This pandemic has shown us some pretty undesired trends in the PC market i.e. shortage and high demand for computers and peripherals. Most people are affected in a way that their earning and livelihoods have been negatively impacted. But do not lose hope. Some people have leveraged this time period to build cheap or even free websites to fulfill their business or other requirements. So to help those people who are very tight on their budget, this ultimate guide for the cheapest website will be very helpful. Now without further delay, let’s get into free website building.
To build the free/cheapest website you have 2 options:
You can either create a subdomain website like www.yourwebsitename.abcxyz.com where “Yourwebsitename” is the name you provide and “abcxyz” is the primary website. Here your website will be a subdomain of abcxyz.com and there will be obvious limitations or fewer features depending upon your choice of the free website provider.
You can consider this if the website you want to build is just for a hobby or learning etc. and no serious business.
Now if you want a full-fledged website of your own, then read next to build the cheapest website.
To build and run a website of your own, you need 2 resources. Domain and Hosting.
If you want to build the cheapest website then obviously you will first check for free domains. I did too and believe me it’s not worth your time.
The free domains are available with TLDs like .tk, .ml, .ga, .cf, and .gq. But here is the catch.
The domains are free to use but you DO NOT own them. The domain provider has the authority to take back the domain you use. Imagine if you have worked hard to get your website popular but all your time & efforts go down to waste. Scary? right.
The only other option is to buy a domain(highly recommended) from popular domain providers. I bought this domain for Rs 84 which is just equal to 1$ from 123-reg.co.uk. Well, the 1st year price is Rs 84 then it will be more(not more than standard cost) from 2nd year onwards. But I plan to earn from this website so that it can pay for itself.
Either way you choose depends upon how much control you want over your domain. By the way, some popular domain & hosting providers also give free domains (even .com which are a little more expensive) for 1 year if you purchase their hosting plan. The list includes Hostinger, Bluehost, etc.
But this post is about the cheapest website so I would recommend reading on it.
The next thing will surely make you happy reading this post. Check out Infinityfree. InfinityFree in my opinion is the best free web hosting with a PHP server and MySQL database which are the most used and popular too. In fact, this website is currently hosted on Infinityfree at the time of writing this.
I have done my research on free web hosting providers and this is the best hosting with which you can start your journey.
At first, I was having some issues with the default file manager they provide. But after using FileZilla for transferring files, I had no issues. Infinityfree has also one of the best uptime and also a good active community to support you on every step. I had a question posted in the community, in which I got answers from another user and the admin himself(maybe herself I don’t know) within a day, and my problem was solved.
But I am not done here. I want to help you more.
If you are a beginner who wants a step-by-step guide then click here.
Here are some tips for ease of life, good quality website, and absolute control over it. Follow this after you have your domain and hosting.
You can create your free SSL certificate. there are options like ZeroSSL, Let’s Encrypt, SSL For Free, etc. I created the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate following instructions in the Cpanel of Infinityfree.
Note: I do not recommend this as there is another better option below for this.
Free Content Delivery Network(CDN):
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. It makes your website faster by uploading your media files from different servers on your website. Cloudflare.com is such a website that not only provides free CDN but also free SSL.
Don’t make this mistake: I had Let’s Encrypt SSL and later I registered with Cloudflare. There was some conflict between the 2 SSL certificates. So only choose Cloudflare.
Cloudflare also supports caching of your website so that your website loads faster. I highly recommend using Cloudflare to avail these free benefits. There are also advanced settings like page rules, and caching even in the free version which you should check out later.
Free File Transfer (FileZilla):
If you find difficulty using the default file manager like me, then use the Filezilla FTP client. It is one of the most popular software and it’s free.
The hostname for Infinityfree is “FTP upload” without quotes. Usernames & passwords are the same as your Infinity login details(dashboard). I use Filezilla for all of my websites. You can check at: https://filezilla-project.org/
Need your domain name email like yourname@yourwebsite? It is possible and also free. I use Zoho mail. Click here to sign up for mail setup.
The process is very easy and I found instructions from ZOHO quite simple and useful. Now you can use your own personal email like firstname.lastname@example.org where “name” is the email name you want to create and “xyz.com” is your website.
If you are a beginner and want to build the cheapest website, then below is the step-by-step guide.
Steps to purchase domain:
1- Go to https://www.123-reg.co.uk/
2- Type your desired website name and search.
3- Add your selected option to the basket. Do not choose any other options if you don’t need them.
4- Complete payment. You might need to enable international transactions on your credit/debit card.
5- All the details will be sent to your email. You can log in and then access the control panel using these credentials.
Steps to acquire Hosting:
Creating an account there is very simple as shown below:
2. Click on Create Account button
3. Create a Custom Domain or a Subdomain provided by InfinityFree
If you have your custom domain, you can enter it and change your nameservers in your domain providers to point to InfinityFree. If you have a difficult time doing this, check this article out.
I have added a secret tip for complete control over your hosting and domain.
For a custom domain, you’ll click on the custom domain tab, then enter your domain name and click on search Domain.
For subdomains provided by infinity free, click on the subdomain tab and enter your preferred subdomain name.
4. Manage your account
After the successful creation of your subdomain or domain, your account will show up with a button to manage it. Click on the manage button.
Mine shows three accounts, it’s because I have three accounts, and yours will show one.
5. Upload your Files
Another window will open and a screen like this will open:
Click on File manager and you will see a window like this. Now get into “htdocs” folder and upload your files there.
Your uploaded files should appear here.
6. Creating Your Database
Click on Control Panel and it will open another tab
Now Click on MySQL Databases which will open another window as shown below
Enter your database name and click on create a database. Your database will now appear in the current Databases.
Now that you have both domain & hosting, the next is to connect both through DNS management.
1- You can find your server IP at the Infinityfree dashboard as shown below.
2- Create a free account and log in to Cloudflare. After adding your domain, go to DNS in the lefthand side option. In Cloudflare, just click on your website to see these options.
Create 3 “A” records with the name below and content the same as your server IP address. Then you are done.
Now you can manage your DNS in Cloudflare and no need to access your domain provider or hosting provider. As I mentioned before Cloudflare has free CDN, free SSL, and supports caching.
If this post was helpful or you have any good tips or alternatives then please share with others and also do comments. You can share this post with anyone who wants to build a website for the first time and/or is tight on budget.