A website is a fundamental requirement of your business. Now the question is, should you go with a free website or paid hosting? Most new companies use free website hosting services to cut costs. But when the company needs to expand, they seem to be stuck.
There is no shortage of free hosting or paid-hosting providers today. In fact, you will get a hosting plan for every business requirement. That said, it is essential to find one that caters to your requirements.
Therefore, before considering the options, you need to know about both these hosting. In the write-up, let us differentiate between free hosting and paid hosting, so you can make a better choice.
Which is the better – Free Web Hosting or Paid Web Hosting?
Free website hosting services might attract new customers with striking deals, but they come with optional tags. Free web hosting is a good choice if you need temporary services or display some information on your site. To be more precise, it is to attract new customers to your business. On the other hand, paid web hosting suits companies looking at long-term expansion. It is a scalable and reliable option for a professional-looking website, making it look credible.
A. What is Free Hosting?
As the name suggests, Free hosting comes with restricted features and limited access. Web hosting companies will host your site free of charge, but you’ll have to put up with the arrangement they offer. Most hosting companies will use your site as their advertisement billboard. If you don’t upload tons of media content and need a website only for promotional purposes, choose free hosting.
B. What is Paid Hosting?
Paid hosting offers more opportunities, features, and reliability. You have to pay for using paid hosting services (monthly or annually). Hosting companies provide plans and tariffs based on your need. So, you can choose a Shared hosting plan with basic features for a startup website or VPS hosting if you’re looking for long-term goals. Based on the plan, you can get features like bandwidth, storage, cPanel, SSL certificates, and email accounts.
C. Key Difference Between Free Hosting and Paid Hosting
1. Features and Updates
Free web hosting features can lure you with zero costs, but you won’t get the features that Paid Hosting offers.
- With the features offered by a free plan, you can create a website and add details, but it might restrict some files.
- You won’t get server access or a cPanel to control your website.
- With free hosting, you won’t get access to email accounts, added bandwidth, storage, SSL certificates.
- Once you realize you need a few extra tools for creating your site, the web hosting company will charge you separately.
Compared to a free plan, a paid hosting plan provides better features and reliability. The most popular paid plan is Shared hosting. Most new websites choose Shared hosting as it is an affordable option.
- When you select a Shared hosting plan, you will get features like bandwidth, disk space, SSL certificate, and control panel.
- Additionally, based on the hosting plan you choose, you will get access to integrated tools, CDN, and dedicated customer support.
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2. Storage and Bandwidth
Professional web hosting providers offer plans with variations in bandwidth and storage. A free web-hosting plan may provide you with limited storage & bandwidth, which affects your site’s performance. As your business grows, you will need to upload videos, files, and photos on your site. And with limited features and resources, your website will encounter downtime issues.
Compared to free hosting, a paid plan will offer you the required storage and bandwidth you paid for. Web hosting companies will provide you with sufficient bandwidth that requires a complete infra working at the backend. To scale your website, paid hosting is a better choice.
Further reading: Beginners Guide to Hosting a Website
3. Reliability and Search Rankings
Reliability is one factor that differentiates free hosting from paid hosting. Free plans do not provide the uptime guarantee that a paid plan provides. A proper infrastructure that backs up a paid plan provides an uptime guarantee and optimal loading speed. Moreover, if your business relies on a website, the slightest speed issue can cause the loss of a potential customer.
Paid plans offer an uptime of more than 99.99%, providing complete reliability.
Search rankings are vital to determine the success of the site. At times, a free web hosting provider may display irrelevant links or ads on your site, which can impact your site rankings. Also, spammers create dummy websites using free web hosting, which can again affect your search rankings.
Besides, Google may blacklist your website if it is spammy or unprofessional. Therefore, paid hosting provides better search rankings and great site visibility. In addition, paid plans offer better opportunities for search engine marketers.
With a free hosting plan, you can’t expect complete security features. Lack of site security can expose your website to malicious files and spam links. Besides, a website with no security seal, such as an SSL certificate or SiteLock is not reputable in the eyes of users. Most users won’t share contact details with the website. And there are free hosting companies that gather your data and sell it to marketers, thus making money.
On the other hand, paid hosting guarantees a security cover for your website. Most plans offer SSL certificates, malware scanning, regular site updates, and prevention from brute force attacks and DDoS attacks.
Read this HostGator review to know what security features they offer with their hosting plans.
5. Technical Support
Maintenance, site issues, downtime, and updates – these are some issues you may face with your website regularly. With no technical support and assistance in place, handling these issues would be tricky.
Free plans won’t come with comprehensive support, which is a drawback. Most free web hosting companies don’t invest in infrastructure, so how do you expect them to provide technical assistance.
This is where paid hosting wins hands down. Paid hosting providers offer 24/7 customer assistance. When you’re stuck with a website-related issue, you can chat, call or email the support team, and in no time, your issues will be solved.
Reputed web hosting companies also have forums and large communities that solve your issues in record time. Besides this, paid plans provide added assistance via video tutorials and blogs. The tech support offered by paid hosting is unmatched and can’t be compared with free hosting.
Make the Right Choice,
You can get a free hosting plan for your short-term needs or pass relevant information to your customers. But for long-term business growth, it is not a recommended option.
For a professional website, blog, or eCommerce site, you will need to invest in paid hosting. Again, paid hosting plans are available in different hosting types Shared, Dedicated, VPS, and Cloud. You can choose a plan depending on your business requirement and budget.
A good website does not require a premium budget. You can choose a paid hosting plan based on your budget and the resources needed. Plus, web hosting companies also offer seasonal discounts on paid plans like HostGator hosting coupons.
Whatever you choose, don’t forget to pay attention to features, trials, and migration options. FREE might sound great, but you need to see the bigger picture.
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