Ever since its inception back in 2003, AwardSpace has been known for its outstanding free hosting service. Over the years, the free plan has seen multiple improvements, bringing new features and functionality while still preserving the free price tag and ad-free hosting experience.

Nowadays, the free hosting service supports a considerable number of features and technologies which are required to run a modern website. As such, you can be reasonably certain that once you sign up, you will be able to operate a small website, such as a personal blog, without any issues. However, as you keep building out your site and adding new functionality, you may come across a warning message stating that a required PHP function is not available on the server. In this article, we will list the functions which are not available on the free hosting platform, the reasons behind this restriction, and the possible ways to add these functions to your account.

Which PHP Functions Are Disabled on the Free Hosting Plan?

In an effort to provide the best and most reliable hosting experience, the free platform prohibits the use of the following PHP functions:

  • allow_url_fopen()
  • fsockopen()
  • pfsockpen()
  • getrusage()
  • get_current_user()
  • set_time_limit()
  • getmyuid()
  • getmypid()
  • dl()
  • leak()
  • listen()
  • chown()
  • chgrp()
  • realpath()
  • link()
  • exec()
  • passthru()
  • curl_init()

Why Are These Functions Disabled?

There are two major reasons why a certain PHP function may be blocked on our free plan – security concerns and the potential of server stability issues.

On one hand, some of these functions allow data to be transmitted to a third party server. This is not allowed on our free service as it can allow a malicious website to be uploaded which then tries to steal information from visitors and immediately sends any entered data to the attacker’s computer.

The other major reason why certain PHP functions are prohibited is the fact that we take great care to provide a stable and reliable hosting experience. This is done by limiting the amount of server-side changes that a free hosting account can make. For example, when you get a free hosting account, you will only have access to your own files. All system files will be hidden and you will not have access to those. Similarly, some PHP functions require higher privileges to be executed. We have disabled these functions in order to ensure that they cannot the used to negatively impact the server’s stability and uptime or to compromise the data stored by other clients on the server.

Where Can I Find a List of Supported Features on the Free Hosting Plan?

We provide a full list of all features available on the free hosting plan right on our website. You are welcome to go through the list in order to learn which capabilities are included with your free plan. Doing so will ensure that you are able to take full advantage of our platform. Not sure what a specific term or technology means or what it is used for? Hover your mouse over the blue information icon before every title in order to learn more about the feature in question.

My Website Requires One or More of the Restricted Functions to Operate. What Can I Do?

In order to be granted access to additional PHP functions and other server capabilities, you would need to upgrade your hosting plan to either one of our paid hosting plans, or one of our VPS hosting packages. Below we will explain what type of functionality each upgrade will unlock.

If your site needs to be able to establish outgoing connections to remote servers, you can add this functionality by upgrading to any of our paid hosting plans. For example, it is common for advanced plugins to communicate with the developer’s servers in order to work as expected. Without the ability to establish outgoing connections, such plugins will show an error message and will not work properly. To resolve this, simply pick one of our paid hosting plans and upgrade to it. Once you upgrade, all of your data will be automatically migrated to a premium server and you can continue using our Control Panel, now packed with even more features.

The other type of upgrade that is available to you is the VPS upgrade. VPS stands for a Virtual Private Server. This is essentially a standalone server that you have full control over. You should consider upgrading to a VPS package if you have trouble with limited privileges on your current plan or if you wish to run custom software on the server. A VPS truly offers unlimited possibilities. The only downside to using a VPS is that you need to be familiar with the Linux Terminal as most of your interactions with your VPS will occur on the command line. It is also worth noting that we offer limited technical support to our VPS customers.

Not sure which upgrade is right for you? Contact the 24/7 Sales Team and they will point you in the right direction.

Are the Restricted Functions Enabled Automatically Once I Upgrade My Plan?

In the vast majority of cases – yes. Once you upgrade your plan, the new features and capabilities should be made available to you automatically. If for some reason you are still experiencing issues, let our 24/7 Technical Support Team know and they will send a response back within an hour.


The free hosting plan is a great place to start your journey as a website owner. You can use it for as long as it suits your needs with no risk or financial investment. And should the day come when you require more advanced functionality, we can provide you with a premium server to help you grow and develop your website even further.

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