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Owning a website can significantly expand your reach and visibility. But before you can build your website, you need to identify the best hosting provider.

While free hosting may have limitations, it’s an excellent starting point for those new to the online space or those with budget constraints. Scrutinize each provider’s features, benefits, and potential downsides to help you make an informed decision. 

So, whether you are launching your first website or looking for a more cost-effective hosting solution, our comparison of the best free website hosting services is just what you need.

Should you choose free hosting? 

Opting for free website hosting services can be a good choice if you’re in the digital world or you’re working on a limited budget. 

When you’re just starting out, using free hosting for your website might seem like a good idea to save money, especially when not many people are visiting your site yet. But as your business grows and more people start visiting your site, the downsides of free hosting start to show up. These services usually have limited resources, which means your website might load slowly or even crash when too many people try to visit it at once. 

Over time, relying on free hosting can hurt your website’s performance and frustrate your visitors, which isn’t good for your business. It’s wise to think about these issues as you choose a hosting option that can grow with you.

Pros and cons of choosing free hosting

Choosing free hosting for your website can have its benefits, but it also comes with certain limitations. Here’s a deeper look into the pros and cons of opting for free hosting:

Pros of free hosting:

  1. Free to use: The biggest benefit is that free hosting doesn’t cost anything. It lets you start a website without spending money.
  2. Easy for beginners: Free hosting often includes easy-to-use tools, making it great for those new to building and managing websites.
  3. No tech skills needed: Most free hosting services have simple drag-and-drop website builders, so you don’t need to know how to code.
  4. Good for small businesses: If you’re a small business or startup with basic website needs and want to keep costs down, free hosting might work well for you.

Cons of free hosting:

  1. Limited resources: Free hosting usually has caps on things like bandwidth and storage, which can be a problem as your website grows and gets more visitors.
  2. No dedicated support: With free hosting, you often don’t get the customer service or technical help that paid hosting provides. If issues come up, you might have to solve them yourself.
  3. Small storage space: Free hosting can run out of space quickly, especially if your website has lots of high-quality images or videos. This can slow down your website and affect how well it works.
  4. Might need extra tools: To deal with some limitations of free hosting, you might need to add extra tools or plugins. These can be tricky to set up and might not work perfectly with your hosting service.

The “Truth” about free website hosting service

Starting a website is now a key way to spread your message around the world. However, when you’re just starting out, you might not want to spend money on a website and want to look for quick, easy, and free solutions. There are plenty of companies that offer free web hosting, but remember, nothing is truly free.

Running a web hosting service costs money, and companies offering free services need to make money somehow, or they’ll go out of business. So, they might put ads on your site, limit your website traffic, cause downtime, tie you to their platform, or push their other services. Sometimes, the ads might not match your brand or even promote a competitor.

For anything other than a test site, free web hosting isn’t the best choice, especially for businesses wanting to establish an online presence. But what if you’re on a tight budget? Maybe you’re a non-profit looking for free WordPress hosting, or you need free hosting for students. There are still options for you.

Each free hosting company we mention lets you keep your site free forever, but if you’re serious about your website, consider a low-cost, feature-rich hosting service. Prices range from $2.75 to $5 per month, which is worth it when you consider what you could earn from your site. This small investment gets you professional support, better service, and full control of your site. This also means no ads and a better user experience for your visitors.

With this in mind, let’s look at some of the best almost-free hosting services, and then we’ll cover the top free hosting sites.

Best value “Almost-free” website hosting

1. Bluehost

Bluehost is one of the biggest hosting companies in the world and is officially recommended by WordPress. They offer a special deal for WPBeginner users that includes a free domain name, a free SSL certificate, and a big discount on hosting, starting at just $3.95 per month.

Their hosting plans come packed with features like free branded email addresses, unlimited storage, easy one-click WordPress installation, and more. They also have a user-friendly control panel that includes a site builder, Cloudflare CDN, SEO tools, and other powerful website tools.

Bluehost serves as an ideal choice for crafting personal websites, small-scale business websites, and blogs.

2. HostGator

HostGator was established in 2002 and is considered one of the leading hosting service providers in the industry and has progressively evolved into one of the world’s largest hosting companies.

Their remarkable growth can be attributed to their affordable, dependable web hosting services and high-quality customer support.

Their entry-level hatchling plan commences at a rate of $2.52 per month. Each package comes with:

  • a dedicated domain
  • unlimited free subdomains
  • a multitude of email addresses 
  • complimentary HTTPS/SSL
  • unlimited FTP accounts 
  • unrestricted storage capacity (disk space)
  • uncapped bandwidth.

Every hosting account is equipped with a cPanel that includes an auto-installer for WordPress and other prevalent website-building software.

Best free hosting sites in 2024

1. WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a widely recognized free hosting platform that provides a distinctive version of WordPress. However, don’t mix this up with WordPress.org, which hosts the renowned self-hosted website builder, WordPress.

WordPress.com provides a complimentary website hosting plan that includes a WordPress.com subdomain (e.g., yourwebsite.wordpress.com), 3 GB of storage, and access to free website templates.

This free package does display advertisements on your website. However, you can upgrade to their paid plans to remove ads, utilize a custom domain name, and avail of additional features. Once you reach this stage, any of the “almost free hosting” services previously mentioned would be a more advantageous option.

2. Wix

Wix is another fully managed website builder that provides complimentary website hosting.

Similar to many free hosting services, it is financed through the display of ads and Wix.com branding on your free website, which can be eliminated by upgrading to their paid packages.

The free package includes a Wix.com subdomain, access to website templates, and 500 MB of storage and bandwidth.

Related: Is Wix free? Everything you need to know before you commit.

3. Weebly

Weebly stands as a widely utilized free website builder at your disposal. It offers an easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder and pre-designed templates for website creation.

Their complimentary hosting package includes a Weebly subdomain, 500 MB of storage, and the display of Weebly advertisements. You can upgrade to their premium plans to eliminate ads, gain additional storage, and access more features.

4. GoDaddy (free trial)

GoDaddy is globally recognized as the largest domain name registrar and a reputable hosting company.

They provide a website builder, a user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder equipped with pre-configured templates. This service is available as a 30-day free trial, after which you can transition to one of their premium plans starting at $5.99 per month.

While it is cost-effective and straightforward to use, as your website expands, you may find the GoDaddy Website Builder somewhat restrictive in terms of features. Additionally, migrating from GoDaddy Website Builder to WordPress or any other website platform can be challenging.

5. Squarespace (free trial)

Squarespace is a renowned website builder platform that eliminates the need for technical expertise, offering aesthetically pleasing professional templates and a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface.

They provide a limited 14-day free trial for their website hosting services, granting you access to their website builder for you to test its features. However, your website will not be made public unless you opt for a paid plan.

Their premium plans commence at $16 per month. Each plan includes a free custom domain, unlimited bandwidth, storage, and access to pre-configured website templates.

6. Google Cloud

Google Cloud presents an array of complimentary website hosting solutions tailored for small businesses and students, equipped with all the robust features associated with a premier company like Google.

Given that their packages operate on a pay-per-use basis, it provides an accessible starting point for students. Google extends $300 in free credits to new customers, which is ample to sustain you for an entire year if you’re primarily seeking free website hosting for experimental sites.

7. Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services, often abbreviated as AWS, is the backbone of some of the world’s most frequented websites. While it might not be the most user-friendly for small businesses, it serves as an excellent platform for students and budding web developers.

Amazon provides a year’s access to free products on their AWS Free Tier, making it arguably one of the best free website hosting platforms for site testing.

Students can utilize Amazon’s robust platform to hone and master their development skills.

Conclusion

The landscape of free website hosting is diverse, offering a variety of options to suit different user needs. 

From the user-friendly platforms of Wix and Weebly, the distinctive version of WordPress offered by WordPress.com, to the globally recognized GoDaddy, each service brings unique features and benefits. 

However, it’s important to note that while free hosting services are cost-effective, they may come with limitations such as ads and less control over your site. 

For those serious about their website’s growth, considering “almost free hosting” services or premium plans from these providers might be a wiser long-term solution. 

By comparing the offerings of each, users can find the best fit for their specific needs.

FAQs

1. What is free hosting?

Free hosting is a service offered by some companies where you can host your website on their servers without any cost. This is often seen as an attractive option for beginners or small-scale projects.

2. What are the common limitations of free hosting services?

The common limitations of free hosting services include limited storage and bandwidth, lack of customer support, restrictions on the use of your domain name, and the display of the provider’s ads on your website. Additionally, free hosting often lacks advanced features like SSL certification, regular backups, and a range of plugins.

3. What are the security concerns with free hosting?

Security is a major concern with free hosting. Free hosting providers often lack robust security measures, making your website more susceptible to hacking attempts, data breaches, and malware attacks. They also often lack the infrastructure and resources to provide regular software and security updates.

4. Can I use my domain name with free hosting?

While some free hosting providers allow you to use your domain name, many require you to use a subdomain of their own. This can make your website appear less professional to visitors.

5. How to choose the right free WordPress hosting provider?

To choose the right free WordPress hosting provider, consider factors like the uptime guarantee, storage and bandwidth limits, customer support, and whether they offer a seamless upgrade path to paid plans as your needs grow. Also, check if the provider has a good reputation in the industry and positive user reviews.

6. Is free web hosting reliable

Free web hosting is generally not as reliable as paid hosting. Free hosts often suffer from frequent downtimes, slow loading speeds, and poor customer support. While it may be a good starting point for small, personal projects, it’s usually not advisable for serious businesses or websites with a high volume of traffic.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Education
    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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