Best Free Web Hosting Sites
Who gets tired of free stuff? Nobody… unless of course you recently hit your head and aren’t thinking clearly.
We all love free stuff. Free tacos, free beer, or even a free t-shirt that gets tossed in the back of a drawer and never sees the light of day again the rest of its natural life.
It seems the word “free” triggers a sort of genetic response that makes us sit up and take notice.
So let’s talk about about free web hosting. Is it a good thing like free beer or ill-fitting t-shirt? The answer, as you might suspect, depends on what you intend to accomplish with your website.
Paid web hosting services (or meilleur hébergement web for the French among us) certainly have their place in the world, but the reality is that not everyone who wants to put something online has grand plans to challenge Amazon in a face-to-face ecommerce retail death match. Some of us have more modest intentions and just want a place to conduct email marketing campaigns, dump thoughts or share stuff quickly and without a lot of hassle.
If this latter idea describes you, it’s your lucky day. Keep reading to discover our no-holds-barred opinions on the top free (and almost free) web hosts on the market right now.
Free vs Cheap Basic Hosting
I just want to clarify something that I see a lot of people struggling with when it comes finding free hosting.
You won’t find a free host that gives you a free domain URL of your choosing – they don’t exist.
For example if I wanted to make a website about baking. There are no hosting companies that would provide you with mybakingwebsite.com. The reason is that it costs money to host the DNS and register the name.
Instead when it comes to free web hosting you can only get. mybakingwebsite.-
Your website is always owned by the parent company as is your domain name. You never own anything and in case you one day decide to retake your freedom – you’ll be charged a lot.
That’s why this review is about the cheapest “almost free” hosting companies. I’ve seen a lot of people make this mistake.
This aren’t isn’t a bait and switch but rather us sharing our advice after hosting hundreds of websites ourselves and seeing a lot of people get totally screwed over by free hosts.
Free Hosts Aren’t Really Free, Here’s Why…
Free hosts have servers to pay for, staff salary and marketing funnels to maintain.
So you might be wondering – how do they do that?
When hosting is not their product – you become their product (or in this case your data).
Here is how they ACTUALLY make money.
- Wait for you to upgrade – you end up paying 4-5X for migration fees.
- Malware + Spyware – Don’t believe me, read this.
- They sell your details – advertisers buy your information to try to market to you
- Forced advertising – you might end up with some crazy ad on your site.
- Unprofessional – if one day you want to turn your collection of cat pictures into a professional photo album to break into the bustling world of professional cat photography, your free domain name won’t help! 😿😿
5 Best “Almost-Free” Web Hosts
While the idea of 100% free web hosting is enough to start your tail wagging, don’t overlook the fact that their version of “free” might leave you with serious storage, performance, and bandwidth limitations.
…And unless you pay for an upgrade, you’re probably going to have to deal with their intrusive ads plastered all over your website.
While it’s true you can keep the free hosting as long as you like, if you ever intend to get more serious about a full-fledged website, you’re going to want to eventually upgrade to a more robust plan that costs a little something each month.
These days, you might be surprised how many features and benefits a close-to-free web host includes for spending anywhere from $3 to $10 monthly. We’re talking about a free domain, email accounts, plenty of storage, and even eCommerce functionality.
Here are our top five favorite almost-free hosting companies:
Unbeatable price for high quality and CryptoCurrency options for payment.
The starting tier only allows you to host one website.
Every time we check in on Hostinger the average uptimes and load times are improved. Hostinger is a great option for low cost hosting – especially when just starting out. It’s hard to pass up a $0.99 per month price and upgrading to their unlimited premium option will only set you back $2.15 per month.
As an added bonus of cheap web hosting, Hostinger has a free website builder called Zyro. It consists of the basic and not so basic features. The most innovative is definitely Zyro’s Logo Maker. If you are looking to reinvent your brand’s logo you can do it in no time.
Hostinger has become a pretty popular option in the hosting world. Despite this we were still skeptical of their reported performance and decided to take a look. A year+ live tracking of their results revealed some impressive performance numbers.
If you’d like to see our Hostinger uptime and downtime tests check out our full Hostinger Review.
2. SiteGround: Most Trusted Host
The Fastest Host at $3-4/month, Free SSL, 24/7 Support
SiteGround is THE most beginner friendly web host out there. Their 24/7 support staff can help you with anything you can think of. They will even install your entire website for you.
You’ll need to pay for an entire year up front
Thanks to an extensive list of extras and rock solid server technology, SiteGround should be on your short list of cheap, reliable hosts. We especially like the free website builder and domain that lets you get online fast at a minimum cost.
To find out why we crowned them number one, check out our SiteGround review for an in depth look at the company, their pricing tiers, and different service offerings.
3. Bluehost: THE Beginner Host
Starting at $2.95/mo, Free Domain
Ultra-competitive pricing for great VPS hosting when you’re ready to take the next step.
Charges $100 to migrate a website. Some companies do it for free.
Bluehost has been at or near the top of the shared hosting world for a long time, with a well-deserved reputation for quality infrastructure and customer support that is actually inclined to help (when they’re online). In our hosting tests, Bluehost ranked near the top with in speed and performance – everything you would expect from an industry leader.
As one of the last independent operators in the industry, you’ll get a full 90-day money back guarantee for ultimate peace of mind.
The lowest cost plans include some limitations on the number of websites you can host and databases you can create.
IT nerds and online entrepreneurs love the InMotion business-class hosting plans (we certainly do). You’ll pay a teensy bit more here than with the rock bottom folks, but gain a whole lot of value for not much extra cost.
With multiple datacenter choices and higher-end hardware, your InMotion experience should be a good one.
5. A2 Hosting
Unlimited everything with 99.9% uptime and datacenters in USA, Europe, and Singapore. Refund period never expires.
To gain additional server speed that loads your website super fast requires a plan upgrade to the more expensive Turbo or Swift packages.
Not just a reseller of prepackaged hosting plans, A2 Hosting decided decided to custom-build their hardware and software configurations for enhanced performance, speed, and security – presuming customers wouldn’t mind paying a few extra pennies per month for the kind of quality not always found in shared hosts.
Promotes environmental-friendly business practices. HostPapa is glad to migrate your CMS website from another host for free.
Support for minor issues is great but there can be wait times of up to 72 hours if you need more in-depth technical expertise.
HostPapa is more than a churn and burn shared hosting deep discounter. This company’s goal is to acquire customers through their low-priced starter plan, then prove themselves to be a full-service business partner. HostPapa continues to roll out more eCommerce features for entrepreneur-minded clients.
4 Best “Free” Web Hosts
Are there any truly free web host companies out there?
Yep, there are.
We scoured the internet for the biggest hosting bang for no bucks to be found. Believe it or not, there are some legitimate options, one of which at least should be a fit for your project whether you’re a naive newbie, hobby website designer, or an advanced developer who needs a place to stash his or her work with all the bells and most of the whistles.
Tough to beat in terms of browser-based site builders. With new templates and features coming online all the time, Wix is a great place to begin your web design journey.
Though they have a formidable article archive, live support is almost non-existent. You’ll be mostly on your own with tech issues.
This leading website builder is so simple that you can create an account and be building your website in a matter of minutes – very few minutes. Using the builder itself is a quick learning curve. In no time at all you’ll be manipulating menus, text, images, sliders, and more. It’s no wonder why we chose Wix as the #1 website builder on the market today.
If bringing a professional-looking online store into existence is the goal, Volusion is a serious option to help you do it.
Many of the sought after eCommerce features are only available with a hosting plan that you pay for.
Volusion specializes in entrepreneurs looking to build and host and online store. While not the cheapest option if you’re just looking to throw up an informational site or personal blog, those who are ready to jump into eCommerce will love this company’s focus on the business side of things.
The website builder is good for the price, with the capability to preview your site in both desktop and mobile view as you create it.
The 15 day refund period is kind of stingy.
For the extremely cost-conscious consumer who can get by with a no-frills basic website or needs email hosting more than anything, One’s starter package includes a domain, unlimited email accounts, and website builder at the rate of $3 a year. Packages tier up from there with a WordPress enabled plan costing about $3.50/month.
One-stop shop for building a fully-functional online marketplace.
You will encounter payment processing expenses if you choose any other route than the in-house option Stripe.
Shopify is known for eCommerce, so if that’s the direction you’re headed, this web hosting company is geared for helping you get an online store up and going with a minimum of fuss. The Shopify subdomain option is perfect for sellers with a tiny budget who need to make a few bucks before they consider upgraded hosting.
5 Best of the Rest: Other Free Sites and Builders Worth Watching
To revisit a familiar topic – it’s human nature to look for the best deal and it doesn’t get much better than free. That’s why the web hosting industry has jumped hard on the idea and run with it, becoming so jampacked with cheap and low cost options dangled in front of consumers like some kind of irresistible bait that it’s hard to sort them all out.
Well, it’s our mission to sort them out. That’s what we do around here. Some deep discount hosts are worth a sniff, while others are downright excellent companies, and a few you wouldn’t want to go near without a stout stick to whack ‘em with. These are our unvarnished opinions based on testing them all one by one.
Without further ado, let’s dig into our list of the five best hosting services that don’t fit comfortably into the first two categories. We’ll call them the Best of the Rest.
Truly free web hosting with some bandwidth and storage limitations.
Somewhat lacking when it comes to customer and technical support. Depending upon your own level of expertise, this may or may not be an issue.
Having provided no-cost hosting to almost 14 million customers since 2007, 000Webhost might not be first on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but it has proven itself to be a more than capable web host. Best suited for small to medium-sized accounts, this provider was one of the first to offer free SSL certificates, a practice that has become industry standard.
Active support community of 750,000 members.
Some would think this service is pricier than others, but it still falls squarely into the cheap web hosting category.
Active support community of 750,000 members.
Though the free basic plan has no ads, the footer of the website is branded with the Weebly.com logo.
Weebly has good name recognition in the DIY drag-and-drop world of website building. Their quality, especially when it comes to templates, has improved in recent years. The basic free package doesn’t offer much in the way of features but, like Wix, allows you to get a professional-looking web presence online in a short amount of time.
All the expected features of a good hosting plan along with a ticket-based support system. Basic plan prices at just .17 cents/month.
While offering a WordPress installer is a great idea, the lack of drag-and-drop design capability probably costs AwardSpace a good number of customers who want that level of hand-holding.
The AwardSpace business model is similar to better known names like Wix and Weebly in that that it uses free hosting to allow potential customers to try the service, hoping they will decide to add pay services as their needs become more sophisticated. Not much bandwidth or storage for free, and some will miss having a drag-and-drop editor.
The server cluster idea – as opposed to a single piece of serving hardware – is a very customer-friendly feature.
The free plan’s 250MB of included storage might seem a little tight for anything but the most basic of sites.
Boasting a load-balanced server cluster approach, Freehostia claims to have up to 15x faster page-loading than comparable free hosts. Even the free plan has no advertising, which is nice and allows your website to look professional right out of the gate. Impressive 24/7 support.
If you’re serious about starting an online business or communicating to the world, we’ll be the first to agree that free web hosting might not be the best long-term hosting solution (these small business hosts would be wiser options).
However, there are some excellent reasons to go this route in the beginning. Obviously, there’s the price thing – we’re talking either completely free or anywhere from pennies to just a few dollars per month. This can seriously help you reduce website development costs if you’re on a tight budget.
Often overlooked is the idea that these companies (the credible ones anyway) want your business for the long haul, and they know you will judge them on the quality of their free and basic plans. As we’ve mentioned, they want you to eventually upgrade into higher price points but know they’re going to have to deliver the goods at the free level first.
The bottom line is that, if the features of a particular host don’t mesh with you, it’s VERY cheap to give another one a test ride.
So, you still don’t have a website online? What are you waiting for?! We’ve put the tools right in your hands – now go get it!