Free web hosting sounds too good to be true – and that’s because it usually is. Running a web hosting service isn’t cheap, and you can be sure that the companies behind them aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.A provider of free hosting is often looking to use your site to generate revenue via forced advertising, or to sell you endless add-ons until you finally give in to a paid option. The quality of the service is often of little concern to free hosting providers. In the worst cases, the whole operation is just a scam to get your data.That’s why I’d recommend choosing an “almost-free” option instead – paid hosting where the prices are so low that it could fit the tightest of budgets. You’ll have a much better experience if you pay even just a few dollars per month.I’ve included some of the best-value paid hosts below, along with a selection of the most trustworthy free alternatives if I’m yet to convince you otherwise. Read on to find out which host is the right one for your needs.
Short on Time? These Are the Best Web Hosts for Free Web Hosting in 2023
Wix– Easy drag-and-drop site builder with free hosting included
What We Look For in the Best Free Web Hosting Solutions
When we put free web hosting solutions to the test, this is what we look for:
Trustworthiness. Searching for a free web host can feel a bit like the wild west – there’s lots of options, but many are just looking to scam you. I’ve personally tested the free hosts below so you can rest assured that it is a genuine hosting service.
Enough storage and bandwidth for a simple website. You need to know that you have enough storage space, and that your website isn’t going to suffer downtime due to insufficient bandwidth.
Installation of WordPress and other CMS. Basic website builders are nice for some purposes, but your site may need more. Your free web host needs to offer easy installation of more advanced applications, WordPress in particular.
Easy-to-manage control panels. You want a hosting solution that makes it easy to manage your files and other aspects of your web hosting space, using a control panel such as cPanel.
Wix is our top-ranked website builder, and for good reason. It offers over 900 website templates to choose from – all of which are fully customizable. You can create a professional-looking website quickly with simple drag-and-drop editing, and no coding skills.In addition, Wix provides web hosting alongside the builder itself. Wix does offer a forever-free plan, though it isn’t without some significant downsides. You won’t be able to connect a custom domain name, ads will be forced onto your site, and storage and bandwidth will be heavily limited.Upgrading to a premium Wix plan nets you a much better deal. The affordable, ad-free Combo plan offers upgraded resource limits and a free domain name for a year. If you take your site seriously, this is your best bet.
Free placement of site elements – Other site builders tend to restrict your creativity to set guidelines and grids. However, Wix allows you to place text, images, and other elements wherever you wish, so you can create something truly unique.
Wix App Market – There are 250+ apps available in the Wix App Market, which lets you expand the functionality of your site easily. You can add e-commerce storefronts, marketing tools, and various types of social media widgets.
Easy SEO – The Wix SEO Wiz shows you how to optimize your site for search engines. It generates a simple checklist for you to follow, ensuring your site is desirable to Google searches.
Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) – Wix ADI is a free feature that offers an even easier way to create a site. By just answering a few questions about the type of site you’re looking to make, what features it needs, and so on, Wix will automatically generate a functional site for you in minutes.
Before going with a free web host, you should at least consider Hostinger’s incredibly cheap hosting plans. Just $1.99 per month gets you a fully-fledged hosting experience, complete with an easy-to-use control panel, 24/7 live chat support, and automatic weekly backups. Hostinger also provides top-notch performance. In our tests, it served web content faster than many other budget-friendly hosts, and it was far more reliable than most – we recorded barely any instances of downtime in two months. This kind of speed and reliability is far better than anything a free host could provide – and outclasses most budget hosts as well.Of course, Hostinger isn’t perfect. Its support agents can sometimes take up to an hour to respond to a basic query. Still, this issue seems rather minor when many free hosts lack support entirely.
A free domain name is included with some hosting plans from Hostinger
Optimized WordPress platform – Hostinger uses the LiteSpeed web server, which provides a nice speed boost. It’s particularly good for WordPress sites – and it works with the LiteSpeed cache plugin to optimize your content for maximum performance.
Robust security – Unlike many free providers, Hostinger takes your security seriously. You’ll be protected from DDoS and other attacks by a combination of firewalls and anti-malware solutions, such as BitNinja and Imunify360.
Great-value advanced plans – Hostinger’s Premium shared hosting plan only costs a few dollars extra, yet offers a free domain name for a year and bonus advertising credits. It’s an even better deal than the entry-level plan.
Extensive knowledge base – While Hostinger’s support can be slow to respond, it does offer a very detailed knowledge base filled with simple tutorials and guides. Even complete beginners should have no trouble following along.
1&1 IONOS is an interesting one, focusing heavily on low initial prices and flexible resources. And I mean really low prices – the IONOS Business plan is just $0.50 per month if you commit for a year.This plan also grants you unlimited websites, storage, databases, and traffic. All of this is protected via daily automatic backups and replication across multiple data centers to ensure your site content remains safe.So, for such a small fee you could get access to all these premium features that would never be possible with a free host. What’s the catch? Well, 1&1 IONOS’ great prices are just for the first year of hosting – upon renewal, costs rise sharply. It ends up much more expensive than Hostinger in the longer term.
A free domain name is included with some hosting plans from 1&1 IONOS
Scalable performance – With most providers, if you want to increase your site’s loading speed, you’ll need to upgrade to a different hosting plan. 1&1 IONOS allows you to upgrade your performance for a small extra fee so that you can avoid paying for extra features and resources you don’t need.
Free domain name – Even the cheapest 1&1 IONOS plan comes with a free domain name for a year. You’ll have to pay full price when the first year is up, though this is only a small annual fee.
Dedicated personal adviser – All customers are assigned a dedicated support agent, who will be your primary point of contact for support. They will be happy to give advice for all things web hosting, which can be very helpful for a beginner.
Manage your hosting on the go – 1&1 IONOS offers a free mobile app that allows you to manage your website(s) wherever you may be. It’s responsive and easy to use.
FreeHosting’s relatively high resource limits stand out. Unmetered bandwidth and 10GB storage is several times better than what you’re going to get with many other free hosts. Unlike many free web hosting providers, FreeHosting doesn’t give you a subdomain (e.g. yourusername.freehosting.com). This has advantages and disadvantages. Your website will look more professional with your own domain name, but then again, domain names do cost money.
Unless you already have a domain name hosted elsewhere, you have no choice but to pay a fee to get started. While domain names are not usually expensive, 1&1 IONOS provides a free domain for a year with the cheap Business plan. It’s actually cheaper to buy this premium plan than a standalone domain – and you’ll get decent hosting with it.
cPanel – The popular cPanel is included with the free plan, allowing you to modify your hosting space settings. This includes the Softaculous app installer, allowing easy installation of over 480 apps.
Apache/PHP management – FreeHosting comes with all PHP functions enabled. You may also configure Apache to meet your own needs.
Premium features available – Notably, FreeHosting allows you to purchase premium features for one-time fees. This includes SSH access, subdomains, SSL, and more.
Free email account – You get a single [email protected] email address included with your plan – with the option to purchase more addresses as and when you need them.
If you’re looking for a free shared web hosting solution that can deliver decent performance, GoogieHost offers CloudLinux-based hosting, as per the industry standard.Of course, you can’t expect it to compare to paid solutions like Hostinger, but GoogieHost does manage to outperform most free hosts.GoogieHost uses subdomains, like a lot of other free hosts. However, you can connect your own domain name if you have one.Because you can only host a single free website, GoogieHost performs checks to ensure you’re not trying to cheat the system, so there’s often a delay before your free account is approved. If it thinks you have multiple accounts, you’ll be banned from the platform – and you’ll lose your website.
LiteSpeed web servers – Like Hostinger, GoogieHost uses LiteSpeed web servers for better performance. This allows WordPress sites to take advantage of the speed-boosting LiteSpeed Cache plugin.
NVMe SSD storage – GoogieHost offers 1GB of NVMe SSD storage, which offers better performance than regular SSDs.
Free SSL certificate – You’ll get a free SSL certificate to secure your site. Your visitors’ data will be safe and search engines will recognize your site as trustworthy, giving your search rankings a slight boost.
Cloudflare CDN – The free plan also comes with access to Cloudflare’s content delivery network (CDN). This helps your site load faster for international visitors, while also offering some protection against DDoS attacks.
AwardSpace allows you to run a total of four websites on a single free account, but three of these can only be subdomains. This gives you the option to host subsections of – or companions to – your main website.You’ll also benefit from automatic firewall protection that keeps your website secure from malicious attacks. While this is nice, AwardSpace’s free plan lacks a critical security attribute – an SSL certificate is only included with paid plans.
With AwardSpace, you’re restricted to just three CMS options, which is a huge limitation. Considering the other free web hosting solutions in our showcase, we feel they could do better.
Instant account activation – AwardSpace offers an easy sign-up process. With a few clicks, your account will be activated, and you’ll then be able to build your site.
50 Gbit Network – Despite a rather low 5GB monthly bandwidth limit, you’ll get the same 50 GBit network uplink as paid customers. This can deliver better network performance than most other free hosts.
Easy-to-use control panel – If you find cPanel a bit complicated, AwardSpace provides its own custom control panel that you may find easier to work with. It features a customizable dashboard so you can pin your most used functions in an easy-to-access location.
Spam and malware protection – You’ll get a single email account connected to your domain with forever-free virus and spam protection.
Free Hosting Has Its Uses, but Beware the Limitations
While decent free web hosting options do exist, for just a small fee you can get much better service. Free hosts can work for personal projects or prototypes, but if you’re looking to serve an audience reliably, I’d recommend going with a quality budget host.Still not sure? Here’s my two cents:If you really need a free solution, I’d recommend Wix. It’s one of the best site builders on the market today, being both easy to use and flexible enough that you can create something unique. The forever-free plan comes with limitations, but you can easily upgrade to a paid solution as you grow.For the cheapest long-term solution, I’d choose Hostinger. With prices that start lower than much of the competition, and remain low even after renewal, Hostinger is one of the most budget-friendly options out there. Best of all, it offers impressive performance on par with more expensive hosts.If you’re looking for flexible hosting, go with 1&1 IONOS. Its Business shared hosting plan is even cheaper than Hostinger’s entry-level plan to start, and the unlimited resources means you’ll be unrestricted as you develop and grow your site. Just watch those renewal fees!
Here’s a handy comparison table to help you make up your mind:
I’d recommend Wix. Its forever-free plan allows you access to its large collection of templates and all site building and editing features – your only limits will be to storage and bandwidth. While you are forced to run ads, at least you can count on reliable performance, which is better than most free hosting solutions. Read more about Wix in my detailed overview above.
That said, if you’re serious about your website, free hosting probably won’t do – the last thing you want is a site that’s down all the time or takes forever to load. These days, Hostinger’s plans are starting at $1.99 per month, so there’s really no need to compromise on low-quality hosting.
Is free hosting safe?
Some free hosts offer very basic security features, but in most cases, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan just to get an SSL certificate. If you’re planning on having any sensitive data on your site, free hosting isn’t your best bet.
Hostinger offers a combination of robust security solutions, including a free SSL certificate, while remaining incredibly cheap – you can learn more in my review above.
Should I pay for web hosting?
While you can get basic web hosting for free, free hosts really can’t compare to what you’d get from a paid hosting service. A paid hosting plan will give you much better performance and reliability, and you won’t have to deal with constant downtime or pesky ads on your site. You can also connect your own domain name instead of settling for an awkward subdomain (most web hosts will even throw in a free domain name for your first year).
To get started, check out our list of the best web hosting services right now.
Does it matter where you host your website?
Yes. With a bad hosting provider, your website may be plagued with slow loading times, a lack of proper security, and extensive downtime. It’s really important to choose a web host with a discerning eye.
If this is all new to you, I’d recommend checking out our complete guide to building a website in 2023. It takes you through everything you need to know, from choosing a quality web host to beginning your site design.
Ari is passionate about web hosting and design and has been building websites with WordPress for over ten years. When he’s not testing web hosts, you’re likely to find him trying (in vain) to train his three beagles (who are better at training him than he is them!)
Free web hosting is safe to use. However, you should always choose legit and trusted web hosting to avoid any further issues. You can also compare some good and trusted free web hosting services and choose the best that provides good features for you or your business.
The only two that are really free and remain free is : Freehosting and Googiehost. But because you cannot have subdomains on Freehosting, that leaves the only logical choice which is Googiehost!