When choosing a web hosting provider, it’s important to first consider your site needs, budget, and overall goals. While a scaling business likely needs a paid hosting provider, a simple personal site or blog will just need a free hosting service. If you are considering free web hosting, check out our article below for the pros and cons of this service. 

All About Free Web Hosting

While end users may receive free hosting, the company offering it is still paying for it. Depending on the type of hosting and specific offers, this can cost the company a lot of money. These hosting costs typically include buying and maintaining hardware, paying for staff to maintain servers, leasing or purchasing physical office space, and any overhead costs. Let’s now take a look at why companies would offer this amazing service at no cost to site owners.

Why Do Companies Offer Free Web Hosting?

Common Reasons Why Companies Offer This Service:

  • Ads: Most free web hosting providers display ads on free websites, which is an effective way to maintain this free hosting service. While not every provider does this, it’s a common way to gain revenue and maintain the free hosting. Common types of advertisements include banner ads and affiliate links.
  • Business Strategy: Depending on how large the provider is, they may create two separate versions of their site – one for free users and one for paid users. This may be considered a “sister site.”
  • Marketing: To encourage users to sign up for using their hosting, some providers offer a free tier either for a limited or unlimited time. Overtime, the provider will upsell a premium plan, which allows the company to stay in business and offer free hosting. It’s expected that a good portion of users will upgrade to a paid plan. This is necessary for most businesses, especially those selling products or services online.
  • Try Out Services: Some hosting providers offer a limited time deal, in which users can build a free site and enjoy free hosting. This gives them a chance to test out the provider’s services to see if they want to pursue purchasing a plan. Indeed, this is a great way to reach new customers.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Free Web Hosting?

Pros of Free Web Hosting

  • You don’t pay anything.
  • You can try out a service with low-risk.
  • You don’t need to lock into an upfront contract.
  • You can test out staging sites, software scripts, or other applications.
  • You can delete your account at any time. 
  • You can try out hosting your site for free as a beginner.
  • You can build and launch a live site on a small budget.

Cons of Free Web Hosting

  • Your free service places restrictions on features, which may include a cap on bandwidth, as well as no DNS edit options, fast loading times, optimal security, one-click site backups, reliable servers, SMTP email, tech support, and more.
  • Your site will likely run slower than a site hosted on a paid plan.
  • Your site will have a limited disk space, which means you can’t upload large files without issues.
  • Your site domain will include a subdomain in the URL. For example,  www.yoursite.subdomainname.com.
  • Your site may contain ads, which could look unprofessional for a business site.

Who Should Use Free Web Hosting?

The type of web hosting that is best for you will depend on your site needs, budget, goals, and expertise. Free web hosting is an excellent choice for beginners or those that only need a simple site or blog. If you are testing a staging site, software script, or application, this service is a great option that won’t cost you money upfront. It can be overwhelming to build your first site and figure out how to host it. That is why a free hosting provider is a good option for those new to the website community. 

Who Should Not Use Free Web Hosting?

This is a very personal choice, just like anything related to technology. Free hosting may not be a great option if you own a business site that is growing and requires more advanced hosting features. For any online stores that sell products and services, this is especially important to keep customers’ data secure from hackers. As for others that have non-business websites, you may not want to choose free hosting if you have a large site with high monthly traffic. Indeed, a free server wouldn’t be able to maintain a high traffic site and would likely crash. This is the last thing you need for your site, as this would look unprofessional and cause a major headache for you as you get your site back online as fast as possible. 

For any users that need a fast, reliable, secure website, it’s recommended to consider a paid web hosting provider. This will help mitigate the risk for cyber attacks, downtimes, and server crashes. Also, a premium plan will provide the hosting features your site needs to grow your brand, maintain success, and stay competitive. 

We hope you found this article helpful as you research and choose the best hosting providers for your site. If you would like more tips on how to choose a hosting company, check out this Forbes article by Zac Johnson. The saying you get what you pay for is true when it comes to technology too. A free hosting provider is a great choice for beginners or those that want to try out a service before committing to a paid plan. Oftentimes, a provider offering free services also offers premium plans for those that need more reliability, scalability, and security.