Have you heard of the free web hosting provider 000webhost? Chances are that you have and that some of you have signed up with them too.
If you haven’t, then just go to your favorite search engine and do a search on “free web hosting companies” and you are most likely to see 000webhost being listed. Do some research and you will surely come across many bad reviews about them, e.g. limited resources (disk space, MySQL and email accounts), unstable servers and even the deletion of an entire website without prior notice!
But does this mean that 000webhost is a terrible web host?
Or could it be that users who made these negative comments were expecting too much? After all, 000webhost is a free web host and there is a limit to what they can offer, right?
The other thing to note is that some of these bad reviews were written some years ago. Have things change for the better now? Well, in order to find out, we have once again tested their free hosting service. “Again” because we have hosted with 000webhost back in 2010 and we wrote a review on them then.
After receiving many complaints about them from our readers and clients, we re-tested their services in 2012 and found that their services had deteriorated and decided to not recommend them as a free web hosting provider anymore.
But since we are nice people and partly because it’s our job to review web hosting providers, we decided that they should be given another chance. This is what we experienced.
What 000webhost offers
Let’s look at what 000webhost offers in their free web hosting plan. Their website indicates that among other features, you will get 1500 MB of disk space and 100GB data transfer per month, 5 addon domains and sub-domains, 5 email addresses, simple site builder, backups and even Fantastico 1-click installer. All these for free. Sounds really exciting and great, doesn’t it?
For the purpose of comparison, a blog post with 500 words and a couple of images may take up 200KB of space. Even if you created 30 posts per month, you will use up very little of disk space. Let’s say your posts take up 50MB and you have 1,000 visits per month, and each visitor viewed half of your posts. That would mean 25GB of data transfer for that month, still very much within the limit!
So it does look like resources should not be a problem with 000webhost, at least for the two basic resources; the disk space and bandwidth.
Hosting experience with 000webhost
Let us talk about what happened during my recent hosting experience with this web hosting company.
Now, let me assure you that I do not have any grand disillusion about a free web hosting provider’s services and features. It is free of charge after all and I do not expect them to provide the same level of service as I would from a paid web host. I do, however, expect them to deliver what they promised on their website which includes 1500MB disk space, 100GB data transfer, a decent uptime and a support team who know what they are doing.
Hosting was slow
Initially, everything was alright. I wouldn’t say great but who am I to complain when I’m getting free hosting. Anyway, my site was a small one with less than 20 pages and no more than 100 hits per day. It used very minimal resources and was a legitimate website. Even so, HTTP response was quite slow. Throughout the hosting period, uptime was about 70% but I could still live with that.
At this point, I think I should also warn you that 000webhost can and will take your site down for “reviews” to ensure that you are not hosting anything illegal or in violation of their Terms of Service.
Nightmare on 000webhost
Anyway, a couple of months later, my nightmare began. It started with really slow FTP transfer speed and a couple of times, I got error messages like “No space left on device“.
Then one day, one of my visitors emailed me that my site has disappeared and that visitors were seeing error messages. Concerned, I logged in and found that my account was suspended! The reason for this suspension was because my website has violated the “CPU usage limit“! This was what they said:
Suspended for violating 20%+ CPU usage limit for more than 1000 times. Please upgrade to our premium UNLIMITED hosting at www.hosting24.com to get your account reactivated.
I didn’t panic because I knew there must be some mistakes. There were no emails from 000webhost informing about this problem. There was no warning at all. I was sure there was some misunderstanding somewhere.
So I did what most of us would do. I contacted their support. I enquired what happened to my site and the reason for it to be removed when I am sure it did not violate the advertised limit of resources. I politely request for my site to be reinstated. The answer I got was to the effect that unless I upgrade to their premium plan with www.hosting24.com, I will not have any access to my files and database!
At this point, I felt as if I was being threatened. I no longer feel like I want to reinstate my site, let alone upgrade. Oh, by the way, hosting24.com also belongs to them. So, I wouldn’t think that things would be better if I were to upgrade.
Do you recommend 000webhost?
Obviously, not. I do not want to recommend them because they come across as a hosting service who just want to promote their paid hosting.
In fact, some of the other horrifying stories about 000webhost include them cancelling your account and backups, (if any) without informing you as well as rude support staff. So, stay away from 000webhost and 24hosting.com.
Who do you recommend then?
Give Weebly a try. Weebly is a great free web hosting provider. Even though they do offer premium web hosting services, there is no “upgrade or lose your site” nonsense if you just use their free hosting plan.
Weebly is a popular name among website owners and webmasters. They are well known for their reliable, user-friendly and flexible website builder. Beginners and those who have no HTML programming experience would have absolutely no problem using their website builder because it incorporates an easy to use drag and drop interface. In fact, major premium web hosts such as Bluehost and iPage also offer Weebly’s website builder to their customers!
Weebly utilizes cloud hosting, which means that your website resides in the entire server infrastructure instead of a single server like traditional web hosting. So if your site ever experienced a traffic spike, it will not affect your site’s (and other sites’) performance.
You can read more about Weebly or create a free website with them to test their service. Don’t worry, their web hosting and website builder are free!
000webhost has very tempting features to the point that it almost sounded too good to be true. Remember what we were told? That when things sound too good to be true, it probably is? While this may not apply for all things in life, it certainly does in this case.
Their advertisement is very convincing and for those who are on a budget, 000webhost offers a great opportunity to create an online presence without hurting the wallet. However, I hope that you will not fall for their empty promises. A lot of the time your website is down and you don’t get all the resources they said you will. And if you were to bring them up to customer support, well, good luck in getting them to assist you. Oh, don’t forget to do your own backup frequently.
In my opinion, 000webhost is good for the following purposes:
- Creating test websites. When you are ready to publish your website, move it to a paid web host or a more reliable free web host.
- Websites that you won’t mind being taken down or deleted without prior notice.
- When you want to get some practice with programming languages e.g. html and PHP.
If you have websites that you do really care about especially those that are generating income, I highly discourage you from signing up with them. You would be better off with Weebly’s free web hosting service. Alternatively, you can look into popular paid web hosting such as Bluehost and iPage, where both offer much better services at very attractive prices!