Alex Williams  —

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You might not believe this, but there are over 350 new websites created each minute. Nuts, right? 🌰

Well to feed this insane growth, hosting companies have rapidly begun to multiply at an equally impressive rate. Which, although good for supporting the gazillion new websites made every day, can also make it pretty hard for you to pick the right one.

With so many options, how can you know which one is best?

This problem gets compounded when you start to notice a little detail that seems to pop up in every other web host:

Some hosts don’t charge you a penny.

scrooge mcduck counting coins

Another one of my heroes

Now, if you’re like me and you’re 50% Ebenezer Scrooge, then the prospect of getting free web hosting will make you light up like a fully decked out Christmas tree.

But hold on there friend… Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s right for you. And picking a free hosting provider might actually harm your content/business/beautiful creative ambition in the long run.

This is something you want to get right.

When it comes to high-quality web hosting… whether you choose free or paid hosting depends entirely on what you want your website to do.

That’s what this article is all about. In it, we’ll give you our complete rundown on the best free and cheap web hosting on the market, so you can pick the perfect one for you.

RANKWEB HOSTPRICEUPTIMERATING
1Hostinger80 pence/mo99.10%★★★★★
2WordPressFree99.75%★★★★★
3SiteGround£2.95/mo99.99%★★★★
4BlueHost£2.42/mo99.99%★★★★
5InMotion£4.91/mo99.90%★★★★

The Difference Between FREE Hosting and CHEAP Hosting

Before we go any further, there’s something I have to explain. It comes up ALL the time when people are looking for free web hosting. A free host will not give you a free domain URL with your own choice of name.

To give you some context, imagine you wanted to make a website about making balloon animals. No matter how long you looked, you would never find a free hosting company that would give you bestballoonanimals.com. This is because it costs the provider money to register the name and host the DNS.

With a free service, the name you’ll most likely get will be something along the lines of: bestballoonnanimals.freewebsitehostingcompany.com

Fortunately, you can avoid all of this trouble by picking a great domain registrar to start from.

Because they’re hosting the DNS and registering the name, your website will always be owned by the company. You don’t own a thing, and if you ever want to reclaim it from them - get ready to fork out some cash.

That’s why the majority of this review is about the best (and cheapest) “basically free” web hosting companies.

This isn’t us trying to hoodwink you, but rather us giving you the best advice possible after hosting hundreds of our own websites ourselves… and seeing A LOT of people get ruined by “free hosts.”

Are Free Web hosting Companies Really Free?

how web hosting worksTo maintain their business, free hosts have to pay for marketing funnels, staff salaries, and expensive servers.

But how do they make their money to do it?

Well, instead of making money from HOSTING… They make money from YOU.

(Or rather, your data).

This is how they do it:

  1. Upgrade Fees - Want to migrate your site to your own domain? Prepare to pay 4-5x for fees.
  2. Unprofessional - Your free domain name won’t cut it in the professional world. Leaving you no choice but to upgrade if you want to turn pro.
  3. Spyware, Malware, and other nasty stuff - I’ll let this article explain it to you…
  4. Selling your information to advertisers - Get ready for your inbox to be swamped!
  5. Adverts all over your site - Your site might end up looking like a collage of “Buy it now” boxes.

Best Free Web Hosting (UK 🇬🇧

ugly advertising overloadSure, I get it. A web hosting service that’s 100% free sounds pretty good, but before you start salivating, there are some issues to consider. The “free” service you might be getting may have some serious deficiencies when it comes to storage, performance, and bandwidth limitations.

To say nothing of the fact that, without an upgrade, you might be left with a website covered in ugly advertising. Hardly ideal.

Now, it is true that you can keep free web hosting for as long as you like. But if you ever want to take your site into the big leagues, you’re going to need to upgrade to a more complete service that will cost you a small amount each month.

In this case, you’ll probably be shocked to learn just how much of a complete service a “basically-free” web host includes. Almost all the features and benefits of a paid service… For as little as £3 to £10 per month. This includes emails, gigs of storage, eCommerce functionality, but most importantly, a free domain.

These are our picks for the BEST basically-free hosting companies.

PROS
  • Complete control of your website. Insane amount of plug-ins and templates to choose from. 
CONS
  • Wordpress only. No drag-and-drop builder outside of plugins. Full responsibility for your website (may be daunting for some).
Key Specifications
  • Free / £3 / £7 per month. 24/7 support
  • Tailored for running WordPress
  • Automatic updates
  • 24/7 support
  • Full ownership of content
  • Remove ads

Wordpress is without a doubt the web’s most popular website builder. It’s responsible for more than 1/3rd of all websites across the internet. Think about that… That’s millions and millions of websites.

By choosing first-rate Wordpress hosting you give yourself access to a hosting platform that is tailored to run Wordpress. Meaning all your backups, caching and updates take care of themselves, your website is optimised for the platform, and your dashboard is more detailed and accurate. Doesn’t sound so bad.

Sure, it limits some of your website's options by forcing you to use Wordpress, but unless you desperately need to use another platform, why would you? Wordpress is tried, tested, and shown to be impressive. Time and time again.

At £7 per month, their full hosting plan can lean on the more expensive side, but they give you the option of trying it for free. Win-win.

PROS
  • Unmatched on value, performance and support
  • High-quality 24/7 customer support
  • A free domain name is included
CONS
  • Starting tier only hosts one website
Key Specifications
  • Starting at £0.80 per month and 100GB Bandwidth
  • SSL Included
  • Free Email Address
  • Full 100GB Bandwidth
  • MySQL Databases
  • Complete Control Panel

Hostinger gets better every time we look at it - especially the average load times and uptimes. It comes with a high-quality 365 day, 24/7 customer support team, free upgrades that improve functionality (such as SSL) and is an industry leader when it comes to performance - regularly matching or exceeding its competitors.

Upgradeable 🚀

Hostinger is a perfect choice for beginners looking for affordable hosting. You’ll be hard-pressed to beat £0.80 per month and even upgrading to their premium option only takes £2.15 per month from your wallet.

It’s no surprise that Hostinger has achieved such popularity as a web hosting company.

Find out more in our in-depth Hostinger review.

PROS
  • The most friendly web host for first-timers. Support will guide you through any problem you encounter – even if it means they do the entire installation for you.
CONS
  • You have to pay the whole year upfront.
Key Specifications
  • A Peerless Service at £2.95 per month, Full support, Free SSL
  • Incredible reliable (since 2004)
  • Effortless setup
  • Unlimited email accounts and storage
  • FREE site and cart builder
  • 24/7 friendly support ready to help you with anything

SiteGround are a leader when it comes to cheap, reliable hosts, and for good reason. You get completely free SSL alongside a boat-load of free upgrades (on top of already fast server performance), and their support is an industry leader. You name it, they’ll solve it. They have robust, dependable server technology, and one of the best free website builders out there that’s also easy to use. On top of that, you can get online extremely fast at little cost.

PROS
  • Incredible VPS pricing and dedicated hosting waiting for you want to go to the next level.
CONS
  • $100 charge for migrating a website. Many competitors do it at no cost.
Key Specifications
  • A free domain, starting at £2.42
  • Excellent reputation
  • Adored by WordPress
  • Great performance for little cost
  • FREE Weebly site builder and templates
  • FREE CDN

Bluehost has an excellent (and deserved) reputation for amazing infrastructure and useful support that are keen to help (even if not always online). They rank highly in tests of speed and performance, earning them their spot among the industry leaders.

If you're set on getting either high-quality VPS hosting or their equally powerful dedicated servers, make sure to go through what Bluehost has to offer.

PROS
  • One of the last independently owned companies. Full 90-day money-back guarantee.
CONS
  • The cheaper plans come with restrictions on web and database hosting.
Key Specifications
  • Free cPanel website migrations
  • SSD for speed loading websites
  • Unlimited bandwidth and email accounts
  • Free SSL and hack protection
  • Free templates and Boldgrid builder

InMotion’s business plans are SUPER popular with the more hardcore entrepreneurship and IT crowd. They cost a bit more than some of their cheaper competitors, but in return you get a Batman’s-utility belt worth of features.

Extensive datacenter options and top of the line hardware, make InMotion an excellent choice. Also, if you have tons of traffic incoming, InMotionHosting is an excellent example of cheap VPS hosting you might like.

PROS
  • 99.9% uptime. Data Centres in USA, Singapore, and Europe. Unlimited refund period.
CONS
  • You have to upgrade to the more expensive packages to access more server speed and load your website faster.
Key Specifications
  • FREE CDN and SSD speed-loading
  • 1-Click CMS installs such as WordPress
  • Unlimited domains, email addresses, and databases
  • FREE security measures such as Hackscan
  • FREE Boldgrid templates and builder

Unlike other hosts using repacked plans, A2 Hosting custom-built their software and hardware to provide excellent performance, security, and speed - all under the belief that customers would have no problem paying more for a level of quality they could find nowhere else.

When we reviewed A2 Hosting, we found out that it has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. If you don't mind paying a fee for your hosting but getting examplary server speed and stability, we recommend you look into A2.

PROS
  • Eco-friendly business. Migrates your CMS website for free. Excellent support on minor issues.
CONS
  • Up to 72-hour wait for in-depth technical support.
Key Specifications
  • No bandwidth limits
  • 99% uptime guaranteed
  • Unlimited WordPress hosting from a single account
  • Round the clock support
  • FREE intuitive site builder
  • Robust website security

HostPapa is all about providing an experience that makes you want MORE. Their goal is to offer you a low-cost starter plan, then show themselves to be a valuable business partner, well worth additional investment. They’ve continued to roll out new features, such as more eCommerce functionality for entrepreneurs.


4 Best “Free” Web Hosting Companies

Okay, we’ve talked your ear off about the “basically-free” companies, but are there any ACUALLY free ones.

Yes, there is.

We’ve searched the internet for the best free web hosting offers around. And believe it or not, we actually found some pretty good ones. Whether you’re a complete beginner, an amateur looking to cut their teeth, or someone at the advanced end who needs an easy home for their work - this list will point you in the right direction.


8. Wix

PROS
  • Arguably the best browser-based site builder around. Constantly being updated with new templates and functionality. A very beginner-friendly first stop.
CONS
  • Live support is almost non-existent, meaning you’ll have to figure out tech issues on your own.
Key Specifications
  • FREE domain when you purchase a plan
  • Build a complete, publishable website at zero cost
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop templates with professional design
  • Extensive knowledge base
  • Exhaustive list of plug-ins and apps to extend functionality

By now you’ve probably seen the celebrity-filled ads and know the gist. But, for once, it isn’t just advertising. Wix’s website builder is so advanced, yet so simple, that you can go from making an account to building a top-quality website in minutes.

You can learn how to use the builder very quickly, and in little time you’ll be setting menus, images, texts, and more in the exact way you want.

PROS
  • A very good choice for building a professional-looking online e-commerce business.
CONS
  • The most desirable eCommerce features require a paid plan.
Key Specifications
  • Easy integration with Facebook, eBay, and Amazon
  • Strong e-commerce tools for everything from inventory to shipping
  • In-built SEO promotes your store in search engine results
  • Lots of options to receive zero fee payments
  • PCI compliant if you buy SSL

Volusion is all about helping entrepreneurs make great online stores. It’s not the cheapest option if you’re looking for something less ambitious than that, but if you want to dive into the eCommerce world you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option.


10. One

PROS
  • Great website builder for the price. Can preview site on desktop and mobile.
CONS
  • Refund period of 15 days is pretty tight.
Key Specifications
  • Unlimited email addresses
  • Round the clock support and live chat
  • CPanel dashboard and 1-click install for WordPress
  • Competitive prices for hosting plan upgrades
  • FREE site builder

One is a great choice if you’re looking for an extremely cheap option with zero frills, but comes with extensive email hosting. Their starter package comes with your domain, as many email accounts as you’d like, and a website builder all for £0.98 a year. From there you can go up to a professional, Wordpress enabled package for £2.69 a month.

Additionally, all work is done through cPanel which is what many WordPress experts prefer to use. If you're just starting out and have no experience using it, check out our detailed cPanel guide for guidance.


PROS
  • A near-perfect tool for building a complete online marketplace.
CONS
  • Payment processing issues for anything other than Stripe.
Key Specifications
  • Site builder with tons of FREE templates included
  • Easily integrated Stripe payments
  • Extensive eCommerce options with discount codes
  • All plans come fully hosted
  • All plans come with everything unlimited
  • Easily buy a new domain or transfer an existing one

Shopify is rapidly becoming synonymous with eCommerce, so if that’s the kind of website you’re looking to build, it’s definitely an option you should consider. You can easily get a great store online with very little hassle. If you’re on a tiny budget than the subdomain option is a great choice for making earlier profits before you go for a more expensive host.


5 Best Runner Up Sites: More Free Hosting Sites To Watch

Even though we’ve given you a pretty extensive list, there are still plenty more options. Because “free stuff” appeals to consumers so much, huge portions of the hosting market have jumped on the bandwagon and flooded creators with free or cheap options. So many that it’s hard to know which to choose.

Luckily, we’re here to help.

While some companies should be avoided like the plague, others are worth considering, and few (just a few) are just all-round great hosting options. Here they are - “The Runners Up” - as we call them.


PROS
  • Completely free web hosting.
CONS
  • Some bandwidth and storage limitations. Not the best customer and technical support if you’re a beginner. It may not be an issue if you’re experienced.
Key Specifications
  • 100GB Bandwidth
  • 1.5GB Storage
  • Unlimited domains with free subdomains
  • 5 email accounts
  • 100’s of templates
  • Website builder

000Webhost might not be the most well-known brand (even though it was the first to introduce SSL), but it’s shown itself to be a reliable host that can compete with better-known options. Great for small or medium-sized websites.

PROS
  • Active community of over 750,000 members providing support. 
CONS
  • Can seem more expensive than other options, but it’s actually pretty midrange.
Key Specifications
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited storage
  • Domain comes with 2 add-ons, 2 sub-domains, and 1 parked
  • 1-click install for eCommerce like Magneto
  • 3 free email accounts
  • Website builder comes with 150+ templates

14. Weebly

PROS
  • Active community of over 750,000 members providing support.
CONS
  • The free plan comes with a Weebly.com branding at the bottom of your page.
Key Specifications
  • 500 MB storage / Unlimited bandwidth
  • Free Weebly subdomain
  • No e-commerce support
  • Drag-and-drop Website Builder with free templates
  • HMTL and CSS editing

A well-known name in the world of DIY website design. The basic package they offer doesn’t have many features but it allows you to build a great, professional-looking website in little time due to its improved themes.

PROS
  • Comes with every feature you’d want from a great hosting plan. It even includes a ticket support system. 0.08 euros per month.
CONS
  • No drag-and-drop easiness when it comes to website building. WordPress installer helps but can be difficult for complete beginners.
Key Specifications
  • 5GB bandwidth
  • 1GB storage
  • 1 email account
  • 1 domain hosted plus
  • No eCommerce
  • Wordpress Installer

AwardSpace, similarly to Weebly and Wix, use free hosting to give their customers a taste of their service in the hope they’ll want to pay for more when they need to. It doesn’t come with much storage or bandwidth, and an easy website builder will be missed - but it has everything else you’d need.

PROS
  • Servers are clustered rather than being a single server.
CONS
  • 250MB of storage is very small for anything but an extremely basic site.
Key Specifications
  • 250MB storage
  • 6GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Domains
  • Easy eCommerce installs
  • 3 email accounts
  • Free Website templates with 1-click CMS installs

Because of its server cluster approach, Freehostia boats that it has up to 15 times faster page speeds than other free hosts. Its free plan comes with no advertising and gives you a professional look right out of the box. For some icing on the already nice cake, they also offer great 24/7 customer support.


Conclusion

Look, if you want to start a massive new online business, or start producing blog content that draws in New York Times Bestseller levels of readership, we’ll be the first to admit that free hosting isn’t going to be up to scratch.

That said, there are tons of great reasons to pick free hosting from the start. The first one is that (obviously) you save a lot of money. If you have no idea how much it costs to build a website, free (or “basically free”) hosting can save you spending anything at all, or have you spending as little as a few dollars a month.

Most importantly, these companies typically want your business for the long term, they want you to succeed and they want to offer you a free/cheap plan that will impress you. In other words, they’re incentivised to give you a great service. Sure, they’ll want you to upgrade at some point, but they know they have to deliver their end of the bargain upfront.

And at the end of the day, if one free host doesn’t offer you the kind of service that impresses you… It hardly breaks the bank to try another one!