What is Free Hosting?

If you’re thinking about starting your first site, you have inevitably come across free hosting. Free hosting allows you to have a website without any hosting charges, and normally you don’t even have to pay for a domain.


How Does it Work?

While there are many different free hosting arrangements, it’s usually done in one of three ways.

  1. You’re given a subdomain. For example: yourchoice.realdomain.com. You can get a subdomain at sites like Tumblr, WordPress.com, Blogspot and many others. You get to choose the subdomain (the “yourchoice” part), but the primary domain section (e.g. tumblr.com) is controlled by the service provider.
  2. You partner up with a hosting company that will place some kind of advertising on your site. This normally entails the hosting company getting 100% of the advertising money in exchange for the hosting they provide.
  3. Lastly, there are free hosts that allow you to use your own domain and a respectable cPanel-based service (same as a paid host), but the bandwidth and disk space are incredibly low. Most of these hosts make money by offering premium services, allowing you to register your domains through them, or offering a free service for the first year and then forcing you to pay after the year is up.

Quick Overview


  • It’s 100% free.
  • Building a free website is incredibly easy. Since most people who use these services are rookies, the majority of free hosts offer templates and helpful tools to get you started. You can pick your site name along with a cool template and start blogging almost immediately – literally within minutes.


  • You aren’t in full control of the website – which is why hosting a store or serious business venture on a free host is a terrible idea.There’s also no guarantee of reliability; the service provider can shut down all of the connected websites without even giving you a warning, and you’ll have no recourse. For example, over the summer, Posterous (one of the most popular blogging platforms) was completely shut down.
  • Assigned sub domains are incredibly hard for to remember.
  • People tend to trust free websites far less. While this won’t be a problem if you’re running a small blog, businesses will notice that web searchers are far more wary about visiting and buying from websites on a freely hosted sub domain.
  • The terms and conditions may not work in your favor. The host can place many advertisements on your page, distracting viewers from your content. You may not even want to support some of the groups advertised!
  • The host might also require you to place their logo and a “Powered by ‘Provider'” label on the bottom of the page, which looks rather unprofessional.

Who is Free Hosting Ideal For?

There are two types of people who would love free hosting.

The first group is those that just want a website for fun and aren’t looking to make money. These folks just want a place to express themselves and share ideas without paying a hosting bill.

The second group of people are those who are a little scared of paying for a website because they don’t really know what they plan to do with it. You can use free hosting to see if you even like owning a website. You can also see if you have what it takes to come up with enough content to keep readers happy without running out of steam. Free hosting can give you the chance to learn the basics of owning a website without having to pay for a real host.

Otherwise, use free hosting with caution. These hosts can be fun, but they’re not reliable nor powerful enough to use for a serious business.