For a first-time user, paid web hosting may seem unnecessary when a simple internet search pulls up free hosting alternatives running into the 1000s. Of course if you look deeper into the offers, then obvious differences appear: free web hosting comes at a price (pun intended) in that disk space, bandwidth and services will be less than paid for sites, and often advertising (which is how the service can be offered free) may seem out of place, or worse still, over the top.
For the professional or business website, paying a nominal monthly or annual charge through hosting companies (a lot of whom offer free trial periods, or upgrades from free service start-ups) will be the way to go. In the following list of hosts, many offer a “try before you buy” business plan, and this is a good reason to use a free hosting service in the short-term.
But for individuals, or small businesses or groups that do not have a problem with advertising and only need a limited number of website options, then free (and limited) web hosting is a suitable choice.
Do always read the Terms and FAQs: offers and services can alter at the stroke of a keyboard button!
Bandwidth is used each time a visitor views your site’s content: a 1 MB file uses 1 MB of bandwidth each time the file is viewed.
Web Storage/Web Space/Online Disk Space is just like your own computer’s hard drive: there’s only so much space. More space means more room for site content like pictures, videos, and documents.
10 Web Hosts with Free Services
Offering website hosting and design with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) tool, as well as controlled advertising, Yola makes website creation simple. Small business and solo users will be able to build on their original sites with paid-for add-ons when the situation arises, and new web users have a library of free designs to choose from, as well as paid-for premium themes. A good starter choice for new starters, especially with the options for growth.
Yes, that’s their name (perhaps “Internets” was taken?). With a point-and-click (WYSIWIG again!) site builder, this web host and design site offers plenty to the most un-technical among us. They offer a Mobile Website App to give people visiting your site from a Smartphone a mobile-friendly experience. Services include domain name – and the option to transfer, email, 40 MB Web Space and 100 MB Bandwidth on their free option.
www.gbbo.co.uk (Getting British Business Online)
Getting British Business Online is a joint initiative from Google, Enterprise UK, BT, e-skills UK and many other partners to help small businesses create their first website and understand the opportunities offered by the Internet. Their website proudly proclaims that users can create a website for their business in 20 minutes. A WYSIWYG tool means, like many other free hosting sites, technical knowledge of the web is not needed. As well as the customisable website, users will receive a.co.uk address, regular updates, and a business email.
With over 4 million websites under their belt, this web hosting provider has the age and experience that means a lot of the kinks of web hosting services have been ironed out. With similarities to 50megs (see below), this established service offers 50MB Web Space and 1 GB Monthly bandwidth, and is supported by (some may say heavy) advertising.
From their busy (and pretty) website, this web hosting company offers a free service with 250 MB Web Space, 6 GB Monthly Bandwidth and 3 emails. Offering both Joomla and WordPress templates for the blogging side of your site, this service has one-click set-up, 24/7 Customer Support, and is bannerless – good news if you don’t like advertisements.
Like many other hosts on the list, FortuneCity has a free service that will be enough for some users, and an affordable option that would do for most. The free service has 1 GB Web Space and Unlimited Monthly bandwidth, as well as their own blogging tool. Having been around since 1997, they are well-used, well-tested, and well-known, and upgrading to their Affordable package means users may cut out advertising.
Ad-supported free hosting, and plenty of scope with premium paid-for packages, this Web Host offers multi-domain hosting, 5 MB Web Space and 1.5 GB Monthly Bandwidth. Bravenet has a number of options available if the free service satisfies but you still want more, and is a well-known name in the industry.
Offering a free service with 250 MB Web Space and 5 GB Monthly bandwidth, this free web host has some impressive numbers. They are also upfront about the limitations of their free service, which includes a limit on outgoing emails, file sizes, and no site builder. However, for the smaller website this host is an excellent option.
A free web hosting service, with the option to upgrade to paid personal or business plans, which is another good example of a suitable candidate for polished personal websites and small businesses. Their service includes two domains, 200 MB Web Space and 5 GB Monthly bandwidth, numbers that are not uncommon on paid hosting sites.
There may be a lot of ad placement at 50megs, but that hasn’t stopped the web hosting company offering its services since 1995, and they have had plenty of satisfied customers! As well as their own website templates, users can copy pre-existing sites over to the service. Anyone doing a web search (and others have commented, too) will notice that 50megs and FreeServers both have websites and services that are (ahem!) alike… with 50MB Web Space and 1 GB Monthly bandwidth.