Free Web Hosting Advantages and Disadvantages (15+ Tips)
Shams Sumon October 17, 2021
So, you are ready to enter the online world with your very own website? This is super exciting! You have a long journey ahead which is full of hurdles and confusion but rewarding at the same time. For launching your website, you will have to choose a hosting plan that efficiently handles all your website data and traffic.
Depending on your current requirement, a suitable web hosting plan can be booked for your website. While searching for an appropriate hosting plan for your needs, you might get tempted to build your website with a free web hosting plan.
This article is dedicated to bringing out the problems you might have to face if you choose to host your website without paying a dime.
Let us first find out what free web hosting is?
First Thing First- What is Free Web Hosting
Free web hosting simply means a hosting service that is available free of cost. It is always limited in terms of technical and functional aspects in one way or the other. It allows you to create a completely free website with limited features just to help you get online as soon as possible.
For instance, 000webhost is one of many companies that provides free web hosting services.
The Only Advantage of Using Free Web Hosting
The only advantage of using free web hosting is that it is free! You get to save some bucks while entering the online world. But that is all you tend to benefit from such a free service. Some people do argue that newbies can learn a lot while developing a website with a free hosting plan.
Our honest opinion, however, differs in this case since we believe that one cannot learn much with such limited functionality available.
18+ Disadvantages of Using Free Web Hosting for WordPress Websites
All the web hosts maintain servers to handle your website data and traffic securely and efficiently. It involves expenses in the form of servers, electricity, and some staff. If a host offers you a free hosting plan, it will cover these expenses in one way or the other. This brings us to the negative aspects of using free web hosting for your website. Let us discuss these disadvantages of free web hosting in detail here:
1. Unprofessional Domain Name
A free hosting provider usually provides you with a domain name with its brand name attached to it. Your website domain name appears similar to yourwebsitename.brandofhost.com. Such names are difficult to remember for website visitors and look unprofessional as well. Additionally, your website is prevented from building a unique identity of its own when you use such a subdomain.
2. Slow Speed
Since free web hosting providers give a single server to hundreds of websites, the loading speed of your website will be extremely slow because of the server burden. Such slow speed not only pushes away your visitors but also contributes to poor search engine ranking.
Top 10 Ways to Improve PageSpeed on WordPress Websites
3. Limited Control
A free web hosting provider does not provide you root access to the server for complete control over your website. Without root access, you won’t be able to install PHP modules, stacks, or applications to your websites. Several website customizations also become impossible with limited control over the hosting server.
4. Unexpected Charges
Free web hosting is completely free without any doubt but you might have to shell out money even for some basic features. A free web hosting provider usually comes up with unexpected charges for FTP access, image hosting, website transfer, and similar services.
Not only that, when your website becomes popular and receives higher traffic than a certain limit (which is quite low in the case of free web hosting), you will have to buy a paid hosting plan for keeping your website up and running. Such paid hosting plans are usually priced higher than most other plans available with other top hosting providers.
5. Poor Website Uptime
The biggest disadvantage of free web hosting is poor website uptime. Website uptime refers to the time for which your website is up and running i.e. available online for everyone to visit. The servers that host free websites face much more outages than others because of shared hosting and high traffic.
Also, web hosting companies perform regular maintenance of their servers that will result in website downtime for the free hosting receivers. These hosts maintain multiple servers for the paid customers to transfer their website from one server to another during the maintenance period resulting in excellent uptime for such customers.
This facility is not, however, available for the free web hosting customers since it involves additional server expenses that the host will not be able to recover from the free customers. As a result, you will have to bear with server outages and won’t receive any website uptime guarantee from the host.
6. Limited Resources
Free web hosting provides you with very limited resources for building and managing your website. You won’t receive any website building tools and the scope for customizing your site will also be limited.
To make things worse, you either won’t be allowed to install WordPress or a shared server won’t be able to run it efficiently. Apart from that, a free hosting plan provides you with very limited bandwidth and inodes files limit with little disk storage making it difficult for you to store and transfer much website data.
7. Forced Advertisement
Advertising is the most common way for a free web hosting provider to recover the expenses incurred on managing your website. Such ad placement hampers the look and reputation of your website since such ads might be completely unrelated to your website content.
Additionally, if you are creating a brand or displaying your work on your website, such an advertisement distracts your visitors with clutter all over. It ruins the beauty of your website to a large extent.
8. The Suitable Target for Spammers
Websites using free hosting services are always on the target list of spammers since it is quite easy to spam them. You will receive unwanted comments on your website articles containing promotional weblinks. It becomes difficult to protect your website from spammers and a lot of your time goes into clearing up the mess they create.
9. Website Backups not Available
As against the paid hosting plans, a free web hosting plan does not offer any website backups. Maintaining regular website backups ensures to save much of your data in the case of an emergency. But with free web hosting, you won’t be able to recover your previous website version if such a need arises since no regular backups are maintained.
10. Not Suitable for Mobile Devices
Not all but most free web hosting providers are unable to offer you responsive website designs that appear well on mobile screens. In today’s internet world, mobile devices bring in a large chunk of visitors. You tend to lose all these visitors by signing up for a free web hosting service.
Apart from that, it is usually impossible to update your website from a mobile device since the dashboards provided by free hosting services are normally incompatible with hand-held devices.
11. Unprofessional Email
A paid web hosting plan provides you with a branded email containing your domain name. But a free web hosting offers no such email. You will have to use a general email like Gmail for your business. Such a business email without your brand name looks quite unprofessional and might leave a bad impression on your visitors and prospective customers.
12. Not Suitable for Search Engine Ranking
With free web hosting, it becomes extremely difficult to rank higher in the searches of top search engines like Google and Bing. The majority of freely hosted websites are of poor quality because of which the algorithms of top search engines do not give much importance to the websites using free web hosting. It is one of the major drawbacks of using such a free service since your website won’t be able to reach a wider audience through search engines.
13. Website Monetization is Impossible
A free web hosting plan won’t allow you to monetize your website through ad placement or affiliate marketing. The host will place ads on your website and make money from the visitors you bring to it. Normally, you are not allowed to monetize your website since you are using a free web hosting plan.
14. Poor Customer Support
Providing customer support also involves expenses in the form of salaries paid to the customer service staff and the equipment used during the process.
When you are not paying a dime for your hosting plan, the host will keep you at the bottom of its customer priority list. You will, therefore, be receiving poor customer support with the unknown time taken by the support executes to resolve your issues.
15. Unreliable Website Security
A free web hosting plan does not come with reliable security for your website. Your website might have a lot of bugs and a storehouse of malicious software. It is also vulnerable to hacking attacks because of poor security standards. You will find it either difficult or impossible to recover your website data or files from hackers. Such unreliable website security will also shake visitors’ trust in your website and damage its reputation.
16. Website Transfer Unavailable
When you are taking advantage of a free hosting plan, you won’t receive the privilege to transfer your website to another host. Such hosts want you to upgrade your free plan to a paid one with their offerings whenever the need arises. That is why you won’t be offered any tools to easily migrate your freely hosted website with them. You will either have to build your website again with a new host or manually export your site content.
17. Impossible to Sell-off Website
A website with a paid hosting plan is completely owned by you but a free web hosting provider might retain the ownership of your website content. It is always better to carefully read the terms and conditions of a free web hosting plan before signing up with the host. Else, you might not be able to sell your website if you ever want to. Additionally, you won’t be having any ownership right over your website content.
18. Possibility of Website Shut Down
Usually, the free web hosting providers mention in their terms and conditions that they can shut down your website at any time without giving you a reason for the action taken. Even if you strictly follow all their guidelines, you might end up with a notice in your email about the closure of your website and will never know the reason for the same.
In such a case, you won’t be delivered any of your website content. Additionally, all your website backlinks will become useless with the shutting down of your website.
What’s Your Thought- Is Free Web Hosting Good for You
Free web hosting is not good for most website owners but that does not mean it is bad for you as well. If you are creating a website without the intention to ever earn money from it, you can choose a free hosting plan. Additionally, if you intend to build a website just for the experience of creating it or sharing the content only with your family and friends (or a limited circle), free web hosting might solve your purpose.
On the other hand, if you have an intention to earn money from your website or wish to display your artwork or other proprietary work through your site, you must never sign up for a free hosting plan. Even if you just don’t want to earn any money from your website but want to share some information or your thoughts with a large number of people, you shall not choose free web hosting.
Final Thoughts on Free Web Hosting Advantages and Disadvantages
Free web hosting is tempting for many newbies entering the online world but it might become a costly affair in the long run. How can you expect to grow with extremely limited resources at your disposal? It is truly said that “you get what you pay for” and it applies appropriately to free web hosting as well.
In my opinion, a small investment with a top web hosting provider will help you achieve your online goals. This is our proven experience and we would love to know about your experience with a free web hosting service if any.
Do you think free web hosting offers any other benefit than being free? Let us know your feedback through the comment box below.
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Shams is a content writer with a passion for making WordPress topics easy to understand for everyone through conversational and storytelling approaches. With a background in the WordPress industry since 2019, he has developed a knack for breaking down complex technical concepts into digestible bites. When he's not crafting engaging content, Shams can be found watching football matches, catching up on the latest movies, or exploring new destinations to rejuvenate himself.