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Is there any place that has free hosting for wordpress and allows custom themes? I have seen a bunch that offer free hosting but none that seem to allow custom themes.

I guess I should add a Little more about why I want it to be free

I just want to throw up a site for a couple days to fool around with the theme get some feedback. Not a permanent hosting solution. So if this doesnt exist that is alright but I am aware of the pros and cons of free v paid hosting.

It doesnt have to be a "wordpress host" either just a good place that I can setup a wordpress install in an hr and test for 3 days and tear down.

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Just my two cents but I have seen places offering "free WordPress hosting" but I find you always get what you pay for. You're better off with paying for CHEAP hosting (like a $2 a month plan) –  BandonRandon Oct 5 '11 at 16:14
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3 Answers

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www.POWRHOST.com offers unlimited free hosting for Wordpress and other apps. Free cPanel, free scripts, free auto-install.

Update 14.02.2012

I just learned the hard way that each 30 days of "inactivity", the Powrhost system auto-deletes your entire blog and contents. You'll get an email that your "free account" has been "cancelled" for "inactivity". You will login to your basic account, and find you can re-activate the extra free accounts they deleted, but you have to start all over, re-instal wordpress, re-upload your theme, ec. NB - URGENT for you to always DOWNLOAD a backup of each blog's contents after each time you work on it, and keep your THEME handy, so you can restore most of it in a crisis.

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You're asking for quite a bit, and all I can really tell you is that you get what you pay for.

Why you should avoid "free" sites

Most free hosts are pretty much bargain-basement deals when it comes to features. Remember, few people will ever give things away and stay in business - so support on a free hosting site might be non-existent. Many will also flood your site with advertising (that you don't benefit from) and annoy your visitors.

A notable exception to this rule, though would be WordPress.com. Automattic is able to make money in other ways, so you can get the benefits of a free site with fantastic support.

Why free sites don't allow custom themes

Most free WordPress sites are single Multisite networks - this means one installation of the WordPress software on a single server (or server cluster) with a shared user base, shared plugins, and shared themes.

Giving anyone in that system the ability to use custom code (custom themes or plugins) is a huge risk. Any one person in the network can add a script to their site that breaks the sites of everyone else or brings the entire server down.

That's why inexpensive hosts will fully vet themes before installing them on the server and restrict you to only a pre-approved set.

What you can do instead

The chances of finding a free WordPress host that allows custom themes is ... honestly ... zero. It's not going to happen. And if you find anyone claiming to offer that deal, you should really run away from them screaming.

Instead, think about what it is you're trying to accomplish. Most of what you'd need to do in a custom theme you can do with a custom CSS file. WordPress.com, for example, allows that.

If you really do need a fully-customized theme, your best bet is to host yourself.

Some shared hosts are pretty inexpensive. 1and1 (one of the sites I use) offers basic hosting at $5/month. For just $7/month (after 6 months free) you get a step up in service and a free, custom domain (.com, .net, .org).

Some other relatively inexpensive hosts:

Some freelance developers (myself included) will even host clients/friends/family as well. I've hosted friends for $5 or so each month and given them a domain of their own.

It all depends on what you're doing and who you know ... but if you're looking a hosting plan with any level of customer service, and any form of security against hackers, "free" is pretty much impossible.

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Just a note on 1and1 - who I've used for years for the majority of my sites - lately their interface has been AWFUL. Serious issues with their control panel for over a month+, which they've totally failed to address. (Not just on my account but on many accounts, including several of my friends and clients.) This is not the host to have if you expect customer service. I'd look for one like HostGator, also very cheap, that offers customer service via chat. –  Michelle Oct 5 '11 at 16:32
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wordpress.com does insert advertisement in blogs and they offer opt-out of ads as paid upgrade. They are just not aggressive about ads and so often mistaken for ad-free host. –  Rarst Oct 5 '11 at 17:06
    
@Michelle I tend to have better success with 1and1 CP using Firefox. It doesn't like Chrome. Unfortunately, HostGator is on the list of hosts I cannot recommend due to the way they install and configure WordPress (occasionally versions behind and with unofficial plugins bundled with core). There are others on my list, but I'm refraining from mentioning them on purpose. –  EAMann Oct 5 '11 at 18:36
    
@EAMann, interesting, I didn't notice that about Hostgator - probably because I almost always install WordPress by hand. Good to know though, I'll be wary. On 1and1, I've tried using both FF and Chrome, but it doesn't seem to be a browser issue; it literally can take minutes to log in whatever I'm using, and then times out / 500-errors when I click around pages. They told me when I complained they're transitioning to something new & having issues but man is it taking them a long time to fix! :( Glad to hear it's working for someone. –  Michelle Oct 5 '11 at 20:36
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I think there are disadvantages to PAID hosts as well. I paid for WP hosting and after 3 weeks, their auto-installer destroyed my entire account, hundreds of hours of work FLUSHED. I see little difference between "free" and "paid" when the "inconvenience" in either case can be devastating. I plan to keep my paid account, because I am concerned that the free one will one day start putting ads on my sites, but for now, it's fine, and this way I have a "mirror" in case of dire emergency.

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Yep. I've got horrible experience with godaddy. –  modosansreves Feb 14 '12 at 10:27
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