When creating any kind of project, there will be costs that you have to handle. Whether big or small, at some point it can be hindering or cause a hassle.
I will list for you different topics you might need in your projects and how you can get it for free.
Finding a hosting is one of the most troublesome parts when you are creating a project, especially when you need it for free. Here's a list of services or websites that offer free hosting, and what kind of projects you can use them for:
- Netlify: Netlify is perfect for static websites like portfolios. It also supports Jamstack, which basically decouples the backend from the frontend, allowing your website to be deployed directly to a CDN. This helps make your website faster and more secure. You can use this to create, for example, blogs (like this one). You can read it more about it in Netlify CMS as they have starter projects you can get started with.
- Firebase: In Firebase's free plan (or Spark Plan) they offer many features, including 10GB of hosting. Again, this is great for static websites.
- Heroku: Heroku allows you to host almost any kind of environment. The down side of Heroku's free hosting is that it can be slow, but it still can be very helpful in many cases.
- alwaysdata: A good hosting solution for a variety of environments, with a lot of features.
- Surge: Surge is another good hosting for static websites. Surge does not really have any limits when it comes to the size of the website, and it's probably the easiest to use. You can deploy any website through their CLI with just one command.
- 000WebHost: Although I personally am not a big fan of this hosting, but 000WebHost offers an easy to use cPanel free hosting and helpful tools for WordPress hosting in particular.
- GitHub Pages: Another good static website hosting. The pro of this option is that you can link it directly to your GitHub repository, and with any update to the repository it will update immediately.
- Hashnode: Hashnode is specific to creating your own blog. You can customize it, track its analytics and much more. If you have your own domain then you can add it, too.
Next come domain names. From my experience, the only service that provides a free domain name (without having to pay for hosting, that is) is Freenom. Freenom provide free domain names that end with .tk, .cf, .ml, .ga or .gq.
Whether for a contact form, a newsletter form, or any marketing usage you might have that requires sending email, here's a list to help you achieve that for free:
- Mailgun: Mailgun provides an email you can use to send email. You can either use Mailgun on your server to send emails, or use the email provided by mailgun and the API keys you get to send emails serverless, but this will require other services.
- MailerLite: MailerLite puts all email marketing together basically. Using MailerLite's free plan you can create forms and popups that you can embed in your website and they take care of the rest. Whether it's a subscription or contact form, you can create the forms, link them with a subscription list, send newsletters and many more options.
Here are some services that offer free notifications for your websites and apps for free:
- OneSignal: OneSignal allows you to send push notifications on different browsers and mobile apps and more.
- Pusher: Pusher is mainly focused on real time experiences, and part of that is building channels between your server and websites or apps, which allows you to also send notifications.
SEO and Other Tools
Below are some SEO helpful tools to help make your website a little better:
- ShareThis: A good tool to let your website visitors share your website easily on almost every social media platform, with a variety of design choices.
- Disqus: Disqus lets you add a comments or reaction section to your website, helping you build connections with your visitors.
- CrowdIn: CrowdIn is a tool you can use to manage translations for your projects. You upload a strings file like a .json file, add the languages you want, and then you and your team, or anyone you send the link to can translate your strings easily with their interface and their recommended translations as well.
- Buffer: Buffer allows you to connect your social media accounts together so you can schedule posts, track analytics and more.
- hotjar: hotjar takes analytics into the next level. Not only can you track the usual traffic of users, but you can also see heatmaps, add surveys, and much more.
- Agolia: Agolia allows you to add a search engine to your website without the hassle.
- Rebrandly: Provides free URL shortener with analytics, QR Codes and more.
Here are some websites that you can get design elements, images, or other resources from:
- Freebie Supply: You can find vectors, illustrations, icons, and much more for free.
- Google Fonts: Easily use beautiful fonts in your website.
- Feather Icons: An open source project with very beautiful icons you can use for free.
- Iconscout: Find free and beautiful icons you can use in your projects.
- Undraw: Free illustrations for any project. You can download the illustrations in PNG or SVG formats and change their colors in website.
- Unsplash: Free images you can use in any of your projects. They also have an API you can use to search through images, get random images, and other usages as well.
- hatchful: Create a logo and customize it for free.
For a longer list of design resources, check out my other post.
Do you know any other tools or services that are helpful and for free? Please let us know in the comments!