If you’re going to run a business these days, an attractive, informative website is a must-have. Paying a huge fee to host said website is a luxury many entrepreneurs cannot afford.
Fortunately, many companies are willing to host a website for free in exchange for your personal and business data, which helps to enhance their own sales and marketing efforts. Your main mission becomes selecting the free website host that makes the most sense and offers the best services to align with your website goals. However, don’t forget to read the fine print about what these hosts might want in exchange for their space on the Web.
Know Your Needs
What functions do you need on your new website? Is it going to be an eCommerce site that will need lots of room and functionality to take your visitors on an end-to-end customer journey? Is it more of a placeholder that will let your customers know you’re out there? If so, you should let them connect to you through blogs, articles, and a Contact Us page. If this is your first rodeo when it comes to hosting and building a site, there are a few aspects of having a website that you might want to get familiar with before diving head-first into market research.
- Analytics: Statistics that show you how users are interacting with your website. Can include visits per day, page views, and how users are reaching your site.
- Back End: The side of your site that customers never see. This is where you’ll be building it and adding new content. Some are simple and intuitive, others are for advanced users.
- Bandwidth: The total amount of data that your website can transfer to visiting users. If you’re expecting a ton of traffic, a free site might not be for you, as they have limits.
- Responsive: A responsive website automatically adjusts itself to the size of the screen it’s being viewed on, notably for mobile devices. Mobile now outstrips desktop in terms of site visits, making up 58% of them in 2018.
Top Free Website Hosts
- WordPress: You’d be amazed how many big businesses use the paid version of WordPress – The New Yorker, BBC America, and Variety make the list. The free version is powerful, with lots of templates to choose from, 3GB of available space and a dedicated community of users to answer your questions. There’s no software to download, meaning you can get to your site from anywhere at any time.
- Wix: No service can build you a website faster than Wix. With its industry-leading library of images and templates, your website can go from vision to reality in the time it takes to read this article. Wix offers 500MB of space and a 99.99% uptime. It’s perfect for small, static websites that you won’t be updating anytime soon. That’s the rub on Wix, you cannot move a site to or from its service. If your business outgrows its size, you’ll have to start over somewhere else.
- 000webhost: 000webhost got its start in 2007, then upgraded in 2015 with the desire to be the fastest free website host around. Speed tests have seen it outperform paid web hosts when it comes to page-loading speed. It has a lot of nice free services, including free subdomains, the ability to create two websites, and 99.9% uptime. It is also the only of the four listed here to offer FTP website hosting. Its most significant sore spot for users is a lack of customer support.
- 5GBfree: In the early days of the Internet, there was a site called 50megs that offered, you guessed it, free 50MB of space for your website. Fast-forward a couple of decades and 5GBfree is offering 1,000 times the space. That’s great if you crave vast amounts of space for your site, but there’s a significant downside as well. 5GB tests a lot slower than other names on this list. That’s a problem in an era where most Internet users are notably impatient. The signup process has hiccups as well, since the company requests access to your phone number and physical address.
There are always trade-offs when you’re using free resources in place of paid ones. Make a list of your must-haves for a web host before you start your research. That due diligence will help you find the right fit quickly. Then, you will have your new site up and running as soon as possible.