Choosing a hosting provider is like choosing a dentist to entrust your teeth to. Who is skilled enough to align your teeth and make them perfect? Who is careful enough to treat your cavities in an effective way, so that the problem does not return in a couple of months? You can try googling, but this may not necessarily yield really helpful results. Reviews are often mixed (or paid, which is even worse), and recommendations of your relatives and friends are what is usually most trustworthy.
The same is true of hosting providers. The best way to choose free hosting services is to ask those who you trust. If you do not have anyone to consult, the Internet is there to help you. However, navigating the sea of hosting ads and reviews can be a tricky thing. Here are the steps you can take to choose a reliable hosting provider for your WordPress website that works free of charge.
Step 1. Estimate your website’s future needs
Before you set out on a journey to find the free hosting of your dreams, think about what exactly you need it for. Is it going to be a tiny blog with no significant traffic expected? Or is it a page for your portfolio with features like live chat or forms to be filled in by potential clients?
Depending on what you want it to be, you can choose a hosting provider that meets your particular WordPress website’s needs. Since free hosting usually cannot boast a wide range of advanced features, you should check whether their free plans include everything you will need for your page.
Step 2. Do some research and read reviews
On websites like WebHostingGeeks or HostAdvice, you will find dozens or even hundreds of reviews of virtually every hosting provider. Be careful when making conclusions based on what you read, though, as online reviews are not always real. There are three factors that come into play:
- There may be fake positive reviews due to the jiggery-pokery to which some hosting providers resort in an attempt to attract clients or repair their damaged reputation.
- There may be fake negative reviews posted by competitors.
- Customers who are dissatisfied with services are more likely to post a review, so there may be more negative reviews simply because satisfied customers do not find it necessary to thank their hosting provider online.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to detect fake reviews, so everything you read on the internet should be taken with a pinch of salt. Still, reviews can be taken into account when choosing a hosting provider. In some cases, it is evident from the text that it is the customer who failed to do something to enjoy quality services (e.g. ‘Yes, they told me a hundred times they’d delete my data due to violation of server rules and warned me so that I could save it – but I don’t like it that they actually did it!)
Step 3. Check whether its performance has recently been good
Reviews are not the only way to find out whether a particular hosting provider is worth investing in (as time is also an investment). Using tools and services like Pingdom, you can see how it has been doing recently. By doing so, you can check if the servers of the hosting provider you are interested in have been up in the previous months, what response time you can expect, and whether it is expanding and employing more servers.
Step 4. Make sure you know the real price
Keep in mind that free hosting is sufficient only if you do not need your WordPress website to function flawlessly. As soon as your page becomes popular enough to require more resources, consider something more reliable, like shared hosting or something more advanced.