Questioning whether free web hosting is any good is perfectly normal as you look for the right hosting service for your online needs.
When looking to set up and maintain a website on a budget, you will likely be drawn towards the best web hosting provider that's free to help cut costs.
But be careful, as we found that out of a list of 18 free website providers that we compiled, only eight of them (less than half) actually delivered the full hosting package you'll need for your site, and only six made our list of the best free web hosting services.
Because you are being provided with a free service, the obligations usually attached to a paid subscription no longer exist, but you are usually left to your own devices when things go wrong.
None of the free web hosting providers that passed our test could measure up to even the cheapest paid-for service on the market when measuring the quality of the product or its features.
We also discovered that the websites of some free web hosting providers were not properly secured, which doesn’t generate much faith in their ability to deliver the level of service you’d expect from paid-for providers. (This also applies to some free website builder services). Remember the old adage: ‘You get what you pay for’? Well, nowhere else in the tech business is this truer than with web hosting.
Our advice would be to steer clear of free web hosting services altogether as it isn't a good option for the majority. Choosing the best cheap web hosting services may be a better option if you are on a budget. However, should you still want to proceed with a free web hosting service, scroll down to see the list we've made of the best on the market.
Top 3 web hosting services deals
Hostinger shared hosting:
TechRadar Pro exclusive: Get everything you need to put your business online with a WordPress friendly hosting package that comes with 30GB of storage and 100GB bandwidth. Grab a full refund of $41.88/£41.88 in Amazon vouchers when you purchase Hostinger’s single shared hosting package. Terms and conditions apply. *Initial purchase required
Bluehost Shared Plan |
$7.99 $2.75 p/m | 63% off
A fantastic bargain for TechRadar visitors, Bluehost has cut the price of its Shared Plan (regularly $7.99 p/m) down to a mere $2.75 per month for the first term only. You get $175 in offers 24/7 support plus free domain and site builder and 30-day money-back guarantee.
Hostgator surprises with the best shared hosting service
Hostgator has surprised us with an exclusive offer that delivers some of the best shared hosting features we've seen for a very long time, with a slew of freebies like domain names, an SSL certificate and marketing money from only $2.64 per month.
The best free web hosting providers of 2022
TechRadar Pro has partnered with popular web hosting website Hostinger to offer a full refund (by way of an Amazon voucher) on its single shared hosting package. Just pay for your hosting, send us the email you used to buy the hosting package and the invoice number and we will send you an Amazon voucher to cover your cost in USD or GBP only (worth £41.88/$41.88). Other terms and conditions apply.
Hostinger is one of the biggest brands when it comes to web hosting with millions of websites hosted on its server. Our latest exclusive offer represents a huge jump compared to what you usually get in the world of free web hosting providers.
You get a whopping 30GB of fast SSD storage with 100GB monthly bandwidth, robust DNS management, Cloudflare protected nameservers plus full support (24x7x365) and uptime guarantee (99.9%), unheard of at this price point.
Those who want to cut their teeth on Automattic’s ubiquitous CMS will be glad to learn that this is a fully-fledged, LiteSpeed accelerated WordPress hosting service complete with beginner-friendly features like auto-updates, site-building wizards and a useful database of ready-to-use tutorials.
Read our full Hostinger review
In the world of free website hosting, Infinityfree stands out for good reasons, which is why it's top of our best free web hosting list. It has a well-designed website that makes a positive impression and ticks the right boxes for us. Its homepage gets a C performance grade in our load time test but other than that, it looks pretty solid.
Infinityfree has been in the business for over six years, claims to have over 400,000 users, and offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth (albeit with a very generous 50,000 daily hits). You can host as many domains as you want but you will only get 10 email accounts and one FTP to upload your content.
There are no hidden fees and despite its free status, you will get a 99.9% uptime guarantee (although that said, you are more or less on your own if your site goes down) and the popular Softaculous Script installer with more than 400 applications.
We were surprised to see that this provider's features list includes 400 MySQL databases (where others give only a handful, if any at all), a free DNS service, free SSL and free Cloudflare CDN. That's impressive for a free offering.
As expected Infinityfree also sells cheap paid-for hosting (Infinityfree Ultimate Premium) that offers unlimited everything for $6.90 per month, which is worth an upgrade as you will also get access to CloudFlare Railgun, which cuts load times significantly.
Read our full Infinityfree web hosting review
Byethost is part of Byet Internet, a US-based provider of hosting, domain name and reseller services. With more than one million websites hosted, Byethost 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 monthly bandwidth and MySQL / PHP compatibility. They also benefit from 24/7 tech support, which is obviously a boon, as well as access to Byethost's community and knowledgebase.
The Softaculous platform gives you automatic installation of WordPress and hundreds of other popular web applications, and there's a free website builder (with platforms) if you need it. It's ad-free, too.
Furthermore, 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.
Read our full Byethost Free web hosting review
000Webhost is a free website hosting provider owned and operated by Hostinger. 000Webhost has been around for 10 years and has millions of users, which unfortunately makes it a prime target for hackers. In 2015, the provider’s entire database was compromised with details of an estimated 13.5 million accounts stolen. Since then, 000Webhost has completely changed but many users still remember the hack to this day.
With 000Webhost, you'll get cPanel, a website builder and a WordPress auto-installer, plus a further benefit is that there are no ads. However, the bandwidth and especially the disk space are on the low side, with 3GB bandwidth and only 300MB of disk space.
As expected, there’s no SSL certificate, but what is slightly surprising is the absence of subdomains and email accounts, as well as a lack of support via tickets (you have to go through the forums when you need help).
You should be able to install two websites with 000Webhost, but we got an error message when we tried to do this a second time, saying that we had reached our limit. Furthermore, the account creation email was flagged by Google as a suspicious email, with a pop-up warning that malware often comes from that URL. Note that you can also create a website on 000webhostapp.com using the same credentials as 000webhost.com.
Read our full 000webhost review
You could easily confuse Googiehost with Googlehost, a cheeky way of getting some attention. However, the eight-year-old Googiehost still remains one of the better options in a not-so-great bunch of free web hosting providers.
That said, the company’s website inspires little confidence. The small print copyright notice was extended to 2021 even when it was the year 2018, presumably to protect against potential infractions by time travelers. Also, odd grammatical mistakes abound – Lastest, Trsuted, Powerfull – that sort of thing (and at the time of writing, there are apparently '2,12,820' users all over the world).
Still, it’s not all bad. This is the only provider here to come with cPanel and Cloudflare, albeit in its free form. However, note that we experienced a few instances where the dreaded “your connection is not private” popped up on our screen when trying to access cPanel. That’s never a good sign as Chrome is identifying it as a “not secure” property.
Googiehost’s revenue model relies on some of its free websites converting to paid-for affairs via Interserver.net. Plus it does run a few banner ads on the control panels and on its own website – but not on the users’ sites.
A last caveat: You need to provide a reason for the firm to accept your website, a special version of Recaptcha, and a surprising way to weed out spammers.
Like Byethost, FreeHostingNoAds delivers just what it says on the tin: Free web hosting without any adverts. The brand is owned by Runhosting, an established web hosting provider that offers unlimited disk space and unlimited traffic for as little as $2.49 per month.
As expected, though, FreeHostingNoAds offers a small subset of what you get with a paid-for account, and uses the same dashboard as Batcave (1GB/5GB/1 domain) and FreeHostingEU (200MB/4GB/5 domains). The latter are two other free web hosting providers that share an identical set of features with FreeHostingNoAds, and may well be part of the same family.
An SSL certificate, which will give you the all-important security padlock in browsers, will set you back an eye-watering $30. The control panel, via Zacky Tools Installer, is extremely limited, with either Grav, WordPress or Joomla being offered as one-click installs. However, you will be able to install your own should you want to do so – but bear in mind that the file size limit is only 15MB.
Creating a new account is straightforward, but we were slightly concerned by the fact that the account emails landed straight in our spam box, a sign that some sites hosted by FreeHostingNoAds might be on a deny list.
Read our full Free Hosting No Ads review
FreeWebHostingArea might sport the design of a website from 1999, but it’s another option if you want a free web hosting company that can give you unlimited bandwidth (or at least that’s the provider’s claim).
What’s more, it offers a more generous storage capacity than most, giving you 1.5GB of web space, plus you get three MySQL databases – which again outperforms most rival free website hosting providers.
The control panel is rudimentary, and at the time of writing, the site builder and the auto-installer were not working properly, leaving any user with the task of uploading their files via FTP if they want to create their own websites. The maximum file size allowed on FreeWebHostingArea is 12MB.
FreeWHA, as it is also known, also gives users daily or weekly offsite backups and no ads on low traffic websites. Upgrade to the FreeWHA Basic package for $12 a year and you get the ads removed regardless of how popular the site is, along with five MySQL databases per account, one-click database backup and priority technical support.
Read our full Free Web Hosting Area review
We eliminated the following ‘free’ web hosting companies during our extensive evaluation of the current market.
- Freevirtualservers, Freehosting and Freehostia: All of these were removed because they either require you to buy a domain name from them, or transfer your own.
- X10hosting: The login section no longer works.
- Uhostfull: We were not able to create a new account because it kept complaining about non-valid characters for a non-existent domain field.
- Instafree: It has a very convoluted signup process requiring you to give your date of birth and gender before waiting up to 48 hours for approval.
- 5GBfree and Hoophost: They no longer accept new accounts. Hoophost candidly admitted that this was because of spam accounts.
- AdvancedFreeWebHost: This provider wants you to subscribe to a YouTube channel and remain subscribed to it. Failure to do so will see your account deleted.
Best free web hosting service FAQs
Why do web hosting companies offer free hosting?
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.
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.
Pros and cons of free web hosting
There are way more cons than pros for free web hosting. The main (and only) pro is that it’s free, you really don’t pay a dime for it. This might be an okay choice for just trying out yourself in creating a website but you are almost always better off just paying for a good hosting provider, and there are some cheap ones too.
As you can imagine, there are quite a few cons to free web hosting. Performance is vastly inferior to paid hosting, security is questionable, don’t expect too much from customer support (if there’s any), and more often than not, you’re on your own if there’s some trouble with the website. All in all, if you can, stay away from free web hosting and pick a good cheap hosting provider.
Is free web hosting safe?
Free web hosting is as safe as any other hosting provider, with the caveat that less focus is provided on stability and support. This means you cannot presume that any backups will be made or will be reliable, so you must take extra steps to save and download your own data as required. That doesn't mean to say that free web hosting companies are bad or unreliable, just that with paid services you are paying for that stability, support, and reliability.
However, the bottom line is that while free web hosting can be great for small hobby websites, any serious website - even if it's just a contact page - needs to have it's own paid web hosting service. Not only does this imply extra protections for your website, but it also looks more professional if you don't have unnecessary website credits or even ads on your website.
How we choose and test these free web hosting services
Our reviewers test each service by signing up and purchasing a plan to check out what each web hosting provider offers new users, as well as how easy it is to navigate around each brand’s dashboard. We pay a great deal of attention to the support that is offered to you.
We weigh up the details of what you get, (as well as what you don't) and rank each web hosting provider based on the quality of its features that many customers will use, and how clear the web hosting company is on what the customer is getting in every product.
Is free web hosting good?
Yes and no, mostly no. While it is free, there are serious drawbacks to it. You are very limited with what you can do, a good deal of websites aren’t even secured properly, and if anything goes wrong you’re pretty much left to your own devices.
As we mentioned earlier, you’re better off choosing some cheap web hosting provider than going free. Still, it’s ultimately your choice, and free web hosting can be adequate for some specific situations, like newbies who want to dabble a bit with creating a website.
Terms and conditions for hosting free web hosting offer
1. Purchase the single shared hosting package ($3.49/£3.49 per month for 12 months) from Hostinger and apply to receive a free Amazon voucher worth £41.88/$41.88. You may purchase a longer subscription but you will receive the same Amazon voucher value as stated above. You MUST use this affiliated link and remain a subscriber for 60 days before you apply for the free Amazon voucher.
2. Submit the proof of purchase to TechRadar by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your proof of purchase will include the invoice or order number and the email address that you used to purchase the package. We will verify your purchase with Hostinger. We reserve the right to withhold the voucher if we are unable to verify your purchase. Our decision is final as to whether or not your purchase is eligible.
3. Please note that it may take up to 15 working days for your purchase to be verified and the voucher to be issued. For eligible purchases, the voucher will be an e-voucher sent to the email address you provided us with your submission.
4. The voucher will be issued either in US dollars or Pound Sterling depending on your location. Your voucher can only be redeemed at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. It is non transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash or other consideration. Your details will only be used to verify the validity of your purchase and not for any other purpose.
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