000WebHost is a free website hosting service that gives you a generous hosting package free of charge. The service was launched by Hostinger, an affordable shared hosting and VPS hosting company that I looked at closely last month.
When you sign up to 000WebHost you will receive a hosting plan which supports PHP, MySQL, and email forwarding. All of which can be administered through a user-friendly control panel.
Let's look closer at what 000WebHost offers.
Is 000WebHost Really Free?
OK, we need to address the elephant in the room.
What's the catch?
Surely you cannot get a website hosting plan free of charge?
Actually, you can. The 000WebHost business model is fairly simple. Hostinger can afford to offer website hosting plans free of charge though 000WebHost because a percentage of those who use the service will upgrade to their premium plans at Hostinger.
It makes sense when you think about it. It costs a lot of money to advertise a company online and setting up some servers dedicated to free accounts is a small expense in the grand scale of things.
By offering free website hosting they are attracting a lot of new website owners and if they can provide a good service to those people, many will upgrade to one of their premium plans. The only surprising thing about 000WebHost is that more hosting companies aren't doing the same to attract new customers.
So what does FREE get you?
A free 000WebHost account will get 1GB of storage, 1GB of bandwidth two MySQL Databases, and five email forwarders. Two websites can be hosted under this plan.
This plan is more than enough for a small blog, business, or test website.
If you sign up you get access to a lot of cool tools such as a website builder and WordPress installer. You can also use your own domain name with the account (i.e. you do not have to use example.000webhostapp.com as your domain).
What You Can Expect with 000WebHost?
Signing up to 000WebHost only takes a second. You just need to enter your email address, desire password, and website name.
After you have confirmed your email address you will to be taken to the hosting control panel. This is a simplified version of cPanel that is easy to navigate.
At the top of the page you will see navigational items for building a website, setting your website address, managing files, managing your database, and managing your emails. The settings area takes you to several administration and statistic pages.
As you would expect, Hostinger is heavily promoted throughout the user-interface.
The build website page allows you to create a website through a website builder, install WordPress, or upload your website.
WordPress is a market that 000WebHost is definitely going after. They have a dedicated page that highlights that they offer free WordPress hosting and their blog regularly publishes tutorials such as “How to Leverage Browser Caching in WordPress“.
There is also an extensive WordPress resources area that teaches you how to use WordPress.
The website builder is quite impressive. It's powered by a service called Zyro and it allows you to select from hundreds of pre-made templates and then modify it to suit your needs. I messed around with it for a while and was quite impressed with what it offered.
A domain such as kevin-muldoon.000webhostapp.com is not worth using unless you are only building a test website. Thankfully, 000WebHost allows you to use your own domain name free of charge. Alternatively, you can purchase a domain through them.
The control panel lets you upload files via the file manager and create and manage email forwarders.
Up to two databases can be uploaded. You are limited to 1GB of storage and 150 tables, however that should be more than enough for most people.
The general settings area shows you your website's FTP information and allows you to change your website name, account password, and file permissions. You can also reset your website and delete your website from here.
Usage can be monitored in the statistics area. This helps you how much of your free plan's resource allocation you have used up so you will know exactly when you need to upgrade.
In the security section you can manage IP addresses, set up hotlink protection, and password protect directories. Cron jobs can also be created and the logs page will show you all the actions that have been processed for your website.
301 and 302 URL redirects can be created to redirect traffic from a page on your website to any URL on the internet. This could prove to be very useful in many situations. For example, if you later transfer an article from your free hosting website to a live website.
One of the things that surprised me about 000WebHost was how quick my test website loaded up. The page did not excel in my GTmetrix performance report, but it did load in only 1.1 seconds and 21 requests.
All in all, I was impressed with the 000WebHost customer area. They have removed a lot of advanced options that are normally found in cPanel, but I believe that was the right decision as the majority of people who sign up to the service will be new website owners who do not have much technical experience.
The control panel had everything you need to set up a website and publish it online and your account can be upgraded or deleted at any time. There is also an affiliate program so if you promote the service you can generate some commissions to pay for an upgraded account.
I won't lie. There was a part of me that expected 000WebHost to be really poor. I am glad I was wrong.
000WebHost stands shoulder to shoulder with many low cost shared hosting services. With 1GB of storage and 1GB of bandwidth, their free plan is a great starting point for any new website owner. Developers will also find it useful for setting up test websites.
I highly recommend checking the service out if you are thinking of launching your first website or if you are simply on a budget.