Choosing The Best Free Web Hosting

I don’t have a credit card and am unemployed, so web hosting has always become a problem for me. This condition forced me to look for free web hosting services since I ever considered learning web development. It was a rather unhappy odyssey – posting boringly in forums, whining for account approval, moving hosts here and there (probably more than five times)...

Journeys, however, always award us with invaluable experiences. Here I outline 7 characteristics of a successful free web hosting service, based purely on my knowledge (some of these may apply to paid hosting as well):

  1. no forced ads: if every page of your website is required to show the ads of the web host’s owner, you will know that the host is for HTML dummies and i-want-a-website wannabes that don’t like Blogspot or WordPress. Sure, you got the hosting, but it is like creating free content for the host to display his/her ads. Add to the fact that your wonderful web design is totally ruined by the omnipresent ad-frame.
  2. they require something from you: they usually require forum activity. Guess what, server maintenance costs money and time, so a host without a viable source of income has a very good chance to be busted in the next week. Posting in forums is arguably the best way to pay for your hosting (you post, host gets money from forums ads) – just make sure that you don’t need to post everyday only to maintain your account. Subsidy from paid accounts might be cool, but you need to be aware of constant attempt for conversion from free to paid account.
  3. server has minimal problems: look for these in the support forum. Usually a good hosting will resolve most problems quickly, and nobody ever says “I am disappointed with [insert forum name here]. I think I will try another host.”
  4. old: just like universities, older hosts are usually better than younger ones. Closing down free hosting services are very easy, the admins can start over with a new name in a matter of minutes. The age of the host measures the amount of time members put faith on the service. 4 or 5 years of service are long enough.
  5. lots of members: the number of forum members usually represent this, although you must take spam and register-and-abandon users into account. I don’t really think 1000 members are enough; when you see 50000 people hanging around the forum, you know it’s going to be all right because a portion of them must be putting a lot of faith to the host. (Also, the abundance of members implies age and more ad revenue.)
  6. no feature handicap: Oops, they don’t allow you to send emails to “prevent abuse”? Beware, they might want to extort your money for email delivery (enabling this feature may cost you more than a standard paid hosting – what a clever business model indeed). Look into the features offered very closely and make sure you will get everything you need (.htaccess support, PHP safe mode, number of databases, parked domains, addon domains, subdomains are often overlooked). Note that not being able to access SSH is normal, because it needs so elaborate settings for certificates and permissions that it is not worth the effort (well, the fact that you don’t have money for web hosting suggests that you don’t need industry-grade security anyway).
  7. beware of nonsensical features: hosts offering unlimited bandwidth always think that they can lure lots of people to use their hosting, and when you got Dugg, Slashdotted, DDoSed or just received some sudden popularity – poof, your account is gone. Actually, 1 – 10 GB of bandwidth per month is what you usually get. Also the same for hard disk usage – 50 MB is usual for the lowest package, 200 – 500 MB is generous enough. Unlimited parked domains / addon domains / subdomains / databases might be more sensible because they don’t directly consume server resources, but rest assured that you will get a word from the host long before you create your 1000th database.

Obviously, these parameters are personally set by me – it is perfectly possible that a webhost does not comply with these characteristics but does wonders to your website.

I do not want this to sound like a commercial, but the best free web hosts I have found so far are Liway and Frihost. Liway has unlimited parked domains / addon domains / subdomains / databases and a unique system for forum activity, ensuring fair share of points for active members. Frihost has a very generous disk space and bandwidth limit, and earning points in the forums is not very hard (also > 70000 members). Please let me know if you happen to know a better free web hosting!


free hosting?

it doesnt sound that free to me if i have to post to the forums.

i'm willing to pay $1 a month for a real account that may not have all the features of a regular host. I used for 3 years (one domain per account), and their service wasnt the best, but it was good enough. Now that I have to host more domains, I use (free whois domain privacy).

Reply to comment | Leap On!

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regarding blogging. thanks.

Thank Mr For Sharing Opinion.

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Hi, I have an idea, if you.


I have an idea, if you do not have a job and can not afford a real hosting account why dont you just go without? You should be lucky that any hosting provider is willing to give you an account for free at all regardless of what restrictions may be placed on your account. I would hardly walk into a car yard and demand a free car and then complain because it has an add for them on the side, in fact I would not expect a car at all.

I cant believe that you can actually sit here and whine about a hosting company placing adds on your site when you are paying nothing and expect the world. If you want good service, a good feature set, good support and limited restrictions then pull your finger out, get a job and actually try paying for a service rather then leaching off the hard work, time and money of those that do work to provide you with the very services that you use on a daily basis. You should be happy you can even get a free 10Mb account while not having to pay anything. You should be happy that you pay nothing yet someone at the other end of the link has to support you and your make believe standards for free webhosting. wonder the industry is so screwed

Thanks for the critique. I.

Thanks for the critique. I believe that most of us speak on forums even when they do not offer hosting services, so I guess that would not be much of a burden. It is much better IMHO that we get something (i.e. hosting service) by being active in the forums, instead of the admins eating all of the advertising revenue theirselves. Besides, like people have commented here, hosting nowadays are really cheap that even the admins can generate a handsome amount of revenue after sharing a portion of it to users in the form of hosting.

Good Hosting.

Check out, free hosting, its very good.

Free Hosting - Great Post.

Hey there! Great post, with some great ideas.

Web Hosts who require forum posting are usually not the best hosts, like you said. I've tried many free hosters in my day, and when they force you to post on their forums, its just not worth it to me. Several web hosts don't even offer quality hosting, even though you're posting 10 posts a day in their forums.

Uptime is also a needed thing to take into consideration. If you can't expect your host to be up for a good deal of the time, you can't expect them to do much more than just keeping your account open. A host that has good uptime, its good to check into this, you can bet that they'll be more reliable for other things.

All of the other Characteristics are good ways to find a great host! But, sometimes I think that the 'old' and 'how many members' can throw a person off. Lots of web hosts that are new today, probably won't be there tomorrow. But sometime these great webhosts that we know and love, had to have a beginning. Microsoft was nothing, before it was created, and when it was created it was a rather small company. Just like other companies who have great products and care for their customers, free web hosts like Frihost had their beginning sometime. A great host that cares about the user is hard to find, especially a free web host. But sometimes, some of the new guys can't be overlooked. Some of these may have been programmed from the ground up, built from scratch and now have formed something that means something to the creator. If there are such new webhosts out there, that cared about the user, I'd gladly give them a chance to grow and expand.

Stephen Ashmore .net

I agree about the 'old' and.

I agree about the 'old' and 'how many members'... but that's how trust is created everywhere. Just like creating a new business, it is pretty hard to convince anyone to join you except when they are your close friends or your business has superior quality and the customers know that you are superior.

Look at the OS industry as an example. Average users probably never heard of OSes other than Windows (most even never know what the heck an OS is). Techies / nerds / geeks / control freaks / open source advocates, however, will easily use Linux because they know how to use and install it - and they face obstacles along the way (bad hardware support, lack of quality software, lack of games). Likewise for this hosting thing - newbies should stick to more established hosting services while more experienced users can try the cutting edge. I don't think that there are lots of newbie webmasters anyway (so ironic: a 'newbie' 'master'), so the market should be different that the OS market.

Free hosting vs Ultra-cheap hosting.

Interesting post. My days of searching for free hosting are long over (several years), but I remember the pain. Also remember that paid hosts will have backups, etc - whereas free hosts often will not (in either case - you should always keep your own backups). It's rarely really "free" in an absolute sense - they just accept different forms of payment (eg, forum posting as you suggested, or bombarding you with spam).

These days, hosting can be had a lot cheaper - $1/week can get you a cpanel hosted site with pretty big limits, and backups, etc all included. For the lack of a credit card, some sites accept checks, or failing that, you can get a debit card (basically a visa card that uses your own funds instead of credit).

best hosting.

hello frnds i hv got my own dedicated server frm n wat to sell hosting if anyone interested check out



Thank you for the tips on choosing free web hosting companies, I am without a doubt considering these the best of the bests.

Regards for all your efforts.

Regards for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information.

Yes, this is true that we get.

Yes, this is true that we get only a limited(5GB to 20GB) bandwidth in the name of Unlimited Bandwidth. IT happens a lot of time that after attaining popularity the account is removed and you have nothing left to maintain. there are two remedies to this problem, wither you keep your accounts bandwidth in between this limit or you get you hosting service from certified Host.

Best Web Hosting

If you want good web hosting.

If you want good web hosting you have to pay, you need to remember that you can't get good things for free. thanks for sharing.
Artikel lesen


There are a lot of free website that provides web hosting for free, my advice is that you do some searching on the internet to find the one that fits you. Nice website by the way. equipos de perforacion

You can get tons of results.

You can get tons of results from search engines. But most of them turn out to be more annoying than useful. In the end, the results that we can count on are those which come from peer recommendation, so thanks for sharing this information, you make my life easier. mira esto

IT happens a lot of time that.

IT happens a lot of time that after attaining popularity the account is removed and you have nothing left to maintain. Thanks for sharing

Newbies should stick to more.

Newbies should stick to more established hosting services while more experienced users can try the cutting edge. I don't think that there are lots of newbie webmasters anyway (so ironic: a 'newbie' 'master'), so the market should be different that the OS market.

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