For new website owners, hosting can be tricky. You know your website needs hosting to run, but you may be wondering if it’s necessary to pay for it. A simple Google search reveals the truth, but it’s vital to ask, “Is free web hosting worth it?”
Free website hosting has plenty going for it, especially if you’re starting out or when money is tight, but it comes with challenges. Although you may not be exchanging money for your WordPress hosting, a free plan could cost you in other ways. After all, you get what you pay for, right?
Read on to learn more about the differences that exist between free and paid website hosting plans and to discover whether a premium WordPress hosting service, like Pressable, can save you money in the long run.
Why Users Choose Free Hosting
Free hosting has its perks — specifically, it’s free. But there’s a little bit more to it than that. The following are some reasons website owners continue using free hosting services.
Have we mentioned that free hosting is free? It’s the biggest perk and the reason people choose this option, so it’s worth noting repeatedly.
The nonexistent price point of free hosting makes it more than attractive. If you’re a new site owner, you may have limited funds or want to be careful about spending your money. A free hosting plan will keep you from digging deep into your pockets when you’re trying out a new project.
It Suits Your Needs
If this is your first website, or if you only plan to own one, you may not need the unlimited storage a paid plan offers. You may be an experienced website owner who doesn’t need much support or a hobbyist who isn’t worried about uptime or forced advertising. In these cases, a free plan might fit your needs and work out best.
You’re Investigating Hosts
Free plans give you a small taste of what it’s like to work with a particular web hosting company. Pressable created MyPressable Playground for that exact purpose, allowing you to test drive our customer panel and explore the many features you’ll have access to with an upgraded account.
You’re Unaware of the Downsides
You may not be paying for your free plan out of pocket, but there may still be costs at play. If you need technical support, you may have to pay extra for it, and once your website grows and receives more traffic, there will be extra charges. You may also have limited uptime, which can cause you to lose revenue if or when your website goes down.
Disadvantages of Free Hosting
While free hosting might be good in certain situations, there are downsides to such a solution. The following are some of the free WordPress hosting disadvantages you may experience.
Poor Site Performance
Website load speeds matter. More than 40% of users will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load, which means you stand to lose almost half of your business with a free hosting plan.
Free web hosting plans force you to share a server with hundreds of other sites. Companies limit the resources they provide, given that no one is paying, and high traffic on one website slows down the others, directly impacting user experiences, SEO, and conversions.
The free plans offered by most other providers come with limited uptime. Imagine spending a large chunk of your budget on advertising, only for your website to crash in the middle of your marketing campaign. Every minute your website isn’t functioning is one in which your customers can’t spend money on your products or services.
Little to No Support
WordPress is intentionally easy to use, but that doesn’t mean you’re automatically a web developer. Your site may go down, or you could break it when trying to make changes.
It costs a company to provide customer service, and free users don’t always get access to it. That means you won’t know where to turn if problems happen. Even if someone answers the phone or your emails, you won’t get the comprehensive 24/7 WordPress hosting support you would with Pressable’s managed WordPress hosting.
Poor Built-In Security
If your business collects sensitive personal data from customers, the law obligates you to protect it. Good website security builds trust and protects the hard work you’ve put into your business.
Free hosting companies don’t invest in maintaining security for non-paying customers, and that lack of protection leaves them vulnerable to malware, hackers, and data breaches that cost hard-earned money and can harm your reputation.
No Update Management or Site Maintenance
Elements of your website (such as PHP, Java scripts, and custom HTML) will need updating, upgrading, and optimizing to keep things running. Regular updates are also part of maintaining security because they usually patch bugs, performance issues, and vulnerabilities in the WordPress platform that hackers have found ways to exploit.
A free hosting provider is unlikely to help you manage your WordPress updates, so you may have to spend money to hire an expert to do it for you.
Ads from a Hosting Provider
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. The old saying applies to website hosting more than you might imagine.
Free hosting isn’t actually “free.” Someone still has to pay for it. Many free hosting providers recoup their fees through ads on your website. You don’t get to choose which ads appear or remove them, and adding insult to injury, you can’t make any money from them, either.
Limited Flexibility and Scalability
As your business grows, you may want to launch additional sites or require more bandwidth than a free plan can provide. Managed hosting is customizable to your needs and infinitely scalable, whereas free plans are one-size-fits-all.
When is Free Hosting Better than Paid Hosting?
A free hosting service works in two scenarios. First, as a beginner testing the WordPress landscape, you may be learning how to design or install themes, connect a custom domain, publish and optimize content, or use plugins. Free hosting plans are fine for the novice who plans to upgrade to a managed solution once they launch their website and start building an audience.
Free hosting plans are also OK for someone looking to create a hobby site instead of a business. But if the site ever grows into something more than a hobby, you’ll want to partner with a managed WordPress host like Pressable if you want your business to succeed without the worry and hassle of free WP hosting.
Free vs. Paid WordPress Hosting
|Feature||Free WP Website Hosting||Paid WP Website Hosting|
|Website Builder||Limited options||Advanced options and plugins|
|Customer Support||Limited or none||24/7 support|
|Security||Basic security measures||Advanced security measures|
|Server Reliability/Downtime||Shared servers with limited uptime||Cloud servers and 99.99% uptime|
|Ads||Forced on the website||No ads|
Is Free Web Hosting Worth It?
Are you still wondering about using free hosting? Free hosting can be worth it for beginners or hobbyists but not for a business owner or anyone who wants their site to be able to scale or be reliable. It always has hidden costs involved, whether as a fee for support or as a result of losing trust and traffic due to forced ads, security issues, slow page load times, or downtime. Your business will pay the price for free hosting somewhere along the line.
Benefits of Paid, Managed WordPress Hosting
By now, you’ve now learned that free hosting does indeed come with a cost, but it’s also essential to understand the following ways paid, managed WordPress hosting can save you money.
Paid hosting can save you money through:
- Expert support that’s included in your plan
- Enhanced security to protect your customers’ information and protect you from compliance fines, lawsuits, and data breaches
- Ongoing maintenance that will ensure uptime so you can keep serving your audience
- Optimized performance for fast page load times and beneficial SEO
When you go with a paid plan, your business receives the resources and support it needs to grow and thrive.
Paid Hosting Brings True Freedom
In the end, is free web hosting worth it?
You might believe you could save a few bucks by picking a free WordPress hosting service, but once you add up the costs of downtime, security, and support, you’ll likely find that you’re, in fact, losing money. A managed hosting provider – like Pressable – can give you the support you need and deserve, all with fewer expenses and less hassle.
Try MyPressable Playground for free to get an accurate preview of what it’s like to have our premium managed WordPress hosting and see how our services can actually save you money in the long run.