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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.
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.
Best Free Web Hosting (UK) 🇬🇧
Sure, 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.
Unmatched Optimization for Wordpress 🏎️
Totally exceptional 😎
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.
Incredible Hosting at Affordable Pricing 🏷️
Better, faster, stronger uptime 🟢
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.
Not exactly free, but Hostinger is by far the best UK cheap web hosting service on the market.
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.
Solid Website Builder 🗿
Hostinger’s website builder is called Zyro, and it is everything we have come to expect from a website builder - a free SSL certificate, unlimited bandwidth, and storage with glimpses of more.
New features have also come to see the light of day - AI Content Generator and Logo Maker.
No coding or designing experience needed. You will be able to set up a professional website in no time with Zyro.
Find out more in our in-depth Hostinger review.
Most Reliable Host 🏠
Consistently good 📊
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.
The First Time Host ⏱️
Solid performance 🤝
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.
Extreme Variety of Features⛕
Batman's utility belt worth of features 🦇
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.
6. A2 Hosting
All about speed 💨
More than meets the eye 👀
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.
Consistently good uptime 🟢
HostPapa 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 roll out new features, such as more eCommerce functionality for entrepreneurs.
User friendly experience 😊
Ease of access 🔑
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.
Time to sell ⌚
Making the best E - commerce website 🏪
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.
The budget option 🔖
The economic option 👛
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.
Make room for innovations 🥼
E - commerce oriented 🏬
Shopify is rapidly becoming synonymous with E - commerce, 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.
Complementary with new businesses 👔
The Inovators 📰
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.
13. x10 Hosting
Be a part of something bigger 👪
The whole package 📦
x10Hosting offers good service that doesn't disappoint. And even though they do not offer customer service, they do provide a vast community support which is eager to help and solve your issue. No problem is unsolvable when more than 700.000 heads are put together.
Vast amount of different themes 🖥️
Templates, themes and more 📚
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.
You will be coming back for more 💻
A taste of the service 🧁
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.
No ADS and more 📝
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.
The Difference Between FREE Hosting and CHEAP Hosting
One last thing 🎢
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?💰
To 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:
- Upgrade Fees 💱 - Want to migrate your site to your own domain? Prepare to pay 4-5x for fees.
- 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.
- Spyware, Malware, and other nasty stuff 🛡️ - I’ll let this article explain it to you…
- Selling your information to advertisers 📫 - Get ready for your inbox to be swamped!
- Adverts all over your site ✈️ - Your site might end up looking like a collage of “Buy it now” boxes.
Before you go 👞
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!