Five Free Web Hosting Options for Your Site

It's easy to start a website and share your content with the world. Learn how to do it with free, high-quality hosting options. Here are five tools that can give an excellent and free website hosting experience.

Five Free Web Hosting Options for Your Site

Wordpress: Oldie but a Goodie

For zero cost coupled with user-friendly features, start with Wordpress. Wordpress is a free content management system (available at Wordpress.org) that also provides hosting services on Wordpress.com. Wordpress is a staple in web hosting and web design, with over 75 million sites using Wordpress. It remains one of the main ways to manage content online. To sign up for the free plan, you'll need an email account. No credit card required.

There's a reason Wordpress powers 75 million + websites

If you're new to publishing content online, Wordpress is probably the best place to start because of its visual interface and intuitive website builder. Other tools include a dash board / control panel that can show you important site metrics with Jetpack, a free plug-in. The permanent price is zero if you're comfortable with basic features and free subdomains on Wordpress.com. Adding your own custom domain will require fees.

The Wordpress.com paid plan starts at USD7 (month to month), with a discounted 36USD yearly cost that comes with a free domain. Domain registration can be handled by Wordpress.com in-house, which is a plus. Wordpress maintains a large knowledge base on Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org.

Grade Sheet:

Overall Grade: B+
Free web hosting: Yes! A+
Ease of Use: 5/5. A+
Features for free plan: Limited. C-
Free SSL: Yes. Automatic. A+
Add your own custom domain name for free? No. B
Unlimited bandwidth: No.
Top-level domain: .com

Check out a sample site at: https://pilipinaswp.wordpress.com, created with Wordpress.com's free version.

Netlify: Net Positive!

For quick deployment and helpful version control, try Netlify. Netlify offers a free hosting plan with tools for quick deployment. Netlify uses website files stored on Github, Gitlab, or Bitbucket, giving you version control out of the box. This means you can resurrect an older version of your site if you somehow managed to mess the current one up. Netlify offers free subdomains on netlify.com, allowing you to add your own domain if and when you're ready.

Many Netlify templates are available for one-click deploy, and some even allow you to set up content management systems such as Dato CMS, forestry.io, or Netlify CMS in one go. We found Netlify to be a super flexible, and super cool free website hosting option.

A screen cap of the mobile view for sample site netlify.aritao.dev

To get set up quickly, you can check out their documentation at https://www.netlify.com/blog/2016/09/29/a-step-by-step-guide-deploying-on-netlify/. For more information, check the Netlify knowledge base.

Netlify gives you 100GB per month of bandwidth, and no limit on number of sites per plan. Netlify is a JAMstack platform, meaning it makes use of Javascript, APIs, and Markup to get things done. As free hosting options go, Netlify is a great choice. The control panel on the free plan is robust, and allows instant rollbacks to any version of your site. If you need more power (password-protection, email support) for your sites, the premium plans start at USD19 per member, monthly.

Grade Sheet:

Overall Grade: A+
Free web hosting: Yes! A+
Ease of Use: 4/5. A
Features for free plan: Robust. A+
Free SSL: Yes. Automatic. A+
Add your own custom domain name for free? Yes! A+ (note: you will still need to purchase your own domain from a registrar- that will not be free.)
Unlimited bandwidth: No.
Top-level domain: .app

Check out a sample site, created with Netlify's free version.

Firebase: The Cool Cat

For maximum cool factor, try Firebase. Firebase is a Google-owned platform for mobile and web applications, with free web hosting allocations built-in to its Spark plan. To use Firebase, you will need to be comfortable with the command line. That said, initializing and launching a site on Firebase is actually quite easy and fun. Not only that, you get some developer cred for having Firebase in your toolchain.

In addition to free website hosting, Firebase puts your static site on a global content delivery network, giving it the power to load quickly no matter where your users are. Sweet. With the free plan, you already get 10GB of hosting, and 360MB of network transfer per day, more than enough to get your started.

Grade Sheet:
Overall grade: A
Free web hosting: Yes! A+
Ease of Use: 3/5 B
Features for free plan: Robust. A+
Free SSL: Yes. Automatic. A+
Add your own custom domain name for free? Yes. A+
Unlimited bandwidth: No.
Top-level domain: .App

Here's a great video that walks you through the process of setting up: https://youtu.be/meofoNuK3vo

Check out a sample site at: https://filipino.web.app/

Cloudflare Pages: A Keeper

Cloudflare's offering is nothing short of amazing. When it comes to free website hosting, we can't recommend this option enough. Cloudflare is a website security and hosting company that can serve large enterprises, small business, and even the solo entrepreneur. Its free hosting option is super generous, offering 500 builds per month, unlimited sites, unlimited requests, and unlimited bandwidth. Limitations: the platform hosts static sites, and your code must be on Github (as of this article).

Free plan users will love the generous allocations, not feeling the need to upgrade to a premium plan unless they're scaling to enterprise levels. Small businesses can incubate their products using the free plan as well, opting in for paid features when they are ready. The use of a top-level .dev (Cloudflare owns and uses Pages.dev) domain also means that all sites must have SSL, which Cloudflare provides for free. While there is a learning curve to using Cloudlfare Pages, we find it to be one of the best free website hosting options around.

Grade Sheet:

Overall grade: A+
Free web hosting: Yes. A+
Ease of Use: 3/5 B
Features for free plan: Robust. A+
Free SSL: Yes. Automatic: A+
Add your own custom domain name for free? Yes. A+
Unlimited bandwidth: Yes.
Top-level domain: .dev

Sample site: https://childprotection.dev/

Gatsby Cloud: A Crowd Favorite

Gatsby Cloud is pushing the limits of what is possible for static sites. In fact, they now advertise themselves as a dynamic site service, which means it can offer dynamic features such as server-side rendering through APIs, providing content in response to user activity or status. This kind of interactivity is typically not a built-in feature of static sites. To be fair, any static site has the potential to integrate similar tools for dynamic features. That said, Gatsby Cloud deserves recognition for pushing site interactivity to new levels. That's a plus for everyone!

The Gatsby Cloud free plan is also quite generous, providing unlimited content previews and unlimited sites. Code can be stored on Github, Gitlab, and Bitbucket. Monthly bandwidth includes 100GB, and 5 million requests. That's incredible value in a free plan.

Grade Sheet:

Overall Grade: A

Free web hosting: Yes. A+
Ease of Use: 4/5  A-
Features for free plan: Robust. A+
Free SSL: Yes. Automatic: A+
Add your own custom domain name for free? Yes. A+
Unlimited bandwidth: No.
Top-level domain: .io

Find a sample site here.  

And that's it for this article on free website hosting options. Each of them, except for the limited Wordpress free plan, give you access to website hosting platforms with so much value that you won't need a free trial for premium level services-- they'll be yours at no cost.