How to host your Webflow project for free.
Webflow is a great tool for web design and development, but when it comes to actually utilising the website for a live client or project, you may be somewhat confused at the options.
Domain registration, hosting, CMS, etc
'How can I integrate these all in an affordable manner?'
After this article, you should have a good option for hosting.
Firstly, whatever option you go with, you're going to need a paid Webflow plan. This is fairly affordable, and it allows you to build a full website as opposed to a 2-page with the free plan.
At this point, I assume you have a website built and your ready to host.
If you are utilising the Webflow CMS - you're best off hosting on Webflow. This is essentially Webflow providing the backend to your website. It provides the data needed to populate the website.
If you're website is heavily based on the CMS - this is a good option as you're able to use the editor and simple CMS functionality provided.
How to host for free:
If you have a static site that doesn't utilise the Webflow CMS (or other certain Webflow - you should be good to host your site for free.
On the Webflow editor, click on the 'Export Code' button and you'll be shown a preview of the HTML file.
Prepare ZIP and download your file.
At this point, your static site is off of Webflow and can be hosted elsewhere.
Head over to https://www.netlify.com/ and go through the sign up process.
Once you're there (https://app.netlify.com/) You'll see the section that prompts you to drag and drop your site folder here. You can upload the ZIP downloaded from Webflow.
This will automatically generate a project for you with a Netlify domain. (You can change this initial domain if you'd like).
At this point, it should be a live site based on the domain name automatically generated.
Now to add the custom domain:
Click into the project.
Click on Domain settings.
Click Add custom domain.
Then go through the process outlined quite simply by Netlify to set up your custom domain.
It's a simple process and requires adding some DNS configurations that can be managed on the site you bought your domain name on (e.g Namecheap).
If you don't have a custom domain, you'll need to buy one and then configure it.
Note: every time you update the Webflow project, you'll need to re-export and re-deploy to Netlify (by going to into the project and going to 'Production deploys'). Sounds like a pain, but it doesn't take long at all. 30 seconds.