Recent years have seen the popularity of free web hosting explode. I can easily see why – it is tempting to try to cut costs wherever possible to keep within your budget with the different costs required to run a successful website. What’s cheaper than free web hosting, right?
Okay, not always …
Free web hosts aren’t always what they advertise themselves to be. They place tight restrictions on bandwidth, storage capacity, server speed and uptime, which can make your new site unusable. But don’t worry, if you don’t have a budget-we did the heavy lifting for you. We compare 7 free hosting options in this review to help you find the best fit for your site.
Hostinger has become one of the most dominant players in the free web hosting industry, after nearly 16 years in business and a client base of more than 29,000,000 people spread across 178 countries. Yeah, so technically they’re not “free.”
Yet they’re also one of the most budget-friendly web hosts on the market at just $0.99 / month for their restricted shared hosting service. They are also one of the fastest, with average load times of just 355ms (the second-best we’ve ever recorded). But that is just the iceberg tip.
Their most basic strategy comes loaded with a whole bunch of goodies, including:
- 1 MySQL database
- 1 FTP user
- Access to their website builder
- One-click install of WordPress or other CMS
- 24/7 customer support (seriously, it’s one of the best)
- 100GB of Bandwidth and 10GB of Disk Space
- One free email account
And, if your site’s needs outgrow the limits of its basic hosting plan, you can always upgrade to its premium shared hosting plan that includes:
- Unlimited websites
- Unlimited email accounts
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Weekly memory backups
- Free domain
One of the only major annoyances we had while reviewing Hostinger is that their user interface doesn’t give you access to a classic cPanel. Instead, you’ll get a slightly downgraded made-in-house interface called the hPanel. It’s not our favorite user interface, but – considering the exceptional speeds, customer support, and features – we’re hard-pressed not to hold it against them. Hostinger’s “shared plan” average uptime and load time in 2019:
Hostinger is the best “almost free” host we’ve ever reviewed, with some of the fastest speeds we’ve ever seen and uptimes in par with those of HostGator’s Cloud.
“Web hosting with PHP, MySQL, cPanel and no ads cost zero!”.
That is 000webhost.com’s marketing slogan, Hostinger’s partner company, and one of the world’s top-rated free web hosts. Now, if it sounds too good to be real-IT IS!
Yes, 000WebHost provides impressive speeds (especially for a free shared host), and their no-ads policy makes the user experience much cleaner and friendlier. Such two factors alone, sadly, are not enough to account for the plethora of other limitations.
Of the many issues we experienced when reviewing 000WebHost, none were more prevalent or frustrating than their completely unusable uptime. With an average uptime of just 99.70%, you can expect to experience at least one hour of downtime on your site every other week. Think of all the sales and traffic that you could lose every single month.
To make matters worse, you’re also limited to only 3GB of disk space, 300MB of bandwidth. To top it off, there is no email or live chat customer support to assist you in the event you experience a problem with their service (all but certain).
Here’s 000WebHost free plan average uptime and load time in 2019:
Despite having undeniably incredible speeds, we cannot suggest 000WebHost to anyone unless it is an absolute requirement, with such horrible uptime and substantial constraints.
3. INFINITY FREE
InfinityFree is a relatively small player in the web hosting market, with just over 300,000 customers. Despite their small client base, they’ve managed to carve out a reputation for themselves as the most feature-rich free web host on the market.
While you are undoubtedly going to experience some problems with their service, this reputation is well earned. InfinityFree comes with the:
- Free SSL certificate with all plans (a very nice bonus)
- No front-end ads
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- 10 email accounts
- 1 FTP account
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage space
- 400 MySQL databases.
It’s safe to say you get a big bang for your unpaid buck from InfinityFree. But when you skim through their terms of service and policies for acceptable use, things begin to get a little more “interesting.”
What InfinityFree does not advertise on their website is that their “unlimited” bandwidth and storage space offers come with some severely restricted constraints. They put vast and vague limitations on the types of content and files you are permitted to access in their terms of service. Also, the amount of the offered so-called “unlimited” bandwidth is questionable too.
And the best part? The penalty for non-compliance on their “unlimited” deal is that the website and data are suspended or removed.
Here’s the average free plan uptime and load time for InfinityFree in 2019:
Overall, their uptime is pretty good, but we experienced over 40 hours of downtime this January, for example.
Although they are very well known for their search engines and other online products like Sheets, Docs and Gmail, they have also been offering a free website builder since 2008. In 2016 the website builder got a complete reconstruction and currently hosts more than 70,000 live websites.
You are also getting a free subdomain with an SSL certificate, and there are no ads on your website on Google Sites.
That’s not all good, though; there are minimal styling options. There is no way to add custom CSS or add fonts from their catalog of Google Fonts. Also, the SEO options are limited, and you can’t host ads on Google AdSense.
Although we are still running our tests to collect more detailed data on Google Sites hosting’s actual uptime and load times, a superficial look at the other reviews around the web suggests it’s reliable and quick.
With more than 2.5 million customers and 17 years in the web hosting industry, AwardSpace has built a name for itself as one of the leading free hosting providers.
Among its best features are:
- 100% ad-free hosting to the MySQL database
- 24/7 customer service (an admittedly enticing bonus)
- One-click CMS (WordPress/Joomla) installation
- 99% uptime guarantee
It all looks beautiful, right? A closer look, unfortunately, will reveal questionable features.
Although AwardSpace does some good things, there are several glaring issues with their free hosting that prevent them from serving any serious webmasters as a viable option.
For starters, free users only have 1 GB of disk space and 5 GB of bandwidth. This means your new site will be nothing more than a glorified “demo” of the premium hosting packages from AwardSpace. There are also a few odd lines of legal jargon in their TOS that seem to encourage them to sell your data to third-party vendors.
None of this matters since the biggest problem with AwardSpace is the abysmal downtime, which is more than an hour a week on average.
Here is an average uptime and load time in 2019 for AwardSpace free plan:
FreeHosting.com has expanded rapidly with a decade in the web hosting market, and 15,000 clients. Nevertheless, as we have seen repeatedly-popularity and performance are not always correlated. Equipped with an unmetered bandwidth (given that your website is in line with its rather stringent acceptable policy of use), you also get the following:
- A multilingual cPanel
- 10 GB of disk space, one email account
- A MySQL database
FreeHosting.com appears to be among the best free hosts available.
The endless stream of technical problems posed by FreeHosting’s service makes it all but unusable, as it is evident with free web hosts.
With abysmally slow load times touching on the 2-second mark – it’s one of the worst uptimes we’ve ever seen. Numerous customer reports from lost websites and unresponsive customer support, FreeHosting.com is yet another web host that makes big promises yet ultimately fails to fulfill all of them.
Here’s an average FreeHosting uptime and loading time in 2019:
We recommend avoiding FreeHosting.com at all costs, with some of the worst uptimes and slowest speeds we’ve ever recorded.
With its unique plan names (who knew you could buy “Chocolate” web hosting?), FreeHostia sets itself apart from the competition. They also have load-balanced server clusters – enabling increased load times across the company’s assets. These unique “features” don’t do much to improve their hosting quality, though.
In recent years, customer support has received many glowing reviews, providing 3 free email accounts and up to 5 hosting domains (a rarity in the free web hosting space). These enticing offers aren’t nearly enough to offset the hefty restrictions and performance issues with which you’ll be faced.
The biggest problem with FreeHostia’s free hosting is the restrictions on storage and bandwidth that they place. With a paltry 250 MB of storage and 6 GB of bandwidth, even the most minimalist of webmasters will struggle to construct a site containing more than a few images and a line or two of plain text.
The actual nails in the coffin, however, are the poor uptimes and painfully slow speeds. FreeHostia may work to host a simple test site or a blog with low traffic.
Here is the average FreeHostia free plan uptime and load time in 2019:
Although the uptimes and load times are not the worst we’ve seen (they ‘re still pretty bad), when you have so many other good service providers available, there’s no need to use a company like FreeHostia.
DO WE RECOMMEND FREE HOSTING SERVICES?
While the providers we’ve shared are among the best (which sadly doesn’t say much), even the most reputable ones struggle to keep up with their promises. They offer sluggish and sometimes unusable websites to their “customers” with little hope of succeeding in today’s competitive online space.
They can also delete your website (or online business) in seconds, leaving you without any control of the circumstances.
Thank you so much for reading our review. Please feel free to leave any comment below if you have any experience with those mentioned above “FREE” Hosting Providers.