Free Web Hosting Area

Free Web Hosting Area has been around since 2005 and its main objective has stayed the same (cleverly “concealed” in the name of the company itself) ever since. That is, to offer free web hosting services elevated by a few fetching features such as unmetered traffic, generous storage, daily backups, technical support, and freedom from ads for all new sites.

They also describe their web hosting as being “without interruption” which they further elaborate by promising that their users' accounts won't “disappear overnight”. This statement caught our attention since we were going through a couple of the reviews from their users (former and otherwise) and many of them had one thing in common - their Free Web Hosting Area’s account was terminated without much explanation. Take note of this, because we’ll have to return to this subject later on.

If you have a wish to glimpse into the early 2000s of the World Wide Web, Free Web Hosting Area’s official site might just turn it into reality, since its design has hardly changed since its inception. Besides being a real blast from the past, it is also (unsurprisingly) text-heavy, which looks a bit intimidating at first but does offer a great glimpse into their services.

Although the site provides no information about the company itself, its IP address suggests that its data center is located in Dallas (Texas, the USA). Unfortunately, the site doesn’t feature a blog nor does it demonstrate any enthusiasm for social networking sites.

They do have a Twitter account where they share the latest updates about their services, but (there is always a “but”), it seems that nothing new has happened since January 5, 2021, as this is the date of their last Tweet.

cPanel Plans

Upgrading to a paid plan will allow you to manage your site using cPanel in addition to Free Web Hosting Area's control panel (Image credit: Free Web Hosting Area)

Plans and pricing

As the host’s name suggests, hosting with them can be free, which does not include being free from advertisements. Although “no ads for new sites” is one of Free Web Hosting Area’s major attractions, when your site begins to grow (as well as the number of its visitors) your free ticket expires there. You can either pay for an upgrade of $1 per month to keep your site ads-free or get used to ads popping up all over your pages.

Although free web hosting has some fine features, to get more you’ll have to go for one of the paid hosting packages, and there are five of them ranging from $1 to $6.99 per month. If you choose the most expensive one (titled “Business”) you’ll be free of limitations on traffic, webspace, domains, subdomains, emails, FTP accounts, and MySQL databases, and get to enjoy a full shell (SSH) access.

There is no free trial nor a money-back guarantee, but since there is fully free hosting we didn’t even expect to find them here.

Accepted payment methods with Free Web Hosting Area include PayPal, WebMoney, and Bitcoin (BTC).

Ease of use

To start your free ride with Free Web Hosting Area, you’ll have to choose your site’s subdomain or enter your domain name (if you already own one). Although Free Web Hosting Area doesn’t offer domain registration services, if you wish to register one, you are given a suggestion to do it via ProtonHosting.com. However, even though they provide a large variety of domain names to choose from, these tend to be a bit more expensive than usual.

In any case, the following step includes entering your email address, providing a password, and (which we strongly advise) reading through Terms and Conditions. Because plenty of people have been complaining about their account being shut down unexpectedly and without any notice, Free Web Hosting Area has addressed this problem in the Terms and Conditions pointing out that under free hosting they only accept “websites with real and quality web content”.

After this, if you are still waiting to pass some sort of verification or to be welcomed via an email at least, wait no longer because none are coming your way.   

Straight after submitting that modest amount of information, you’ll be redirected to a new web page with more details about your activated account. Since this page contains all details about your account (such as logins for your control panel and FTP), be sure to save it somewhere safe. Here, you’ll also get a painfully brief introduction and guidance for PhpMyAdmin (PMA), MySQL, PHP, and more.

From this moment on, the tech-savvy users will be in their element, while those with less or no technical expertise at all are likely to be at loss.

Free WHA Control Panel

The FreeWHA control panel is quite stripped down which is why you may want to upgrade to a paid plan (Image credit: Free Web Hosting Area)

The free hosting package comes with Free Web Hosting Area’s FreeWHA control panel and it is as stripped-down as they get. There is no auto-installer for WordPress or similar apps, no email account, and no template-based website builder. Instead of this, you’ll get a file manager (net2ftp), a web-based FTP client written in PHP, and that’s about it. The file size limit for FTP uploads is merely 12MB.

cPanel

cPanel access is reason alone to upgrade to a paid plan (Image credit: cPanel)

However, users that decide to purchase a paid hosting plan can enjoy all advantages of using an industry-standard cPanel, auto-installer (Fantastico DeLuxe) with access to over 400 well-known apps, full email support, the ability to host multiple domains, and more databases on the same account, support for Pearl/CGI-bin, Ruby on Rails, Cron Jobs and no file size limit.

Free Web Hosting Area is also offering a free SSL certificate for its users' site under only one condition - the sites must have “quality web content” or the request for SSL will be rejected without any further explanation.

Performance

We used GTmetrix to test the uptime and response time of Free Web Hosting Area's main site (Image credit: GTmetrix)

Speed and experience

When speed is concerned, Free Web Hosting Area has nothing to worry you about. The results we received from GTmetrix (our tool of choice) after checking out the speed performance of Free Web Hosting Area’s official site were exemplary, to say the least. The page took 3.5 seconds to fully load which looks even better in comparison to the average of 8.1 seconds. At the same time, all of the other speed metrics showed quite favorable results leading to an A (100%) as a final grade.

Free Web Hosting Area offers a 99.8% yearly uptime guarantee but doesn’t go deeper into the details about it. For this reason, we were a bit anxious to see the results the UptimeRobot (our favorite uptime monitoring tool) was going to surprise us with. Luckily, there were no unwelcome surprises. During these two weeks, there were a few spikes in response time, but not a single second of downtime was reported. Although it is unlikely this trend will carry on all through the year, it is a positive sign nonetheless.

Support

You can contact Free Web Hosting Area by either email or Twitter (Image credit: Free Web Hosting Area)

Support

As everyone knows, good customer service and free hosting don’t exactly go hand in hand. However, considering that many free hosts provide no support at all, Free Web Hosting Area doesn’t look too bad. There are two ways to reach out to their support staff and they include email and Twitter. To check how responsive they are, we sent them a couple of questions and patiently waited for their reply for less than an hour, which is fairly quick for any level of hosting.

If you wish to search for a solution on your own, your only option (besides Googling it) is Free Web Hosting Area’s rather short FAQ section. It currently consists of 26 questions that are answered in right-to-the-point style. If you consider yourself tech-savvy, this evident lack of how-tos isn’t going to be an issue for you.

Otherwise, not having a knowledgebase to turn to when you run into trouble will present a problem at some point.

The competition

If you are in search of free hosting, a fine alternative to Free Web Hosting Area would be FC2, a Japan-based veteran with a couple of tricks up its sleeve. Which of them you will opt for depends both on your aspirations and technical know-how. While FC2 is more geared towards newcomers with its easy-to-use website builder, Free Web Hosting Area is meant for somewhat experienced users.

Another noteworthy alternative would be Infinity Free, a host whose name says it all, but in a slightly misleading way, since they also offer paid premium plans. In terms of features, Infinity Free appears a bit stronger than Free Web Hosting Area, but when it comes to speed and uptime performance, Free Web Hosting Area is a straight champion.

Although popular novice-friendly hosts such as HostGator and Bluehost don’t offer free hosting per se, with their money-back guarantees you are free to check them out without a need to worry about the money. Since their services are not free-of-charge, you don’t need to be concerned about unwanted ads, unresponsive support, lack of beginner-friendly features (such as free domain registration, a one-click installer, and drag-and-drop website builder), and hosting options in general.

Final verdict

For over 15 years Free Web Hosting Area has been offering free hosting and, consequently, giving a chance to pretty much everyone to create a website and build its online presence on a shoestring (or no) budget. With a free plan, you’ll get to enjoy reliable and rapid performance backed by multi-CPU dedicated servers, lots of RAM, fast SSD disks, and a 99.8% uptime guarantee.

If you want more features, or to simply say “thank you” to the tireless team behind the company, you can upscale your hosting package for just one buck per month.

With all this said, hosting with Free Web Hosting Area has its downsides, particularly if you are a first-timer or simply haven’t had much experience with the technical stuff. For a more novice-friendly approach and superior support check out hosts such as HostGator, Bluehost, or (if you want to support the planet in the process) GreenGeeks.

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