Best free web hosting sites for 2023
Free web hosting is definitely a possibility, and it might be a tempting one – no one wants to spend money if you can get it for free. However, the promise of hosting a website completely for free is just too good to be true. With free hosting, you need to be prepared to wave goodbye to generous resources, stable and reliable uptime, speed, as well as security.
If you value any of these factors, free web hosting just won’t cut it. For reliable, fast, and resource-rich hosting, you should go for paid options. There is an abundance of great cheap web hosting providers to choose from and they all offer 30-day money-back guarantees.
Nevertheless, if you’re not ready to pay, there are some free hosting services that might be a little more reliable than others. To help you find something that suits both your needs and your budget, we tested the best free website hosting options on the market.
Best hosts for free web hosting
- 000webhost – best completely free hosting provider in 2023
- Freehosting.com – fast and resource-rich free host
- DreamHost – user-friendly hosting with a 97-day money-back guarantee
- Hostinger – the best and cheapest web hosting provider
- Bluehost – the most affordable WordPress host
The limitations of using free web hosting
Free web hosting may seem tempting, but it comes with significant limitations that can affect your website's performance and functionality. Consider these factors before opting for free hosting:
- Performance. Free hosting often lacks the reliability of paid providers. Expect lower uptime percentages, potentially causing downtime for your website. Also, free hosting's overcrowded servers and hardware limitations can lead to slower server response times. Paid providers like DreamHost or Hostinger offer faster loading speeds.
- Resource limits. Free hosting plans typically offer minimal storage, hindering your ability to add content like images and videos. Premium hosts like DreamHost provide ample storage space. Moreover, free hosting imposes low bandwidth limits, restricting the number of visitors your site can handle. Paid hosting offers higher bandwidth for better site performance.
- Ads on your website. Free options often fill your site with ads, impacting the user experience and potentially driving visitors away. By choosing a premium host, you can maintain a clean, ad-free website.
- Terms of Service (ToS). Free hosting ToS may include clauses granting the hosting provider rights to your content, potentially allowing them to use or sell it. Your site's existence on a free host is quite insecure – it could disappear without notice if the provider faces financial issues. Free hosting providers may exploit lengthy legal terms to justify selling your data to third parties.
Best free website hosting services reviewed for 2023
Reliable free hosting that will give you enough resources and keep your website up and running is hard to find. Luckily, we tested numerous free hosting providers based on what their free plans offer, the performance as well as security. Here is a list of the best free web hosts:
1. 000webhost – best free web hosting provider in 2023
|Features||Modern control panel, no ads, connect domain|
|Best for||Learning web development|
000webhost is a reliable free hosting platform. Some of its main attractions include an easy-to-use and modern interface, automatic WordPress installation, and free domain hosting. Additionally, it provides somewhat consistent and reliable performance in comparison to some other free web hosting services.
Interface. 000webhost’s custom modern interface is intuitive and easy to use. All the essential features like file manager, databases, and domain settings are there. You can easily opt for automatic WordPress installation or Hostinger Website Builder when creating your site.
Features. Free features of 000webhost include hosting for 1 website with 300MB disk space, which is not a lot but should be sufficient for hosting a simple small website that you don’t intend to do much with. Additionally, there is also 3GB of bandwidth and 1 MySQL database. 000webhost also allows you to connect your own domain, and there are no ads.
Security. 000webhost does not include free SSL certificates, however, as a free provider, it offers other basic security measures. You get very basic server-level firewalls, DDoS protection, and 24/7 server monitoring. You can also ban certain IPs and enable hotlink protection.
Performance. During our tests, 000webhost managed to stay up 99.99% of the time. Considering that its uptime guarantee is 99%, that's an exceptional result. As for response time, it's slow – 1.8 seconds on average. Overall 000webhost reliability is great, so you shouldn't have issues when you want to work on your site. At the same time, speed will be sacrificed.
All things considered, if you’re looking for the best free website hosting, 000webhost is it. While its resources are limited, its smooth hosting experience makes it a solid provider.
You can find out more about this host in our 000webhost review.
2. Freehosting.com – fastest free web hosting with unlimited bandwidth
|Features||10GB storage, email, customer support|
|Best for||Learning web design and development|
Freehosting.com is a free hosting veteran that has a few tricks up its sleeves to charm users. This includes free hosting no ads, unmetered bandwidth, some freebies, and an easy user experience.
Interface. The provider offers quite a smooth experience. The DirectAdmin panel is clean, organized, and intuitive. Freehosting.com was one of the very few free providers with which we didn't have any major issues when setting up.
Features. In the Freehosting.com package, you’ll find one hosted website, 10GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, an email account, and a MySQL database. You can also add your own domain name, and no ads will be put on your website. The DirectAdmin control panel is easy to use, and you get access to 24/7 technical support.
Security. Freehosting.com does not include any free security measures, it seems. There are no SSL certificates, no DDoS protection, or automated backups. You can purchase an SSL addon, however, this is the only security measure that Freehosting.com offers.
Performance. In just one week of testing, Freehosting.com was down 11 times for 19 minutes in total. That's a 99.81% total uptime result. Response times, on the other hand, were quite good. It averaged 314ms, which is quite fast. Also, there are also no performance guarantees. The provider's terms of service state that it doesn’t guarantee that its service will be uninterrupted or error-free.
Altogether, Freehosting.com is not the worst choice if you'd like to use classic web hosting for free. Random errors and poor uptime should be anticipated, but the resources are quite good.
If you want to learn more, visit our Freehosting.com review.
3. DreamHost – user-friendly web hosting with extended money-back guarantee
|Features||Free SSL, daily backups, WordPress website builder|
|Best for||Free web hosting alternative|
DreamHost is a relatively cheap web hosting provider best suited for those who are yet to dabble in hosting their own website. It’s also not free per se but comes with a 97-day money-back guarantee enabling you to build and work on your site for free for over 3 months.
Interface. The control panel is a custom DreamHost design. It looks modern, easy to navigate, and full of functionalities. Installing WordPress does not take more than one click, and you can easily manage domains and set up security as well.
Features. The starter plan for DreamHost includes one website and 50GB of SSD storage. However, there is no free email account – for that, you’ll need to get a more expensive plan. Other than that, you get a free domain name for a year and unlimited bandwidth. The support is not 24/7 and operates only during business hours. However, you can always send emails.
Security. The security features of DreamHost include free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, a firewall with 100 custom rules, automated daily website backups, and even domain privacy protection. However, the free malware removal tool is not included, and you need to pay extra for it.
Performance. During the 2 months of monitoring, DreamHost had only a 1-minute outage, which results in 99.99% uptime. The server response time is also one of the fastest that we’ve seen – 231ms.
The starting price for DreamHost is from $2.59/month. It also offers the longest money-back guarantee of all hosting providers – you can try it risk-free for 97 days.
For more information, check out our DreamHost review.
4. Hostinger – cheapest web hosting provider with premium features
|Features||Free SSL, weekly backups, SSD storage, LiteSpeed web server|
|Best for||Free web hosting alternative|
Before opting for a completely free provider, you should check out Hostinger. Hostinger is the cheapest and the best web hosting provider that you can find. With it, you get amazing performance, ease of use, essential security measures, and helpful 24/7 support – you can use it for free for 30 days.
Interface. Hostinger offers its users a custom professional control panel called hPanel. It is easy to navigate, functional, and very well organized. Installing various CMS like WordPress is also just a few clicks away.
Features. The cheapest Hostinger plan includes hosting for one website with 30GB SSD storage, 100GB bandwidth, an email account, and 2 databases. That's hundreds of times more (talking about storage and bandwidth) than what you get with free providers. You also get access to a professional control panel, and there are no ads on your site. And if anything goes wrong, 24/7 support is there for you at all times.
Security. Hostinger’s plans include a free SSL certificate, as well as DDoS protection, and 2FA. The servers are also monitored 24/7 and are secured with security modules. Besides all that, the cheapest plan allows for weekly website backups.
Performance. Hostinger is up 100% of the time, and the response time is 511ms. That's not the top response time result, but it's well above the average. Additionally, Hostinger has 8 data center locations, so you can bring your website close to your target audience and get better page load time. Moreover, all plans are powered by the LiteSpeed web server and pre-configured caching.
Hostinger’s prices start at $2.69/month/month. Ease of use, reliability, performance, and customer support that's always available, makes Hostinger the best choice if you’re looking for something cheap. And if along the way you decide that it is not for you, you can always use the 30-day money-back guarantee.
For more information, read our Hostinger review.
5. Bluehost – budget-friendly WordPress host with free options
|Features||Unlimited bandwidth, free domain, free SSL|
|Best for||Cheap WordPress hosting|
Bluehost is another premium hosting provider and also the cheapest option if you’re looking for an affordable and functional WordPress hosting solution. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee (hence, it's not free per se), meaning you'll be able to use it for free for a month, get reliable performance, a staging tool, and sufficient security measures.
Interface. Bluehost uses a combination of cPanel and custom website management tools. Setting up a website – WordPress or not – is as easy as it gets. It even has a checklist for first-time website creators.
Features. With Bluehost, you get unlimited bandwidth, 5 email accounts, and a free domain. There is also a WordPress staging tool, and an AI-powered website builder if you need help creating your site. In case of any issues, you can always reach support via the 24/7 live chat.
Security. Bluehot security features include a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, Cloudflare DDoS protection, and even malware detection. Unfortunately, for automatic backups and a firewall, you have to get the more expensive plans, or use plugins.
Performance. During our 2 months of testing, Bluehost stayed up 99.99% of the time. The average response time was 361ms, which is overall pretty good compared to other paid hosting providers. Free hosting, however, comes nowhere near these numbers.
Bluehost's cheapest plans start at $2.75/month. You can also use the 30-day money-back guarantee to try it out first and commit later. If you end up not liking it, you can always ask for a refund within a month.
To learn more, read our Bluehost review.
6. HostGator – easy-to-use web hosting with freebies
|Features||Free SSL, unlimited bandwidth and storage|
|Best for||Affordable and easy-to-use host for small sites|
HostGator is another extremely affordable hosting provider best suited for small and medium size sites. It offers unlimited bandwidth, satisfactory security features, and acceptable uptime. We’re featuring HostGator in our best free hosting options list, as it gives you an opportunity to launch a site from scratch completely for free with its 30-day money refund.
Interface. HostGator’s user interface is nicely designed and easy to navigate. The most essential cPanel modules such as WordPress installation, email setup, and others are just a few clicks away. Launching your website takes virtually no time.
Features. All of HostGator’s shared hosting plans include unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, and email addresses. You also get a custom domain, as well as a website builder. The cheapest HostGator plan allows you to create one website. All HostGator users also can get 24/7 support via live chat or email.
Security. With all plans, you get a free SSL certificate, as well as a server-level firewall. Unfortunately, for all other features, such as malware and hacking protection, SSL upgrades, and automatic backups, you will need to pay extra.
Performance. HostGator showed pretty good performance during our 2 months of testing. The uptime was >99.99%, and the server response time averaged 525ms. These results are quite satisfactory for any paid hosting service.
The pricing for HostGator starts at $2.52/month, which is quite affordable when it comes to paid hosting. Additionally, you can always use the 30-day money-back guarantee to try the service without any risks.
Read our HostGator review to learn more.
7. HostPapa – feature-rich website hosting with free options available
|Features||Free SSL, 100GB storage, 10 email addresses|
|Best for||Small and medium size websites|
HostPapa is another web hosting that enables you to launch your site for free with its money-back guarantee. It might not be the cheapest premium host, but it is also not the most expensive website hosting provider. Its advantages lie in consistent 100% uptime, easy setup, and plenty of features for a small website.
Interface. HostPapa uses the classic cPanel for hosting management. It is effortless to use if you’re already familiar with it. Adding a domain, or an email address, or installing WordPress does not take more than a few minutes. Together with cPanel, HostPapa also has a native website management interface, which might be a bit more confusing.
Features. With the cheapest HostPapa plan, you will get hosting for one website, 100GB of storage, and 10 email accounts. All plans come with a free domain, unlimited bandwidth, and free email accounts. Every plan client also gets access to 24/7 support via live chat, phone, or ticket.
Security. In terms of security, HostPapa offers a pretty good package with all its plans. It includes a free SSL certificate, DDoS protection, and a server firewall which includes traffic monitoring for malicious attack prevention. For automated backups, you will need to pay more.
Performance. During our two weeks of testing, HostPapa showed a perfect 100% uptime. However, it does not have the fastest response time, which is around 434ms. Nevertheless, it is still not as slow as completely free website hosts are.
The pricing for HostPapa starts at $2.36/month, which is neither very cheap nor very expensive. If you have some money to spare – HostPapa is a reliable and feature-rich website host. And the best part is that it also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For more details, read our HostPapa review.
How we tested free web hosting services
To compile our list of free and cheap web hosting services, we conducted extensive research and testing. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of our testing process:
- Initial setup. We began by setting up a standard website on each hosting platform under consideration. This involved creating a basic website structure, installing any necessary software or content management systems, and configuring settings to ensure a fair comparison.
- Performance assessment. To evaluate the performance of these hosting providers, we simulated real-world usage by employing virtual users. These virtual users interacted with the websites hosted on each platform, assessing how well they handled traffic, requests, and resource use.
- Monitoring and recording. Over a two-week testing period, we continuously monitored and recorded several key metrics, including uptime (we tracked the availability of each website, ensuring that it remained accessible to users. Providers achieving at least 99.80% uptime were considered for inclusion in our list). We also looked at server response time and measured the speed, responsiveness of the hosting servers to determine how quickly websites loaded and responded to user requests.
We also looked at other criteria that helped us to determine the best free web hosting providers:
- Free features. Free website hosts tend to offer very limited features and resources. We looked for those providers that offer more than the bare minimum – enough storage and bandwidth to launch at least a small, minimalistic website. We also made sure that neither provider on our list displays ads on your site.
- Performance. Over a two-week testing period, we monitored and recorded the uptime and server response time of all our free hosting providers. The ones that showed at least 99.80% uptime were selected.
- Interface. We chose the free hosting services based on how easy they are to use. A clean, organized, and modern interface is where it’s all at – anything with outdated or confusing design is simply unacceptable.
- Customer support. Timely and helpful support is a staple with premium providers, but not always the case with free ones. We investigated all support options and even reached out to some providers to assess their customer support quality.
- Security. Free hosting services tend to offer the bare minimum in terms of security, so we looked for providers that offer more than that – including free SSL, DDoS protection, and firewalls.
Free host vs paid: key differences
When it comes to hosting your website, you'll encounter two main options: completely free hosts and premium hosts with low starting prices. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, making it important to consider your needs and priorities when deciding where and how to host your site.
One of the primary advantages of free web hosting is right there in its name –it's completely free. You can sign up without the need for a subscription or payment details, allowing you to quickly set up your domain and website. However, free hosting does come with some limitations, particularly when it comes to resources. These limitations often include low storage space and a limited monthly bandwidth allowance. As a result, hosting a complex website capable of handling a significant number of visitors may not be feasible. Additionally, there are concerns regarding overall performance and website security, which cannot always be guaranteed with free web hosting.
Premium web hosting providers offer what free hosting cannot provide – abundant resources, 99.99% uptime guarantees, and robust security for your website. The main drawback, of course, is that paid hosting comes with a cost. However, it's worth noting that some paid hosting providers, especially DreamHost and Hostinger offer competitive pricing, making it accessible to a wide range of users. Moreover, many of these providers offer free trials, allowing you to test their hosting services before committing to a subscription.
In short, the choice between free and paid hosting can be a challenging one. Both types of hosting services have their merits and drawbacks. Your decision should ultimately align with your specific needs and objectives. Consider your budget, the scale of your website, and your performance and security requirements when making your choice.
Hosting a website for free on your own
Hosting providers exist for a reason – they make it much easier to launch a website and take the arduous job of maintaining the server, keeping up the performance, and supporting you along the way. Nevertheless, there is always the possibility to host a website on your own – and the best part about it is that you don’t need to buy or sign up for anything – no hosting provider, free or paid, will have your data or control over your site.
You can host a website on your own in several ways: use your own personal device as a server, or use online repositories such as GitHub. Either way, hosting a website on your own will require some technical expertise, and is not as easy as just clicking a few buttons with a paid hosting provider.
How to create a free server for web hosting?
The steps for creating a server for web hosting will vary depending on which operating system you use. Most often, hosting servers are set up with Linux, but it is possible to do it with Windows and macOS, too. Below is a general guide on how to create a server for web hosting on your device:
- Install Apache, PHP, and MySQL. You can either do that manually or use an installation program
- Create an HTML page and configure MySQL databases
- Configure DNS – this involves setting up Apache so it accepts requests for your domain. Check with your ISP provider on how to configure DNS correctly
- Edit your host files to include your domain name
- Visit your website by typing your domain name into the browser
Our exhaustive testing has revealed the top contenders for free web hosting in 2023. For those seeking cost-effective solutions, 000webhost stands as a clear winner, offering impressive features and uptime reliability. However, if you're willing to invest in premium hosting, DreamHost shines with excellence, providing exceptional performance and customer support.
Whether you're building a personal blog, a small business website, or a digital portfolio, our recommendations for the best free web hosting providers in 2023 ensure you have the tools and reliability needed to bring your online presence to life.
Is free web hosting reliable?
No, free web hosting isn’t reliable. Most free web hosting has absurdly limited resources and you’re also likely to run into multiple issues. This includes poor performance, complicated interface, compromised security, and ads on your website. Not to mention questionable terms of service.
Can I get free hosting and a domain?
Free hosting and domain is rarely possible, none of the providers here has such a deal. However, many hosts offer free subdomain hosting. You can choose a desired name for your site, but it will look something like this: desiredname.freehosting.com.
Can I use free hosting for selling online?
Yes, you can use free hosting for selling online as long as you can host WordPress and install WooCommerce on your paid plan. Yet, it’s extremely likely to cause many problems and potentially ruin the seller/buyer relationship. If your online store is always down or very slow, the buyers will simply go to more professional sites.
Can I host a website for free?
Yes, you can host a website for free by either using a free hosting service or setting up a host server on your own. Setting up a server on your own device requires some technical knowledge but has virtually no limits while using a free hosting service is easier, but the resources will be limited.
Is Hostinger a free hosting provider?
Hostinger itself is not a free-of-charge hosting provider but is very close to it with the starting price of $2.69/month. However, you can get your free server web hosting by picking 000webhost, which is powered by Hostinger.
What is the best free web hosting provider?
The best free web hosting provider is 000webhost. It offers a generous amount of storage space and bandwidth, as well as a variety of features that make it easy to create and manage a website. However, if you’re looking for a more reliable and feature-rich web hosting provider, we recommend DreamHost. It offers paid web hosting plans perfect for businesses of all sizes.