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When you first take your business online, it can be tempting to try to save as much money as possible. Free web hosting might seem appealing, but is it a real substitute for a paid plan? Or will it end up costing you more in the long term?

In this article, we’ll look at how free web hosting stacks up against paid alternatives. We’ll compare it with both cheap and premium web hosting to see which is the best choice.

Why Free Web Hosting Isn’t Always Free!

As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch! It’s important to understand that free website hosting comes with a number of disadvantages.

What Are the Disadvantages of Free Web Hosting?

 

    • No Domain Name

If you take out a free web hosting plan, you may not be able to use your own domain name. Often, you’ll have to use a sub-domain based on your host’s domain. For example, your website address could look like MyWebsite.MyHost.com, instead of simply MyWebsite.com.

    • Third-Party Advertising

Websites that use free web hosting often carry ads for the website host. In other cases, they may include ads for third-party businesses. These could even promote competitors’ websites!

    • Limited Design Options

Free hosting usually includes limited choices when it comes to designing, building and maintaining your website. If your heart is set on using a content management system like WordPress or Joomla, that might not be an option.

    • Limited Features

As well as restricting your design choices, free website hosting could leave you unable to choose the best features for your website. Options like e-commerce and SSL security might not be available.

    • Limited Storage

Your free plan will probably have a storage cap to limit how large your website can become – and how many files you can store. If you’re planning a simple brochure site, that may not be a problem… Just be sure to check how low the storage cap is.

    • Limited Bandwidth

Likewise, your free website hosting will probably limit the amount of bandwidth you can use. In simple terms, this will cap the number of people who can visit your website each month… Not ideal when you’re trying to grow your business online!

The Real Cost of Free

Because it looks less professional and lacks features, free website hosting could actually cost you more in lost profits than it saves. If you’re serious about building an online business, you’ll need to step up to paid website hosting… The big question is how much to spend.

Should You Get Cheap Web Hosting?

Cheap web hosting doesn’t have to be poor quality. There are many types of web hosting available, and the best providers have plans to suit all budgets.

Most providers offer shared web hosting as their standard option. A cheap shared web hosting plan may be sufficient for a small and simple website. If you just need a brochure site to advertise to local customers, you probably don’t need to spend more.

Danger Signs

There are some danger signs to watch out for if you’re worried that a price is too good to be true:

    • No Domain Registrations

It’s much more convenient to choose a website host that also offers domain registrations. Otherwise, you’ll need to use a different provider for each service.

    • Low Usage Caps

Just like free web hosting, some cheap website hosting comes with tight caps on storage and bandwidth. Be sure to check the details of a plan before signing up.

    • Poor Reputation

If a company offers very, very cheap website hosting, that could be a clue that there’s something wrong with their service. Why not use a site like Trustpilot to check what other customers think?

If you’re looking for affordable web hosting you can rely on, then take a moment to explore our own shared web hosting.

Covering the Basics

If you choose carefully, a cheap web hosting plan should cover all the basics. But sometimes, covering the basics isn’t enough. In this case, it could be time to step up to a more advanced form of website hosting.

What Are the Benefits of Premium Web Hosting?

If you’re planning to build a large or complex site, you may need premium web hosting. As well as supporting more features, these plans will ensure the best possible performance for your website.

Premium website hosting comes in many different flavours. Two of the most popular options are managed hosting and cloud hosting. Let’s look at the benefits of each in turn:

    • Managed Website Hosting

Maintaining a website can involve a lot of work. If you’re short on time, or if you’re not technically-minded, then managed website hosting could be worth exploring.

Some managed plans cover server management, while others cover website maintenance too. The benefits include regular updates to boost performance and security, as well as added peace of mind. To put it simply, there’s less work involved for you… And who doesn’t love that?

Why not explore our own managed WordPress hosting – designed especially for websites built with the world’s top content management system.

  • Cloud Hosting

Instead of using a single server to host a website, it’s possible to spread the load across many connected servers. This is how cloud hosting works.

Websites hosted in the cloud benefit from unbeatable reliability. It’s also very easy to scale-up a cloud hosting plan and add extra resources.

For the best of both worlds, why not check out our managed cloud hosting?

The Bottom Line

This guide to free web hosting vs paid website hosts should have helped you understand the pros and cons of each option. The key points to take away are:

    • Free website hosting is a great way to dip your toe into the water. But, if you’re serious about building an online presence, you’ll need to step up to a paid plan.
    • Choosing cheap web hosting can save money and makes sense if you’re building a small and simple website.
    • Premium web hosting is the best bet for larger or more complex websites. It’s also the stand-out option for business owners who want the best possible performance.

Whichever road you take, good luck!