The best things in life are seldom free, and that old adage applies to web hosting as well. However, there are companies that offer it, which is why we’re taking on a 000webhost review for WordPress.
While hosting can be cheap, no-strings-attached services for precisely $0 per month are practically unheard of. Nevertheless, Hostinger offers truly free web hosting under the name 000webhost.
000webhost review for WordPress: Features & usability
In most of our hosting reviews, we discuss a wide range of features available at varying price points. However, with 000webhost, you don’t get to pick from a broad array of plans. Here’s what it offers:
- Up to two websites
- A custom hosting control panel
- 300 MB of storage and 3 GB of bandwidth
- Auto-installers for content management systems (CMS) including Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress
- A website builder in case you don’t want to use a CMS
- The latest versions of PHP and MySQL
- 99 percent uptime
As you might imagine, free hosting doesn’t come with any frills. There are also some limitations beyond the disk space and bandwidth caps listed above. For instance, caching plugins historically break 000webhost sites.
Additionally, the backend of your site will be plastered with ads for paid Hostinger plans (although your live site will be ad-free):
That said, the 000webhsot signup process is remarkably fast, and you can easily launch your website as soon as you log in. First, you’ll need to set up a free domain.
This web address will, unfortunately, include 000webhost branding. However, you can also purchase your own domain and connect it to 000webhost, so you’re not limited to an example.000webhost.com URL.
After choosing a domain, you can access the 000webhost control panel:
Installing WordPress is simple. Just select the auto-installer shown above and 000webhost will ask you to create your admin credentials and confirm your site’s domain:
WordPress installation with 000webhost takes a while longer than some other web hosts. Once the process is complete, you can access the backend of your site as usual.
As you might expect, 000webhost doesn’t offer dedicated support for its users. In a typical hosting review, that would usually be a black mark on its record. However, keep in mind we’re talking about a free service.
Instead of options such as live chat or phone support, 000webhost redirects you to a community forum in the event you need any help:
Overall, if you’re new to running a website and you think you might need help from experts, you might be in a bind. There’s tons of documentation for how to use WordPress around the web, however, so if you’re willing to do a little digging you can usually find what you need.
If there’s one area where we had low expectations for a free web hosting service, it was performance. 000webhost is a bit of a mixed bag in this area. Surprisingly enough, the WordPress admin area feels relatively snappy, even while installing plugins and themes.
As soon as we ran our first performance test, however, the cracks began to show. Using PageSpeed Insights on a brand new WordPress installation with zero customizations returned loading times of over three seconds:
You can see how barebones the page we tested is in the preview. Needless to say, these results are hardly ideal. Plus, performance optimization will be more difficult on 000webhost due to its inability to support caching plugins.
The real concerning results came once we tried to run a more complex performance test using WooCommerce. Installing and configuring the plugin went smoothly. However, when we tried to import sample product data, it outright broke our website.
All things considered, from what we could tell, 000webhost offers decent enough performance for basic usage scenarios, such as running a small personal blog. As long as you manually back up your site often, you should be fine.
Pricing & value
There are a lot of platforms that offer ‘free’ hosting in one way or another. For example, there’s WordPress.com, which is a more limited version of the open-source WordPress CMS we know and love. Other services, such as GitHub, provide you with ‘free hosting’ for static pages, which is not sufficient for most projects.
000webhost is a bit of an oddity in the hosting world because it enables you to set up a full version of a CMS for free. Unlike WordPress.com’s free plan, you still get full FTP access and have the ability to install any theme and plugin.
There are plenty of limitations, of course, and performance isn’t optimal, but that’s still a lot of value in exchange for $0.
In practical terms, however, 000webhost is not meant to be used for any type of professional website. You could, as we said before, use it to run a small personal blog. This service is also handy if you want to experiment with self-hosted WordPress before committing to a paid hosting plan.
The goal of 000webhost is really to convince you to sign up for a premium plan with its parent company, Hostinger. If you like the free service but need more resources and better performance, upgrading is a logical next step.
We’ve reviewed Hostinger in the past if you want to see how the premium version compares. If you’re looking into 000webhost because you’re on a tight budget, you might consider its parent company’s shared plans instead.
Overall pros and cons
To round out our 000webhost review for WordPress, let’s take a look at the overall pros and cons. The obvious place to start is the service’s most enticing quality – you can set up a fully-functioning WordPress website for free and connect it to a domain you own.
On top of that, we found 000webhost’s control panel easy to use and beginner-friendly. Its WordPress auto-installer works like a charm, even if it’s a bit slow.
However, 000webhost’s limitations become apparent quite quickly, and we’re not just talking about its lackluster performance. During our tests, we managed to outright break our website while importing WooCommerce products, which shouldn’t impact your site negatively in any way.
This goes to show that 000webhost isn’t configured to handle ‘complex’ sites. Beyond that, with a free service, you can’t reasonably expect access to experts that can help you with any problems you might encounter.
In a nutshell, 000webhost makes for a solid platform if you want a free, online environment where you can work with WordPress to run tests, try out new features, or practice your skills. It may also be a viable option for some very simple sites, although we can’t recommend it for professional use.
However, beyond the performance considerations, 000webhost can also suspend your site and permanently delete your data if you go over your limits, which is another reason to avoid using it for serious websites.
Regardless, 000webhost provides a decent experience if you’re looking to start a small personal site or want to play around with self-hosted WordPress.
However, if you can spend even a couple of dollars per month on hosting, even budget WordPress hosting makes a much better option. In our collection of the best cheap web hosting, you’ll find plans starting at just a few dollars per month, all of which offer huge improvements over 000webhost.
Do you have any questions about 000webhost or free hosting in general? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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