Do you currently have or are thinking about starting a hobby site? How about a personal blog or a static site that won’t be garnering a lot of traffic? Sometimes the best option for hosting a low-traffic site such as these is to start out with a free web hosting service, giving you a feel for what kind of paid hosting you will need to be looking for later on.
Let us stress right away that free web hosting is something that shouldn’t be the solution to your long term hosting needs. Whether it is for customer service, availability, or site performance reasons, a paid web hosting account with a reputable hosting provider (check out our reviews here) will provide your site’s traffic with the optimum visitor experience.
We’ll be taking an in-depth look at AwardSpace, a German hosting provider that offers free shared hosting in addition to their regular paid hosting plans.
So, could AwardSpace’s free web hosting be the right option for your personal site? Keep reading our AwardSpace review to find out!
- Optional WordPress and Joomla Hosting
- No advertisements
- PostgreSQL, PHP, Ruby, and Python support
- Bitcoin accepted
- 15 MB file size limit
- No backups
AwardSpace Pricing & Plans
AwardSpace’s free hosting gives you 5 GB of bandwidth, 1 GB of storage, and support for WordPress and Joomla. While they don’t offer the same resource benefits as Zoho Sites (unlimited bandwidth and storage), or the intuitive site building features of Wix or Weebly, they also are the most developer-friendly free hosting service we have reviewed, with explicit support for PostgreSQL databases, PHP 5, Ruby, and Python.
While we will largely focus on AwardSpace’s free hosting plan, it is worth taking into account that they does offer paid hosting as well, although this should obviously only be purchased if you are pleased with their service first.
AwardSpace has basic shared, VPS, and dedicated servers available, although it is important to keep in mind that the minimum term for shared hosting has to be six months. Xen powered VPS plans start at $10 a month (three month minimum term), which includes 25 GB of SSD storage and 2 TB of bandwidth on a single core, 1 GB RAM server. Dedicated (they are only semi-dedicated, so keep that in mind) plans are a little bit on the expensive side, with a minimum term of one year starting at $180.
AwardSpace does bundle some extra goodies into their paid subscriptions, with at least one free domain name included with all plans (up to 2 free domain names with their Plus packages!).
In addition to hosting plans, AwardSpace offers a wide range of SEO/SMO tools, SSL certificates, and domain registration services.
AwardSpace Video Review
Getting started with their free hosting is quick and easy, with signup taking less than five minutes and just some basic contact information required.
One of the reasons we really loved AwardSpace’s free hosting service is their explicit support for some of the most popular programming languages out there, including PHP 5, Ruby, and Python. This is a welcome feature that one can rarely find when it comes to free web hosting providers.
AwardSpace utilizes Zacky Tools Installer to handle installation of WordPress (or Joomla if you prefer) along with any crucial plugins such as WP Super Cache, bbPress, and Secure WordPress.
Zacky is also the site builder that is used by AwardSpace, giving free users the option to build and design their website in a very similar fashion to other site building services such as Wix or Weebly.
As we’ve mentioned already, free hosting has some pretty distinct drawbacks that are highly evident, especially if you are looking to run a heavy traffic site which requires reliable hosting. That being said, experimenting and running a personal site is more than acceptable in terms of free hosting.
AwardSpace was formed by the merger of AttractSoft and Zetta Hosting Solutions, two German IT companies that have together formed one of the top hosting solutions in Germany. Their data center in Kiel, Germany, is powered by a highly redundant, pan-European Tier 1 fiber-optic network that operates at 50 Gbits. Each server comes with a minimum of Intel Core 2 Quad and Intel Xeon processors, 8 GB of RAM, and Debian Linux as a OS.
AwardSpace has a 99.9% up time guarantee in place for paid hosting customers, while free subscribers will (understandably) be left on their own when it comes to their site’s reliability.
When it comes to add on features or your site, there is wide array of extra features available for customers, including SSL certificates, SEO tools, SSH access, and custom cronjobs support.
AwardSpace Interface & Security
AwardSpace runs a client-friendly control panel where you can access domain, e-mail, database, and billing management for your site. Available resources, cronjob management, and SSH access (not included for free users) can also be easily accessed from this very control panel.
We liked that you can easily view site resources and statistics in the main window of their custom control panel, as well as the versions of any installed languages or additional features.
AwardSpace’s data center in Germany is secure with various access control methods and a team of experts monitoring all servers 24/7. There is also a fire protection system, numerous diesel generators, and a professional air conditioning system that are all in place to keep the network reliable and operating in times of disaster.
SSL certificates are available for purchase starting at $22 a year–although unfortunately you are also required to purchase a dedicated IP ($17 a year) in order to install a certificate, a slightly outdated and unnecessary practice.
AwardSpace Customer Service
Customer service from a free hosting provider tends to be extremely limited, with ticket or e-mail support typically being the one and only form of support available. This pales in comparison to the 24/7 phone, e-mail, and live chat support that one comes to expect with most paid hosting provider.
AwardSpace has a support center set up for free subscribers, which includes an FAQ, any system notifications that might affect you, and a ticket system that was a pleasure to use.
To get a better idea of AwardSpace’s ticket system and how long their response times are, we submitted a ticket concerning CDN integration on a weekday morning at 8 AM CET. To our great surprise, we received an in-depth answer (which even listed how to setup CloudFlare with AwardSpace!) in just 30 minutes! This is highly impressive if only for the fact that most paid, premium hosting providers do not tend to reply as fast!
Paid subscribers to can take advantage of a 30 day money back guarantee, which is valid even if you are a free user upgrading to a paid hosting plan.
AwardSpace Review Conclusion
- WordPress and Joomla support
- No ads for free hosting users
- Bitcoin accepted
I wasn’t so sure about
- Only a 15 MB file upload limit
- Data center only in Germany
So, are you looking for powerful, yet free hosting in Europe? AwardSpace takes the cake with their free hosting which includes 5 GB of bandwidth, 1 GB of storage, and loads of support for programming languages like Ruby, Python, and PHP 5.
With easy one click installs of WordPress and Joomla, getting started with AwardSpace has never been easier. The absence of advertisement banners littering your site as well as a generous amount of available resources means they definitely are a solid choice when it comes to free hosting.
Well, what are you waiting for? Head on over to AwardSpace and give their free hosting service a try today!