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 to minimise expenditure where they can. Which is why website builders have grown in popularity over the past few years.
Web 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 web hosting, however, and whilst such packages will not be suitable for some businesses, others have a great opportunity to make quick and easy savings.
- Check out our best web hosting deals in the UK
Free web 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.
Bear in mind that free web hosting exists because it allows companies to upsell more expensive web hosting to those who may need it.
As such, free web hosting should be seen as a marketing tool which means that terms and conditions may be changed frequently and since there is no financial transaction, downtimes may be more frequent as SLA (service level agreements) are non-existent.
This article provides a selection of the best free web hosting plans available to everyone, in no particular order, and since they are all free, nothing prevents you from trying all of them.
Bandwidth: 100GB | Disk Space: 1.5GB | Ads: No | Panel: Cpanel | MySQL Databases: 2 | Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 5 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: Yes
Located in the US, 000Webhost has been providing free hosting services since 2007. Its free hosting service includes 1.5GB of space, 100GB of bandwidth per month and five 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 (nearly 14 million at the time of writing) and revenue generated from 000Webhost's premium hosting packages (24hosting). Starting at $2 per month, they aren't going to break the bank and give customers the option of moving to a more comprehensive plan should the need arise.
Bandwidth: 6GB | Disk Space: 250MB | Ads: No | Panel: Elefante | MySQL Databases: 1 | Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 3 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: No
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.
It even offers a surprisingly good 1-hour ticket/email response promise. 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.
Bandwidth: 20GB | Disk Space: 5GB | Ads: No | Panel: Cpanel | MySQL Databases: 3 | Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 0 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: Yes
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 and offers both unlimited disc space and bandwidth.
Bandwidth: 250GB | Disk Space: 10GB | Ads: No | Panel: Cpanel | MySQL Databases: 1 | Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 1 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: Yes
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, both offering unlimited disk space and monthly transfer as well as unlimited email accounts. Freehosting is also one of the few to actively encourage using the hosting service to backup your important files (e.g one 10GB ZIP file), great as it doesn't have a limit for file sizes.
Bandwidth: 50GB | Disk Space: 6GB | Ads: No | Panel: Zymic | MySQL Databases: 3 | Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 0 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: Yes
Zymic describes its free hosting as, "one of the most reliable and feature packed free web hosting services on the net." The service includes 6GB of space and 50GB of monthly bandwidth with support for the latest version of PHP and up to three 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 - which is currently down for maintenance - for the Zymic community to ask for and provide support.
Although we were able to create an account, the site doesn't inspire much confidence. The Twitter account hasn't been updated since 2014 and there's a suspicious VPN link in the footer.
Bandwidth: 50GB | Disk Space: 1GB | Ads: No | Panel: Cpanel | MySQL Databases: 5 |Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 5 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: Yes
Byethost is part of Byet Internet, a US-based provider of hosting, domain name and reseller services. With more than one million websites hosted, It claims that its free hosting service is, "one of the most powerful networks dedicated solely to free hosting in the world."
Users are given 1GB of server space, 50GB of monthly bandwidth and MySQL / PHP compatibility. They also benefit from 24/7 tech support and access to Byethost's community and knowledge base. And if you are ever interested in becoming a free web hosting provider yourself, Byethost operates a separate entity, myownfreehost, that allows you to do just that.
Bandwidth: 5GB | Disk Space: 1GB | Ads: No | Panel: Proprietary | MySQL Databases: 1 | Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 1 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: Yes
For businesses that want free hosting with green credentials, Awardspace provides a solution. It offers CO2-neutral hosting with all of its servers running on wind-generated electricity. Its free plan provides 1GB of storage (a 15MB upload file size limit), 5GB of bandwidth per month and up to five MySQL databases. One associated email account is also included.
Users have access to online documentation and 24/7 support should any issues arise. Live chat is also available for pre-sales queries. Worth noting that the servers of Awardspace are located in Kiel, Germany, rather than in the US and house more than one million websites. There's a nifty test hosting speed service that allows you to check the transfer speed in a live environment.
Bandwidth: 4GB | Disk Space: 200MB | Ads: No | Panel: Proprietary | MySQL Databases: 1 | Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 1 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: Yes
FreeHostingEU is a joint project set up and run by FreeDomain.co.nr and AttractSoft GmbH. Yes, Germans are at the forefront of free web hosting in Europe. Three hosting tariffs are offered - two paid and one free.
The free package provides 200GB of space, 4GB of bandwidth per month and one associated email account. Five free domains at .eu.pn and .me.pn are also included but they are likely to be of little use for most UK businesses.
For users of Wordpress and Joomla, one-click installation is provided and languages supported are PHP, MySQL, CGI, Perl, Flash. Worryingly though, the user forums have been closed until further notice.
9. U Host Full
Bandwidth: 1000GB | Disk Space: 1000GB | Ads: No | Panel: Proprietary | MySQL Databases: 2 | Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 2 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: Yes
For businesses that are looking for hosting that is quick and simple to setup, U Host Full promises the ability to setup a site within five minutes.It also provides a host on one-click installers for platforms including Wordpress, Joomla, phpBB, Mambo, osCommerce and Zen Cart.
Uptime is guaranteed at 99% with unlimited server space provided and unlimited bandwidth per month. Email is also included. Now we don't know what the catch is but it is definitely one of the better deals out there especially since it doesn't have any adverts.
Note that there doesn't seem to be any limit to the size of the files uploaded which is a pleasant surprise.
10. Free Web Hosting No Ads
Bandwidth: 200GB | Disk Space: 20GB | Ads: No | Panel: Cpanel | MySQL Databases: 3 | Website: 1 | E-mail accounts: 3 | Domain hosting: yes | FTP: Yes
All of the free hosting options included in this article are ad-free, with revenue generated by other means. Free Hosting No Ads celebrates this more than others, but still offers a good free hosting deal, which at 20GB, is one of the the biggest server space provisions featured.
The deal also includes 200GB of monthly bandwidth and three POP email accounts. Three PHP versions are supported (5.2-5.4) and three MySQL databases are also included. As expected, the free service is subsidised by the paid-for service.
Just note this though... "FreeHostingNoAds.net reserves a right to send 1 promotional email message every 6 months that can promote our affiliate products." You may however unsubscribe from the marketing marketing list.