Running a website consumes a lot of expenses and administrators are continually looking for ways to cut costs. Free web hosting is attractive, and it has been recently exploding in popularity. Free web hosting providers are not what they promote themselves to be as they have tight limitations on uptimes, storage capacity, load speed, and bandwidth. These limitations can make your site perform dismally. What’s more, is that some of these sites are not adequately secured which puts your information at risk. Here are the best free web hosting alternatives:
iPage began operating in 1998 and was purchased by Endurance International in 2010. It serves more than a million websites from its two data centers in the US. It is among the cheapest hosting managers in the industry at $1.99 a month. iPagehas a single shared hosting package which provides for unlimited domains, unlimited databases, and unlimited disk space.
The firm has adopted the strategy of “one size fits all” which contains all the resources a small business would need. iPage uses vDeck control panel, unlike most companies which prefer cPanel. You will also get a one-click install for platforms like WordPress, PixelPost, Drupal, and Joomla.
iPage has also mastered the art of value pricing. You can sign up for the introductory rate of $1.99 a month for up to three years. Few companies can rival web hosting discounts of $80 for three years.
iPage also shines when it comes to customer support. Their 24/7 team can be accessed via email, phone, ticket, and chat. These channels are easy to find and use which makes iPage stand out. The firm’s uptime of 99.8% is also impressive considering how cheap it is to host with iPage.
A disadvantage of iPage is its slow load times. Load speeds directly affect SEO rankings which is why they are essential. Their renewal prices are also discouraging. When your plan period ends, you may pay an increase of up to 350% to renew your plan. iPage has also opted out of using cPanel which is more user-friendly than vDeck.
HostGator hosting caters to small business websites with affordable hosting plans, fast speeds, WordPress cloud plans, and reliable support. It generally offers cheaper packages than the competitors of similar scale, and their resources are adequate for most clients. Their powerful infrastructure has also earned them a good hosting reputation.
You can sign up for $2.75/month for three years. The firm promises 45 days money-back guarantee should a user be dissatisfied with their services. HostGator will transfer a website to your new domain for free within 30 days of signing up for shared hosting.
The firm has customized the latest version of cPanel to make it extremely user-friendly. HostGator has an uptime guarantee of 99.9% which you can monitor on your dashboard. You can claim one month of hosting credit if this promised uptime falls short. HostGator has numerous tutorials and FAQ pages to keep their users informed.
HostGator uses standard pricing tricks. To sign up for the great discounts, for example, you will have to opt for the 3-year plan. If you opt for a monthly option, the monthly rate will increase by 50 to 150% which is expensive. Their load times are also average, and you can get faster speeds with smaller websites.
GreenGeeks began its operations in 2008 after it was founded by Trey Gardner who has worked with numerous hosting companies like iPage, Globat, and Hostpapa. As its name suggests, the company provides environmentally-suitable web hosting services. It prides in being “300% powered by renewable energy” which means that it gives back three times the wind power credits it utilizes. Its general mission is to provide the speediest web hosting offerings without negatively impacting the environment.
This low carbon footprint does not mean that it is less capable of performing well compared to its counterparts. While it may be smaller than the competition, it wins in terms of personal attention. Users of the platform attest to the solid and fast support which is easily accessed.
GreenGeeks features three shared hosting plans which promise unlimited domains, bandwidth, email accounts, and storage. A free domain for a year is also offered. The renewal pricing for the domain after the free year is however expensive. GreenGeeks is not keen on being a domain registrar so it would be better to source for a domain elsewhere. The cheapest package is the Ecosite Starter for $2.95/month if you opt for a lengthy contract.
GreenGeeks further provides reseller and WordPress hosting. Beyond price, GreenGeeksboasts of speedy infrastructure, data center options, and reliable and secure technologies. The company has earned itself an A score with the Better Business Bureau which speaks to its excellent online reputation.
GreenGeeks is listed as a Green Power Partner by the US-based authority Environmental Protection Agency. If sustainability is on top of the list of your concerns, then GreenGeeks may be the platform for you.
BlueHost was launched in 1996, and it currently powers over two million sites. It has established a long relationship with the WordPress community and has been recommended by the platform since 2006. BlueHost has a good reputation among beginners and budget-conscious administrators.
The firm has an introductory price of $2.75/month. The basic package includes 50 GB disk space, five email accounts, one website, free website builder, and unlimited bandwidth. These resources are sufficient for a single website. If you upgrade to the Plus package, you will get unlimited storage, ten sites, and an anti-spam tool at $6.95.
WordPress users can choose any of the three plans which are also affordable. These plans include hundreds of WordPress themes, come with the platform already installed, and there is a staging environment where users can craft changes and sample them before they go live on their site. You will also get additional offerings including updates to the WordPress Core.
BlueHost takes security seriously, and you will access various security options on this site. You can limit spam with such tools as Spam Hammer and Spam Assassin. It further supports CloudFare to prevent DDoS attacks that can trigger a website to be brought down by directing a flow of fake traffic from numerous sources. BlueHost also has one of the best uptimes in the hosting landscape at 99.99% which is above the industry standard of 99.94%.
5. InMotion Hosting
InMotion operates two data centers in Virginia Beach and Los Angeles. It has been around since 2001 and has some of the best industry guarantees as a result. Its uptime of 99.95% is quite fair considering it lies in the budget category. The cheapest plan is the Launch at $5.99 a month featuring two websites and unlimited storage, disk space, and email accounts.
The best thing about InMotion is that you can easily upgrade as you scale your website. Aside from shared hosting, the firm gives allowances for VPS, dedicated server hosting, and business class hosting.
InMotion has faster server speeds at around 808ms. Another area where the firm stands out is live chat support. It has an A+ with BBB Business Review, and since it is frequently reviewed, it has had to allocate massive resources to customer support. Their first response time is typically under a minute, and the customer reps are satisfactorily knowledgeable.
InMotion offers new users free site migration although it does not guarantee zero downtime in the course of migration. If you select WordPress hosting, your site will be fitted with the Sucuri plugin that frequently scans websites for security risks and enables remote backups.
InMotion will continuously create a backup for your site up to 10 GB and offer an easy tool to manually backup your account. InMotion has also sought active partnerships with major eCommerce platforms like Prestashop.
Like most other web hosting companies, inMotion’spromotional pricing is only valid when you sign up for a long period, typically two years. New customers are verified through phone and may even be required to submit an ID picture which may discourage international clients.
From its headquarters in San Francisco, FastComet serves thousands of clients in 83 nations. Their server locations include Tokyo, Chicago, and Amsterdam. FastComet has managed to stay private since it was launched and it has a unique presence in an industry dominated by conglomerates like Endurance International.
The firm’s site includes the pictures and names of the team attesting to its small size.FastComet is able to deliver quick and friendly support because of its small group. Despite this size, however, FastComet offers competitive services. Its uptime for example averages at 99.97% which is incredibly appealing for website administrators.
At the bottom of the shared hosting plans is StartSmart at $2.95/month. It supports a single website, a free domain for life, unmetered traffic, and 15 GB SSD space. The ScaleRight plan starts at $5.95 allows for multiple websites, and 25 GB SSD space. The SpeedUp package is at the bottom of the tier at $9.95 for 35 GB SSD space.
FastComet guarantees a particular amount of resources such that your website will not suffer if their servers become congested as is common with shared hosting. FastComet does not increase the renewal price. If you sign up for the StartSmart plan, for example, you will pay $2.95/month for renewal.
You will also select which datacenter you want your site to be managed from. The money-back guarantee for FastComet is 45 days which means that the company is quite confident in its quality services. The firm’s load speed is however not as fast as you would wish it to be.
Hostinger was unveiled in 2004 with a mission of providing value web hosting without limiting what users can do with their websites. It currently serves 29 million clients in multiple nations. Hostinger also leverages on common industry pricing tactics. If you commit to a four-year contract, for example, you will only pay $1.45.
The renewal price will jump to $7.99/month after these four years. You will access 10 GB drive space and 100 GB bandwidth for one website and subdomain. Hostinger’s servers are distributed in Asia, UK, and the USA, and they utilize a 1000 Mbps connection for fast speeds.
Hostinger users can use the free website builder provided by the platform which includes a variety of templates. It is also easy to use the control panel as it has large icons for easier navigation.This panel may be confusing for people used to the standard cPanel.
Hostinger avails multilingual customer support for its clients, and they accommodate Intercom as their primary support system. Users may, however, be frustrated by buying additional domains.
Why is it Better to use Paid Hosting?
A free host can provide all the resources you need, but some websites will need extra features only available with paid packages. Beginners typically work well with free or cheap plans, but as their sites grow, the need for upgraded plans becomes imminent. Paid hosting is better than free hosting because of:
Most free hosts depend on advertising to foot the cost of operations. This simply translates to the presence of many unwanted ads. Visitors to your platform will be treated to ad banners across your pages in addition to the pop-up banners with every click-through. These ads will cloud your content and compromise on the professionalism of your website.
With paid hosting, you pay for the necessary resources to keep your site up and running. Most companies have an uptime guarantee, and should it fall short, you can claim monthly credits. With free hosting, firms are less dependable, and resources are deployed at their discretion. E-commerce businesses can lose sales due to long downtimes and visitors also get frustrated. Your site also needs the kind of quality security infrastructure available with paid hosting.
Space and Bandwidth
Free web hosting can be limiting, especially for large websites. If your website will include videos, photos, maps, and MP3 downloads, paid packages will generally have the kind of storage you need. These files also require increased bandwidth which is the amount of data transfer necessary to display your website when visitors access your server from their devices. If your visitors commonly post comments, shop on your page, and download directions, you will need a host to support the high level of your bandwidth needs.
It is essential to have access to a support team should you run into hurdles with your site. Paid hosting commonly guarantees 24/7 support via live chat, email, and phone. Free web hosts may be slow to attend to your concerns.
Even the most renowned free web hosts offer services below the industry standard. Free web hosting can be regarded as a marketing tool as the terms and conditions are continuously tweaked because there is no financial incentive. The limitations imposed by these firms prevent your site from performing at its best.
Updated: May 15, 2019