When it comes to the best web hosting services, paid providers are always best. If you’re new to websites and hosting, and don’t have much of a budget, you’ll be looking to find any way to defer costs until you have a solid turnover. Some small business owners in this situation turn to the best free web hosting for their first site – or are tempted to.
Is free web hosting good?
If you’re struggling financially, the best free web hosting services can seem a convenient and simple solution. However, free web hosting isn’t as good as it appears to be.
Free hosts are nowhere near as good as premium options. Generally, you’ll have to deal with security vulnerabilities, poor performance, and limited features. You may also face strict resource constraints, and you’ll be left to fix things yourself should anything goes wrong.
With a strict budget, free hosting means dealing with tight limitations, like a lack of reliability, limited disk space, and slow speeds. Most free hosts aren’t actually free, with unusable hosting, lax or non-existent security and management tools, and extremely poor customer support and service. You’ll almost certainly run into problems with many “free” hosts after signing up.
It can be hard to find decent free web hosting, and if budget is an issue, our advice is to take a look at the best cheap web hosting. This way, you can save without the risks of free web hosting and its corner-cutting.
The 3 best web hosting services right now
We’ve outlined our top three web hosting services below. While they’re not free, they do instead offer competitively-priced hosting that’s secure, reliable, supported by experts, and evidenced by strong performance figures.
Below, we’ve tested the best free web hosting services we could find, as for many there will be no other option. Having identified available platforms worth your consideration, we’d point out that many are designed to compel you to upgrade to a paid plan once you’ve hit their free plans’ constraints.
What are the best free web hosting services?
InfinityFree and Byethost are recommended, especially if you’re looking for advanced features and generous server resources. Additionally, FreeHostingNoAds, FreeWebHostingArea, AwardSpace, FreeHosting.io, GoogieHost, FreeHostingEU, and HyperPHP are all worth considering.
One particular free host worth highlighting is 000webhost, managed by Hostinger, an industry leader in the hosting space. Although it offers very limited storage and bandwidth, you can rest assured that it provides secure, reliable service.
The best free web hosting services available
InfinityFree is about as good as a free web hosting service gets. For a start, you get unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and subdomains. There are no forced ads on your website; InfinityFree states that it makes enough money from the ads on the control panel to support the service. It’s been around for over eight years, so you know that your site is unlikely to just disappear one day if the company goes bust.
InfinityFree also has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. We like that you can install over 400 applications through the Softaculous one-click script installer. This makes setting up a WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal site a breeze. InfinityFree even offers free DNS, SSL, and CloudFlare CDN support. As many paid hosts charge for these services, it’s impressive to see in a free host.
In our performance tests, load times were unimpressive but not terrible. But if your website takes off, you can easily upgrade to InfinityFree’s $6.90 a month Ultimate Premium plan for unlimited daily hits and faster server response times.
ByetHost is an Ohio-based web hosting company with shared hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers. Its free plan is basically an introduction to its services (and you are encouraged to upgrade to a more powerful paid plan once you’ve set up your website). You get 5GB of disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and five email addresses.
Other features include unlimited MySQL databases, an online file manager, and Softaculous auto script installer. Support is good too, with a handy knowledge base, a busy community, and 24/7 tech support.
FreeHostingNoAds is a free hosting product from respected web hosting provider Runhosting. Its plan is relatively modest: 1GB of storage, 5GB of bandwidth, and free email.
We actually like these types of plans that are straightforward and don’t over-promise on a free service. You get a file manager, FTP support, a free app installer, and support for PHP. If you don’t want to code your website yourself, you can use the free website builder. As the name suggests, FreeHostingNoAds doesn’t put any forced ads on your website.
On the downside, the one-click installer only supports three applications, file size is limited to 15MB, and an SSL certificate costs $30.
FreeWebHostingArea has been offering free web hosting since 2005, making it one of the longest-running free web hosts on the internet. It’s an interesting option because it’s run and maintained by volunteers. Your site will be deleted if it doesn’t get any visitors for a month.
With this plan, you get 1.5GB of web space, three MySQL databases, unlimited bandwidth, and automatic backups. That’s more than you get with some paid plans. But the ancient design of the FreeWebHostingArea website tells you that there are few creature comforts offered by this web host.
There’s no one-click installer or web-based drag-and-drop design interface, for example. Essentially, you should only choose this web host if you’re a seasoned web developer who knows how to use FTP, and how to set up web applications manually.
AwardSpace is a web hosting provider that sells cloud hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers. Its free web hosting plan is intended to get you interested. You get 1GB of disk space, 5GB of bandwidth per month, three subdomains, one MySQL database, and one email account. This is just about enough for a small personal website.
AwardSpace uses its own app installer called Zacky. With the free plan, you can only install WordPress, Joomla, or Grav. With a paid plan, however, you can use Zacky to install around 30 popular web applications. There’s also a drag-and-drop website builder, but on the free hosting plan, you’re restricted to creating a single-page website with it.
000Webhost is a product from Hostinger, one of the world’s largest web hosting companies. 000Webhost has been around for over a decade and has accumulated over 18 million users. Its free plan is quite limited—you only get 3GB of bandwidth per month, 300MB of disk space, and one subdomain.
Features like SSL certificates, backups, 24/7 support, and email accounts are only available on the paid plans. 000Webhost suffered a massive data breach in 2015, where millions of account details were stolen. Though steps have been made to shore up security, 000Webhost only barely makes our list, as it’s been usurped by more secure free services that have more features.
Learn more about Hostinger and its paid web hosting by reading our comprehensive Hostinger review.
FreeHosting.io has 10 years’ experience in web hosting. It’s easy to sign up for a free site and have it up and running in a matter of minutes. Freehosting.io’s free plan gives you unlimited bandwidth and disk space, three MySQL databases, and up to three subdomains.
Administration is done through cPanel, and you have a simple site builder for creating a website using a drag-and-drop interface. What’s exciting is the support for Softaculous, a tool that you can use to install a wide range of popular website software with just one click. There are over 400 scripts to install, from content management systems to project management tools.
But FreeHosting.io is a smaller outfit that doesn’t have the proven track record of some of the other entries on this list. The FreeHosting.io support forum is full of customers complaining that their website has been suspended, seemingly without cause. We were unable to get a response from technical support on the issue, so we’d hesitate to put an important website on this host.
GoogieHost is a free hosting company located in Lucknow, India. It’s been running for eight years and has over 200,000 users. That said, the service can feel a little sketchy, since it’s no coincidence that GoogieHost could be mistaken for GoogleHost.
The company’s website even states that it “ran into many problems” with Google because of this. GoogieHost has been re-tooled as a non-profit organization, presumably to get around the legal issues of using such a similar name to Google.
But if you can look past all that, GoogieHost is quite an impressive free host. It has servers in the USA, UK, and New Zealand, and the company promises a 99.95 percent uptime. While it has its own control panel, you can also use the popular cPanel to manage your website.
Free plans get a massive 1GB of storage space—on fast SSDs, no less. You also get unlimited bandwidth, free subdomains, two MySQL databases, and free email. It even has a free website builder and Softaculous auto script installer.
Upon signing up for GoogieHost, you have to tell the team why you want a free account. We suspect that this is a way to weed out new members unlikely to want to upgrade to a premium account in the future.
FreeHostingEU has free web hosting, though the desire for you to upgrade to one of its paid hosting plans (from $4.95 a month) is clear. The free service has significant limitations: you can’t upload any file over 15MB in size, your disk space is restricted to a paltry 200MB, and you have a 4TB bandwidth limit. As you might expect, these limitations are removed when you pay for advanced hosting.
While there are installers for WordPress and Joomla on the free plan, you don’t get access to the rest of the installers without being on a paid plan. These include phpBB, Drupal, Elgg, MediaWiki, Moodle, and Zenphoto. Ecommerce tools like Zen Cart, osCommerce, and PrestaShop are also locked off behind the paywall.
FreeHostingEU is about as basic as you can get with free web hosting, and the limitations of the service will probably have you wanting to upgrade or look elsewhere.
HyperPHP is a web hosting provider with a free plan that is well-specified, with “unlimited everything”—as long as you adhere to the terms and conditions of the service. You get cPanel administration, an online file manager, FTP access, and up to 400 MySQL databases.
There’s a drag-and-drop Site Builder tool, and with the Softaculous app installer, you can easily install over 400 popular web apps, including WordPress, phpBB, Dolphin, Geeklog, and pH7CMS. Unfortunately, on the free plan, PostgreSQL and webmail are not supported and obtrusive ads are injected into your web pages. Premium plans with no ads start at $4.99 a month.
What is web hosting? What you need to know to choose the right provider
Find out what web hosting is, how it works, what types of hosting are available, and more in our video below.
How we test free web hosting
Further reading on web hosting and website builders
After building a website with one of the best website builders, find the hosting type for you in our buying guides, including the best cloud hosting, the best WordPress hosting, the best VPS hosting, the best European web hosting, the best cheap web hosting.