The Internet is full of free services that work really well: Gmail, Dropbox , Microsoft Office Online , etc. They are all excellent. It seems logical that one considers that free hosting must also be a free service that works well.
Although there are many very cheap quality hostings , the culture of “everything free” on the Internet still generates an important psychological barrier for many people when it comes to paying for a new Internet service like this one.
But the truth is that the difference between a cheap quality hosting and a free one is very big . In addition, most free hosting are of poor quality .
Therefore, here I will make you a list with the best free options , along with quality payment alternatives at extremely cheap prices and I will explain the difference that hiring free or paid hosting will mean in practice.
From there, you choose whether to stick with the free options or prefer to pay a small amount per month for a much better option ?
Advantages and Disadvantages of free hosting
So, let’s start with the advantages and disadvantages of free hosting that we can basically summarize in this table that summarizes the panorama that you will find, in general, with free hosting:
The payment hostings that I recommend in the first place as an alternative ( Webempresa , SiteGround and Raiola Networks ) and that are the best you can find in the Spanish market, all have a 30-day money-back period .
That is, in practice, they are equivalent to free hosting for a limited time during that period.
And this same money-back period is also offered by the two super low-cost alternatives (with offers of €1 per month) with “decent” quality that I recommend if you want to limit your investment as much as possible: Hostinger and Ionos .
How to choose your free hosting well
An indisputable advantage of free hosting is that making mistakes is free ?
However, it is also advisable to know how to choose well.
Basic criteria for choosing a hosting
The basic criteria to demand a hosting service are the following:
- Page loading speed : this is ultimately the factor that will most impact the user experience. Nobody likes a slow web. And let’s not talk if we’re talking about sales. Even for Google, the slowness of a website is a reason to position it worse.
- Stability (server crashes) : something very similar happens with availability. Just as slow speeds are often the result of bad or overloaded servers, service outages are often the other side of the coin.
- Disk space and transfer : the space in free hostings is usually quite limited. Sometimes it can be too little. The same for the amount of data that the server allows to transfer and that will put a ceiling on the number of visits that the web can receive.
- Technical support : technical support is not only essential (sooner or later there is an incident to resolve) but it must also be good. There are problems that can be challenging for technicians. In some sites they will solve them in minutes, in others they will be blocked for days with the problem.
- Security : here fundamentally perimeter security (protection against hackers who want to enter your site) and automatic backups (which do not usually exist in free hosting) come into play.
In free hosting, speed , stability and support are usually the most obvious Achilles heels of the service.
On the other hand, some of these criteria are based on simple numbers that you see on paper, but in others you will have to draw on the experiences and opinions of other users.
But be careful: as you already know by now, the subject of opinions is a double-edged sword on the Internet. There is a lot of “Taliban” both for and against any type of product or well-known brand.
Many give their opinion without any knowledge of the facts, they simply seem to find pleasure in giving their “in- law” opinion . In cars, for example, with Alfa Romeo and in hosting with 1and1 .
They are brands that acquired a bad reputation many years ago (rightly so at the time), but they left their dark years behind long ago. However, there are still the trolls who find pleasure in criticizing them without a real basis, simply for giving their opinion of a “in-law” .
Unfortunately, the big opinion sites, such as Trustpilot , are not worth it here either . They have generated a lot of controversy due to “fake” reviews , sale of reviews by third parties, etc. There are many testimonials like this that cast doubt on its reliability.
So play a lot of prudence and common sense. Filter out extreme and unsound opinions , in fact my advice would be to rule them out altogether.
Do you want free WordPress hosting?
In the event that what you want to install in your hosting is a website based on WordPress , you have to add to the previous criteria the ability to support the PHP programming language and have a MySQL database . Both are must-have requirements for WordPress.
And if the technical part doesn’t scare you, consider a very interesting option: set up a local development environment for WordPress. You can do this completely free of charge in several ways.
Here is a post that explains all the details:
How to install WordPress on a local server in 5 steps with Xampp
Do you want free hosting for an online store?
Here my answer is resounding: never ever install an online store in a free hosting. We are talking about users from whom you take payment data from your customers in a low security environment and especially demanding systems with servers.
Does it really make sense for you to skimp on the €1 per month that it costs you, for example, the basic offers of Hostinger in something as sensitive as an online store?
Obviously not. So forgive me for being too blunt on this occasion: knowing this, setting up a real online store on free hosting is as stupid as it is reckless .
If you want to learn how to set up a professional online store at a super low cost price , take a look at this video:
Do you need free hosting to develop in PHP and MySQL databases?
Here the answer is similar to the answer about WordPress.
Need free hosting for Moodle?
This is a very interesting special case because there are special free hosting offers, aimed at the educational environment. A little further down this topic in more detail.
If your use of Moodle does not qualify for special offers for educational environments, the answer is similar to the case of WordPress. Moodle requires, similarly to WordPress, hosting that supports PHP and MySQL.
The best free hosting without advertising
Given what is usually free hosting in general, I am going to highlight four options that are out of this scenario. It does not mean that they are optimal hosting solutions, but they stand out significantly above the rest.
In addition, all of them share that they do not insert advertising on your website as many other free hostings do as a consideration.
The list goes in order from best known to least known, as you can see in this screenshot of Google Trends:
Hostalia is the best known brand among all the free options analyzed. Your offer is a trial offer , for a limited time .
In fact, there are several offers that range from 3 to 6 months because all their plans offer a free trial period.
In the comparative table at the end of this section I have included the characteristics of the 6-month plan that corresponds to the “Hosting Unlimited” plan and which is the plan with the longest trial period.
CDMon’s approach is similar to the previous one, but with a different approach: here, during the testing period, you can only use your website in a pre-production environment without it being visible with your own domain.
In return, they do not indicate a deadline for this situation. It is assumed that when you have everything ready, you already hire the hosting.
The free hosting of LucusHost makes a similar approach to that of Hostalia, with a trial period of 3 months .
We include it here not only because it already has a very interesting free trial period during which you will have benefits equivalent to those of a paid plan, but also because it is a small provider from Galicia that is earning little from bit a very good reputation for its quality.
So it is a brand that will have to be tracked…
000webhost hosting is a well-known free hosting with no time limit, as you can see in the comparative table below, very limited, like all options of this type.
Just add that, in reality, this hosting is a daughter brand of Hostinger , which is a plus in its favor. In fact, the moment you click on any of the payment plans you will see how you transfer to Hostinger.
Freehosting.com is an interesting alternative to 000webhost, with more features, at least on paper, but in exchange it is completely in English.
Here I also leave you a comparative table with the different benefits of these free hosting providers:
|time limit||up to 6 months||Unlimited||3 months||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Number of websites||2||1||1||1||1|
|Soporta PHP & MySQL||and||and||and||and||and|
|Number of databases||50||up to 500Mb||1||1||1|
|Number of email accounts||100||0||1||1||1|
|Free SSL Certificate||and||no||and||no||no|
|FTP and/or SSH||and||and||and||and||FTP only|
|Technical support||yes, 24/7||yes, 24/7||yes, 24/7||no||no|
Among these options, the “real” hosting options for a limited time seem preferable to me if the reason for not wanting to hire a hosting yet is because you are not sure that your project will go ahead.
The term acts even is a healthy pressure not to eternalize yourself with the decision. The good thing is that during that time you will have a real hosting plan, not a lousy service and covered everywhere.
The options without a time limit seem interesting to me for the rest of the scenarios in which the extreme limitations of free hosting are not too serious: having an account just to learn, for technical tests before implementing them on your real website, etc.
WordPress in the cloud with the free plan
The case of WordPress.com is a special case because it is another concept, it is a WordPress cloud service with different plans.
It has great advantages such as having good support even in the free plan, but it also has important drawbacks such as the advertising that Automaticc (the company that creates WordPress) will insert as a consideration on your website.
The other big problem is that an account on a WordPress site with the free plan at wordpress.com is extremely limited . You can’t even have your own domain and let’s not talk about more advanced things like installing themes or plugins. It just can’t.
Free “educational” hosting for students
This is a curious case with a permanent free hosting plan.
It is designed to host a .edu website for Institutes, Colleges, Schools or Universities, 100% free. The available resources are 2GB of disk, 5GB of transfer/month, 5 email accounts, 1 MySQL database.
The only requirement is basically to have a .edu domain that proves belonging to an educational organization, and it is also essential that said institution be public, not private.
Very cheap paid hosting alternatives
As I have already mentioned at the beginning of this page, if your project is minimally serious, I strongly recommend that you hire a good hosting whose prices start around €5-6 per month , being those that I recommend Webempresa , SiteGround and Raiola Networks .
There is a lot of difference (especially in the important part of technical support) between such a service and the cheapest services on the market.
El hosting “free casi” de Hostinger
Its offer of the “Simple Hosting” plan for up to 3 years at €1 , including the domain is so close to a free offer that it is practically ridiculous to choose a free option over a “real” hosting that works reasonably well like this one.
Since Hostinger ‘s option is far superior to any free option (server speed, support, etc.), I recommend you click on the previous link to visit their website and see all the features.
And also take a look at the Premium Hosting plan where, for a little more money, you have spectacular features .
The “almost free” hosting of Ionos
The case of Ionos is very similar: here you also have offers that start from €1 per month .
An interesting thing is that, unlike Hostinger, this price is maintained in the first two plans, the second being a plan comparable to Hostinger’s “Premium Hosting” . Of course, once the offer expires, this second plan is considerably more expensive than Hostinger under the same conditions.
Therefore, my recommendation is definitely that you also take a calm look at the Ionos on your own