Web hosting has come a long way since the early 1990s. Free web hosting used to come with a lot of limitations, ads, pop-ups, and banners. Now, thanks to companies like 000WebHost, free servers for website hosting can be had without all of the extra attachments. Let’s review 000WebHost and find out more.
Free hosting for a website used to be hit or miss. As little as eight or nine years ago finding a reliable web host was a week-long chore that usually resulted in trying out various companies offers that had a money back guarantee to exploit.
If you came across a free hosting platform like 000WebHost, you became very skeptical. Free hosting usually came with ads plastered all over your website that you couldn’t control. This was also long before the days of Google analytics and the Facebook pixel that are used for targeted or relevant ad placement.
Now, free hosting is a great place to start if you are learning how to code websites, hosting a small business or personal site or want to show off some images and life updates. In this 000WebHost review, we will take a look at the company, the hosting plans and decide if there have been any changes in the last decade.
If you are thinking of starting your first website, or want to know if free hosting will suit your needs, this 000WebHost review article is for you.
Free Hosting Details
As with any service, free often means limited. Of course, there are going to be limits on any hosting plan, paid or otherwise. Each server will have limits based on the hardware and even the software used to make the service usable.
Disk space, for instance, will be a primary concern. Hosting a website today means storing and retrieving files that aren’t just text-based. We have images and video and streaming services. There are database driven applications and other services that take up a lot of space.
Aside from the storage space you also have the bandwidth. To ensure every site has a fair and equal share, most server hosts have to limit the amount of bandwidth your site receives. In the free hosting world, bandwidth is one of the most heavily guarded resources.
You may notice that as your site gains in popularity that you will have a slower loading time or that images may need to be refreshed to be fully loaded on the page. When this happens, it is usually because you are at your bandwidth limit for the month.
It is similar to cell phone companies throttling data speeds after you reach a certain gigabyte threshold. Unless you pay for more bandwidth or data transfer, your site, like your cell phone, will slow to a crawl.
Free hosts generally limit their server side resources as well. You may get one or two (or sometimes zero) databases to store SQL application data. Forums, chat applications, and other services rely on a database to function.
If you host one or more database required features, your host will need to accommodate that. In their free plan, 000WebHost gives you two databases for use. This is a lot better than the zero databases other hosts offer.
The control panel, or Cpanel, is one of the most regulated aspects of the hosting world as well. Through a full-featured Cpanel you can gain access to shell scripts, email set up and regulation, the subdomain and add-on domain creation and other features.
A lot of free hosts will limit what you have access to in the Cpanel and 000WebHost is no different here. However, you will still have full control of your site. If you are in the market for a free host, the limited Cpanel won’t be an issue for you.
Mostly, 000WebHost takes out the advanced features that a first-time web designer isn’t ready to dabble with, yet.
Server-side scripting is generally very limited in free hosting accounts. Because the web host is generally responsible for installing the software needed for the scripting languages, some or all of them can be left out.
000WebHost provides PHP and SQL in full feature and for free. However, if you require other scripting languages, such as Ruby on Rails, or Python, you won’t find it in the free servers.
000WebHost isn’t without their limits, though. You can’t get everything for free. You will find limits or exclusions when you sign up, including:
- No email service
- 1-gigabyte storage
- 10-gigabyte bandwidth (per month)
- No auto-installer script
- No live support (though you have access to the support members forum)
- No backups
- Limited to hosting two websites (shared storage and bandwidth)
- No domain name services
With the features you do get, 000WebHost is the perfect platform to test, learn or start.
Free Hosting Details
Free web hosting is generally supported by ad placement. Service such as Angelfire (owned by Yahoo) and others will place ads on your web pages to earn their revenue. A lot of the newer hosts are going away from this though, as more and more people want to control what is shown on their websites or ad space.
Instead, companies such as 000WebHost offer premium services. The hope is that you try the free service and like it. Eventually, you will outgrow the free service and need something more. Once you do, the companies hope you stick with their service and pay for a premium account.
Ideally, you will opt for the most expensive option, but the free hosting is provided because the revenue doesn’t come from ads, but comes from the profit margins of the paid plans they offer.
Another reason the hosting is free is to help people learn, or test websites without risking anything. The return, of course, is the limited functionality, as we discussed earlier.
One thing that you should be aware of while reading this 000WebHost review is that one of the factors in your free hosting plan with them is that their servers “sleep” for an hour every day.
What this means is that for 1 hour every day, randomly, your site will be unavailable. The reason behind this is to allow every site the opportunity to have the required bandwidth and functionality they are promised.
This mandatory sleep period results in a 4 percent downtime for your site. Nothing is lost or removed; you just won’t have any traffic at all during that hour. For most people looking for a free host, this isn’t an issue. Unless you are trying to run a fully functional site to make money with or require 24-hour operation, you generally won’t even notice your site being offline.
000WebHost is one of the most popular free hosts in the world, currently hosting near 17.5 million free websites. Some limitations and downtime should be expected, and it is still going to be less than with most other services.
As we talked about previously, 000WebHost offers free when hosting with revenue coming from their paid plans. So what is this difference in the plans? Aside from cost, it is actually quite a bit.
With the paid plans (they have two) you get a lot more features and options than you will find with the free plan.
The most notable difference, of course, is that your website won’t suffer from the mandatory sleep hour if you are on a paid plan. The other options that the paid plans include are listed below.
Single and Premium Plans
It would take quite a while to list the features for each plan and cover what they have in common. Instead, we will tell you that all the features are identical between the two paid services and just cover the ones that are different.
We will, of course, highlight any features (shared between the plans or not) that are important to note.
Premium gives you one free domain name registration.Single has ten gigs of disk space and 100g of monthly bandwidth; Premium is unlimited.
- You can only host one website with Single, unlimited sites with Premium (remember you can host 2 for free).
- The auto installer comes with 50 scripts for the Single plan and over 90 for the Premium plan.
- WordPress optimization and processors speed are twice as fast on Premium.
- Email inbox limits are 200mb on Single and 10gb on Premium.
- Single offers you 1 SQL database where Premium offers you unlimited databases. (reminder you get two databases with the free plan).
- You can have unlimited FTP accounts under the Premium plan and only 1 FTP user on the Single plan.
- Subdomains and Parked domains are unlimited with Premium and limited to one each on the Single Plan.
- Single also offers one email account where the Premium plan has unlimited accounts available.
You can see the full list of available options on their website.
The price difference is something to note as well. Obviously, the free account is free. The Single plan, however, is 5.99 per month and the Premium plan is $11.95 per month (billed annually). However, these are just placeholder numbers as there is always a sale going on.
As of this writing, there is a Hostinger sale giving you the Single plan for $0.80 per month and the Premium plan for $3.95 per month. You should never see the actual listed price as what you pay when you sign up. It is just a marketing tactic to show you instant savings if you “act now.”
Ten years ago the 000WebHost was offered and accepted by hundreds of thousands of would-be web designers. They quickly fell out of love with the service though.
You can research and find scathing comments about horrible customer service and unprofessional practices. Many users reported that their sites were blocked for violating term of service (ToS) agreements that were never listed in the ToS.
Once the site was blocked, if the user complained their account was automatically deleted, files and all, without a backup.
Needless to say, with a business practice like that, they weren’t going to stick around for very long. Many people ended up leaving the site without purchasing a paid plan, never to return. However, the ones that did stay never opted for a paid plan either, allowing their sites to get blocked or banned and creating another free on in its place.
These people were merely testing their web design creativity and had nothing to lose.
In the last few years, though, the company has made a complete change. Personnel and management changes included a new ToS and customer service experience. It didn’t take long for people to start coming back and testing the waters again.
Five years after the big change and the public views 000WebHost as one of the top three free hosting companies in the world. Their profits are rising, and people are paying for the other plans because the service is that good.
Of course, there are going to be problems and issues that come up. However, thanks to the member’s support forum for the free accounts and email support for paid members, issues are resolved and everyone gets on with their business.
If you do go looking for extra reviews, try to make a note of the published date. If it is older than five years ago, feel free to dismiss it, that company doesn’t exist anymore. Instead, look for current reviews, or at least the ones posted in the last three to four years. They will give you a better pool of examples.
We hope this 000WebHost review has helped you decide to give them a try, or at least take a second look.
Free web hosting isn’t the same as it was just five or six years ago and the free hosts are making headway into competing with larger, higher-end hosting while remaining a free service.
If you can find a more feature-filled host for free, give them a try, but we bet you’ll come back and try 000WebHost before you’re through.