Weebly offers, I had the same feeling creeping in that I had when I was analyzing Wix - but what if the performance sucks..? And, not surprisingly, my skepticism was dismissed yet again.
According to the performance tests that I ran through Weebly, this free website hosting platform maintains an incredible uptime - the same as all of the other platforms on this list. One thing that shocked me was that Weebly’s performance rate kept on constantly increasing - I have not seen that before! This just goes to show that the company does care to maintain its good reputation and customer relations - something worth keeping in mind when searching for great cheap website hosting!
One of the only major problems that a colleague of mine encountered while using Weebly is that the platform makes it incredibly hard to transfer your content to some other free website hosting and domain provider. It makes sense from a business perspective, but can truly be a nuisance for the customer.
I’ve also heard rumors that Weebly’s customer support is far from being fast and responsive. However, I have not encountered any problems whatsoever. If you have a free version of the website building tool, customer support can be reached via email. However, even the lowest tier of paid services will allow you to contact customer support by live chat, email, and phone.
- Magnificent visual templates and customization options;
- Easy-to-learn website building tool;
- Decent pricing options.
- Some people say that customer support tends to not be up-to-par, so that’s worth keeping in mind;
- Content is difficult to transfer to other platforms if you ever wish to.
I have to admit - I was not very pleasantly surprised when I came across this free website hosting service provider. I had wondered if I accidentally entered a time machine and went back to 2004. However, after looking into it, I must admit that I was completely wrong and simply misunderstood the site altogether.
FreeWebHostingArea is a free website hosting and domain provider that is aimed at the more tech-oriented website creators. The platform is operating and offering people free website hosting services for almost 14 years strong - now that’s a statement! If you are programming-savvy, you will find that FreeWebHostingArea can offer you some amazing features to experiment with (PHP, Apache, etc.).
Upon visiting the site, you will find that the platform offers both free domain and sub-domain hosting. FreeWebHostingArea offers a 99,8% uptime to all free users! When I first saw this, I was in disbelief - that’s amazing! No ads, daily back-ups, responsive support - it seems as if this free website hosting provider is truly a diamond in the rough!
This does come with a catch, however, and the catch is the skill level required for being able to fully enjoy the platform. FreeWebHostingArea does offer a more rookie-friendly and approachable option of creating a website, but it’s still pretty much in its early stages of infancy. If you’re completely new to website creation and have no prior experience with programming, the platform can be really difficult to get a hang of.
If you want to upgrade your account, however, FreeWebHostingArea is the staple of cheap website hosting - they offer all fo the benefits in the above-located picture for only a dollar per month! It truly is one of those deals that are hard to resist. Registering a domain is also relatively cheap - on $10,99 per year.
- Amazing features for free users;
- Superb uptime statistics;
- PHP, Apache, SSI, MySQL support.
- Can be difficult as a first free website hosting provider;
- Lacks interactive features and extensive visualization.
Whether you want to create and host a website for your interests (have an online diary of a sort) or start a business - you’ll need a great and fully-optimized website builder and good, reputable hosting.
The data that I’ve gathered for this tutorial should help you decide which of the mentioned free website hosting platforms serve your interests the best. Most of these free hosting sites have different strengths and weaknesses, so the ultimate decision does lie solemnly on your own, personal preferences.
I hope that the information provided in this tutorial was useful for you and that you’ll be able to successfully choose the best free website hosting provider. I wish you all the best of luck in your website creation adventures!