What’s The Free Website Hosting for Your Project?
Choosing the best free website hosting for your project is a tough and often an all too confusing process. It’s especially tough because there is no such thing as an absolute “best free website hosting” – there is only the free website hosting that is right for you considering all the tradeoffs.
Tradeoffs are especially important because nothing is truly free. You are paying in some form or fashion. It might be with very low limits (in the case of Weebly) or the right to run ads on your site (in the case of Wix). Or it might be something else. But remember that if something is free then you are not the customer – you are the product.
So here’s a quiz that helps you balance all the usual tradeoffs to figure out what is the best free website hosting (updated 2017) for your project based on your preferences – without boxing you into a fake free account with tons of limitations.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. My recommendations are based on my experiences as an independent paying customer.
Considerations for the Best Free Website Hosting for You
First, remember that there is no such thing as “free” – you need to understand a company’s business model. There are some companies that fund their free model with paid a la carte upgrades. Those are usually great. But some simply use their free plan as an unlimited trial version. Those companies are usually the frustrating ones.
Some companies reserve the right to run ads on your website. And some just want your data.
It’s important to understand what the business model behind “free” is before you entrust a company with your project. The quiz only includes companies that I have used – and feel comfortable with their business model.
Here are the considerations included on the quiz –
How much do you want to customize your website? Does it really need to be customized at all – or can your content / work stand on it’s own?
If your project can go without a custom design & layout – then you can unlock many more options for free website hosting. If you want to control every aspect of your design and layout – then you might want to look into just how much a paid web hosting option would be.
Types of Media
What kind of content do you want to show? If it’s only text or only video – then you open up a lot of options for platforms that aren’t “free website hosting” – but are a great option for hosting your project.
If you want to publish a range of content (ie, a typical website), then that will narrow your choices significantly.
If you are going to give a platform free content, then you should look for a platform that will also give you free traffic in return.
Usually free platforms can be funded by keeping users within the platform. So if you don’t have an audience already – you can use a free platform to get visitors.
On the flipside, if you already have a plan to build an audience, that feature might not matter as much and can open up other options.
Do you want to move to a paid hosting option in the future? If you do – some free options make that easier than others.
Do you want to use [yourdomain].com? If so, you’ll need to have a platform that allows custom domains.
If you don’t want to pay for a domain right now – then leaving this option off will open other platforms.
How easy does publishing need to be? Everyone wants things to be simple, but there’s usually a tradeoff with control and customization. Some free website hosting platforms closely control how your content appears – but also offer an incredibly easy publishing process.