Some of our favorite Web Hosting offer teachers and university administrators free or very low-cost services.
SiteGround web hosting for Educators
- 1 website
- 10 GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth
- SiteGround subdomain: yoursite.sgedu.sit
One of our top picks for web hosting, SiteGround has the most robust shared hosting technologies – and probably the best reputation among hundreds of industries. SiteGround offers teachers all the features and functionality of the StartUp package (including 24/7 support via chat, phone, and tickety-boo) for free with the SiteGround subdomain. SiteGround also offers discounts on its hosting services for students. For more information on SiteGround’s plans and features, please see the SiteGround hosting review.
InMotion Hosting for Educators
- 6 websites
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth
InMotion Hosting, our pick for the best web hosting for beginners and the second best-known company in the shared hosting world, is giving away its mid-level Power package for free to educators. Check out our InMotion Hosting review to learn more about this hosting company.
Weebly for Educators
- Drag and drop editor and templates
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Includes 40 student accounts
Weebly has a branch of its website builder business dedicated to educators. It works just like Weebly for small businesses or personal websites, but it’s geared towards educators. The Weebly Success version allows you to publish content to a custom domain name instead of a Weebly subdomain. It also overrides all Weebly advertising.
If you like Weebly and website builders, check out the WordPress version of Edublogs. Similarly, it offers an ad-free environment with class and student management features, education-focused plugins, and an Edublog subdomain.
Disadvantages of free web hosting
I’m not going to get around the fact that free web hosting has a lot of disadvantages. To make a recommendation for the best free web hosting, which is certainly a relative title in this industry, I considered the following six criteria.
Some free web hosts survive by selling advertising space. We wanted to avoid these providers – no one wants random ads in the middle of their content – and chose hosts that support the free tier by selling their paid hosting packages.
Our recommendations offer at least one custom email address and free email hosting, as this is the only glaring thing missing from a free website builder (Ucraft doesn’t offer email hosting at all, and Google Sites only offers a custom email address if you pay $5 per month to use G Suite). An email address associated with your website and domain is good for one-off correspondence (plus it looks professional on a business card), and free web builder email hosting is ideal for this.
Remember that legitimate emails may be flagged as spam. Why? Free web hosting is a breeding ground for malicious online activity, and your site could end up on a bad actor’s server. In other words: a spam filter is in place.
If you use email a lot or for something important – like sending a newsletter or marketing campaigns – we recommend you sign up for an email hosting service like GSuite or even domain name registrar Namecheap, which sells email hosting for $10 a year.
Storage and bandwidth
Free web hosting has very low limits on both disk space and bandwidth. If you exceed your limits, your site may be suspended or you may be automatically transferred to a paid service.
Although providers like Byethost offer unlimited bandwidth and storage, it’s not infinite. Like a paid service, unlimited storage and bandwidth are only valid until you start negatively impacting other sites on your server.
All hosts are unclear as to how much traffic or storage is too much traffic or storage. If you are negatively affected, your site may still be suspended or automatically updated.
PHP and MySQL
It powers applications such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal and is therefore used by many websites. MySQL is the database where these applications store data. Your web host should support up-to-date versions of both.
Problem: Most hosts don’t disclose the exact version of PHP or MySQL they use. And even if these applications work, they will likely load slowly on any free host – the PHP application requires much more boost from a likely overloaded server. If you’re concerned about page load times (and you should be – Google takes that into account), we recommend limiting anything you build for a free host to a simple static HTML/CSS site.
Any software you want to use on your site requires a database to store the data.
If you’re using WordPress, it needs a database. If you use another program, it needs its database. Most free hosts set a limit on the number of databases your site can use and how much storage space is available in the database.
Secure Sockets Layer encryption confirms that your site is safe enough to receive sensitive information such as credit card details and passwords. SSL certificates are the only way a site can conduct any kind of online business, but Google also considers it a factor in where a site, whether online or not, appears in search terms.
Most free online hotspots do not offer a free SSL certificate; those that do usually offer a “self-signed” SSL certificate. Self-signed SSL certificates are issued by the servers and not by the CA (Comodo, Digicert, Let’s Encrypt, etc.). They offer the same level of encryption, but it is not the default version, so web browsers will still flag your site and give visitors a security warning.
Customer support from all free providers is limited, slow to respond, and not very helpful. That’s just the way it is.
Note on custom domains and domain name protection: you can host a site with a custom domain name for free, but you still need to buy a domain name through a domain registrar. Many hosting providers have a department specializing in domain name registration, but you can also buy a domain name anywhere and add it to your free web host. Either way, we also recommend domain privacy protection, which prevents your personal information (including your phone number and physical address) from appearing in the public WHOIS database. If you leave it out, you’ll be spammed like crazy – at least for now. (Since the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, domain name registrars are “failing to publish this information” to avoid liability. Others are withdrawing data to avoid accusations of selling data to spammers).