Q&TOTW: Is it possible to host a website for free?

Hello Blog Readers! Today I am going to answer a question that is frequently asked : Can I host a website for free?

The Short Answer: Yes.

The Long Answer:

There are 2 methods, each with their pros & cons, that you can do this.

Method 1: Use free hosting

You can easily set up free hosting with Heliohost or 000webhost with a domain from Freenom, but it comes with a few downsides. Ads and Storage. Since these are free, they need some way to make revenue. This is where ads come in. By displaying ads, they can make money. With this, they also limit your storage to 1gb. That's not enough for most people. The Verdict : You can use a host in exchange for resources and ads.

Method 2: Set up your own website

That's right. Time to get our hands dirty.

  1. Install a web server (preferably a stack) This can be anything from Apache to NGINX. Set this up and make a nice welcome page. Time to head over to Freenom.com
  2. Register a domain Head over to Freenom.com and find a domain you want. Select it and head to your cart. Do NOT check out yet. On the domain, select 'use my own dns' Google your public IP address, and put that into the boxes that appear.
  3. Add public access Now, log in to your router's admin panel.

    Once you log into the admin portal for router then you will have to forward ports 80 and 443 to the internal ip of the computer that is hosting the site. You can get the internal ip of your computer by typing either ifconfig or ipconfig into your console or command prompt. Your internal ip will usually start with 192.168.###.### or 10.0.###.###. (from this forum post )

  4. Wait. Ugh. Waiting. It can take a long time for Global DNS records to update. Up to 24 hours. During this time, periodically check to see if DNS has updated.
  5. Extras You might want to get some protection on your server. For this, I recommend Cloudflare.com. Cloudflare provides you with everything you need to get started.

    The Verdict

    With a little elbow grease, you can get your own website up and running for free. The only limitation is your technical knowledge, your server specs, and your internet speed. Let your imagination run wild (within reason) #Farewell! I hope you were able to get your own spot on the web for free :) If you have any questions or problems, feal free to ask in the comment section below! Until next time, keep designing, innovating, and creating!

Comments (2)

Micah Lindley's photo

I'd suggest GitHub Pages as another free alternative without ads and with unlimited traffic.

VelocityDev's photo

Of course, this alternative only provides static pages (for the most part.)