Calling all students! This article will compare the 10 best free and discounted hosting providers on the market, saving you from paying full price for your hosting.
Students everywhere are taking intuitive steps to get noticed, make money, or meet their grades. Whether it’s building an online portfolio, starting a business, or setting up a site as part of your course, creating a website has tons of benefits.
Of course, if you’re building your site from scratch, then you’ll need hosting, too. That’s where things can start to get complicated – and expensive.
When you’re down to your last can of beans in the cupboard, it’s hard to justify shelling out on hosting. The good news is, there are plenty of hosting providers out there who won’t charge you a month’s rent just to keep your website up and running.
Whether they’re dirt cheap prices, student discounts, or entirely free plans, we’ve found providers for even the most cash-strapped amongst you.
We know you don’t have time to trawl the internet looking for hosting deals – there are papers to write, exams to revise for, and performances to rehearse (not to mention tons of procrastinating to do.)
That’s why we’ve done all the research for you. We carried out hours of careful analysis to find the best – and cheapest – providers on the market. All you need to do is pick your perfect provider from the list, and get hosting!
The Best Web Hosting Providers for Students
- 1&1 IONOS
We’ll give you an overview of each provider, with details on pricing, insight into how it performed in our research, plus tips on who qualifies for the lowest prices. There’s no time to waste, so let’s get to it.
‘Free’ – the word every student loves to hear. Hosting doesn’t have to cost you your life savings – in fact, it doesn’t have to cost you anything!
These are the best free web hosting providers:
Before you get too excited, though, it’s worth noting that most hosting providers will make you pay for your hosting after a certain amount of time.
Let’s take a look at just what you get with these providers, and the free student hosting they offer.
Squarespace Comparison: Monthly vs Annual Plans
Now that you know the basics offered by each provider, we’ll dive into more detail for each of them.
Best for free hosting
AccuWeb Hosting was founded in 2002 and offers a range of hosting options, including shared, cloud, VPS, WordPress, and dedicated hosting. It also caters for other services, such as domain registration and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates.
AccuWeb Hosting takes pride in its positive customer relationships, guaranteeing 99.99% uptime, hassle-free cancellation, and 100% customer satisfaction. That’s quite a promise!
AccuWeb Hosting Pros and Cons
AccuWeb’s student hosting gives you the basic features from its shared hosting plan. These include:
- 2GB SSD storage – space to store your site’s data, with fast SSD (Solid State Drive) storage for the best performance
- 30GB bandwidth – the amount of data that can be transferred between your site and its users, this determines how much traffic your site can handle
- 25 free email addresses – ideal for running a business
- Free backups – your site is safe from crashes or data loss
- Free CloudFlare – speeds up your site and keeps it safe from online threats
You can host a single website with the free student plan, and won’t have any pop-ups, banners, or advertisements cluttering up your pages. Although 2GB storage doesn’t sound like much, it should be more than enough for most average-sized websites.
If you already have a website, you can migrate it to AccuWeb’s student plan for free. Because AccuWeb uses cPanel for its control panel, it’s easy to install any extras you need – such as WordPress – with a single click.
The downside of AccuWeb’s hosting package is you don’t get a free SSL certificate included. SSL encrypts information like login and credit card details which pass through your site, and is essential for any website.
You can buy SSL directly from AccuWeb from $49 per year, or find cheaper deals through a registrar like GoDaddy.
The good news is, your hosting will remain totally free until you graduate!
As long as you’re a student at a well-known university (or about to become one) and can give documentation to prove your enrolment, then you’re eligible to apply.
The actual process of applying takes a little more effort, but shouldn’t take up too much of your time. First, you have to like and follow AccuWeb on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Once you’ve ticked that off, you need to create a two minute video on what you think the next big technology trend will be in the next 10 years. Publish it on one of your social channels like YouTube, then send AccuWeb an email – it’s best to send this from your student email account.
AccuWeb says it offers two to three students free hosting accounts every day. Our top tip would be to search YouTube for ‘AccuWeb Hosting Free Hosting for Students’ to see other candidates’ videos. If you give feedback to AccuWeb on your experience, you apparently have an even better chance of getting your account approved.
Best for unlimited features
InterServer.net is a hosting provider offering a wide range of services, from standard shared hosting to dedicated servers. It’s known for being a budget friendly provider with a helpful, 24/7 support team.
InterServer.net Pros and Cons
InterServer.net includes a solid range of generous features in its free student hosting plan. That’s because it’s actually the Standard Web Hosting package, which usually costs $5 per month. You get unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited websites, and unlimited email. That’s a lot of unlimited!
You also get free backups and a free SSL certificate, so you don’t have to worry about any extra costs creeping in. InterServer.net uses SSD storage for better performance, and features the easy to use cPanel as its standard control panel.
InterServer.net’s student plan is free for the first year. After that it renews at $5 per month, which isn’t bad, although you might want to search around to make sure you don’t miss out on even better deals.
It’s easy to sign up for the year’s free student hosting – all you have to do is sign up using your student email address (ending in .edu), or contact InterServer directly.
Best for beginners
ZNetLive began in 2002, and now provides hosting services, domains, email, security, and more. Whether you need SSL certificates or a business email, ZNetLive has something for everyone. It offers shared, WordPress, cloud, and dedicated server hosting.
ZNetLive Pros and Cons
ZNetLive aims to provide students with free, simple, and easy to use hosting plans – it encourages sharing your ideas, and standing out from the crowd. This is a great philosophy, but what features do you get to make this idea a reality?
Well, you get a pretty long list of decent hosting features, including:
- 500MB storage
- Unlimited data transfer
- Five email accounts
- Free domain name
- Free SSL
You also get some more technical tools, such as Secure Shell (SSH) access, which allows you to connect with your server remotely. ZNetLive also uses cPanel, along with script installer Softaculous, which makes it easy to install extra apps.
Your student hosting package is definitely free until your first renewal, so if you sign up for a yearly contract, your first year will be free. Your plan is then re-assessed at each renewal, so in theory, your plan should remain free until you graduate.
However, ZNetLive can’t guarantee it will continue the free plan in future, so there is a slight chance your hosting package will not stay free forever – which isn’t ideal!
All you have to do is submit your student ID as proof when you sign up for the free hosting plan.
If you want more powerful hosting – and have a few dollars a month to spare – then you can choose from the providers offering discounts rather than free plans. The best discounted web hosting for students is provided by:
- 1&1 IONOS
Some of these providers offer student-specific discounts, while others simply have killer deals for new users whether you’re a student or not. You can compare their key features side by side in the table below.
Best Free SSL Hosting Providers: Head-to-Head Comparison
|Storage||cPanel||Email addresses||SSD storage||Free backups|
It’s handy to see these features laid out next to each other, but now we’re going to go into more detail on each of these providers to help you choose the best one for your needs.
Best for reliability
SiteGround is a hosting provider you can count on for a safe, solid, and reliable service. It’s been recommended by WordPress for its easy and fast WordPress hosting, and manages 2 million domains.
SiteGround Pros and Cons
SiteGround offers discounted hosting for students, as well as free hosting for faculty to share with their students – so if you need hosting for your course, it’s worth asking about.
Hosting for students costs just $1.99 per month, and comes with the features of SiteGround’s regular StartUp shared hosting plan. These include:
- 10GB storage
- Automatic daily backups
- Free email accounts
- Unmetered traffic
- cPanel with Softaculous
- 24/7 support
That’s not a bad list of features for just $1.99 per month, which is 80% off the regular price!
The main drawback is you don’t get a free domain on the student plan, so you’ll either need to use an existing domain, buy a new one, or use the free subdomain provided by SiteGround. We recommend replacing this with your own domain, as it will look like this – ‘websitebuilderexpert.sgedu.site’ – which isn’t very professional.
You pay the special student price of $1.99 per month for the first year, then pay the regular price of $11.95 per month once that first year is over. However, if your university has partnered with SiteGround already, then you don’t have to pay a single cent!
You must be a student in North America to qualify, and use your university email address when you sign up.
Best for shared and VPS hosting
InMotion is a top quality hosting provider with excellent features. In our research, it came out as the best provider for both shared and VPS hosting. If you need either of these, then InMotion is a great place to start looking.
InMotion Pros and Cons
InMotion provides a student discount on its shared hosting Power plan, reduced from $9.99 to $4.16 per month. This is InMotion’s middle shared hosting plan, recommended for small businesses, and has the features you need to easily build and manage your site.
The Power plan comes with a great range of features, including a free domain for one year, free SSL security, unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited email. You can also say hello to marketing tools and 24/7 support, so you won’t be alone if your site crashes at 4am!
If you want to grow your site, InMotion’s Power plan will comfortably set you on your way to bigger and better things.
How generous is the discount? Well, it depends on how long you sign up for. You can pay $4.99 per month for the six month plan, or $4.16 per month for the 12 month plan. That’s 58% off when you sign up for 12 months!
The discount applies to your first term – after that, the Power plan will renew at its regular rate of $9.99 per month. The free domain lasts for a year, then renews at $15.99 per year.
It’s always worth checking what sales the provider is running at the time you sign up. Often, the promotion for new users can be cheaper than the student discount, and you can usually lock that price down for up to three years. So make sure you’re getting the best deal you can.
To sign up for InMotion’s student plans, all you have to do is type in your .edu email and claim your discount. If you don’t have a .edu email address, that’s okay – ring up the Confirmations Team with your student ID to hand, and they’ll set you up.
Best for cloud hosting
1&1 IONOS is a hosting provider that wears many hats – from domain registration to online marketing solutions, it’s got something for everyone. It’s the largest hosting company in Europe, so it knows what it’s doing. In our research, it came out as the best provider for cloud hosting.
1&1 IONOS Pros and Cons
1&1 IONOS doesn’t have a student-specific discount, but the good news is, it has dirt cheap sales prices for all new users. It’s especially generous on its shared, WordPress, and VPS hosting plans, all of which can be found at just $1 per month!
The cheapest 1&1 IONOS plan is the shared hosting Business plan. This is ideal for a single website, and includes 100GB storage, a free domain, and 25 email accounts. This isn’t designed for large sites, but if you’ve got something basic, then it’s a very pocket-friendly option.
The shared Business plan costs $1 per month for the first year, then renews at $8 per month. Other plans also cost $1 per month for the promotional period, which is usually between six and 12 months, but then renew at more expensive rates once that first term is up.
Because these prices apply to everyone, you don’t need a .edu email or student ID to qualify – you just need to be a new 1&1 IONOS customer.
Best for cheap prices, but at the expense of speed
iPage has a very simple and appealing price structure for its shared hosting – in fact, it has just one price. Its ‘one-size-fits-all’ shared hosting costs $1.99 per month for everyone, until the promotional period is over. That’s 75% off its regular price!
iPage Pros and Cons
iPage isn’t the most powerful or speedy provider out there, but it is one of the cheapest. Its single shared plan starts out at $1.99 per month, and comes with features to benefit both small and growing sites.
The best part for students is that there are lots of free extras that come with this plan. Free domain, free SSL, free drag-and-drop website builder, free domain transfer, free 24/7 support, free email address… the list goes on and on!
In fact, iPage can impressively boast that it includes over $500 worth of extras in all its plans.
The promotional price lasts for your first term, then automatically renews at $7.99 per month. Your free domain lasts for one year, renewing at $14.99 per year after that. Anyone can sign up to this plan, so don’t worry if you’ve lost your student ID card!
- Read our iPage Hosting Review for more details on its pricing, performance, and features
Best for storage space
DreamHost is the second provider on this list to be officially recommended by WordPress, so if you need hosting for your WordPress site, this is a good place to look. It also stood out in our research for the amount of storage space it includes in its plans.
DreamHost Pros and Cons
DreamHost’s cheapest plan is its Shared Starter hosting plan for $2.59 per month. For that, you get hosting for a single website, a free domain, free SSL security, and WordPress comes pre-installed. All these things are designed to make running your site as easy as possible.
DreamHost’s shared hosting plans also come with a 97-day money back guarantee, which is very generous and means you can sign up risk-free.
The $2.59 per month price applies to the three year plan, so this price would last for that three year term and then renew to the regular rate of $4.95 per month.
Best overall hosting provider
If you want the best of the best, HostGator has got all bases covered. It offers a great range of hosting types, from shared to dedicated, and it’s good at what it does. HostGator is that student who isn’t top of every single class, but is still the teacher’s favorite. In our research, it performed particularly well in dedicated hosting.
HostGator Pros and Cons
Like most providers, HostGator’s cheapest prices come with its shared hosting plans, which start at $2.75 per month. The adorably named Hatchling plan gives you 60% off the original price, and throws in some nifty features too. It includes:
- Free SSL
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Unmetered storage
- One-click installs
- Unlimited free email addresses
Apart from not giving you free backups or a free domain, HostGator ticks all the boxes in its shared hosting plans. Once your first term is up, the Hatchling plan renews at $6.95 per month.
Best for WordPress specific hosting
Bluehost is the last provider in our list, and finishes it off with a bang. It’s a reliable, and well-known provider with a great track record. It performed solidly in our research, coming third overall, and is the number one recommended provider by WordPress itself!
Bluehost Pros and Cons
Bluehost comes in just above HostGator’s starting price of $2.75 per month, with its slightly less endearingly named Basic shared plan at $2.95 per month.
For $2.95 per month you get the usual SSL certificate, plus unmetered bandwidth and 50GB storage. This plan supports one website, and includes a free domain and free backups. You unlock more features as you upgrade, and Bluehost’s range of tools makes it a scalable choice.
You get a lot for your money, but you only get what you give – and with Bluehost, you’ll be giving a little more than you would with a provider like HostGator. The Basic shared plan renews at $7.99 per month after your first term.
It’s worth it, though – especially if you have a baby WordPress site and want to give it the best start in its virtual life!
This article has gone through the best providers for students, from zero dollar plans to hero hosting providers that charge a little for a lot more quality. We’ve compared them, and broken them down to give you the best idea of which one is right for you.
10 Best Web Hosting Providers for Students: Recap
- AccuWeb – free
- InterServer.net – free
- ZNetLive – free
- SiteGround – student discount $1.99/month
- InMotion – student discount $4.16/month
- 1&1 IONOS – $1/month
- iPage – $1.99/month
- DreamHost – $2.59/month
- HostGator – $2.75/month
- Bluehost – $2.95/month
If you have the time and motivation to create a video for AccuWeb Hosting, then this is your best choice for getting free hosting, as you won’t have to pay at all until you graduate. However, you will have to pay for your own SSL certificate, and there’s no guarantee your application will be successful.
If you want a student discount, then SiteGround is your cheapest option. It’s a reliable provider which is also great for WordPress sites, and will cost $1.99 per month until your plan renews.
You might actually find the best deal amongst the regular sales for new customers offered by most hosting providers. Like finding a bargain in a brand store rather than a charity shop, this can give you the guarantee of long-term value and quality. You can lock your sale price in for up to three years, whereas student discounts often end after just one year.
Whichever one you choose, you can expect low prices and great things from all these providers – the only question is, which one will you opt for?
Which hosting provider is the cheapest overall?
AccuWeb Hosting’s free student plan is the best you’ll find, provided your application is successful. Otherwise, 1&1 IONOS has the cheapest sales prices on the market with its $1 per month promotions.
Read more about the Best Cheap Hosting Providers to compare over 50 plans!
Does it matter if my provider uses cPanel or not?
It depends on you! Your control panel is the central hub where you manage your account, servers, and sites. cPanel is a popular choice of control panel because it’s easy to use and very reliable, so you can trust it’ll give you a clean and easy interface to run your site from. However, it’s not used by all providers, and that’s fine – it’s really down to personal preference!
Read about the Best cPanel Hosting Providers in our in-depth review.
What’s the cheapest type of hosting?
Shared hosting is the cheapest type of hosting, because you share resources with other sites on the same server. While it’s the most limited of all the hosting types, it’s also the cheapest, and offered by most providers! In our research, InMotion came out as the best shared hosting provider, while DreamHost offered the best value for money.
Compare the Best Shared Hosting Providers to find out more.
Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight.