There’s a few providers that offer completely free web hosting, including Freehostia and Byethost. The catch is that they limit your storage space and bandwidth, requiring many users to upgrade to paid plans. For a simple temporary website, a free hosting service can suffice. However, for professional business use, it’s often wiser to purchase a low-cost hosting plan with unlimited bandwidth.
For this guide, we explored all the best free web hosting options, including completely-free services like Freehostia, and low-cost providers with free bonuses like Bluehost.
Best Free Web Hosting Providers for 2018
|Can you connect your own domain?|
|Bandwidth (per month)|
|Do they display ads on your site?|
Now, here are 4 best free web hosting providers in greater detail:
Option 1: Weebly — Free Web Hosting (But No Custom Domain)
As the most user-friendly option on this list, Weebly offers a completely-free hosting plan that’s perfect for building a personal website. Designing a website with Weebly is similar to creating a PowerPoint presentation— simply and drop elements to build your pages, and adjust colors and other settings on an intuitive menu. It’s a bit easier to use than WordPress, although it doesn’t have quite as many features or plugins.
The free version of Weebly gives you 500MB of storage and unlimited bandwidth, which means it can be accessed an unlimited number of times. Other free services like Byet and Freehostia limit your monthly bandwidth, so your website could get pulled down if too many people view it. So this is a major advantage to Weebly.
On the flipside, users on the free plan are required to use a Weebly subdomain (YourSite.Weebly.com). If you want to use your own custom domain, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan starting a $8/month. Weebly also displays small ads on free websites that can be removed by upgrading to a paid plan.
The verdict? As a completely free and user-friendly platform, it’s perfect for personal websites. However, for a business, the Weebly ads and Weebly subdomain will come off as unprofessional. You can always upgrade later to get around these limitations, starting at $8/month. But at that point, Bluehost is a more cost-effective solution, providing even more professional website features starting at just $2.95/month.
Option 2: Bluehost — Low Cost Hosting with Free Domain, Email & Plenty of Storage
To be blunt, a completely free hosting service isn’t going to get you very far in a business context. Free providers limit the number of people who can access your site each month (your bandwidth), go offline from time to time, and limit certain features like your domain name or amount of storage.
Bluehost is not completely free, but it’s easily the best-priced option that’s suitable for professional business use. Starting at $2.95/month, you get 50 GB to store your website, unlimited bandwidth, a complementary .COM domain for 1 year ($12.95/year thereafter), and up to 5 professional business email accounts.
You can fully customize your website by simply clicking and adding text/photos— there’s no programming required. We’ve also created a WordPress template that speeds up the design process further. Fit Web Themes: Business Edition is free to use, and we provide instructions how to set this up with a Bluehost website here.
Again, by our analysis Bluehost is the most cost-effective way to set up a completely professional business website. However, there are certain use-cases for a free website host, such as a personal website, temporary website, or a place to test out features. We’ll dive into more of these completely free hosting options next.
Option 3: Byethost — Free Web Hosting (But Limited Storage & Bandwidth)
Byet.host is one of the few ways to get free, no-strings-attached web hosting. You can set up a WordPress website, connect a custom domain and even set up 5 business email accounts for no cost whatsoever.
The catch is that your storage and bandwidth are limited. 1 GB to store your website is plenty for most business sites. However, 50GB of bandwidth will only accommodate ~10,000 visitors per month (or ~3,500 visitors if you have a lot of high resolution images). Paid plans increase your bandwidth, starting at $3.99/month.
While users say the servers run fast, even on the free plan, some have noted occasional downtime. Also, a couple of users also claimed their websites were taken down at random and redirected to a Bytehost page. It seems that Bytehost is cautious of misuse of their platform, and will temporarily suspend accounts that act suspicious— like uploading a lot of files in a short period of time.
Despite these risks, Byethost is easily the least-expensive option for entrepreneurs who want a simple informational website, or developers who want to test out features. You can buy a .COM domain for just $9/year, or pick up a free domain, then port it to Byet and create a free WordPress, Joomla, PHP or Zen-Cart site.
Option 4: Freehostia — Free Web Hosting (But Even More Limited Storage & Bandwidth)
Freehostia is another way to get completely free, no-strings-attached web hosting. Just like Bytehost, you can set up a WordPress website, connect a custom domain and create up to 3 business email accounts at no cost. However, the amount of storage and bandwidth you get is a lot more limited.
A free plan earns you 250MB of storage space and 6GB of monthly bandwidth, which translates to around 1200 monthly visitors (or 400 visitors if you have an image-heavy website). This is hardly sufficient for most business websites, but can work if your website is very simple, or if you don’t plan on promoting it too much.
Users are generally happy with their free service. I didn’t find any of the same complaints as Bytehost as far as accounts getting suspended. It’s a pretty good option for entrepreneurs and developers who just want to get their feet wet, although you will need to upgrade fairly quickly should your website start to grow. Unlimited bandwidth starts at $7.95/month for Freehostia, compared to just $2.95/month for Bluehost.
The Bottom Line
You might be tempted to start with a free plan and upgrade when traffic picks up and you need more bandwidth. The risk with this strategy is you may end up on a more expensive plan. Generally speaking, free hosting providers charge a little more for their paid plans to make up for their free users. Byet.host and Freehostia, for example, charge $6.99/month and $7.95/month, respectively, for unlimited bandwidth compared to just $2.95/month for Bluehost.
Again, a free hosting plan can work perfectly for a simple, low-traffic, or temporary website. However, if you’re planning to advertise your website, or are simply anticipating a lot of traffic, it’s wiser to use a low-cost host provider from the start.