Isn’t it what you are looking for? That’s a dream come true for everyone seeking to build up their online presence. Who doesn’t want the whole bundle of ‘free’ + ‘quality’ + ‘privacy’?
But the key question here is: is it possible? Can you make a quality website for free?
Generally, no. At least, not if you need a website for something more than a simple showcase of who you are or what you think.
But since you are here, let’s get to business and find a way to make a free website. Our promise: no links to shoddy providers. Only truly best free website options.
As you probably know, there are two ways for non-techies to build a website. One is obviously a website builder (you get the tools at your fingertips to develop your website). The other is web hosting (you get space and freedom to install any app to power your website). Either way, you also need a domain name for a professional and unique look. Let’s look at each of these in turn.
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If you have already done some research, you probably expect to see such big names as Wix, Weebly or WordPress.com. Not here. Their free plans come with the following no-go features: advertising banners, unwanted branding and no way to connect a custom domain.
Their cheapest paid plans are not ideal, either. For example, if you wish to remove the WordPress.com branding and be able to fully customize the look of your site, you will have to upgrade to the Business plan that costs $25 a month. For that amount of money, you will be better off with either fully managed WordPress hosting or a managed VPS.
Where does this leave you? To build a simple website for free, you basically have two options.
NodeHost is a relatively new brand launched in 2015. It is a small but very innovative company with a focus on a website builder and web hosting. NodeHost’s cloud platform is built on top of DigitalOcean servers.
NodeHost is just one of a few independent companies that lets you make a beautiful one-page website for free. Unlike with many other website builders, your NodeHost website will have a clean professional look from the beginning: there will be no ads and no branding. Additionally, you can connect your own domain and activate a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
That is some mind-boggling value for free, even for a simple one-page website. What is even better, once you decide to add more pages or a blog, you will not have to pay $10+ a month as is common with other ‘free’ website builders. NodeHost’s Starter plan costs just $0.08 per day or $2.40/month!
Option #2: Google Blogger
Your second best option to create a free website is, unsurprisingly, a Google product – Blogger. As the name suggests, Blogger is a great way to make a free blog. You can either use the famous free BlogSpot extension or link your own domain name.
Need an example of popular websites built for free with Blogger? Here are two active Blogger websites with a custom domain name: Cat vs Humans (comic strips) and Think Tank Watch (policy think tanks). And these two successful blogs use the free BlogSpot subdomain: DreamersLoft (cuisine) and Ja Konrath (fiction writing).
So if this looks good enough to you, go ahead and see what you can make with either option. Or are you looking for a cleaner look and more customization tools? If so, you may need web hosting to deploy one of the free open-source apps such as WordPress.
Free Web Hosting
Is there free cPanel web hosting? No. cPanel is a proprietary control panel. A hosting company typically pays $45 a month for each cPanel license and $0.10/$0.20 for each additional account. It means that cPanel hosting will indirectly cost you a minimum of $1.20/$2.40 a year. This is the price excluding the actual resources (server, network, human labor).
So, if a hosting company chooses to provide free website hosting (hoping to make up for the used resources in the future), the only viable option to even consider is an alternative control panel.
We hesitated to include any companies that claim to offer free web hosting. To be sure, we have a database of 100+ free hosting providers. Most of them are abysmally awful. We will save you the frustration and not even mention them here.
But then if you are here that means that you are looking for free website hosting and are ready for some compromises. So, we have picked just one free host that has an established reputation and a feasible offer.
000Webhost is a Hostinger brand. Founded in 2004, it is based in Lithuania. Over the years, the company has grown into one of the larger hosting providers, with hundreds of employees and millions of customers.
What are the pros and cons of 000Webhost? 000Webhost pros and cons are summarized below:
As you can see, 000Webhost does offer value, including a control panel with a modern look and free web hosting without any intrusive ads. But because of the compulsory 000Webhost branding and lack of SSL certificates for custom domains, we generally do not recommend 000Webhost for professional websites.
Option #2: $1 Web Hosting
What is the best alternative to free web hosting? If you are on an ultra-low budget and need complete control over your website, you may want to consider $1 web hosting.
What is $1 web hosting? One dollar web hosting is similar both to free and premium web hosting: your website still has low resources but you get many premium features (including free backups, SSL and email).
In terms of pricing, $1 is the price you pay monthly. That means, an annual price is about $12. If you are looking for one dollar web hosting only for the first term, you could go ahead with Hostinger, 000Webhost’s parent company. But there are also decent $1 web hosting options on a recurring basis.
What do you get with $1 web hosting compared to free web hosting? Above all, freedom of choice and control over your data. You select any app to power your site, you decide if and how to monetize your content and, if several options are available, you choose the location for your website. See a detailed summary of free web hosting vs one dollar web hosting below.
Free vs $1 Web Hosting
|Free web hosting||$1 web hosting|
|Control panel||custom / alternative||cPanel / custom|
|App installer||selected apps only||yes|
|Number of websites||one or two||multiple|
|Resource limits||lowest||low / adjustable|
|Free SSL certificate||no||yes|
|Load times||average||above average|
|Uptime guarantee||99.0% or none||>99.9%|
|Money back guarantee||free||yes|
|Easy to migrate||no||yes|
|Control over your data||partial||complete|
|Tech support||community forum||basic 24/7 support|
As you can see, a comparison of free vs $1 web hosting outlines the benefits of paid web hosting: the freedom to install any app, the peace of mind with automatic backups and the stamp of trust with a free SSL certificate for every domain.
If you need better support and better performance, you may consider getting equally inexpensive $5 web hosting. But regardless of whether you have picked free, $1 or $5 web hosting, your website will be incomplete without a custom domain name.
Free Domain Name?
You may have come across some tempting offers of a free domain name. But when you look closer and read the terms, you will notice one of the following: 1) the registrar is the actual user/owner of the domain, 2) the domain is in fact just an extension or a subdomain or 3) the free domain is part of a bundle with web hosting and is free for the first year only.
1) A free domain name that you do not own is problematic, especially if you plan to develop your website around your brand. This option is honestly out of the question for most users.
2) A free domain that is in reality a subdomain, such as yourname.blogspot.com, is neither pretty nor professional. But it can be a temporary free solution until you are ready to get a proper domain (if it is available).
3) Although web hosting and domain names are often sold in a bundle, these are two completely different products. While it may be alluring to get a free domain for the first year with a hosting provider, you will be better off buying a domain name from a specialized domain registrar.
But while your best option is actually buying a domain name, you may be relieved to know that you can get one for about $1 for the first year. This may not be a .com domain name, but many successful websites do not necessarily use a .com TLD these days. Some cheap TLD options are .icu and .top. If you do need a .com domain, NameSilo offers cheap ones at $8.99. Use the code itsybitsyguide to get a further $1 discount.
So, that is the best advice on making a free website you are likely to find on the web.
If you need a professional online presence to tell the world who you are and how to reach you, a free one-page website should be a fine option for you.
And while there is honestly no such thing as a free domain name, you can start with a free domain extension (such as blogspot.com) or get an affordable unique domain now.