It might seem to many people that weighing up whether to select a free service or a paid service is a very easy decision. You might question why you would pay for something that you could actually get for free. However, it is not as simple as that. It doesn’t mean that you get the same level of service and set of features just because they are both providing a hosting service.
It is a bit like comparing different travel options, you could get from Edinburgh to London in Business Class on a plane or you could get a cheaper bus that takes considerably longer. But they both get you to and from your destinations as required. The service will be completely different and you know which one you would rather go with.
So if you have that in mind when you are deciding whether or not to go with free or paid hosting then you will have an idea of the gulf between the two services. Free hosting is perfect for those who do not have the budget to pay for hosting but it does not offer nearly as much as paid hosting. Just to give you an idea of the differences, here are the main limitations and drawbacks of free hosting:
Paid hosting plans will offer great levels of support (SiteGround is a great example) when you need and usually whenever you need it. So if your website goes down in the middle of a crucial time or you accidentally delete something and don’t know how to rectify the situation, you will have some technical help to get you back on track. With free hosting you are not entitled to any kind of customer support, so any problems that you may come across, you need to resolve by yourself. Or worse still, you will need to pay a techie to help you out and it won’t be cheap (probably a fair bit more than your annual fee for a shared hosting plan).
With free hosting you usually take the subdomain of the hosting service so it will be a long address with their name in it and you either take the one they give you or pay to use your own. If you are looking for a catchy, easily memorable name for your website then this is not what you are getting with free hosting.
Storage and Bandwidth
Two things that you definitely cannot do without if you have a website is storage and bandwidth. And all hosting types will offer some of each but with free hosting, you are probably going to get a considerable amount less of it. If you are not building a very big site, aren’t going to upload much content and won’t get much traffic on your website then you might be ok with free hosting. But most people, particularly if they are building a website that is for business will need more than the restricted amounts that free hosting services offer.
Free hosts often use websites to display ads so that they can generate money from this method. Whilst that might not sound that bad, think about when they plaster loads of annoying adverts that are completely unrelated to your business.
Features and Functionality
With free hosting you do not have the flexibility to use all of the advanced features and functions that you get to use on paid hosting. So if you are looking for a website that really impresses then you will need to go with the paid hosting options.