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  5. 6 Best Free Cloud Hosting Services: Entirely Risk-Free in 2023

6 Best Free Cloud Hosting Services: Entirely Risk-Free in 2023

Ryan Jones Ryan JonesWeb Hosting Expert January 29, 2023
January 29, 2023
Many companies claim to offer free cloud hosting, yet few offer anything worth using. What good is a “free” service when what you get is disappointingly unreliable and excruciatingly slow? The best free cloud hosting services actually let you try their platforms, without any trickery or false promises.

That’s why we tested the biggest free cloud platforms thoroughly, cutting them down to the top six. I’ve detailed exactly what you’ll get with each platform and how you can maximize its potential. Take a look below for all the details.

Keep in mind, though, that every free cloud hosting platform has limitations. You’ll likely be working with a tiny amount of resources, and you can’t expect any reasonable level of customer support. For serious projects, I’d recommend a paid option. It is possible to pay budget prices and still get the full power of the cloud – keep reading to learn how.

Short on time? These are the best free cloud hosting services in 2023:

  1. Kamatera – Budget prices for highly reliable and customizable servers, plus a 30-day free trial
  2. Amazon Web Services – A low-end cloud instance is available for free for 12 months
  3. Heroku – Fully-managed runtime environment in the cloud at almost-free prices

See 3 more great options | Comparison table | FAQ

What We Look For in the Best Free Cloud Hosting Services

To put together this list of the best free cloud hosting services, my team and I focused on the following features during our tests:

  • Reliability and uptime – It’s easy to give away cloud hosting like candy, but it takes the best, most cutting-edge infrastructure to make it really shine. These companies provide reliable, redundant servers, which translates to high uptime and blazing-fast speeds.
  • Multiple deployment locations – The best clouds aren’t made of a few servers located in Bangladesh, but of thousands of servers, located all over the globe, working together. Almost all services on this list provide multiple deployment options, ensuring that you’ll always have a nearby location promptly serving your visitors.
  • Access to resources – As I said before, free cloud hosting does come with limitations. What differentiates these guys from the rest is that the free tiers come with enough resources to actually test the service.
  • Scalability – With sub-par hosting, success is actually your biggest fear. It’s hardly scalable, so once you get some traffic, your website is going to grind to a halt. With the companies on this list, you always have room to grow.
  • Developer friendly – To develop the best apps in the least amount of time, you need a service that makes things easier. All the services on this list are developer-oriented, but a couple really go the extra mile in streamlining the process.

kamatera-home-page
Kamatera allows you to rapidly deploy cloud instances across the world
Despite the lack of a “forever-free” plan, Kamatera offers very good overall value. For under five dollars per month, Kamatera offers fully-customizable cloud instances with impressive performance.

Like many cloud hosts, Kamatera charges by the hour. This gives you full control over your server’s overall pricing – you can quickly scale your server up or down to meet your exact needs and budget. You can try this out for yourself with Kamatera’s free 30-day trial, which lets you build and scale a custom cloud instance (up to $100 in monthly value).

Additionally, our performance tests with Kamatera revealed loading times of a single second, along with perfect uptime. Kamatera may not be “forever-free,” but it’s more affordable than much of the competition, while offering comparable, if not faster, performance.

Features

  • Rapid setup – It takes less than a minute to set up a new cloud instance, allowing you to start development almost immediately.
  • Optional preinstalled OS – To save some time, Kamatera’s cloud instances can come preinstalled with popular OSs. These include various Linux distributions and multiple versions of Windows Server. You can also request cPanel or Plesk to be preinstalled.
  • Free static IP – Every server comes with a free public static IP, adding to the overall value.
  • Cheap automatic backup solution – For a small added fee, your server’s storage will be automatically backed up every day. This is stored in an offsite storage array to further protect against data loss.
Check out our expert Kamatera review for more details..

Data Center Locations 5 in the US, 1 in Canada, 6 in Europe, 5 in the Middle East, 1 in Asia
Uptime Guarantee 99.9%
Free Technical Support? 24/7 technical support via phone and email
Starting Price $4.00

2. Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Fast, Reliable, Secure, and Free to Try

Amazon Web Services' Homepage
AWS’ EC2 is one of many cloud servers available in its free tier
Amazon’s premier cloud computing platform offers a wide array of services, from cloud instances and storage solutions to machine learning and quantum technologies. For web hosting, the best fit would be AWS’ EC2 service, where it offers a huge list of cloud instances that are instantly scalable, highly reliable, and amazingly fast.

The best part? You can try a basic EC2 instance free for 12 months. This is because it is part of the AWS free tier, which offers a wide array of its cloud services without fees. Keep in mind there are some limitations – for example, you’re restricted to 750 computing hours per month with the free EC2 instance. But this is still plenty of time to get a lot of value out of AWS.

The t2.micro instance that comes with the free tier can run either Linux or Windows and is fit for low to moderate performance needs. This won’t be enough for a production-ready site, but you’ll be able to install and test WordPress, as well as advanced frameworks like Django and Node.js.

Features

  • Burstable CPU performance – The free t2.micro instance offers 1 GB RAM and 1 vCPU. The CPU is burstable, meaning that in periods of low traffic, you’ll only have access to around 10% of the CPU. In periods of heavier traffic, it can burst to deliver the full performance of the CPU core.
  • Complete control – EC2’s instances are completely customizable, which puts a lot of responsibility on you. The interface isn’t the prettiest, either, so prepare to work overtime to get everything perfectly configured.
  • Free storage & database services – As part of the AWS free tier, you’ll also have access to 5 GB of object storage and 30 GB of block storage. You’ll also get 750 hours per month of a MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, or SQL database with 20GB SSD storage capacity.
  • Easily scalable into high-performance machines – Once you have an account active with AWS, you can always add more computing instances. Just pick an instance size and location and deploy it within minutes.
Want to know more? Check out our Amazon Web Services review.
Data Center Locations Huge number of data centers serving 245+ countries
Uptime Guarantee 99.5%
Free Technical Support? Account and billing support only
Starting Price $3.50

Description of Heroku's cloud service
Heroku’s cloud instances are appropriate for a wide range of use cases
Of all the cloud hosting services on this list, none provide a service as streamlined and as easy to use as Heroku’s. It offers isolated Linux containers called Dynos, which offer a fully-managed runtime environment. All you need to do is deploy your code from Git or Docker, and Heroku will build and run your web application without any extra work from you.

Heroku will automatically keep the underlying operating system and libraries up to date with security patches, and will create new releases with every deployment that can easily be rolled back to. All in all, Heroku offers more time to focus on development.

While Heroku used to offer a free Dyno, it was unfortunately removed due to constant misuse. There’s not even a trial period or money-back guarantee to try the service. But Heroku has a really low price of entry, especially with the Basic Dyno, as it is pay-as-you-go. You can test this 512 MB and 1 vCPU instance for a short period, and then simply delete the instance – you’ll only pay a few cents.

Features

  • Built-in monitoring – Your web application throughput, response times, CPU load, and RAM usage are all monitored for you. It’s easy to see how your app is running in real-time, without the need to rely on a third-party service.
  • Visual CI/CD workflow – Heroku Pipelines lets you organize dev branches visually based on whether they are in development, review, staging, or production. Pull requests also create a Review App – a temporary build with a shareable URL that can be used to propose and test changes.
  • Buildpacks – Heroku lets you immediately deploy development environments for PHP, Node.js, Python, and many other languages, pre-configured with all necessary settings and dependencies.
  • Easy-to-install add-ons – Many third-party add-ons are available, and can be installed in just a few clicks. Some add-ons, like Redis and Mailgun, offer a free plan. Others may incur a monthly fee.
If you’d like to know more, read our comprehensive Heroku review.

Data Center Locations Heroku services are hosted on Amazon EC2 instances, available across all major continents
Uptime Guarantee None
Free Technical Support? Technical support through ticket/email, available Monday to Friday 9AM – 9PM EST
Starting Price $50.00

Screenshot of Free Tier features on Google Cloud Platform
Like AWS, Google Cloud offers a free tier of cloud services
Google Cloud isn’t the easiest platform to work with if you’re a novice developer. That said, it’s easily among the most powerful cloud services available today. While it wasn’t as fast as AWS in our tests, it came pretty close. It also offers a similarly huge global network, allowing you to extend your reach to almost any country in the world.

Compute Engine instances are your best bet for hosting a website or application, and Google Cloud’s e2-micro instance is always free. You’ll have plenty of storage to work with – 30 GB of persistent SSD storage, 5 GB extra storage solely for snapshots, and the free tier also offers another 5 GB of US-region multi-purpose cloud storage.

So, what’s the catch? Well, the free e2-micro instance can only be deployed in a selection of US data centers, and you’ll only have 1GB of monthly bandwidth. If this still suits your needs, the Google Cloud platform is definitely worth considering.

Features

  • Generous resources – In addition to the comfortable amount of storage, the e2-micro’s free tier is powered by 2 vCPUs and 1 GB of RAM. The vCPUs are burstable – while you usually only have access to 12.5% total CPU, you can burst to 2 full vCPUs for short periods.
  • Trial with $300 of credit – New accounts also get access to $300 free credit for 90 days. This can be used to try more powerful cloud instances, or test any number of GCP’s other services.
  • Free access to Google’s advanced technologies – Google is an industry leader in quickly evolving fields such as speech recognition, artificial intelligence, and diagnostics. Free trials or limited free plans are available for each of them.
  • Free access to Google App Engine – As part of the free tier, you can get limited usage of basic cloud instances on Google’s App Engine, a fully-managed platform for developing and hosting web apps. Google will handle server provisioning and scaling for you, so you can focus on app development.
For more information, take a look at our Google Cloud Platform review.

Data Center Locations Huge number of data centers serving 200+ countries
Uptime Guarantee 99.5%
Free Technical Support? Account and billing support only
Starting Price $48.91

5. Red Hat OpenShift – Powerful Cloud Instance Available Free for a Limited Time

Screenshot of Red Hat OpenShift service options
Red Hat OpenShift’s trial gives you access to an impressive cloud environment
Red Hat, known for the popular Red Hat Linux distribution, used to offer an “always-free” starter plan on its reliable cloud platform. The starter plan is no longer available, but there is a 30-day free trial of the OpenShift application development platform. During the Red Hat OpenShift free trial, you get an instance with 4 vCPUs and 2 GB of RAM.

It’s quite a formidable setup, but your machine will go into hibernation after 30 minutes of inactivity. After your 30-day trial, your subscription will automatically renew – but if you cancel before the end of the trial period, you still get the full 30 days to evaluate Red Hat OpenShift.

The discontinuation of the free plan is a disadvantage, but it doesn’t stop OpenShift from being the best cloud hosting for students available today. The platform is geared toward rapid development (not as much as Heroku, but much more than AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure), and can ably run almost any test project or school app you can conjure.

Features

  • Red Hat Developer program – Signing up for the free trial also automatically enrolls you in the Red Hat Developer program. This gives you access to betas for Red Hat products, plenty of developer resources including interactive tutorials, and more. You’ll remain part of the program even after the free trial expires.
  • Customized management console – Your cloud hosting can be managed and configured using either the command line or a customized console developed by OpenShift.
  • Development support – OpenShift’s platform makes it easy to quickly install frameworks and languages through the use of preconfigured containers.
  • Git functionality – Use OpenShift’s interface to push code updates and changes into a base image. Allows for easy team collaborations.
Data Center Locations 2 in the US, unless hosted with the Google Cloud Platform or AWS
Uptime Guarantee None
Free Technical Support? Phone support during business hours (exact time depends on country)
Starting Price Provided via consultation

Microsoft Azure website homepage
Microsoft Azure’s free tier supports virtual machines for both Linux and Windows
Microsoft Azure is another massive cloud computing platform that offers a free product system that is similar to AWS and Google Cloud. Some services are free for 12 months, others for life. Among the cloud resources that are free for 12 months, you’ll find virtual machines, storage space, databases, and bandwidth.

By combining these free services, you can find yourself with a setup that is more than adequate for web hosting. Your virtual machine itself isn’t anything special, with just 1 vCPU and 1GB RAM. But, you can attach two 64 GB SSD drives for block storage, and even a fully-managed 32 GB MySQL database to your instance, completely free.

In addition to this, Microsoft Azure offers 15 GB of data transfer for free. With all this combined, you may find yourself with several times more resources than the other free options on this list. On the downside, Microsoft Azure performed disappointingly in our performance tests, offering significantly slower speeds than both AWS and Google Cloud.

Features

  • $200 free credit – When you sign up for a Microsoft Azure account, you’ll get $200 of free credit. This can be used with any Microsoft Azure product, but you’ll only have 30 days to make use of it.
  • “Always-free” App Service – Microsoft Azure allows you to develop up to 10 web apps for free on its fully managed App Service platform. It’s similar to Google Cloud’s App Engine – however, it also offers integrated CI/CD workflows to streamline development.
  • Highly secure – Microsoft invests tens of billions of dollars in the cybersecurity industry every year, and employs thousands of experts in the field. Its serious stance on security extends to its Microsoft Azure services, which is one of the most secure cloud platforms available.
  • Azure for Students – If you’re a student looking to learn with Microsoft Azure, you can sign up with your university or school email address to get $100 of free credit without the need for a credit card. You can renew your application each year to get another $100 of free credit.
For all the details, read our Microsoft Azure review.

Data Center Locations 200+ data centers covering all major continents
Uptime Guarantee 99.5%
Free Technical Support? Account and billing support only
Starting Price $0

Which is the Best Free Cloud Hosting Service for Your Needs?

While all of the above options can offer you access to cloud hosting for free (or at a very low price), not all of them may fit your project. Each of them are limited in different ways, and it really depends on what you’re looking to test and develop.

If you’re still not sure, here are my recommendations:

Kamatera’s custom-built cloud instances are available to try free for 30-days, letting you test a server worth up to $100/month in value. While it isn’t permanently free, it offers the most customizable and scalable solution on the list, letting you instantly upgrade or downgrade resources to match your exact needs.

If you’re looking to test one of the best cloud computing platforms around, try Amazon AWS’ free EC2 burstable instance. You’ll have 12 months to prototype, develop, and host lightweight websites and apps on one of the fastest and largest cloud networks available.

On the other hand, Heroku’s managed platform for app development can save you tons of time and optimize your team’s workflow. While there is no completely free trial, you can test the Heroku platform for just pennies by using the pay-as-you-go system.

Still stuck? Here’s a nifty table to help you out.

Standout feature Length of free period RAM & CPU in basic/free instance Starting price
Kamatera Custom-build fast & reliable cloud instances 30 days 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM $4.00
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Fastest cloud instances with access to a huge global network 12 months 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM $3.50
Heroku Fully managed runtime environment to streamline development N/A 1 vCPU, 512MB RAM $50.00
Google Cloud  Permanently free cloud instance with $300 credit Always 2 vCPUs, 1GB RAM $48.91
Red Hat OpenShift  Powerful free cloud instance ideal for newbie developers 30 days 4 vCPUs, 2GB RAM Provided via consultation
Microsoft Azure Plenty of storage and managed databases available as part of the free tier 12 months (App Service always free) 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM $0

FAQ

What is the best free cloud hosting service?

That depends on your needs – every free cloud hosting service comes with their own set of pros and cons. However, our recommendations above are definitely among the best possible choices. Each of them lets you access a fast, reliable, and secure cloud instance for free (or for a negligible cost).

Which cloud hosting service is free for students?

All of our top free cloud hosting services are suitable for students, but some offer more benefits than others. For instance, Red Hat OpenShift offers a Developer Program that comes with plenty of tutorials, guides, and useful documentation to guide you through its platform and key concepts.

What’s the best free cloud hosting service for developers?

If you’re looking for a free self-managed solution, Kamatera is a great choice. Its cloud instances are affordable, instantly scalable, and can be custom-built to meet your exact specifications. Alternatively, Heroku offers a fully managed runtime environment, which can streamline development. Unfortunately, it’s not free – but it is very cheap.

Can I get free cloud hosting without a credit card?

Most free cloud hosting providers are only temporarily free, or otherwise hope that you’ll purchase one of its paid services. Therefore, they require a credit card to sign up. There is one exception – Microsoft Azure offers free cloud services to students without the need for a credit card.

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Elisa Liebetruth
4 Reply
nextfiles.eu offers up to 50 GB of free cloud storage space. This service is ideal for anyone looking for a good free cloud hosting provider. It is from Germany and available to everyone.
4 Reply
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Philip Smolen
15 Reply
GearHost has not had a free plan since mid 2021. The minimum plan is $5/month. The tour they offer still tells you to select the free plan, but that's impossible.
15 Reply
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Ferdian Alfianto
18 Reply
You should add Oracle Cloud and Fly.io, they both are offering free servers, I have 3 free servers on Oracle Cloud, and 2 servers on Fly.io
18 Reply
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Edward
13 Reply
It would be nice if the sites just not let you exceed the free tier to avoid a surprise credit card bill. Once you hit the free limit, email you for authorization instead of just automatically billing you.
13 Reply
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IKnowHow
3 Reply
Hello there. Unfortunately, as of now, the OpenShift Online Starter Plan is no longer available. There is a new Plan called "OpenShift Playground" but it's a temporary cluster open up to 60 minutes. Hope this helps if someone searching for the Starter Plan.
3 Reply
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Mike
12 Reply
Don't forget oracle cloud. They have some generous offerings in their free tier, not just geared around databases. The best is the offer 10tb egress per month free. Which is fantastic for many....
12 Reply
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Alexander
1 Reply
Red Hat OpenShift is very interesting to me. I really want to try it. Unfortunately is available in USA only. So, there remains Heroku, AWS and Azure available for free tier.
1 Reply
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KC Samm
6 Reply
I am interested in Cloudways hosting for my web application. The amounts in the "Price" column, is it per year (12 months) or monthly? Thanks
6 Reply
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WebsitePlanet Team
The prices are monthly.
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