10 Best Free Static Website Hosting Platforms In 2021

best free website hosting

In this article, we will present a selection of professional free static website hosting services for a project of any size and scope.

Static website generators are on the rise as tools to create your site. With open-source developed generators like Hugo, Gatsby, or Jekyll it is made easy for everyone to create websites without much knowledge of the underlying technologies. Large support communities and ongoing development help to implement features into your website that were hard to maintain “in the old times” when sites were made in text editors.

Having created your static website your next step is to find a way to host it and make it accessible to your audience. We try to help you decide by listing the best 10 free static website hosting services.

We focus on services that allow you to host your website using their free service tiers. We check if you can add your own custom domain and of course if modern technologies and features like HTTP/2 and SSL encryption are supported.

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What is a static website?

Static websites concentrate on performance and declutter complex build processes. They do not rely on databases and scripting languages but consist of a simple set of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to produce speedy and modern pages.

The concept of a static website is nothing new though. Many developers even call it “the old way” of building websites. In recent years websites became more and more complex with pages being delivered to the browser after creating them from templates and content that is stored in a database using server-side scripting languages like PHP and ASP. WordPress for instance operates with PHP and a MySQL database. Even further complex sites then apply minification to make the pages use less bandwidth, as broadband connectivity is still not 100% available all over the globe.

This leads to a complex process to build a website with many moving parts that need to be understood by the developer and maintained throughout the lifetime of the website. A static website goes back to a much simpler process. The full website is pre-compiled, saved, and delivered as is and the only program required to deliver this is a modern web server.

Read on to learn more about the advantages of professional static website hosting.

Benefits of using static website:

Affordability

Static websites contain mainly HTML, JS, and CSS files and don’t require databases or server-side scripting languages to be served to the browser. This makes it very inexpensive to host, even free on the services we will check out later in this article.

Security

With no database or server-side scripting language to exploit, no ground for unauthorized access, and no third-party extensions to monitor for vulnerabilities that allow your system to be compromised, static websites offer much more security than a dynamic website.

Scalability

Scaling a static website is much simpler to maintain, while the overall application is more stable and does not depend on many moving parts. The server can handle more traffic to the website due to the reduced load associated with static files (as opposed to loading a template file, then loading database content, then running both through a scripting language compiler, etc.). Hosting your website on edge networks (CDNs with servers maintained worldwide) even shortens the time a page needs to load.

Speed

With all the mentioned benefits combined, the time from requesting a page to the delivery to the browser is very short and your visitors can enjoy a blazing-fast performance. By caching the files locally you can even increase that speed. As one of the main factors for a better ranking in search engines, this will give your website a huge advantage.

The speed of your site does not only lead to a much better user experience, but it also helps with the ranking of your site. Google appreciates a fast website.

Best Free Static Website Hosting:

The following selection of professional static website hosting services is by no way complete and exhaustive. We will show how many websites you can host for free, what storage and bandwidth are offered if SSL certificates to deliver your site via safe HTTPS and custom domains are offered, and how many build minutes, if offered as a service, are included. We also list the available support options.

Let’s dive in!

Netlify

netlify - Free static website hosting platform

Netlify’s self-proclaimed appeal to its users is faster shipping of your static websites by offering an intuitive Git-based workflow and powerful serverless platform to build, deploy, and collaborate on web apps.

To learn how to host your Hugo website on Netlify see this guide

Key Features :

  • Automatic continuous deploys from any Git repository hosted at Github, Gitlab, or Bitbucket
  • Deployment to their own global edge network
  • Instant rollbacks to any version
  • Deployment of static assets & dynamic serverless functions
  • Storage: Unlimited
  • Websites: Unlimited
  • Custom domains: Yes (Via DNS or CNAME record)
  • Build minutes: 300/month
  • Bandwidth: 100 GB/month
  • SSL: Yes (Via Let’s Encrypt certificate)

Additional features:

  • Serverless functions (single feature-focused functionality like an API for your website)
  • Handling of form submissions
  • Identity (Authentication of up to 5 users)
  • Large media files support (If you decide to host your videos within your website)

Paid packages start at USD 19/month per user.

Paid Package Features:

  • Analytics
  • Slack notifications for the build process
  • Background functions (like cronjobs)
  • Basic authentication headers
  • Site passwords
  • Shared environment variables between your websites
  • “More of everything” (bandwidth, build minutes, form submissions, user accounts in the identity feature)
  • Email support

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 Vercel

vercel

Vercel helps developers and frontend teams to do their best work” by combining “the best developer experience with an obsessive focus on end-user performance.

The developer team at Vercel built Next.js together with Google and Facebook. Next.js is an open-source React framework to build static websites and is used in large-scale websites like Twilio, Netflix, Github, and many others. It is very flexible and usable for any website, be it for e-commerce, catalogs like travel and news websites, and company websites.

Vercel offers deployment of any frontend app or site with zero configuration onto their global edge network of CDN servers.

Key Features :

  • Automatic continuous deploys from any Git repository hosted at Github, Gitlab, or Bitbucket (up to 45 minutes of build time per deployment)
  • A high-performance edge network
  • Serverless functions in Node.js, Go, and more scripting languages
  • Unlimited websites and APIs
  • Custom domain names
  • SSL encryption
  • Up to 100GB/month in bandwidth
  • Support via knowledge base and ticketed support system

The paid packages enable more bandwidth, longer execution times, and analytics and start at USD 20/month per member. It also adds the ability to create developer teams for your projects.

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Cloudflare Pages

cloudflare

Cloudflare is known for its worldwide spanning net of CDN servers and DDOS protection features. Its pages feature offers a JAMstack platform for frontend developers to collaborate and deploy websites.

It will take milliseconds to deliver your website to the end-user – probably faster than any other network. It can absorb traffic for the most visited sites. Support for the latest web standards with HTTP/3, QUIC, image compression is included out of the box.

The main focus lies on developer teams. In contrast to other services in our list, Cloudflare Pages offer unlimited team members per project.

Read this guide to Deploy a Hugo website on Cloudflare Pages.

Key Features :

  • Unlimited team members
  • Automatic continuous deploys from any Git repository hosted at Github, GitLab, or Bitbucket
  • 1 build at a time
  • 500 builds per month
  • Unlimited sites
  • Unlimited page requests
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Custom domains
  • Automatically configured SSL encryption

The paid packages start at USD 20/month.

Paid Package Features:

  • 5 concurrent builds
  • 5.000 builds per month
  • Better support

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Render

render

Render wants to “make DevOps go away” by providing developers everything required to present their web apps and static websites – be it a weekend project or a large-scale site – to their website visitors, so they can concentrate on the code itself. Learn how to Deploy a Hugo Static Site to Render.

Key Features :

  • Lightning-fast CDN
  • Automatic continuous deploys from any Git repository hosted at Github, Gitlab or Bitbucket
  • Custom domains with fully managed SSL
  • Unlimited collaborators
  • 100 GB/month bandwidth

Paid packages start at USD 7/month adding a whole set of extended features, that you don’t need to host a static website, but might want to check out anyway:

  • Create a postgreSQL database
  • Launch a background worker
  • Hosting of docker containers
  • Cronjobs (serverless functions)
  • Websites and services created in Python, Ruby, Elexir, Golang, Rust, PHP

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Surge

surge

Surge offers static web publishing for more experienced front-end developers with a simple, single CLI command to deploy your website for free, without leaving the command line.

The service focuses on the developer and integrates with many different development platforms and publishing tools and can be added to your CI process to deploy after testing.

Everything can be configured via the command line. Continuous Deployment of Hugo with GitHub, Codeship, and Surge.sh Read this guide.

Key Features :

  • Unlimited publishing
  • Unlimited team members
  • Custom domains via CNAME record with basic SSL for a single project

Paid packages are available starting at USD 30/month and offer:

  • Custom SSL
  • Force http to https
  • Cross-origin resource sharing
  • Custom redirects
  • Password protection

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Github Pages

github

Github offers hosting for websites built from a certain branch in your repository. Whenever you update your branch, the website is updated too.

Key Features :

  • Automatic SSL
  • Custom 404 pages
  • Custom domain or subdomain on the github.io domain
  • One site per repository and one site per Github account/organisation
  • Built-in support for Jekyll, other static website builders can run via workflows

While Github offers paid packages for developers and teams there are no additional or improved features for Github Pages under these packages. On GitHub’s free user account only public repositories have the pages feature enabled.

If you want to learn more about GitHub Pages feature then watch this short video:

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Gitlab Pages

gitlab

With GitLab Pages, you can publish static websites directly from any repository in GitLab. Any static website generator like Gatsby, Jekyll, Hugo, Middleman, Harp, Hexo, and Brunch, can be used or already prepared HTML, JS and CSS.

Key Features :

  • Custom domains
  • SSL certificates (via Let’s Encrypt or using your own certificate)
  • Redirects

Gitlab offers paid packages, though they do not improve on the features of free static website hosting on Gitlab.

To learn more about how to host a static website on Gitlab please watch the following video.

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Firebase

firebase-hosting

Firebase is backed by Google and offers online services for web and mobile app programmers and game developers. Included are monitoring solutions, databases, authentication, integration with development tools, and much more, but you can also simply host your static website here and rely on Google’s global CDN.

You can deploy your website via CI workflows or by hand from the command line.

Key Features :

  • Storage: 10 GB
  • Brandwidth: 360 MB/day
  • Websites: unlimited
  • Custom domains: included
  • SSL: included

If you need more features (databases, server-side functions, etc.) or more storage and bandwidth you can take the “pay as you go” approach and pay by gigabytes used.

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Microsoft Azure

azure

Microsoft Azure is a hosting service for web apps on its globally distributed content network by tapping right into the CI/CD workflows to get your site from code to the cloud.

Due to its complex integration with other Microsoft Azure hosted solutions like Azure Functions, Azure SQL and others it is tailored for more complex web applications, but could be used to host your static website too.

Key Features:

  • 100 GB bandwidth per subscription
  • 2 custom domains per app
  • Free SSL certificates
  • 0.25 GB storage per app
  • Built in support of a variety of authentication providers
  • Integration of serverless functions via Azure Functions
  • A custom Visual Studio Code developer extension
  • A feature-rich CLI for local development

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Amazon AWS

amazon-aws

AWS Amplify is a service that offers to host static websites on Amazon’s content delivery network. After connecting a git repository to your account any code commit to

Amazon AWS offers a free tier, but only for the first year of usage.

Key Features:

  • 1000 build minutes per month
  • Storage space of 5 GB stored per month
  • Bandwidth: 15 GB served per month

Note: The free tier is only available for 12 months (1 year). After that period you change into the paid service with a “pay as you go” package by gigabytes used.

Paid Service Features:

  • USD 0.01 per build minute
  • USD 0.023 per GB stored per month
  • USD 0.15 per GB served

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Conclusion

We hope to have helped you find a service that you can use to host your website or web app project for free and uncomplicated. We tried to find a solution for any requirement, be it a small niche website, or a weblog, an e-commerce app, or even a large-scale application.

To quickly summarize, here is a list that sorts the services per requirement for your project:

– You have a simple static website, a hobby project, or develop a program or app? Then check out Vercel or Render.

– You require team features for your website or want to quickly deploy new development steps right from inside your CI processes? Then choose GitHub Pages, GitLab Pages, or Surge.sh.

– You have a large-scale project or need to implement an API or dynamic features into your website? Then Amazon AWS, Firebase, or Microsoft Azure is for you.

– You need speed and unlimited bandwidth? Then test Cloudflare Pages or Netlify.

Do you know about any other static hosting services that offer free packages? Let us know in the comments and we will check it out!