Is there such thing as free Web hosting?

This is a much-researched question and have many people wondering if they are going to be scammed or asking what’s the catch. Because nothing is really free.

In this blog I will be asking the important questions to assist the regular Joe in making the right choice for them.

Firstly, is there such a thing as free hosting?

Yes, free web hosting is real. There are providers that do offer free hosting. The trade off is often very limited features so much so that you should not consider it for business use. But the bottom line is, you could get free hosting.

Read more on the different types of web hosting here:

Does this include my own domain name?

99.99% of the time the answer is no. A personalized domain name for example will always cost money. If not for you, then a cost to the provider. If a provider offers you a domain name free of charge, it is a promotion to get new people using their service. You will have to pay the next annual fee for the domain name as this is an annual cost for most domain names.  

Web agencies or providers sometimes provide you with your own subdomain and NOT top-level domain name. For example,  This will technically be your domain name to use for your website, but there will be limitations attached to this including not having full control over the management of the website. This also is not suited for long term or business use.

Am I expected to pay for anything at a later date?

The use of a free web hosting service is ultimately a marketing strategy to get clients to purchase other products and services or upgrade their existing service. However, in most cases, you are not obligated to pay at a later date. Some providers may require banking details to prevent spam account creation. You should still do your due diligence to check that it is a reputable service provider.

Check out this article that discusses trusted website in general:

Can I use a free web hosting option for my personal website?

There is nothing wrong in doing so. However, the following reasons may deter you from exploring this option:

  • You cannot monetize your web traffic
  • You cannot sell directly from the website (in most cases)
  • All content you add onto the website, for SEO purposes will be attributed to the providers domain name. So, if you later acquired your own domain name and transferred content across, your personal website content will be considered a copy and not original in the eyes of search engines. This of course will not positively influence your overall SEO rank.
  • You must adhere to the providers policy on how your website should be used. This will be stricter then having your own domain. For example, depending on the provider, you might not be able to publish content related to finance, politics, healthcare, and other topics that will have substantial influence on the viewers behaviour and mood. Certain web apps or forms may also be barred as this is used to collect user information or which can be resource intensive.
  • Your website will contain banners/pop-ups or text that directly market your service provider. This could be intrusive or negatively impact your viewer’s experience.

If you are not concerned about any of these then you should have no problem.

Free web hosting usage

What are some of the limitations I can expect with free web hosting?

Apart from those mentioned above, the following are other limitations. These will vary from provider to provider and have different combinations of what they will limit.  

  • Limited number web pages
  • URL is a cryptic string of text and not a human friendly name. example
  • Website will contain ads and other provider embedded information. Some can be intrusive, and some may be simple footer text.
  • Limited elements to choose from when designing a webpage. This is the most common limitation. Elements offered will defer but often enough to give you an idea on what the web builder is capable of.
  • Limited layout options. These are where elements are placed on the webpage. These may be oversimplified for what you require.
  • Limited hosting time. Some providers offer a 1 month, 3 months and so on period of time for which you can host. After which you would need to pay a fee.
  • Security. Limited security as these are free services and may not have the desired security. It is also something you have no control over. This is another reason some free hosting providers do not allow sensitive content or collection of sensitive information from their websites.  
  • Website performance. Understandably this is going to be an issue as providers are offering this to you for free. If you are expecting any sort of traffic, this is going to be an issue. You also have limited to no control over this.
  • No add-on services. Often with hosting solutions when you get a domain name, you are provided the ability to create an email address, setup redirect rules, manage your DNS zone and more. This is all stripped away. (Unless you are using a personalized domain name)

What can I do with free web hosting?

There are things you could learn if you are new to building and designing websites. If you intend to eventually manage your own website, exploring free hosting options with the intent to purchase later on is a good start.

Free web hosting is also ideal for students learning about web development as they can host their web files online and publish them to see how they perform in a live environment.

Even experienced web developers sometimes turn to free web hosting options to test their web app projects, create client mock ups, or even do their own exploring of different web building platforms.

Lastly, there may be some non-profit organizations, clubs or individuals that want to share information with a small group of people like calendars, announcements, and events. In these cases, it may not be worthwhile spending money on and so using free web hosting the perfect option.

Here are two examples of providers that offer free web hosting: and


Don’t label free web hosting as strictly good or bad; instead, see it as an option that suits specific situations. Always bear in mind that web service providers, even if they claim to be “charitable”, they are essentially businesses. So, don’t set your expectations too high when opting for free web hosting.

free web hosting summary

Want to know the differences between a web builder and web developers? Check this out: