The costs of setting up and maintaining a website can add up quickly. Designing, developing and maintaining a site all need outlay of one sort or other and so it's important for businesses to minimise expenditure where they can.
Hosting is one area in which costs can easily accumulate, as hosting packages are generally sold with monthly billing. There are a number of providers that offer free hosting, however, and whilst such packages will not be suitable for some businesses, others have a great opportunity to make quick and easy savings.
Free hosting comes with a number of limitations of course. Server space, site speed, traffic, uptime guarantees and backup provision are all features that are often curtailed, but that's not to say that good cheap hosting isn't available.
This article provides a selection of the best free hosting plans available to UK businesses.
000Webhost has been providing free hosting services since 2007. Its free hosting service includes 1.5GB of space, 100GB of bandwidth per month and 5 accompanying email accounts. PHP and MySQL are supported with no restrictions and users are guaranteed 99% provable uptime as well as weekly backups.
The service is supported by donations from its community of users and revenue generated from 000Webhost's premium hosting package, which at $4.84 per month isn't going to break the bank itself and gives customers the option of moving to a more comprehensive plan should the need arise.
Freehostia offers a number of different hosting tariffs with outlandish names like Lovebeat, Wildhoney and Supernatural. Its free plan, Chocolate, gives users 250MB disk space, 6GB bandwidth each month, PHP & MySQL compatibility and 3 POP3/IMAP email accounts. Server uptime is guaranteed at 99.9% and 24/7 user support is provided should any problems arise.
Joomla, WordPress, phpBB and other PHP scripts can be installed with one-click using Freehostia's Elefante Installer and upgrading to any of the paid premium packages can also be done in one-click, should users outgrow the free plan.
As you would expect, 5GBfree provides 5GB of free hosting space to users along with 20GB of monthly bandwidth, 3 MySQL Databases and PHP scripting. There's no email included in the package, but the company is proud of the technology it offers, claiming, "At any other hosting company, you could be paying between $15 and $20 a month for the same cutting edge software (including the revolutionary CloudLinux operating system!), hardware, and security certifications."
Support is provided in forums via the 5GBfree community and users who require expert phone support can upgrade to the Pro version, which costs $2.95 per month.
Of the free hosting providers convered in this article, Freehosting.com is the biggest hitter in terms of monthly bandwidth with a whopping 250GB data allowance provided. The service also includes 10GB of server space and one email account. For users without a domain name, free subdomains are also offered, such as freesubdomain.freehosting.com. Economy and Deluxe packages are also available.
Zymic describes its free hosting as, "one of the most reliable and feature packed free web hosting services on the net." The service includes 6000MB of space and 50GB of monthly bandwidth with support for the latest version of PHP and upto 3 MySQL databases. There are no paid packages offered.
Along with its hosting, Zymic provides users with free templates, tutorials, articles and a Twitter account relaying updates about any downtime (https://twitter.com/zymichosting). There is also a forum for the Zymic community to ask for and provide support.
Byethost is part of Byet Internet, a US-based provider of hosting, domain name and reseller services. It calls its free hosting service, "one of the most powerful networks dedicated solely to free hosting in the world."