If you’re a newer website owner, you may find yourself looking at hosting as an unwanted (or even unnecessary) expense. And, to save a little money, you may find yourself Googling “Free WordPress hosting.” But what you may not realize is that choosing a “free” hosting service can actually wind up costing you a lot more money in the long run. Between extra support fees, site downtime, security issues, and more, you could find yourself in a place where you’re losing money hand over fist.
Read on to discover why these “free” services are anything but and how a premium WordPress hosting service like Pressable can actually save you money in the long run.
Cons of Free WordPress Hosting
Poor Site Speed Performance
When you’re designing and developing a website, one of the most important factors you need to consider is your site’s load speed. Studies have shown that more than 40 percent of users will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load. That means that a slow load time could be losing you about half your business.
When you use a free WordPress host, your website lives alongside dozens (or hundreds) of other sites on the host’s servers. If the free host doesn’t have adequate resources, surges in site traffic on any of these sites could slow down access to every other site on the server. This can become a major problem that has a direct impact on user experience, SEO, and website conversions – just to name a few.
Once you get your website built and launched, you expect things to be smooth sailing. But what do you do if your website crashes or your server support goes down? Every minute you spend with your website not working is a minute that customers can’t reach you and that you lose money.
As you might expect, free website hosting services don’t have much incentive to keep their servers running in top condition. This means that if they encounter a problem, your site could go down for hours
on end. And unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do but sit and wait for the server to come back online if you work with these “free” services.
Little to No Support
One of the best things about WordPress is that it makes web design and management accessible to users of all skill levels. With WordPress, you don’t have to be a professional web designer or programmer to build a beautiful website for your business. However, after your site is deployed, you may run into issues that require a bit of expertise to correct.
If you choose to work with a free WordPress host, chances are they won’t offer the level of customer service and support you need. And, if your free hosting service does provide some support, it’s likely to be extremely basic and one-size-fits-all. You’re not going to get the kind of custom care and expert insights that you will with a premium managed WordPress host.
Poor Built-In Security
Site security is also a critical factor when you’re building a website, especially if you plan to interact with customers through this site. We all remember the aftermath of security breaches with sites like Yahoo, Equifax, and Ashley Madison. The 2013 Yahoo breach alone compromised data for more than 3 billion people around the world.
When you choose to work with a free hosting provider, you’re likely to get little, if any, built-in security. These providers are more interested in getting as many sites as possible on their platform than making sure your site is secure. You could be left vulnerable to malware, hackers, and/or data breaches that lose you money, as well as the trust of your customers.
No Update Management
One of the most important parts of maintaining a secure website is running regular WordPress updates. As new hacking methods come out, developers find new ways to safeguard against them. They release these new security measures, as well as fixes for bugs and performance improvement measures, as regular updates to the WordPress software.
Updating your site is very important, but it can be confusing if you’re new to WordPress. Running these updates on your own could leave your site behaving strangely or cause certain plugins and themes to stop working properly. Unfortunately, “free” WordPress hosting providers won’t help you manage these updates, so you’ll have to hire an expert to help do it for you.
No Site Maintenance
Elements of your website (such as PHP, Java scripts, and custom HTML) will sometimes need to be updated, upgraded, and/or optimized to keep things running smoothly. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find help with these updates from “free” or discount providers. You’ll have to either spend your own valuable time doing that work yourself or hire someone else to help you keep your website up to date.
A premium managed WordPress host can help you with some elements of site maintenance if it is within their scope of support. And, even if the issue isn’t in that scope, a reputable manager WordPress hosting provider can at least set you on the right path to getting your site updated properly.
Benefits of Paid, Managed Hosting
Given what we’ve just discussed, you might not be surprised to learn that paid hosting can actually save you money on WordPress hidden costs. These services will provide much of the support you won’t get with the free services. You won’t have to call a web coder for every little issue, and you can rest easy knowing your site is secure.
But beyond that, paid WordPress hosting services can help you optimize your website for better performance. They know the ins and outs of the WordPress platform, and their first priority is helping you build the best site possible. They’ll provide you with the expertise, support, and service you need to make the most of your WordPress website.
“Free” Isn’t Free
At first glance, you might think you can save a few bucks by choosing a free WordPress hosting service. But once you tally up all the costs for support, security, and downtime, you’ll find that you’re likely losing money. A managed hosting provider – like Pressable – can give you all the support you need for less money and less hassle.
If you’d like to learn more about how premium managed WordPress hosting can actually save you money in the long run, schedule a demo today.
Jessica serves as the Director of Operations for Pressable and spends her days focused on creating the best managed WordPress hosting experience possible. She's been using WordPress since 2008 and has been serving in WordPress-focused roles since 2010. When she's not working, you can find her spending time with her family, serving in her community, watching hilarious dog videos online, or brewing a pitcher of iced tea.