Are you all ready to host your new site? But are you divided between free web hosting and paid? Well, then the answer lies in your needs and objectives. We will discuss the pros and cons of free web hosting in detail in this article. This guide also covers why free web hostings are free web hostings and pretty much everything about them. We promise you will be a pro yourself by the end of this read.
So, before dwelling on the pros and cons of free web hosting, let’s see why so many hosts are giving away free hosting.
Why web hosting companies offer free web hosting?
We may be getting free web hosting, but it is not a cheap game for the hosting companies. Providing hosting requires many resources. Starting with a few, it requires servers, storage, internet bandwidth, and so much more.
So, the question arises if it requires so much investment, why is the service free?
Well, there are other ways in which these services earn. Let’s see what these are:
#1: It can be their marketing strategy
It isn’t easy to get customers in this highly competitive market niche. Where the big players get most of the customer base, the small or new budding players struggle for their share. So, many of them offer essential services free in lieu of signup.
But as the websites grow, their hosting needs grow too. So, these hosting companies rely on some of these websites to purchase their higher plans. Yes, you got it right; it is upselling they rely on to be able to afford the free programs and make a profit too.
#2: The ad strategy
Ads are the most common money-making strategy in the genre. They display ads or use affiliate links to monetize their investment.
Many free web hosting companies do not show ads on your website. But they do show ads on their own website and control panel of your website.
So, do proper research before you sign up with a web host, as this can make or break things.
#3: The testing strategy
Many paid web hostings, even major ones, come up with free plans every now and then. And one of the primary reasons being that they are testing some new features or hosting plans.
It is risky to launch a new feature immediately, so they initially give it away for free. This is done for purely testing purposes.
#4: The business strategy
Sometimes, the paid hostings create sister sites. They do so to distinguish between their paid service and free one. But the servers and management are usually the same behind the scenes.
So, there are various reasons why web hostings give away free hosting. Do your homework well before you choose your ideal one.
Pros Of Free Web Hosting
Now, let’s see the pros of free hosting.
#1: It’s free!
Well, obviously, the first advantage of free hosting has got to be that it is free. You do not need to spend a penny to try them. If it is just a college assignment, and you do not want to spend money, go for it.
#2: Great for minimal requirements
Free web hosting is your friend if you do not need many facilities. If it is merely information and you want to share it with your friends and family. You do not need many resources. At such times, free web hosting is excellent.
#3: Great for getting the hang of it
If you want to try web hosting or explore the features, you can again opt for free web hosting. A handful of free hosts do offer complete cPanel. You can use these facilities to explore and discover things.
#4: Trial and testing
Many of us are not sure whether our new script or code will work well on the web or not. Then here is the solution. Use free web hosts. They do not charge you anything, and you can complete your trials.
#5: No contract signing
Another great feature of free web hosts is that you do not have to enter into a contract. Just sign up and start using services. And stop using them whenever you feel like.
#6: Free domains!
Lastly, another free feature of these hosts is the free domain. You do not need to pay for the host and now for the domain too. However, not all the hosts offer a free domain. Also, do check the fine print for the tenure of the free version. Most hosts offer free domains for a specific range of time.
If any of these plus points, click to you, go for the free web hosting. But hang on. Do check the cons of the signing up for free hosting. As nothing is perfect and everything has downsides.
Cons Of Free Web Hosting
You must have heard that there are no free lunches. Well, that is partially true in the case of free web hosting. How we see it is, there are no free gala dinners, although there could be a free supper.
What we mean is that free hosting is a limited version of paid hosting. Free hosting will mostly not give you unmetered bandwidth and storage. And even if it will, there will be downtimes and security issues.
There are many ifs and buts when it comes to free web hosts. So, let’s consider them in detail:
#1: Interrupting Ads
By now, we understand that providing hosting requires money. But if they are not taking money from you, they got to get it somehow. So, they put ads on your website, and the revenue generated goes to the hosting company.
Many hosting companies do not show ads on your website. But they do show ads on the control panel and hosting company’s own website.
These ads are an interruption to the overall user experience. If you are looking forward to making an impact, try to avoid free web hosting.
Further, if your website does start to get traction, you cannot plan to earn an income through ads. The hosting company will be getting all of it.
#2: Shared Branding
Shared branding is another interruption in making a brand. Some hosts opt for this method too. In this, they advertise their own brand along with yours.
For example, they add their logo on your website. Or their name to your URL. Like, yourname.theirname.com.
These tactics give them free advertising. But as with ads, even shred branding makes it harder to communicate a clear message. This tactic also makes it harder for your viewers to remember your URL. Also, it makes them doubt your identity as an entity.
#3: Inferior Customer Support
Customer support executives need to be paid. So, if you are not a paid customer of the company and not contributing much to their resources, you might not get the optimum support as well.
Some companies do say that they offer 24/7 support. But it is better to keep in mind that you might not get that level facility.
And it is only fair. So, if you are yourself capable of solving your issues, go for free hosting. Another situation when you can opt for free service is when you need a website for non-critical issues.
#4: Low Uptime
First, let’s see what uptime means. It means the amount of time your website is up and visible to your visitors.
All web hosts, god or bad, have downtimes. They need it to do maintenance. But some hosts also go down due to technical issues. This drawback is something worrisome.
What is the point of having a website if it is not available to your visitors when they arrive at it? If you have ads on it, you are losing dear money if your website goes down often.
We have observed that free hosts have a much lesser uptime than most of the reputable paid hosts.
Thus, if you are making a website for your business, we advise not to use free hosts. The same goes for blogs that want to monetize traffic through ads.
#5: Limits On Resources
Most free web hosts offer limited bandwidth and webpages.
Bandwidth determines how fast your site loads. If you have adequate bandwidth, your site will load quickly. Otherwise slowly. But the problem is, most free hosts offer limited bandwidth.
This limited bandwidth means that you may lose your visitor base and ranking in search engines. And those websites with media like audio, video, etc. need a good bandwidth the most.
Another limitation is the number of webpages. Many hosting companies offer a single or a limited number of webpages.
Thus, if you have a basic website, then free web hosting can be a good option. But if you want to include many pages and multimedia, then you should consider paid hosting.
#6: Paid Upgrades Strategy
Most free web hosts offer paid upgrades. That is, they give a limited bandwidth and storage for free. And if you want more, you need to upgrade.
The strategy behind this is, the hosting companies offer limited basic services for signup. And rely on people upgrading to their paid services as their websites grow. They earn this profit by selling their paid services because they incur their free hosting expenses and derive a profit.
So, this was all about the pros and cons of free web hosting. So, let’s see whether you should go for free hosting or not.
Is Free Web Hosting Really Worth It?
Here is a table of the pros and cons of free web hosting to understand whether free hosting is worth it or not.
|You do not have to pay for it||Interrupting Ads|
|Good if you need fewer resources||They share your brand|
|Also good if you are just testing your site||Customer support is not good|
|No need to enter into a contract||Uptime is low|
|Some hosts offer a free domain||Resources like bandwidth are limited|
|Upsell their services|
Considering the above pros and cons, we can identify who all can benefit from free web hosting. Let’s see a few situations where free hosting is enough:
- You are just testing your site. There won’t be much traffic, and any downtimes will not affect the rankings.
- You do not have much cash, but you do want to get started on your project. In lieu, you can manage with the downtimes and lack of support. Then go for it.
- When you want to host a basic website, like a wedding invitation, free hosting is a good option. You do not need to worry about heavy traffic or security, or many webpages.
- If you are new to hosting and want to explore hosting a bit, free hosting is OK. Many free hosts provide full cPanel access. You can take advantage of it.
- Lastly, free hosting is the way to go if you can deal with a lack of support, downtime, or limited resources.
Now, let’s see where free hosting is not a good idea, and paid ones would probably be better:
- You want to make a brand, and shared branding like a custom URL can impact your purpose.
- Also, if you want a create an ad-free website, you must go for paid hosting.
- And if you want to monetize your ads, again, you must go for paid experience.
- You have plans to scale your website. But free hosts do not allow that much resources. They have a cap on bandwidth, the number of webpages, and the traffic they can cope with.
- You need good customer support.
- Also, when you need good uptime, paid hosting is the way to go.
- Lastly, paid hosting provides additional features, which free hosts don’t.
Thus, if you fall into any of these categories, you must opt for paid hosting.
Our verdict is simple. If you are a tester, newbie, or someone with basic requirements, go with free hosting. But if you are someone with serious commitment and plan to scale and monetize your website, there is no way you should opt for free hosting.