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Updated: 2022-04-25 / Article by: Timothy Shim
Background: Established in 2007 as a subsidiary to Hostinger, 000WebHost is a little different than your run-of-the-mill web hosting provider, even the free ones. Instead, it brands itself as a “learning platform for beginners starting their journey on the internet”. Offering a range of low-cost web hosting solutions with a starter plan that is absolutely free, 000WebHost allows users an easy step in towards building – and hosting their first website. This means that those low-cost plans tie in with two other critical components useful for beginners – website builders and code learning.
For the price tag that is attached to a 000webhost account I have to say that the features offered are impressive. There are automated tools, free templates, and an easy to use site builder all wrapped up in one neat package – even if some bits are slightly broken. All in, at a grand buy-in price of $0 – not bad.
How Free Web Hosting Works
Before I dive in to the nuts and bolts of 000WebHost, I thought it prudent to include a short segue on free web hosting. Any kind of web hosting at all, be it free or otherwise still requires the same equipment on the part of the web hosting provider.
The first thing to note is that servers, software and bandwidth all require significant capital investment. These investments must be recovered somehow, so you can usually expect to come under pressure to upgrade your account. In some cases, the free web host may also pass on your data to partners as well.
On another level, there are many limitations on free accounts. These vary depending on host – some will enforce mandatory ads on your site, strict server resource limitations and you will also only be allowed to use certain formats of domain name. In the case of 000WebHost it would be:
Finally, there are the risks you face when due to the cost of capital investments, the free host tries to skimp on security. As an example, 000WebHost was hacked in 2015 which resulted in data on over 13 million customers being stolen.
Because of these factors, I highly recommend you consider 000WebHost as a sandbox where you can try out new stuff or ideas. If you’re serious about hosting a site, go with a paid hosting service instead.
Tip: Hostinger lowest shared hosting plan costs only $1.99/month – works great for users who are looking for a more serious alternative to 000WebHost.
Signing up for 000WebHost is a surprisingly quick and painless experience. The usual format is having to go through a registration process where you must fill out a ton of details and give them all sorts of information, then verify your email address.
With 000WebHost you can either do the above or take advantage of their 1-click registration where you can sign in with your Google or Facebook accounts. I tried the Google sign up and it was quick, painless and works fine.
2. Guided site building
The first thing that will happen when you sign in to a newly created account is that the 000WebHost system will present you with a series of questions. I’ve seen this before on other site builders such as Shopify and it does help, especially in the case of 000WebHost.
As I mentioned earlier in my introduction, 000WebHost is meant for people who are new to website building and this can be a big help. Rather than force them to consider technical details about a build, 000WebHost helps present a chain of thought series of questions that will guide the build.
3. Four site creation options
For those who may not be entirely new to the website building process, you can skip the guided questions and skip ahead to the main dashboard. This presents you with 4 options – to use the native 000WebHost site builder, install WordPress, use Wix or upload your own site.
Of the four, opting for Wix actually takes you out of the 000WebHost environment and directs you to the Wix site instead, which is out of the scope of this review (you can read my Wix review instead). Since I didn’t have the ready shell of a site, I decided to try their WordPress and native site builder options.
Choosing WordPress lets you create a basic WordPress site with their automated tool. All you will need to do is enter your desired username and password for the database. Should you decide to try the native site builder – well, that works like a lot of others as well.
4. Easy to use Native site builder
Using the native site builder is relatively painless and it is your typical visual editor experience. I did like that they had some nifty drag and drop tools handy such as Google Maps and YouTube. Interestingly for a free service, there are also some eCommerce tools you can use.
5. Lots of free templates
The one thing I must approve of is that for their native site builder, 000WebHost has prepared a ton of free templates. This is probably a good thing since new site owners will likely not have clearly in their minds what they might want or need, and these templates serve as a good guideline for them.
6. Decent site performance
I have had little experience personally with free hosting services, but nevertheless, I ran a basic template site through my standard WebPageSpeed Test.
The results were a little surprising, especially since they scored highly on their Time-to-First-Byte (TTFB).
From the tracking I did at HostScore, 000WebHost scores above 70.00% for the overall server performance. The average response speed is 281.54ms from 10 different locations.
If Bangalore and Singapore were excluded from the chart above, the response speed for the rest of the locations is below 230ms, which is considered good especially when you can host it for free. You can see the complete 000WebHost server performance at HostScore.
7. Multiple support channels
Support is offered mainly via a knowledgebase, but there is a sizeable community forum which you can turn to for help. Interestingly, there is also a discord channel you can join which is something I seldom see for web hosting support.
8. At-a-glance dashboard for site stats
The dashboard for my website wasn’t something I was expecting from a free service as well. It provides a single-page view of your site statistics, including the amount of resources it has used (or is currently using). True, the information is very basic, but what do you expect for basically no cost at all?
9. Integration of sites and services
I was a little hesitant to include this section here at first, but 000WebHost has a section it calls the Power Store. At first, I thought that these were somehow integrated services which users could access.
Unfortunately, they are more like suggestions of what type of tools might be useful to budding website owners. There is currently only a limited inclusion, such as links to Wix, Shopify, Elementor and of course, Hostinger.
Upon reflection, this segment could well be useful for newbies to web hosting as well, giving them new areas to explore once they got used to their basic sites. A bit more clarification to users on 000WebHost's part would have been good though.
Cons of 000WebHost
1. Unstable builder
Although under my pros section I mentioned multiple ways of creating websites using 000WebHost, some of them unfortunately failed to deliver. For example, the WordPress installer failed to work (twice) while giving conflicting messages – success and fail messages both appear.
Despite that a database was created. If you keep trying to run the WordPress installer, the system will then tell you that you have too many existing databases. This can end up supremely confusing for anyone who is new to web hosting in any way.
2. Native site builder seems a little unpolished
The native site builder works fine, but it seems a little unpolished and the interface showed some graphic errors on my Chrome browser. It also takes quite long to load templates and for some strange reason, my screen seems to flicker when the builder is loaded. Small issues that don’t necessarily break the site builder – just odd and uncomfortable.
3. Enforced daily 1hr downtime
If by now you’re wondering what the catch is for all the free stuff 000WebHost offers, here’s the biggie – for every 24hr cycle, you will have to put up with your website going down for 1 hour. You can choose when that period is, but it will be cut off from the world for that period without fail.
From their own FAQ;
“every website hosted on a free 000WebHost platform now gets 1 hour of sleep every day. Your website won’t be reachable to the public, but you will be able to set the sleep time yourself.”
The bills must get paid somehow and aside from its free plan, 000WebHost also offers some very cheap shared hosting plans you can upgrade to. Unfortunately, it is annoying about the fact and plasters notices everywhere encouraging you to upgrade. If that isn’t enough, you also must put up with pop-up ads from them asking you to upgrade as well. It gets old fast.
000WebHost Plans and Prices
Since it was intended to be a ‘learner’s sandbox’ offshoot of Hostinger, 000WebHost doesn’t have the comprehensive plans that most web hosting service providers would offer. There are no managed plans, no dedicated servers, no VPS or the like. All that is available is shared hosting.
Prices start from the basic which is free and then scales up onto three plans – Single, Premium and Business which cost $1.99/mo, $2.99/mo and $4.99/mo respectively.
As I mentioned earlier, 000WebHost is actually owned by Hostinger and if you’re reading this now it just so happens that we have a special deal on offer from Hostinger. If you sign up with them through us, you can get the exact same price on Hostinger as the 000WebHost Single Plan – and for better features!
Since Hostinger actually manages 000WebHost plans, I highly recommend you consider this offer instead of going with 000WebHost.
For the price tag that is attached to a 000WebHost account I have to say that the features offered are impressive. There are automated tools, free templates, and an easy to use site builder all wrapped up in one neat package – even if some bits are slightly broken. All in, at a grand buy-in price of $0 – not bad.
2. Who should host at 000WebHost?
IF you have never, ever built a website before and have no idea what you’re doing then yes, 000WebHost can be a good sandbox for you to play in. Aside from that, if you intend to run some basic websites that won’t likely see much traffic, that will do as well.
If you’re expecting to buy in to this for the long haul and intend to build up a better site, I highly recommend you head over to their parent, Hostinger instead. That would give you better long-term prospects, plus they have some decent prices for shared hosting as well.
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.