When starting a website, there are two main ways to host your site. Free vs Paid web hosting.
But which one is right for you? This article aims to answer just that.
While there are some benefits to using a free hosting web builder, In my opinion, the negatives outweigh the positives.
Here is a comparison chart that will break down the pros and cons of each service.
|Free Web Hosting||Paid Web Hosting|
|Ads Placed On Your Website By Hosting Company – You Have No Control||Yes – The Hosting Company Makes Money Off Of The Ads||No – You Have Full Control Over Your Website|
|Web Host Places Their Logo On Your Site||Yes – Must Upgrade To Remove||No – You Own Your Website|
|Must Pay For Upgrades and Features||Yes – Must Purchase Additional Features or Upgrade To Paid Plan||Not Required – WordPress.org Offers Free Plugins|
|24/7 Customer Support||Possibly||Yes|
|Unmetered Bandwidth||No – Must Upgrade||Yes|
|Unique Brandable URL||No – Shared URL Branding||Yes – You Own Your URL|
|Server Up-Time||Can Vary Greatly||99% And Up|
|Unlimited Free Pages||No – Must Upgrade||Yes|
|Free To Host Your Website||Yes – With Limited Features||No – Must Purchase Your Domain Name and Hosting|
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- Do I Need Website Hosting?
- What Is Free Web Hosting?
- What Is Paid Web Hosting?
- Why Pay For Web Hosting? – Disadvantages Of Going Free
- How Much Should I Pay For Web Hosting?
- Where To Go For Paid Hosting
- When Is Free Hosting The Right Option?
- Free vs Paid Web Hosting – My Conclusion
Do I Need Website Hosting?
Absolutely. Whether it’s free or paid, you’ll need someplace online to park your website’s data, so visitors can interact with your site.
The question is, do you go with free hosting or paid hosting?
It all comes down to preference. However, let’s dive deeper into each option so you can make the best decision for your needs.
What Is Free Web Hosting?
Free web hosting is a service offered by online website builder platforms.
These companies will allow you to build and customize your website using a visual builder interface.
There is generally no need for computer code as most of your website’s elements will have a drag and drop option.
These types of builders are generally very user-friendly.
However, while you can get started designing your website for free, there are several drawbacks to using this type of hosting platform.
These negatives include not owning your domain name, having no control over ad placement, and an inability to monetize with ads.
However, I will discuss these negatives in greater detail down below.
What Is Paid Web Hosting?
On the other hand, paid web hosting is a whole other beast.
With paid hosting, you will be required to purchase your domain name. This is your publically searched website name, for example, “mysite.com”.
Then, you will need to choose a hosting company to make your website live on the internet. Paid hosting can usually be purchased for under $100 per year.
With paid hosting, you will also be required to install a content management platform.
In most cases, if you purchase your domain name and hosting, you will be able to install one of these platforms for free.
And the most popular content management platform out there is WordPress.org. This is where you will build out the content for your website.
This content includes blog articles, web pages, images, and videos.
When you purchase your domain name you have full control of how your site looks and operates.
Unlike free hosting platforms, you can place your ads, logos, and business name onto your website without restriction.
Why Pay For Web Hosting? – Disadvantages Of Going Free
There are many benefits to purchasing a hosting plan.
Probably the 2 most important advantages are website brand-ability and control over your site’s features, such as ads and logos.
However, here is a more detailed breakdown of the main reasons you should pay for hosting.
Keep in mind, different free platforms will have different options and features.
Make sure to do your due diligence when searching for a paid hosting company or free web platform.
Why would you want your hosting company to decide what is displayed on your website?
For example, they can decide since you are not paying them for hosting, they will place ads on your site to make some profit.
You have zero control over what types of ads are displayed or where they are displayed on your website.
Worst of all, is you make no money from these ads. All the profit goes to the website platform.
By choosing the paid route, there is no one to tell you what ads you can run and where you can run them.
Furthermore, if you do decide to place ads on your website, you will receive 100% of the profit from those ads.
Along the lines of ad placement is logo placement.
When you go with the free option there is a high likelihood that the free web platform you choose will place its logo onto your website.
You are still able to place your logo onto y0ur site, however, their logo will be displayed as well. And the only way to remove it is to upgrade to a paid plan.
This makes branding your site much more difficult and can be confusing for visitors.
Why not simply go with a paid hosting company from the start. You’ll be saving yourself a lot of frustration down the road.
Must Pay To Upgrade and Add New Features
When you create a free website, there will inevitably be some limitations. You will have limited features, customizing options, and branding.
This is why free web hosting with cPanel is not an option.
If you don’t know, cPanel is an online service that most paid hosting providers use to backup, update, add files to, and monitor security issues on the backend of your site.
Several other popular features may be restricted or missing as well. For instance, you may want to add the ability to allow visitors to download a free eBook.
However, this option may only be available if you upgrade to a paid plan or purchase the feature separately.
On the flip-side, with paid hosting on the WordPress platform, several free plugins allow this feature.
You simply search the WordPress plugin database and search for your desired plugin. Then, download and install. Finally, configure the settings and you’re all set.
24/7 Live Support
While free web platforms may claim they offer 24/7 support, in reality, since you aren’t paying for their services, support may be rather limited.
For instance, there may be times where getting a hold of a representative is impossible.
Instead of a live agent to take your call, online Robo-chat might be your only option.
Now that’s not to say all free platforms are like this, however, if you are not paying them, then why would they prioritize your issue over someone who is a premium member.
On the other hand, with paid hosting, you can be sure that live phone representatives will be available to take care of any problem you might have with your website.
If you happen to be on a free web hosting platform, then it’s likely that your monthly website data is metered or limited.
This means that if the amount of data that gets transferred to and from your hosting server exceeds your data cap, then you will b charged extra for that overage.
And while your website is not likely to use more than your data cap at first when your traffic is low
Eventually, when your site gets more popular, your data usage can become a problem.
If that wasn’t bad enough, most free platforms will also meter your bandwidth.
This means they can ramp down your data transfer speed after it hits a certain threshold.
And while most paid hosting companies will also have a bandwidth speed limit as well, most will allow for unlimited data transfer to and from your website.
This means that your website can grow, without worrying about paying extra every month for data usage overages.
Simply put, going with a paid hosting plan is a way of future-proofing your website.
Unique Brandable Domain And URL
Your URL is your website’s public web address.
It’s how people search for and discover your site. An example would be “www.mywebsite.com”.
You own your URL by purchasing a unique domain name.
Owning your own unique and brandable URL is crucial for your website’s success.
And when you go the paid hosting route, you will be required to purchase your own unique domain name URL.
Unfortunately, when you go with a free option, you are at the mercy of the web platform when it comes to your URL.
Instead of “www.mywebsite.com”, you will most likely have to use their co-branded URL.
Which could be “www.mywebsite.theirwebsite.com”. As you can see this can be extremely difficult for your visitors to remember and be able to search for in Google.
On top of that, it adds unnecessary length to your URL, potentially hurting your SEO rankings.
This is why purchasing your custom domain name and URL will always be the superior option for your business.
Server uptime is the amount of time, usually measured as a percentage, that your hosting server is live and online.
The higher the percentage the better it is for your website.
When your website is down and inaccessible to web visitors, you lose traffic which means fewer sales and profit.
When searching for a paid hosting provider, you need to make sure they offer uptimes of at least 98%.
I do not go with any company offering numbers below 99%. Unfortunately, with free platforms, your uptime percentage can fluctuate dramatically.
Since you are3 not paying them for hosting, they have less of an incentive to invest in top-quality servers, support staff, and security measures.
This can lead to less than ideal uptime numbers. And if you are selling physical or digital products on your website, this can be especially damaging.
Just go with a paid option to play it safe.
When building out your new website, you’ll need to inevitably create pages. A far as websites go, pages are generally used for navigation purposes.
For instance, if you run an automotive repair shop and are building a website for your business, you may want to include a services page.
This page will be accessible from the top navigation bar on your website.
However, let’s say you want a sub-menu underneath the services tab that has all of your services offered on their separate page.
Depending on how many services you offer, you could end up with dozens or even a hundred pages.
With paid hosting built on the WordPress.org platform, this is not an issue. You can add as many pages for free.
However, if you go with the free option, most platforms will limit you on the number of pages you can add to your site.
In most cases, the only way around this is to upgrade and purchase their premium plan.
As you can see, this can be severely limiting for a business just starting.
That is why it makes the most sense to just pay for your hosting from the beginning to avoid these issues altogether.
How Much Should I Pay For Web Hosting?
Paid hosting, is generally quite affordable.
In most instances, you can purchase a domain name and web hosting for under $100 per year.
This is an absolute steal, especially when you consider how much value you’ll be receiving.
The perks you’ll likely receive can include unmetered bandwidth, unlimited monthly data transfer usage, and round-the-clock live support, just to name a few.
Where To Go For Paid Hosting
If you are interested in the paid hosting company I use, look no further. My hosting provider of choice is NameHero.
They offer 24/7 live support which in my opinion is superior to a company like GoDaddy.
I have been using NameHero for 2 years now with all of my websites. And I can honestly say, I will not be switching hosting companies any time soon. They’re that good.
This is my affiliate link, and as such, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through it. Thank You!
When Is Free Hosting The Right Option?
If your website will be used for personal family use, like an online photo album, then using a free web platform might be an affordable option.
However, for any other website type, I would highly recommend that you opt for the paid option.
You will not only set up your website for future success, but you’ll be saving yourself a lot of headaches as well.
Free vs Paid Web Hosting – My Conclusion
I hope you can now see the benefits of using a paid hosting provider. You will thank yourself later.
If you are interested in starting your blog, you can click here to visit my article.
With all of the features and advantages offer with paid hosting there really isn’t any reason not to go for paid if you can afford it.
With that said, thank you for joining me for my in-depth dive into free vs paid web hosting. I hope you find this information helpful and actionable.
Take care and have a great day.