When you get out in the market to look for free hosting services, a lot of options pop up. But choosing the perfect webhost is a challenge. You have to choose a host that offers you good service as well as useful features.
And we will review today, one such host which has been at the top of free hosting world, 000webhost.
000webhost, as the name points out is a free hosting service that offers you hosting at 0$. Yes, you read that right, 0$. Started in 2007, 000webhost is one of the leading free hosting service providers.
While at a first glance, it might be easy to dismiss them as yet another free hosting – they are in fact, a great option for hosting free sites.
As with many free hosting providers, they have many features set for their premium customers, but their free plan packs quite a punch.
The free plan offers 10 GB Bandwidth and 1 GB of free space. They allow you to host 2 websites, and offer free cPanel along with website builders. Couple this with the free email hosting, and 000webhost becomes your ultimate free hosting service.
- Free domain hosting & Easy Website builder
- Free Cpanel web hosting admin panel
- 99.9% Uptime guarantee
- Feature-rich Cpanel with PHP & MySQL
- PHP, MySQL, No Ads & more!
- 10 GB (10,000 MB) of bandwidth
- Almost endless 1000 MB disk space
- One click website installer
- Free Website builder
- Full PHP & MySQL database support
How fast is 000webhost hosting?
000Webhost server speed test – A+. Credit: Bitcatcha
1. Pricing Structure:
000webhost’s premium plan starts from as low as 3.49$/month and the business plan starts at $7.95/month. The premium plans are also offered by their sister company, Hostinger, who offer quite a good deal of value for money.
Signing up for their premium account comes with a free .xyz domain and ongoing web development assistance. This is quite an unique support feature, where the support helps you with web development assistance as well.
The premium plans also come with a 24*7 instant live chat support, which should be a good deal, once you decide to migrate to their premium plans. Apart from this, their tech support is helpful with migrating your websites from different hosts to their servers, free of cost.
Having used 000webhost.com for many experiments as well as personal websites, here is my review of 000webhost’s free hosting service.
2. Huge Disk Space / Bandwidth:
000webhost offers 1 GB of disk space as well as 10 GB of unmetered bandwidth. Keeping in mind, a simple blog post like this would take roughly 2 MB of space, you could write 500 blog posts like this, and not run out of space until then.
Their free plan is quite generous with the disk space as well as the bandwidth. They also offer you to host 2 websites and park your domain in the free plan.
3. Instant Backups:
When it comes to digital data, it is always a good idea to keep a backup of your data. When you create a website with 000webhost, instant backups are an inbuilt feature. With a simple click of a button, you can take a backup of your website as well as restore it.
Using the control panel, you can create instant backups of your website. 000webhost takes backup of your website data as well as you MySQL database. When it comes to backups, almost none of the top free webhosting providers give backups as a feature, so 000webhost scores here big time.
4. Good cPanel Support:
000webhost offers the latest version of cPanel on their free hosting account. Along with the latest version, they also offer 100+ auto install scripts – like WordPress, Joomla, Magento and many more.
They also have support for BoxBilling, an invoice system built entirely in PHP – that allows you to invoice your customers.
What’s more – if the auto install scripts are not enough for you, you can always choose to go with their free website builder which has 100+ templates. Using it is as simple as dragging and dropping, and publishing your website.
5. Ad Support:
One of the striking feature of 000webhost is, they allow you to run your own ads on the free website. Not only do other free hosting providers not allow support for this, but they also display their own ads and banners.
But with 000webhost, they don’t display ads on your free hosted websites, and they allow you to run your own ads. 000webhost strategy here is geared to help you make money from your website, and then convert you into a premium customer.
You can run Google Adsense as well as other ad programs, but from time to time, it is possible that Google might block 000webhost. According to a forum post by one of their team, they try their best to resolve such issues, but can’t guarantee a resolution always.
6. Email Support:
It is important today to have a professional sounding email ID. 000webhost offers free email accounts along with webmail support.
What they do differently from other hosts is, they allow you to edit your MX entry. This means, you can host your email from Google apps / Zoho or other email apps as well.
They also support using the mail() function in their PHP version, which means you can send out mass emails to users who register for your site.
The usage of which is monitored of course, but we believe it is a great feature to have for free.
7. Full PHP / MySQL Support:
Many free hosts claim to give Full PHP support, but that claims are often disputed. 000webhost offers truly full PHP support.
Using their latest PHP support, you can send out emails using mail() function and also use the GD library. 000webhost runs the latest PHP version – PHP 7.1, at the time of writing this article. The MySQL version is also latest and up-to-date.
Apart from full blown PHP support, they offer support for Cron jobs and CURL. CURL is a library that allows you to make API calls to other websites.
Using Cron jobs, you can execute a script at a certain time any number of times. Like say, send emails to every member of your site every week.
In our experience, very few free hosting providers offer this feature because of the fear of abuse. But 000webhost has done a great job by enabling these features, and monitoring usage instead.
8. Fanatical Customer Service:
000webhost’s customer service is fanatical, in their own words. They have a dedicated forum, as well as email support.
In their community forum, you will be able to find answers to most of your issues, and in case you don’t, their team members are quick to respond and help you sort out your issues. They also have a helpful FAQ section to refer to.
Apart from the customer service, their forum has a dedicated section for website building, where you can also get help with PHP, MySQL or any queries you have while trying to build your website.
They also have different forums for Spanish and German readers. It is heartening to see a web host take care about multilingual customers, and willing to help them.
While they are at the forefront of the free hosting scene and offer a lot of great features, they have also attracted so many users that they have some unique problems of their own.
Due to their instant activation, spammers and abusers set up sites. Though they are eventually removed, but it also costs hassles to other free users doing legitimate work.
Here are a few issues, I found with 000webhost in my experience in building a site with them.
1. Removed Websites without notice:
Go to the user forum, and you will see countless examples of people who complained that their websites were taken down without notice.
It is fair that 000webhost reserves the decision of deleting content on their free service if it does not match their terms of service, but deleting users data on which they have worked so hard, does not strike a good tune for us.
2. CPU Usage:
A lot of times, while working with 000webhost, my sites which were very low traffic – often received “You have exceeded your daily cpu limit and your site is redirected.
The limit will be reset every 24 hours.” This was in spite of the fact that these sites had low traffic. Here are some similar forum posts complaining about sites being down for 3-4 days.
3. File Upload Limits:
Not mentioned on their pricing pages, 000webhost removes certain files higher than 5MB from time to time without notifying the user. This also makes the 1 GB space kind of redundant, if you are not going to allow any files above 5MB to stay on your servers.
While 000webhost monitors the types of files that are uploaded, and deletes them from time to time, deleting the user’s files without informing them is a bad user practice.
4. Security Issues:
In the past, 000webhost has been hacked – Around 2 years back, a hacker got into their database and leaked 13 million users passwords and confidential data. It was also found that 000webhost stored the passwords in plaintext, which is a bad security practice.
Though this happened 2 years back, and the team has since switched to hashed passwords. We hope the 000webhost team has pulled up their socks and secured their sites.
5. Slow FTP and unresponsive DNS:
When I setup an account with 000webhost, and tried to redirect my domain name with putting in their DNS name on my account. But even after quite a bit of experimentation, I was not able to get it working.
The documentation as well as support for this kind of issue was very limited, and I could not get it solved it till very end.
Another issue I ran into, while testing the webhost was that, the FTP connection was very slow. I had to upload a few generic (and legal) files, each 2-3 MB big. But it took me a lot of time, to get it finally up and running.
There are definitely issues with the FTP connections and DNS servers, that other users have pointed out as well.
6. Database Reboots:
One challenge that 000webhost has faced is, as their service got popular from time to time – they restart their MySQL service frequently. Sometimes even to the tune of every 1 hour.
That means, more often than not, while your site will be accessible, your database won’t be.
And if you are using a wordpress site or any application that uses database, it will result in errors for your end user. This is particularly frustrating when users are trying to fill up a form, and at that exact moment, your database goes down thereby losing a customer for you.
7. No SSL certificates:
With services like LetsEncrypt offering free SSL certificate these days, it is disappointing to know that 000webhost does not offer SSL certificate option. SSL certificates are responsible for making your websites more secure, and make your website accessible over HTTPS.
With the latest version of Google Chrome, highlighting insecure sites. Having no HTTPS certificate can make your site look bad to the user.
Apart from this, no HTTPS support can ruin your SEO as Google ranks insecure sites down on their search listing. It would therefore be a nice addition to 000webhost’s feature set if they added this option.
Having outlined the pros and cons with 000webhost, would I recommend them for free hosting? I would say yes even though the cons outweigh the pros.
This is because 000webhost is a great option for people looking to host small or medium sites and are not concerned much about their data.
When it comes to free hosting, they are one of the few webhosts that offer full PHP support and instant backups. That alone makes it worth the free tag.
But if you are looking to host a big site, with lot of traffic, then it is certainly not a good option to go about. I would recommend you switch to their premium plan by their sister company Hostinger, if you wish to keep your data safe and your site up all the time.
Their fanatical user support along with latest full PHP support, makes it the best free hosting service available. And I would recommend 000webhost in a heartbeat to anyone looking to host a website free of cost.
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