Infinity Free review

Commercial-level hosting, for free? This web host gets closer than most

Infinity Free

Our Verdict

'Unlimited' bandwidth, Softaculous, POP3 email, cPanel – Infinity Free gives you almost all the features of paid hosting, for free. But beware of those self-signed SSL certificates.

For

  • No fixed limits on disk space, bandwidth
  • Auto-install WordPress and more with Softaculous
  • 10 POP3 email accounts
  • cPanel website management

Against

  • Self-signed SSL certificates
  • 'Hits limit' restricts the number of files you can serve

Infinity Free is an iFastnet-sponsored provider of capable free web hosting.

The service website lists some impressive sounding specs. There's unlimited disk space and bandwidth, for instance. 400 MySQL databases. 10 email accounts. Cloudflare integration for extra speed. Softaculous gives you handy automated installation of WordPress, PrestaShop, Joomla and 400+ other popular web apps, and an industry-standard cPanel console helps you keep the site running smoothly.

There's a lot to like here, but beware – the service also has some restrictions.

For example, your website has a limit of 50,000 hits a day. A hit is a request for a file, so if a page has eight images, two CSS files and three scripts, that's a total of 14 hits (including the page file itself). That still allows more than 3,500 page views a day, so you might not care very much, but it does show the service isn't quite as 'unlimited' as it claims.

Assorted other restrictions include limits on CPU usage, entry processes and the number of files and folders on your site. These could also be a problem for busier sites, though again, smaller projects shouldn't be affected.

SSL could be a significant issue. Infinity Free sites get free SSL, but they're based on self-signed certificates, rather than from trusted authorities, so visitors will see 'insecure' and 'your connection is not private' browser warnings. The impression they'll get is arguably worse than having no certificate at all.

Infinity Free support is a little basic, essentially limited to a knowledgebase and community forum. Still, that’s better than some of the competition. And forums are also a handy resource for checking out a service and discovering whatever real-world problems customers might be facing.

Infinity Free links to some of iFastnet's commercial hosting packages (priced from $4.99 a month), which is handy if you'd like more power, but it doesn't have any paid products of its own. The company says it's 'sponsored' by iFastNet, but otherwise funded entirely by ads on its site, so doesn't need to hassle you with extra marketing or upselling efforts.

Infinity Free

(Image credit: Infinity Free)

Setup

Infinity Free setup starts with creating a 'client profile.' This is speedy and straightforward: tap the Sign Up Now button, enter your email address and a password, click an emailed link to confirm the address, and you're in.

Next up, you must create an account which you'll use for hosting. You're able to choose a free subdomain (yourname.epizy.com or yourname.rf.gd) or specify a domain you own already, and the service then automatically generates a username and password for you.

What's unusual here is that you can create up to three accounts, each with their own website, all managed from the same client profile. That could be very convenient if, say, other family members would like to use a website of their own. Or you could use the extra accounts to try out new ideas. Is WordPress really the best CMS for you, for instance? Install a couple of others and you can compare them, side by side.

We tried creating a couple of accounts. The website suggested these might take a few minutes to be active, but ours were immediately available to use.

Infinity Free

(Image credit: Infinity Free)

Creating a website

Infinity Free's web control panel displays all the accounts you've created, along with their domain names, account and FTP login details.

There's one-click access to the FTP-based Monsta file manager, handy for uploading a static website you've created separately. Monsta works in much the same way as most other hosting file managers, although it's a little easier to use than some. Select your website files and folders in Windows Explorer, for instance, and you can upload them to your web space just by dragging and dropping.

If you're looking to upload a lot of files, or to work with them in any way, it could be quicker and easier to use a regular FTP client. The control panel displays your FTP credentials upfront, and the support pages include a simple explanation of how to upload your site with FileZilla.

Experts, meanwhile, can manage their site from Infinity Free's standard cPanel. It doesn't contain all the tools you might get with a full installation, but it more than covers the basics, with MySQL database control and phpMyAdmin, PHP options, cron jobs, error page control, email account creation, simple account stats (but not AWStats or Webalizer), on-demand backups and more.

Maybe best of all, Softaculous gives you easy automated installation of WordPress and many other top web apps. No need to worry about low-level database details or other hassles, fill in a simple form and your site will be ready to go within a minute or two.

Support is limited to a knowledgebase and community forum, but that's more effective than we expected. Search the knowledgebase for the keyword FTP, for instance, and the search engine returns results from the forum, too, giving you a great deal of useful information to explore.

Dotcom-Monitor

(Image credit: Dotcom-Monitor)

Performance

We completed our review by running several performance tests on our website server, designed to detect outages and get a general idea of network speeds.

Uptime.com monitored our test website over time to make sure it was running, and check response times. The results were generally positive, with our server typically responding to requests within 180ms, around 25% faster than average. There were occasional significant slowdowns, though, where response times could double, perhaps an indication that other sites on our server were competing for bandwidth and CPU time.

Dotcom-tools' website speed test simulated loading our site from 16 locations across the US and Europe. The figures this time were more mixed, with first load times fractionally higher than average at 975ms, but second loads were very speedy at 613ms.

These results suggest there are no major issues with Infinity Free's hardware or infrastructure, and its servers are capable of delivering reasonable performance. Keep in mind that the real issue with free hosting is the number of sites that might be crammed onto one server, though. The hardware may be very capable, but if several of your neighboring websites get active at the same time, and they're all competing for resources, speeds are going to plummet.

Final verdict

Infinity Free's self-signed SSL certificates are near useless for any serious website, but if you can live with that, benefits like the Softaculous auto-installer, POP3 email support and cPanel management make this look like one of the best free web hosting plans around.