Who does not love free stuff? At least I do, and I am sure, many will agree with me. Running a website is no joke. Cost of building a site is only one side of the coin, the other side has too many things for a beginner, and sometimes they become overwhelming. That’s why, if you want to learn things around website building, hosting, etc., you start looking for a free website hosting service. Wishing for a free web hosting plan is nothing extraordinary since there are several options available, such as free website builder, free website hosting, etc., as on date.
But wait, when nothing is free in this world, how come companies are distributing free web hosting plans? You might be bombarded with questions like are these free web hosting plans tricking people, is there any hidden cost, is there safe exit with my built-up resource, etc.
Questions to ponder over before selecting a free website hosting service
It is always wise to do some research before choosing any free website hosting service. You should always brainstorm over a few fundamental questions such as –
- Are you a serious business owner? – If you are a serious business owner, then I would suggest you go with a premium or paid web hosting service. Why? The reason is simple.
You do not want to take a risk at such a level which hardly matters to you even you pay someone to develop or host a website.
But if you are looking to start a personal website or blog or to learn website building, then you can read further to get more insight on free website hosting.
- What is your requirement? – Even if you are a novice, you should know what are you trying to build around a website?
For example, if you are going to create a blog where you would be writing short stories or poems, then gauze your requirements such as disk space required for next few months based on how much you are planning to write.
You should also know what could be the readership on a daily or monthly basis. If you cannot come up with a simple answer then at least look around you and count your family members and friends who will be the potential visitors to your website.
- Know the intention of the provider – Why a company is providing a free website hosting service? You should know their intention. Are they going to trap you for blackmailing you in the future?
- Are there any Ads? – Some companies will show a lot of advertisements on your website. This may not be a pleasing experience for everyone.
- How many resources are getting allocated to you? – Your website would need some space on a server to run. You should know how much disk space, bandwidth, data transfer, etc. are provided in a free web hosting plan.
- Other essential services – Will you be getting access to a few crucial things such as FTP, email accounts, cPanel, etc. What kind of database will be available?
- Do you want a custom domain in your name? – Many times, we wish to have our custom domain name without any inclusion of provider’s name in between.
A free website builder does not have this option at all. Whereas, free website hosting service might provide you with this functionality at some additional cost.
Also, find out the possibility of purchasing a domain from a different registrar and integrating with the free web host.
- Flexibility in configuration and learning scope – Free website builders, such as Wix, Weebly, etc., would look more convenient than free web hosting solutions, such as 000webhost, FreeHostia, AwardSpace, etc., but in reality, they offer minimal customizations. You will have limited options and might not learn a lot if you are looking to see more of CMS platform stuff such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.
- Is there any safe exit? – Always plan thinking of future need. You never know that something started on a free website hosting provider can turn out to be a profitable proposition and later you wish to transfer everything to some premium website hosting plans.
I know a few cheap companies who will not provide you with an option to either move the files or take a backup. Also, a free website builder does not offer you an opportunity to transfer your website to anywhere else.
Answers to above questions would enable you to make a sound decision with known consequence in the near future. Also, you will avoid surprises regarding hidden charges, loopholes, etc.
Now that you know these questions, let us begin our search around a free website hosting service.
Two options are available in free website hosting
As I told you earlier, there are two options when it comes to free website hosting service, and they are –
Free website builder
A free website builder, such as Wix, get rid of tensions related to web hosting server, CMS platform, etc. You get everything customized, and there is nothing much that you can do other than what you get. You have limited scope to customize per your requirements.
Here, you will get space and custom website building software to create your website for free. Free website builders also have premade themes to speed up your process.
Free website hosting
If you are looking to learn serious stuff about website building then this service is for you. Here, you will be provided server space with most of the features of paid web hosting plan such as the ability to transfer your website via FTP, cPanel access, load CMS platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, etc. Some of my favorite free web hosting companies are 000webhost, AwardSpace, etc.
Free website builder
I am not a big fan of a free web builder because of several reasons. If you take an example of the most popular website builder Wix, then a free plan includes following –
- Wix domain (No custom domain)
- Wix brand Ads
- Free hosting
- Only 500MB storage
- 1GB bandwidth
So, there is no possibility of getting a custom domain name. 500MB is too less since during the age of website development you require more space. On top of everything, Wix will show its brand advertisements on your website.
Same goes for Weebly also. You might see another company in this category known as ucraft. This offer free plan with unmetered bandwidth and disk space. However, you can create a website with one landing page. This could be ok for someone who is looking to build a one-page online portfolio.
Disadvantages of a free website builder
No custom domain
Also, there is no way to go for custom domain name since it is not part of a free plan. Your website domain name or URL would be something like this – https://www.yoursitename.wix.com or https://www.yoursitename.weebly.com
In my view, this may not be acceptable to someone who is looking to take forward a free website to a more professional level. A website age over time and build a lot of credibilities and earn domain authority.
It won’t be wise to lose all the hard work just because there was no option to create a custom domain name.
No safe exit
If in the near future, you wish to transfer the website to some other platform then you will be disappointed to know that several website builders do not provide such facility. You might have to start everything from scratch. Scary, isn’t it!
I am sure; you must have learned the intention of free web builders and why they are offering a free web hosting plan. Still, I would only recommend this service to people who are looking to build a single page personal portfolio to showcase their skills.
Other than that, I would recommend you go with free website hosting service which is better than free website builder in many ways.
Free website hosting
A free website hosting is similar to usual paid web hosting service where you will be provided disk space, bandwidth, FTP access, cPanel, space to install CMS platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, etc.
Resource allocation is limited, and overall a free website hosting service would prove to be a significant learning ground for people who want to learn website building. Also, it is good for someone who is looking to build a personal website and might have the plan to take it to a professional level later.
You will be free to install your choice CMS software on the web hosting server. Also, if you have a custom domain registered with some other registrar, then you can even integrate it with your free website without any issue.
Or else, you can purchase a custom domain from the free web hosting provider. There are dozens of free website hosting providers are operating in the internet space, but we will be dealing with a few as they are best among the rest.
000Webhost is arguably the best free website hosting provider. It has a great resource regarding learning tutorials around website building and configuration.
|Disk space||1 GB|
|No. of websites||2|
|Free domain name||Yes||As a subdomain of 000webhost|
|SSL Encryption||Yes||Let’s Encrypt|
The free plan allows you to host two websites with five email accounts. You will also get 1GB disk space and a monthly data transfer bandwidth of 10GB. Other feature includes FTP or file manager access if you wish to transfer your website or even import something.
However, you will get custom cPanel access, and it may have same look and feel of a native cPanel dashboard. This web host has also taken care of security as they provide Let’s Encrypt SSL encryption. Also, they have provision to prevent any DDoS attacks.
It also supports some of the latest technologies such as PHP, CSS, HTML, etc.
It also has a one-click auto installer for WordPress, which has become the most popular CMS platform. In short, 000webhost is here to make long-lasting and faithful customers by offering them a genuinely free web hosting plan.
There is no hidden cost, and you go with this web host without any question. I highly recommend this web host.
My next pick as the second-best free website hosting provider is 5GBfree. As the name suggests, here you will get 5GB disk space with 20GB monthly bandwidth. That is something for a site. But wait, there is a catch. You will not get a few features which were otherwise possible in 000webhost.
You will not get email accounts, only one site, and no SSL encryption.
|Disk space||5 GB|
|No. of websites||1|
|Free domain name||Yes||As a subdomain of 5GBfree|
However, it will provide you with cPanel and FTP access. There is a 1-click auto installation for WordPress. Also, it is loaded with the latest technology such as PHP, CSS, HTML, etc.
But if you have a custom domain purchased externally, then there is no facility to configure it with the free plan. All in all, it is good free website hosting plan for people who are looking for more space and bandwidth to run their site.
Freehosting.com is a worthy contender as free web hosting provider if you are looking for more disk space and bandwidth. It provides 10GB disk space, which is kind of equivalent to any beginner plan for a paid website hosting service.
You will also get one email account functionality, industry standard cPanel access, one MySQL database, and FTP access. What you will not get are a free subdomain name and SSL encryption.
|Disk space||10 GB|
|No. of websites||1|
|Free domain name||No||You must purchase one|
To me, a subdomain is a big deal since it is the essential requirement to run my website. Otherwise, what is the use of a free website hosting plan? Unfortunately, you must purchase a domain name compulsory either from this web host or another domain registrar.
Also, there is no provision for free security like Let’s Encrypt. All I could say is that every free web hosting provider has some pros and cons and it is up to you to decide based on your requirements.