In this article I am going to discuss about different ways you can host your website without paying a monthly or annual fee. Please note that I am considering cases where you need to use
your own domain and not a sub-domain provided by the service provider (as in the case of blogspot.com or wordpress.com)
What is the catch?
Hosting providers offer free hosting hoping that you would one day become a paying customer. However, this does mean that the package you get for free will come with limitations. There are many such providers out there. A simple Google search will give a long list of such providers. If you have a simple application that requires a database connection, and you would like to host the application for a period longer than a year, then you may want to opt for this.
Which hosting provider?
This is an important decision that you have to make. There are many reputed providers out there and the packages they offer vary wildly. Let’s say you want to host an application that requires a database and you wish to have access to the operating system as well, then I would recommend trying you to try
Amazon AWS. They offer 1 year of free service and with that you get free access to:
- A small Linux instance (
- Database server (
and much more. You also will have access to
AWS SES which lets you send marketing emails. You get use these free of charge for a year.
On the other hand, if you simply want to host a simple application without needing a database you can use
Google App Engine for free. Please note that
Google cloud infrastructure also offers database instances but you will be charged for using these instances.
When you use
Google App Engine it comes with free quota that you can use without even enabling billing for your application. This free quota includes:
- Up to 1 GB free hosting for
source code files
- Up to 5GB of free hosting for
- 30 GB free bandwidth per month
and much more…..
In both cases(
Amazon AWS and
Google App engine) you will have the ability to use your own domain name and your
SSL certificate if you have one.
Further, if you host with
Google App Engine Google will automatically scale your application based on the demand. You may note that there is a limit of 28 instance hours per day for free applications. As long as you don’t cross this limit your application will always be available. You can also limit the number of instances available when you deploy the application. If you are using
Google App Engine you can host a static (
HTML) website or a dynamic one.
PHP are supported when you use
Google App Engine.