For many, price is one of the most important factors when choosing a web hosting solution.
And, with free hosting available, it’s not surprising that many site owners consider hosting their website for free.
In most cases, however, paid hosting is much more beneficial than free hosting.
So, read along to find out how free hosting compares to paid hosting and which hosting type is the most suitable for you!
Free Hosting vs Paid Hosting: Which One is For You?
Whether you need free hosting or paid hosting largely depends on what you’re planning to host.
Free hosting is very limited and doesn’t offer much room to grow. Thus, it’s only useful in certain situations, such as for hosting small projects, portfolios, and personal blogs.
However, if you eventually plan to expand your project, you may want to choose paid hosting right from the start to avoid the headache of migrating your website to another host.
Paid hosting, on the other hand, is useful for hosting pretty much anything, from blog to application hosting.
Disadvantages of Free Web Hosting
Although free web hosting can help you save money, it comes with several disadvantages that you should be aware of, including:
Although you don’t pay a dime for free web hosting, it isn’t exactly free – after all, someone has to pay for it.
For this reason, your hosting provider will place advertisements on your website.
This means that, besides being unable to control what’s advertised on your website, you also won’t receive any revenue from the ads.
Aside from making your website look cluttered, ads can also draw your website visitors’ attention away from your content.
#2. Poor Performance
Free hosting has very limited resources, such as storage, memory, bandwidth, and processing power.
What’s worse, you’ll share these limited resources with other hosts.
This means that your pages will take a long time to load and thus leave your website visitors frustrated.
Not to mention, slow page speed can also negatively impact your SEO.
#3. Not Reliable and Professional
Generally speaking, free hosting is neither reliable nor professional.
For example, your hosting provider may promise high availability, yet more likely than not the promises come without any guarantees.
And, apart from placing the ads on your website, free hosting providers require you to attach their name to your domain.
Such website URLs look anything but professional, so visitors may doubt your legitimacy. In turn, free hosting can hurt your business reputation.
#4. Limited Number of Visitors
Because free hosting has limited resources, your website will only be able to handle a limited number of visitors.
If your website starts drawing more traffic and isn’t able to handle all incoming requests, you’ll inevitably experience server downtime, which renders your website inaccessible to users.
#5. Low Security
Besides not offering robust security features, free hosting also doesn’t allow you to install security software that will keep your and your visitor’s data safe and secure.
As such, free hosting makes your website vulnerable to security breaches, DDoS attacks, malware, and more.
What’s more, free hosting doesn’t offer backup services, making it impossible to recover your website in case of data loss.
Advantages of Paid Web Hosting
Paid web hosting comes with many advantages, including:
#1. Speed and Performance
Paid hosting ensures a high speed and solid performance for your hosted services.
Paid hosting providers invest into high-quality dedicated servers and prioritize server maintenance, thus allowing servers to maintain stable performance.
On top of that, paid web hosting typically uses advanced technologies, such as solid-state drives (SSD) instead of hard disk drives, allowing for faster page load speed.
#2. Uptime and Reliability
Most paid hosting providers guarantee a certain amount of uptime.
For example, if your hosting provider guarantees 99.99% uptime, you won’t experience downtime longer than 1 hour throughout an entire year combined.
If, however, your web service experiences longer downtime, you’ll easily get your money back.
As such, paid hosting is much more reliable, which allows you to avoid the negative impacts of server downtime, such as customer dissatisfaction and revenue loss.
Unlike free hosting, paid hosting supports server scaling.
So, if your website or web app is gaining more traction, you can easily add more resources to your server so that it can handle more incoming traffic.
By scaling your website, you can effectively increase its performance and avoid downtime, even if your website experiences an unforeseen traffic spike.
#4. Customer Support
Paid hosting offers reliable and responsive customer support.
Free hosting typically uses email customer support. As such, it can take several days to get help.
Paid hosting, on the other hand, comes with real-time customer support that’s typically available 24/7/365 and via different channels.
High-quality customer support is especially important when your web service experiences downtime as you can quickly get help and resolve the problem.
#5. High-End Security
Paid hosting provides high-end security, so you can be sure that your hosted services stay safe and secure from cyberattacks and malware.
Depending on the specific hosting provider, paid hosting can come with software security, firewall, DDoS protection, malware scanning, and other security features.
What’s more, paid hosting comes with data backup, so, in case the files on your hosted service get corrupted, you can easily restore your data.
#6. Unlimited Resources
Paid web hosting lets you add unlimited resources, such as storage, memory, and bandwidth to your server.
Essentially, this gives you the freedom to expand your hosted services. For example, you can upload as many pages, videos, and images as you want on your website.
On top of that, having unlimited resources allows you to install different plugins, security software, and more.
#7. Additional Features
Paid hosting also comes with useful additional features, such as eCommerce tools and SEO features, that help you make the most out of your hosting solution.
With paid hosting you can, for example, use staging servers to copy your hosted services onto another server.
This way, you can make changes to your website, update plugins, and test your website without having it affect your live site.
Once you’re ready, you can implement the changes onto your website with a single click.
Should You Pay For Web Hosting?
Although you may be tempted to save a few bucks on web hosting, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
So, free hosting may help you save money, but it can also hurt your business with its slow speed, advertisements, and limitations.
As such, to have reliable web hosting, your best option is to invest in paid hosting.
That said, paid hosting doesn’t have to be expensive – you can find excellent paid hosting at affordable prices, too.
How Much Does Web Hosting Cost?
The price of web hosting can greatly vary based on the web hosting type and hosting provider.
Here’s how much you can expect to pay each month for web hosting based on the hosting type:
- Shared web hosting – $2 – $15
- Cloud web hosting – $5 – $80
- Dedicated hosting – $100 – $250+
- Managed hosting – $150 – $250+
- Virtual private server (VPS) hosting – $12 – $80
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