Best overall free web hosting
Disk space: Unlimited | Domain hosting: Unlimited | Monthly traffic: Unlimited Bandwidth | Subdomains: Unlimited | Email accounts: 10 | FTP accounts: 1 | MySQL databases: 400
400 MySQL databases
Average load times
In the world of free website hosting, Infinityfree stands out for good reasons. 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 350,000 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.
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(Image credit: Byethost)
Quick and easy hosting
Disk space: 5GB | Domain hosting: 1 | Monthly traffic: Unlimited | Subdomains: 7 | Email accounts: 5 | FTP accounts: 1 | MySQL databases: 5
Easy to use
Limited server space
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 5GB of server space, unlimited 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.
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.
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(Image credit: Googiehost)
A free host that gives you cPanel and Cloudflare
Disk space: 1GB | Domain hosting: 1 | Monthly traffic: Unlimited | Subdomains: 2 | Email accounts: 2 | FTP accounts: 2 | MySQL databases: 2
100GB of data
2 FTP accounts
Site doesn’t inspire trust
Worrying security errors
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 extends until 2021 rather than 2020, presumably to protect against potential infractions by time travellers. Also, odd grammatical mistakes abound – Lastest, Trsuted, Powerfull – that sort of thing (and at the time of writing, there are apparently ‘2,12,020’ 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.
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(Image credit: FreeHostingNoAds)
A good alternative to Googiehost
Disk space: 1GB | Domain hosting: 1 | Monthly traffic: 5GB | Subdomains: 3 | Email accounts: 1 | FTP accounts: 1 | MySQL databases: 1
Largest file size limit
Very limited 1-click install
Limited disk space and bandwidth
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 $2.39 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.
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(Image credit: 000Webhost)
A controversial choice that can’t be ignored
Disk space: 300MB | Domain hosting: 1 | Monthly traffic: 3GB | Subdomains: 0 | Email accounts: 0 | FTP accounts: 1 | MySQL databases: 1
No 1-click install
No email accounts or subdomains
Our fifth pick is 000Webhost, 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.
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(Image credit: FreeWebHostingArea)
Ideal for seasoned veterans
Disk space: 1.5GB | Domain hosting: 1 | Monthly traffic: Unlimited bandwidth | Subdomains: 0 | Email accounts: 0 | FTP accounts: 1 | MySQL databases: 3
Unlimited bandwidth allowance
3 MySQL databases
No 1-click install
No site builder
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.
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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.
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.